The harpsichord "harp"-stop, which muted one string of each note by a piece of leather, became, by the interposition of a piece of cloth between the hammer and the strings, the piano, harp, or celeste. The more complete sourdine, which muted all the strings by contact of a long strip of leather, acted as the staccato, pizzicato, or pianissimo. The Germans further displayed that ingenuity in fancy stops Mersenne had attributed to them in harpsichords more than a hundred and fifty years before, by a bassoon pedal, a card which by a rotatory half-cylinder just impinging upon the strings produced a reedy twang; also by pedals for triangle, cymbals, bells, and tambourine, the last drumming on the sound-board itself.
Several of these contrivances may be seen in a six-pedal grand pianoforte belonging to Her Majesty the Queen, at Windsor Castle, bearing the name as maker of Stein's daughter, Nannette, who was a friend of Beethoven. The diagram represents the wooden framing of such an instrument.
We gather from Burney's contributions to "Rees's Cyclopaedia," that after the arrival of John Christian Bach in London, A.D. 1759, a few grand pianofortes were attempted, by the second-rate harpsichord makers, but with no particular success. If the workshop tradition can be relied upon that several of Silbermann's workmen had come to London about that time, the so-called "twelve apostles," more than likely owing to the Seven Years' War, we should have here men acquainted with the Cristofori model, which Silbermann had taken up, and the early grand pianos referred to by Burney would be on that model. I should say the "new instrument" of Messrs. Broadwood's play-bill of 1767 was such a grand piano; but there is small chance of ever finding one now, and if an instrument were found, it would hardly retain the original action, as Messrs. Broadwood's books of the last century show the practice of refinishing instruments which had been made with the "old movement."
Burney distinguishes Americus Backers by special mention. He is said to have been a Dutchman. Between 1772 and 1776, Backers produced the well-known English action, which has remained the most durable and one of the best up to the present day. It refers in direct leverage to Cristofori's first action. It is opposite to Stein's contemporary invention, which has the hopper fixed. In the English action, as in the Florentine, the hopper rises with the key. To the direct leverage of Cristofori's first action, Backers combined the check of the second, and then added an important invention of his own, a regulating screw and button for the escapement. Backers died in 1776. It is unfortunate we can refer to no pianoforte made by him. I should regard it as treasure trove if one were forthcoming in the same way that brought to light the authentic one of Stein's. As, however, Backers' intimate friends, and his assistants in carrying out the invention, were John Broadwood and Robert Stodart, we have, in their early instruments, the principle and all the leading features of the Backers grand. The increased weight of stringing was met by steel arches placed at intervals between the wrest-plank and the belly-rail, but the belly-rail was still free from the thrust of the wooden bracing, the direction of which was confined to the sides of the case, as it had been in the harpsichord.
Stodart appears to have preceded Broadwood in taking up the manufacture of the grand piano by four or five years. In 1777 he patented an alternate pianoforte and harpsichord, the drawing of which patent shows the Backers action. The pedals he employed were to shift the harpsichord register and to bring on the octave stop. The present pedals were introduced in English and grand pianos by 1785, and are attributed to John Broadwood, who appears to have given his attention at once to the improvement of Backers' instrument. Hitherto the grand piano had been made with an undivided belly-bridge, the same as the harpsichord had been; the bass strings in three unisons, to the lowest note, being of brass. Theory would require that the notes of different octaves should be multiples of each other and that the tension should be the same for each string. The lowest bass strings, which at that time were the note F, would thus require a vibrating length of about twelve feet. As only half this length could be afforded, the difference had to be made up in the weight of the strings and their tension, which led, in these early grands, to many inequalities. The three octaves toward the treble could, with care, be adjusted, the lengths being practically the ideal lengths. It was in the bass octaves (pianos were then of five octaves) the inequalities were more conspicuous. To make a more perfect scale and equalize the tension was the merit and achievement of John Broadwood, who joined to his own practical knowledge and sound intuitions the aid of professed men of science. The result was the divided bridge, the bass strings being carried over the shorter division, and the most beautiful grand pianoforte in its lines and curves that has ever been made was then manufactured. In 1791 he carried his scale up to C, five and a half octaves; in 1794 down to C, six octaves, always with care for the artistic, form. The pedals were attached to the front legs of the stand on which the instrument rested. The right foot-pedal acted first as the piano register, shifting the impact of each hammer to two unisons instead of three; a wooden stop in the right hand key-block permitted the action to be shifted yet further to the right, and reducing the blow to one string only, produced the pianissimo register or una corda of indescribable attractiveness of sound. The cause of this was in the reflected vibration through the bridge to the untouched strings. The present school of pianoforte playing rejects this effect altogether, but Beethoven valued it, and indicated its use in some of his great works. Steibert called the una corda the celeste, which is more appropriate to it than Adam's application of this name to the harp-stop, by which the latter has gone ever since.
Up to quite the end of the last century the dampers were continued to the highest note in the treble. They were like harpsichord dampers raised by wooden jacks, with a rail or stretcher to regulate their rise, which served also as a back touch to the keys. I have not discovered the exact year when, or by whom, the treble dampers were first omitted, thus leaving that part of the scale undamped. This bold act gave the instrument many sympathetic strings free to vibrate from the bridge when the rest of the instrument was played, each string, according to its length, being an aliquot division of a lower string. This gave the instrument a certain brightness or life throughout, an advantage which has secured its universal adoption. The expedients of an untouched octave string and of utilizing those lengths of wire that lie beyond the bridges have been brought into notice of late years, but the latter was early in the century essayed by W. F. Collard.
From difficulties of tuning, owing to friction and other causes, the real gain of these expedients is small, and when we compare them with the natural resources we have always at command in the normal scale of the instrument, is not worth the cost. The inventor of the damper register opened a floodgate to such aliquot re-enforcement as can be got in no other way. Each lower note struck of the undamped instrument, by excitement from the sound-board carried through the bridge, sets vibrating higher strings, which, by measurement, are primes to its partials; and each higher string struck calls out equivalent partials in the lower strings. Even partials above the primes will excite their equivalents up to the twelfth and double octave. What a glow of tone-color there is in all this harmonic re-enforcement, and who would now say that the pedals should never be used? By their proper use, the student's ear is educated to a refined sense of distinction of consonance and dissonance, and the intention and beauty of Chopin's pedal work becomes revealed.
The next decade, 1790-1800, brings us to French grand pianoforte-making, which was then taken up by Sebastian Erard. This ingenious mechanic and inventor traveled the long and dreary road along which nearly all who have tried to improve the pianoforte have had to journey. He appears, at first, to have adopted the existing model of the English instrument in resonance, tension, and action, and to have subsequently turned his attention to the action, most likely with the idea of combining the English power of gradation with the German lightness of touch. Erard claimed, in the specification to a patent for an action, dated 1808, "the power of giving repeated strokes, without missing or failure, by very small angular motions of the key itself."
Once fairly started, the notion of repetition became the dominant idea with pianoforte-makers, and to this day, although less insisted upon, engrosses time and attention that might be more usefully directed. Some great players, from their point of view of touch, have been downright opposed to repetition actions. I will name Kalkbrenner, Chopin, and, in our own day, Dr. Hans von Blow. Yet the Erard's repetition, in the form of Hertz's reduction, is at present in greater favor in America and Germany, and is more extensively used, than at any previous period.
The good qualities of Erard's action, completed in 1821, the germ of which will be found in the later Cristofori, are not, however, due to repetition capability, but to other causes, chiefly, I will say, to counterpoise. The radical defect of repetition is that the repeated note can never have the tone-value of the first; it depends upon the mechanical contrivance, rather than the finder of the player, which is directly indispensable to the production of satisfactory tone. When the sensibility of the player's touch is lost in the mechanical action, the corresponding sensibility of the tone suffers; the resonance is not, somehow or other, sympathetically excited.
Erard rediscovered an upward bearing, which had been accomplished by Cristofori a hundred years before, in 1808. A down-bearing bridge to the wrest-plank, with hammers striking upward, are clearly not in relation; the tendency of the hammer must be, if there is much force used, to lift the string from its bearing, to the detriment of the tone. Erard reversed the direction of the bearing of the front bridge, substituting for a long, pinned, wooden bridge, as many little brass bridges as there were notes. The strings passing through holes bored through the little bridges, called agraffes, or studs, turned upward toward the wrest-pin. By this the string was forced against its rest instead of off it. It is obvious that the merit of this invention would in time make its use general. A variety of it was the long brass bridge, specially used in the treble on account of the pleasant musical-box like tone its vibration encouraged. Of late years another upward bearing has found favor in America and on the Continent, the Capo d'Astro bar of M. Bord, which exerts a pressure upon the strings at the bearing point.
About the year 1820, great changes and improvements were made in the grand pianoforte both externally and in the instrument. The harpsichord boxed up front gave way to the cylinder front, invented by Henry Pape, a clever German pianoforte-maker who bad settled in Paris. Who put the pedals upon the familiar lyre I have not been able to learn. It would be in the Empire time, when a classical taste was predominant. But the greatest change was from a wooden resisting structure to one in which iron should play an important part. The invention belongs to this country, and is due to a tuner named William Allen, a young Scotchman, who was in Stodart's employ. With the assistance of the foreman, Thom, the invention was completed, and a patent was taken out, dated the 15th of January, 1820, in which Thom was a partner. The patent was, however, at once secured by the Stodarts, their employers. The object of the patent was a combination of metal tubes with metal plates, the metallic tubes extending from the plates which were attached to the string-block to the wrest-plank. The metal plates now held the hitch-pins, to which the farther ends of the strings were fixed, and the force of the tension was, in a great measure, thrown upon the tubes. The tubes were a mistake; they were of iron over the steel strings, and brass over the brass and spun strings, the idea being that of the compensation of tuning when affected by atmospheric change, also a mistake. However, the tubes were guaranteed by stout wooden bars crossing them at right angles. At once a great advance was made in the possibility of using heavier strings, and the great merit of the invention was everywhere recognized.
James Broadwood was one of the first to see the importance of the invention, if it were transformed into a stable principle. He had tried iron tension bars in past years, but without success. It was now due to his firm to introduce a fixed stringed plate, instead of plates intended to shift, and in a few years to combine this plate with four solid tension bars, for which combination he, in 1827, took out a patent, claiming as the motive for the patent the string-plate; the manner of fixing the hitch-pins upon it, the fourth tension bar, which crossed the instrument about the middle of the scale, and the fastening of that bar to the wooden brace below, now abutting against the belly-rail, the attachment being effected by a bolt passing through a hole cut in the sound-board.
This construction of grand pianoforte soon became generally adopted in England and France. Messrs. Erard, who appear to have had their own adaptation of tension bars, introduced the harmonic bar in 1838. This, a short bar of gun metal, was placed upon the wrest-plank immediately above the bearings of the treble, and consolidated the plank by screws tapped into it of alternate pressure and drawing power. In the original invention a third screw pressed upon the bridge. By this bar a very light, ringing treble tone was gained. This was followed by a long harmonic bar extending above the whole length of the wrest-plank, which it defends from any tendency to rise, by downward pressure obtained by screws. During 1840-50, as many as five and even six tension bars were used in grand pianofortes, to meet the ever increasing strain of thicker stringing. The bars were strutted against a metal edging to the wrest-plank, while the ends were prolonged forward until they abutted against its solid mass on the key-board side of the tuning-pins. The space required for fixing them cramped the scale, while the strings were divided into separate batches between them. It was also difficult to so adjust each bar that it should bear its proportionate share of the tension; an obvious cause of inequality.
Toward the end of this period a new direction was taken by Mr. Henry Fowler Broadwood, by the introduction of an iron-framed pianoforte, in which the bars should be reduced in number, and with the bars the steel arches, as they were still called, although they were no longer arches but struts.
In a grand pianoforte, made in 1847, Mr. Broadwood succeeded in producing an instrument of the largest size, practically depending upon iron alone. Two tension bars sufficed, neither of them breaking into the scale: the first, nearly straight, being almost parallel with the lowest bass string; the second, presenting the new feature of a diagonal bar crossed from the bass corner to the string-plate, with its thrust at an angle to the strings.
There were reasons which induced Mr. Broadwood to somewhat modify and improve this framing, but with the retention of its leading feature, the diagonal bar, which was found to be of supreme importance in bearing the tension where it is most concentrated. From 1852, his concert grands have had, in all, one bass bar, one diagonal bar, a middle bar with arch beneath, and the treble cheek bar. The middle bar is the only one directly crossing the scale, and breaking it. It is strengthened by feathered ribs, and is fastened by screws to the wooden brace below. The three bars and diagonal bar, which is also feathered, abut firmly on the string plate, which is fastened down to the wooden framing by screws. Since 1862, the wooden wrest-plank has been covered with a plate of iron, the iron screw-pin plate bent at a right angle in front. The wrest-pins are screwed into this plate, and again in the wood below. The agraffes, which take the upward bearings of the strings, are firmly screwed into this plate. The long harmonic bar of gun metal lies immediately above the agraffes, and crossing the wrest-plank in its entire width, serves to keep it, at the bearing line, in position. This construction is the farthest advance of the English pianoforte.
Almost simultaneously with it has arisen a new development in America, which, beginning with Conrad Meyer, about 1833, has been advanced by the Chickerings and Steinways to the well known American and German grand pianoforte of the present day. It was perfected in America about in 1859, and has been taken up since by the Germans almost universally, and with very little alteration. Two distinct principles have been developed and combined—the iron framing in a single casting, and the cross or overstringing. I will deal with the last first, because it originated in England and was the invention of Theobald Boehm, the famous improver of the flute. In Grove's "Dictionary," I have given an approximate date to his overstringing as 1835, but reference to Boehm's correspondence with Mr. Walter Broadwood shows me that 1831 was really the time, and that Boehm employed Gerock and Wolf, of 79 Cornhill, London, musical instrument makers, to carry out his experiment. Gerock being opposed to an oblique direction of the strings and hammers, Boehm found a more willing coadjutor in Wolf. As far as I can learn, a piccolo, a cabinet, and a square piano were thus made overstrung. Boehm's argument was that a diagonal was longer within a square than a vertical, which, as he said, every schoolboy knew. The first overstrung grand pianos seen in London were made by Lichtenthal, of St. Petersburg; not so much for tone as for symmetry of the case; two instruments so made were among the curiosities of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Some years before this, Henry Pape had made experiments in cross stringing, with the intention to economize space. His ideas were adopted and continued by the London maker, Tomkisson, who acquired Pape's rights for this country. The iron framing in a single casting is a distinctly American invention, but proceeding, like the overstringing, from a German by birth. The iron casting for a square piano of the American Alpheus Babcock, may have suggested Meyer's invention; it was, however, Conrad Meyer, who, in Philadelphia, and in 1833, first made a real iron frame square pianoforte. The gradual improvement upon Meyer's invention, during the next quarter of a century, are first due to the Chickerings and then the Steinways. The former overstrung an iron frame square, the latter overstrung an iron frame grand, the culmination of this special make since of general American and German adoption. It will be seen that, in the American make, the number of tension bars has not been reduced, but a diagonal support has, to a certain extent, been accepted and adopted. The sound-board bridges are much further apart than obtains with the English grand, or with the Anglo-French Erard. The advocates of the American principle point out the advantages of a more open scale, and more equal pressure on the sound-board. They likewise claim, as a gain, a greater tension. I have no quite accurate information as to what the sum of the tension may be of an American grand piano. One of Broadwood's, twenty years ago, had a strain of sixteen and one-half tons; the strain has somewhat increased since then. The remarkable improvement in wiredrawing which has been made in Birmingham, Vienna, and Nuremberg, of late years, has rendered these high tensions of far easier attainment than they would have been earlier in the century.
For me the great drawback to one unbroken casting is in the vibratory ring inseparable from any metal system that has no resting places to break the uniform reverberation proceeding from metal. We have already seen how readily the strings take up vibrations which are only pure when, as secondary vibrations, they arise by reversion from the sound-board. If vibration arises from imperfectly elastic wood, we hear a dull wooden thud; if it comes from metal, partials of the strings are re-enforced that should be left undeveloped, which give a false ring to the tone, and an after ring that blurs legato playing, and nullifies the staccato. I do not pose as the obstinate advocate of parallel stringing, although I believe that, so far, it is the most logical and the best; the best, because the left hand division of the instrument is free from a preponderance of dissonant high partials, and we hear the light and shade, as well as the cantabile of that part, better than by any overstrung scale that I have yet met with. I will not, I say, offer a final judgment, because there may come a possible improvement of the overstrung or double diagonal scale, if that scale is persisted in, and inventive power is brought to bear upon it, as valuable as that which has carried the idea thus far.
I have not had time to refer other than incidentally to the square pianoforte, which has become obsolete. I must, however, give a separate historical sketch of the upright pianoforte, which has risen into great favor and importance, and in its development—I may say its invention—belongs to this present 19th century. The form has always recommended the upright on the score of convenience, but it was long before it occurred to any one to make an upright key board instrument reasonably. Upright harpsichords were made nearly four hundred years ago. A very interesting 17th century one was sold lately in the great Hamilton sale—sold, I grieve to say, to be demolished for its paintings. But all vertical harpsichords were horizontal ones, put on end on a frame; and the book-case upright grand pianos, which, from the eighties, were made right into the present century, were horizontal grands similarly elevated. The real inventor of the upright piano, in its modern and useful form, was that remarkable Englishman, John Isaac Hawkins, the inventor of ever-pointed pencils; a civil engineer, poet, preacher, and phrenologist. While living at Border Town, New Jersey, U. S. A., Hawkins invented the cottage piano—portable grand, he called it—and his father, Isaac Hawkins, to whom, in Grove's "Dictionary," I have attributed the invention, took out, in the year 1800, the English patent for it. I can fortunately show you one of these original pianinos, which belongs to Messrs. Broadwood. It is a wreck, but you will discern that the strings descend nearly to the floor, while the key-board, a folding one, is raised to a convenient height between the floor and the upper extremities of the strings. Hawkins had an iron frame and tension rods, within which the belly was entirely suspended; a system of tuning by mechanical screws; an upper metal bridge; equal length of string throughout; metal supports to the action, in which a later help to the repetition was anticipated—the whole instrument being independent of the case. Hawkins tried also a lately revived notion of coiled strings in the bass, doing away with tension. Lastly, he sought for a sostinente, which has been tried for from generation to generation, always to fail, but which, even if it does succeed, will produce another kind of instrument, not a pianoforte, which owes so much of its charm to its unsatiating, evanescent tone.
[Transcribers note 1: 3rd digit illegible, best guess from context.]
Once introduced into Hawkins' native country, England, the rise of the upright piano became rapid. In 1807, at latest, the now obsolete high cabinet piano was fairly launched. In 1811, Wornum produced a diagonal. In 1813, a vertical cottage piano. Previously, essays had been made to place a square piano upright on its side, for which Southwell, an Irish maker, took out a patent in 1798; and I can fortunately show you one of these instruments, kindly lent for this paper by Mr. Walter Gilbey. I have also been favored with photographs by Mr. Simpson, of Dundee, of a precisely similar upright square. I show his drawing of the action—the Southwell sticker action. W. F. Collard patented another similar experiment in 1811. At first the sticker action with a leather hinge to the hammer-butt was the favorite, and lasted long in England. The French, however, were quick to recognize the greater merit of Wornum's principle of the crank action, which, and strangely enough through France, has become very generally adopted in England, as well as Germany and elsewhere. I regret I am unable to show a model of the original crank action, but Mr. Wornum has favored me with an early engraving of his father's invention. It was originally intended for the high cabinet piano, and a patent was taken out for it in 1826. But many difficulties arose, and it was not until 1829 that the first cabinet was so finished. Wornum then applied it in the same year to the small upright—the piccolo, as he called it—the principle of which was, through Pleyel and Pape, adopted for the piano manufacture in Paris. Within the last few years we have seen the general introduction of Bord's little pianino, called in England, ungrammatically enough, pianette, in the action of which that maker cleverly introduced the spiral spring. And, also, of those large German overstrung and double overstrung upright pianos, which, originally derived from America, have so far met with favor and sale in this country as to induce some English makers, at least in the principle, to copy them.
I will conclude this historical sketch by remarking, and as a remarkable historical fact, that the English firms which in the last century introduced the pianoforte, to whose honorable exertions we owe a debt of gratitude, with the exception of Stodart, still exist, and are in the front rank of the world's competition. I will name Broadwood (whose flag I serve under), Collard (in the last years of the last century known as Longman and Clementi), Erard (the London branch), Kirkman, and, I believe, Wornum. On the Continent there is the Paris Erard house; and, at Vienna, Streicher, a firm which descends directly from Stein of Augsburg, the inventor of the German pianoforte, the favorite of Mozart, and of Beethoven in his virtuoso period, for he used Stein's grands at Bonn. Distinguished names have risen in the present century, some of whom have been referred to. To those already mentioned, I should like to add the names of Hopkinson and Brinsmead in England; Bechstein and Bluthner in Germany; all well-known makers.
* * * * *
THE POISONOUS PROPERTIES OF NITRATE OF SILVER, AND A RECENT CASE OF POISONING WITH THE SAME.
[Footnote: Read before the Medico Legal Society, April 5, 1883.]
By HENRY A. MOTT, JR., Ph.D., etc.
Of the various salts of silver, the nitrate, both crystallized and in sticks (lunar caustic, Lapis infernalis), is the only one interesting to the toxicologist.
This salt is an article of commerce, and is used technically and medicinally.
Its extensive employment for marking linen, in the preparation of various hair dyes (Eau de Perse, d'Egypte, de Chiene, d'Afrique), in the photographer's laboratory, etc., affords ample opportunity to use the same for poisoning purposes.
Nitrate of silver possesses an acrid metallic taste and acts as a violent poison.
When injected into a vein of an animal, even in small quantities, the symptoms produced are dyspnoea, choking, spasms of the limbs and then of the trunk, signs of vertigo, consisting of inability to stand erect or walk steadily, and, finally retching and vomiting, and death by asphyxia. These symptoms, which have usually been attributed to the coagulating action of the salt upon the blood, have been shown not to depend upon that change, which, indeed, does not occur, but upon a direct paralyzing operation upon the cerebro-spinal centers and upon the heart; but the latter action is subordinate and secondary, and the former is fatal through asphyxia.
[Footnote 1: Nat. Dispensatory. Alf. Stille & John M. Maisch, Phila., 1879, p. 232.]
One-third of a grain injected into the jugular vein killed a dog in four and one-half hours, with violent tetanic spasms.
[Footnote 1: Medical Jurisprudence. Thomas S. Traill, 1857, p 117.]
Devergie states that acute poisoning with nitrate of silver, administered in the shape of pills, is more frequent than one would suppose. Yet Dr. Powell states that it should always be given in pills, as the system bears a dose three times as large as when given in solution. The usual dose is from one-quarter of a grain to one grain three times a day when administered as a medicine. In cases of epilepsy Dr. Powell recommends one grain at first, to be gradually increased to six. Clocquet has given as much as fifteen grains in a day, and Ricord has given sixteen grains of argentum chloratum ammoniacale.
[Footnote 1: U.S. Dispensatory, 18th ed., p. 1049. Wood & Bache.]
[Footnote 2: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. 1862, p. 316.]
Cases of poisoning have resulted from sticks of lunar caustic getting into the stomach in the process of touching the throat (Boerhave); in one case, according to Albers, a stick of lunar caustic got into the trachea.
[Footnote 1: Virchow's Archiv, Bd. xvii., s. 135. 1859.]
Von Hasselt therefore urges the utmost caution in using lunar caustic; the sticks and holder should always be carefully examined before use. An apprentice to an apothecary attempted to commit suicide by taking nearly one ounce of a solution of nitrate of silver without fatal result. It must be remarked, however, that the strength of the solution was not stated.
[Footnote 1: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. Zweiter Theil, 1862. p. 316.]
In 1861, a woman, fifty-one years old, died in three days from the effects of taking a six-ounce mixture containing fifty grains of nitrate of silver given in divided doses. She vomited a brownish yellow fluid before death. The stomach and intestines were found inflamed. It is stated that silver was found in the substance of the stomach and liver.
[Footnote 1: Treatise on Poison. Taylor, 1875, p. 475.]
It is evident that the poisonous dose, when taken internally, is not so very small, but still it would not be safe to administer much over the amounts prescribed by Ricord, for in the case of the dog mentioned one third of a grain injected into the jugular vein produced death in four and one-half hours.
The circumstance that more can be taken internally is explained by the rapid decomposition to which this silver salt is liable in the body by the proteine substance and chlorine combinations in the stomach, the hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, and salt from food.
The first reaction produced by taking nitrate of silver internally is a combination of this salt with the proteinaceous tissues with which it comes in contact, as also a precipitation of chloride of silver.
According to Mitscherlich, the combination with the proteine or albuminous substance is not a permanent one, but suffers a decomposition by various acids, as dilute acetic and lactic acid.
The absorption of the silver into the system is slow, as the albuminoid and chlorine combinations formed in the intestinal canal cannot be immediately dissolved again.
In the tissues the absorbed silver salt is decomposed by the tissues, and the oxide and metallic silver separate.
Partly for this reason and partly on account of the formation of the solid albuminates, etc., the elimination of the silver from the body takes place very slowly. Some of the silver, however, passed out in the fces, and, according to Lauderer, Orfila, and Panizza, some can be detected in the urine.
Bogolowsky has also shown that in rabbits poisoned with preparations of silver, the (often albuminous) urine and the contents of the (very full) gall bladder contained silver.
[Footnote 1: Arch. f. Path. Anatomie, xlvi., p. 409. Gaz. Med de Paris, 1868, No. 39. Also Journ. de l'Anatomie et de la Physiologie, 1873, p. 398.]
Mayencon and Bergeret have also shown that in men and rabbits the silver salt administered is quickly distributed in the body, and is but slowly excreted by the urine and fces.
Chronic poisoning shows itself in a peculiar coloring of the skin (Argyria Fuchs), especially in the face, beginning first on the sclerotic. The skin does not always take the same color; it becomes in most cases grayish blue, slaty sometimes, though, a greenish brown or olive color.
Von Hasselt thinks that probably chloride of silver is deposited in the rete malpighii, which is blackened by the action of light, or that sulphide of silver is formed by direct union of the silver with the sulphur of the epidermis. That the action of light is not absolutely necessary, Patterson states, follows from the often simultaneous appearance of this coloring upon the mucous membrane, especially that of the mouth and upon the gums; and Dr. Frommann Hermann and others have shown that a similar coloring is also found in the internal parts.
[Footnote 1: Leh der Experiment. Tox. Dr. Hermann, Berlin, 1874, p. 211.]
Versmann found 14.1 grms. of dried liver to contain 0.009 grm. chloride of silver, or 0.047 per cent. of metallic silver. In the kidneys he found 0.007 grm. chloride of silver, or 0.061 per cent. of metallic silver; this was in a case of chronic poisoning, the percentage will be seen to be very small. Orfila Jun. found silver in the liver five months after the poisoning.
Lionville found a deposit of silver in the kidneys, suprarenal gland, and plexus choroideus of a woman who had gone through a cure with lunar caustic five years before death.
[Footnote 1: Gaz. Med., 1868. No. 39.]
Sydney Jones states that in the case of an old epileptic who had been accustomed to take nitrate of silver as a remedy, the choroid plexuses were remarkably dark, and from their surface could be scraped a brownish black, soot-like material, and a similar substance was found lying quite free in the cavity of the fourth ventricle, apparently detached from the choroid plexus.
[Footnote 1: Trans. Path. Soc., xi. vol.]
Attempts at poisoning for suicidal purposes with nitrate of silver are in most cases prevented from the fact that this salt has such a disagreeable metallic taste as to be repulsive; cases therefore of poisoning are only liable to occur by accident or by the willful administration of the poison by another person.
Such a case occurred quite recently, to a very valuable mare belonging to August Belmont.
I received on Dec. 6, 1882, a sealed box from Dr. Wm. J. Provost, containing the stomach, heart, kidney, portion of liver, spleen, and portion of rectum of this mare for analysis.
Dr. Provost reported to me that the animal died quite suddenly, and that there was complete paralysis of the hind quarters, including rectum and bladder.
The total weight of the stomach and contents was 18 lb., the stomach itself weighing 3 lb. and 8 oz.
Portions were taken from each organ, weighed, and put in alcohol for analysis.
The contents of the stomach were thoroughly mixed together and measured, and a weighed portion preserved for analysis.
The stomach, when cut open, was perfectly white on its inner surface, and presented a highly corroded appearance.
The contents of the stomach were first submitted to qualitative analysis, and the presence of a considerable quantity of nitrate of silver was detected.
The other organs were next examined, and the presence of silver was readily detected, with the exception of the heart!
The liver had a very dark brown color. A quantitative analysis of the contents of the stomach gave 59.8 grains of nitrate of silver. In the liver 30.5 grains of silver, calculated as nitrate, were found (average weight, 11 lb.). From the analysis made there was reason to believe that at least one-half an ounce of nitrate of silver was given to the animal. Some naturally passed out in the fces and urine.
I was able to prepare several globules of metallic silver, as also all the well known chemical combinations, such as sulphide, chloride, oxide, iodide, bromide, bichromate of silver, etc.
From the result of my investigation I was led to the conclusion that the animal came to death by the willful administering of nitrate of silver, probably mixed with the food.
The paralysis of the hind quarters, mentioned by Dr. Provost, accords perfectly with the action of this poison, as it acts on the nerve centers, especially the cerebro-spinal centers, and produces spasms of the limbs, then of the trunk, and finally paralysis.
I might also state in this connection that, only two weeks previous to my receiving news of the poisoning of the mare, I examined for Mr. Belmont the contents of the stomach of a colt which died very mysteriously, and found large quantities of corrosive sublimate to be present.
Calomel is often given as a medicine, but not so with corrosive sublimate, which is usually employed in the arts as a poison.
It is to be regretted that up to the present moment, even with the best detectives, the perpetrator of this outrage has been at large. Surely the very limit of the law should be exercised against any man who would willfully poison an innocent animal for revenge upon an individual. Cases have been reported in England where one groom would poison the colts under the care of another groom, so that the owner would discharge their keeper and promote the other groom to his place.
A few good examples, in cases where punishment was liberally meted out, would probably check such unfeeling outrages.
* * * * *
TUBERCLE BACILLI IN SPUTA.
Prof. Baumgarten has just published in the Ctbl. f. d. Med. Wiss., 25, 1882, the following easy method to detect in the expectorated matter of phthisical persons the pathogenic tubercle bacilli:
Phthisical sputa are dried and made moist with very much diluted potash lye (1 to 2 drops of a 33 per cent. potash lye in a watch glass of distilled water). The tubercle bacilli are then easily recognized with a magnifying power of 400 to 500. By light pressure upon the cover glass the bacilli are easily pressed out of the masses of detritus and secretion. To prevent, however, the possibility of mistaking the tubercle bacilli for other septic bacteria, or vice versa, the following procedure is necessary: After the examination just mentioned, the cover glass is lifted up and the little fluid sticking to its under side allowed to dry, which is done within one or two minutes. Now the cover glass is drawn two or three times rapidly through a gas flame; one drop of a diluted (but not too light) common watery aniline solution (splendid for this purpose is the watery extract of a common aniline ink paper) is placed upon the glass. When now brought under the microscope, all the septic bacteria appear colored intensely blue, while the tubercle bacilli are absolutely colorless, and can be seen as clearly as in the pure potash lye. We may add, however, that Klebs considers his own method preferable.
As the whole procedure does not take longer than ten minutes, it is to be recommended in general practice. The consequences of Koch's important discovery become daily more apparent, and their application more practicable.
* * * * *
[Concluded from SUPPLEMENT No. 384, page 6132.]
By JAMES H. SALISBURY, A.M., M.D.
PRIZE ESSAY OF THE ALBANY MEDICAL COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, FEB., 1882.
Observations in Washington, D. C., September 5, 1879, 8:35 A.M., Boston time, near Congressional Cemetery.
1. Seized with sneezing on my way to cemetery. Examined nasal excretions and found no Palmell.
2. Pool near cemetery. Examined a spot one inch in diameter, raised in center, green, found Oedegonium abundant. Some desmids, Cosmarium binoculatum plenty. One or two red Gemiasmas, starch, Protuberans lamella, Pollen.
3. Specimen soft magma of the pool margin. Oedogonium abundant, spores, yeast plants, dirt.
4. Sand scraped. No organized forms but pollen, and mobile spores of some cryptogams.
5. Dew on grass. One stellate compound plant hair, one Gemiasma verdans, two pollen.
6. Grass flower dew. Some large white sporangia filled with spores.
7. Grass blade dew, not anything of account. One pale Gemiasma, three blue Gemiasmas, Cosmarium, Closterium. Diatoms, pollen, found in greenish earth and wet with the dew. Remarks: Observations made at the pool with clinical microscope, one-quarter inch objective. Day cloudy, foggy, hot.
8. Green earth in water way from pump near cemetery. Anabaina plentiful. Diatoms, Oscillatoriace. Polycoccus species. Pollen, Cosmarium, Leptothrix, Gemiasma, old sporangia, spores many. Fungi belonging to fruit. Puccinia. Anguillula fluviatilis.
9. Mr. Smith's blood. Spores, enlarged white corpuscles. Two sporangia? Gemiasma dark brown, black. Mr. Smith is superintendent Congressional Cemetery. Lived here for seven years. Been a great sufferer with ague. Says the doctors told him that they could do no more for him than he could for himself. So he used Ayer's ague cure with good effect for six months. Then he found the best effect from the use of the Holman liver ague pad in his own case and that of his children. From his account one would infer that, notwithstanding the excellence of the ague pad, when he is attacked, he uses blue mass, followed with purgatives, then 20 grains of quinine. Also has used arsenic, but it did not agree with him. Also used Capsicum with good results. Had enlarged spleen; not so now.
2d specimen of Mr. Smith's blood. Stelline, no Gemiasma. 3d specimen, do. One Gemiasma. 4th specimen. None. 5th specimen. Skin scraped showed no plants. 6th specimen. Urine; amyloid bodies; spores; no sporangia.
United States Magazine store grounds. Observation 1. Margin of Eastern Branch River. Substance from decaying part of a water plant. Oscillatoriace. Diatoms. Anguillula. Chytridium. Dirt. No Gemiasma.
Observation 2. Moist soil. Near by, amid much rubbish, one or two so-called Gemiasmas; white, clear, peripheral margin.
Observation 3. Green deposit on decaying wood. Oscillatoriace. Protuberans lamella, Gemiasma alba. Much foreign matter.
Mr. Russell, Mrs. R., Miss R., residents of Magazine Grounds presented no ague plants in their blood. Sergeant McGrath, Mrs. M., Miss M., presented three or four sporangias in their blood. Dr. Hodgkins, some in urine. Dr. H.'s friend with chills, not positive as to ague. No plants found.
Observations in East Greenwich, R.I., Aug. 16, 1877.
1. At early morn I examined greenish earth, northwest of the town along the margin of a beautiful brook. Found the Protuberans lamella, the Gemiasma alba and rubra. Observation 2. Found the same. Observation 3. Found the same.
Observation 4. Salt marsh below the railroad bridge over the river.
The scrapings of the soil showed beautiful yellow and transparent Protuberans, beautiful green sporangias of the Gemiasma verdans.
Observation 5. Near the brook named was a good specimen of the Gemiasma plumba. While I could not find out from the lay people I asked that any ague was there, I now understand it is all through that locality.
Observation at Wellesley, Mass., Aug. 20, 1877.
No incrustation found. Examined the vegetation found on the margin of the Ridge Hills Farm pond. Among other things I found an Anguillula fluviatilis. Abundance of microspores, bacteria. Some of the Protococci. Gelatinous masses, allied to the protuberans, of a light yellow color scattered all over with well developed spores, larger than those found in the Protuberans. One or two oval sporanges with double outlines. This observation was repeated, but the specimens were not so rich. Another specimen from the same locality was shown to be made up of mosses by the venation of leaves.
Mine host with whom I lodged had a microscopical mount of the Protococcus nivalis in excellent state of preservation. The sporangia were very red and beautiful, but they showed no double cell wall.
In this locality ague is unknown; indeed, the place is one of unusual salubrity. It is interesting to note here to show how some of the alg are diffused. I found here an artificial pond fed by a spring, and subject to overflow from another pond in spring and winter. A stream of living water as large as one's arm (adult) feeds this artificial pond, still it was crowded with the Clathrocyotis ruginosa of some writers and the Polycoccus of Reinsch. How it got there has not yet been explained.
The migration of the ague eastward is a matter of great interest; it is to be hoped that the localities may be searched carefully for your plants, as I did in New Haven.
In this connection I desire to say something about the presence of the Gemiasmas in the Croton water. The record I have given of finding the Gemiasma verdans is not a solitary instance. I did not find the gemiasmas in the Cochituate, nor generally in the drinking waters of over thirty different municipalities or towns I have examined during several years past. I have no difficulty in accounting for the presence of the Gemiasmas in the Croton, as during the last summer I made studies of the Gemiasma at Washington Heights, near 165th St. and 10th Ave., N.Y.
Plate VIII. is a photograph of a drawing of some of the Gemiasmas projected by the sun on the wall and sketched by the artist on the wall, putting the details in from microscopical specimens, viewed in the ordinary way. This should make the subject of another observation.
I visited this locality several times during August and October, 1881. I found an abundance of the saline incrustation of which you have spoken, and at the time of my first visit there was a little pond hole just east of the point named that was in the act of drying up. Finally it dried completely up, and then the saline and green incrustations both were abundant enough. The only species, however, I found of the ague plants was the Gemiasma verdans. On two occasions of a visit with my pupils I demonstrated the presence of the plants in the nasal excretions from my nostrils. I had been sneezing somewhat.
There is one circumstance I would like to mention here: that was, that when, for convenience' sake, my visits were made late in the day, I did not find the plants abundant, still could always get enough to demonstrate their presence; but when my visits were timed so as to come in the early morning, when the dew was on, there was no difficulty whatever in finding multitudes of beautiful and well developed plants.
To my mind this is a conclusive corroboration of your own statements in which you speak of the plants bursting, and being dissipated by the heat of the summer sun, and the disseminated spores accumulating in aggregations so as to form the white incrustation in connection with saline bodies which you have so often pointed out.
I also have repeated your experiments in relation to the collection of the mud, turf, sods, etc., and have known them to be carried many hundred miles off and identified. I have also found the little depressions caused by the tread of cattle affording a fine nidus for the plants. You have only to scrape the minutest point off with a needle or tooth pick to find an abundance by examination. I have not been able to explore many other sites, nor do I care, as I found all the materials I sought in the vicinity of New York.
To this I must make one exception; I visited the Palisades last summer and examined the localities about Tarrytown. This is an elevated location, but I found no Gemiasmas. This is not equivalent to saying there were none there. Indeed, I have only given you a mere outline of my work in this direction, as I have made it a practice to examine the soil wherever I went, but as most of my observations have been conducted on non-malarious soils, and I did not find the plants, I have not thought it worth while to record all my observations of a negative character.
I now come to an important part of the corroborative observations, to wit, the blood.
I have found it as you predicted a matter of considerable difficulty to find the mature forms of the Gemiasmas in the blood, but the spore forms of the vegetation I have no difficulty in finding. The spores have appeared to me to be larger than the spores of other vegetations that grow in the blood. They are not capable of complete identification unless they are cultivated to the full form. They are the so-called bacteria of the writers of the day. They can be compared with the spores of the vegetation found outside of the body in the swamps and bogs.
You said that the plants are only found as a general rule in the blood of old cases, or in the acute, well marked cases. The plants are so few, you said, that it was difficult to encounter them sometimes. So also of those who have had the ague badly and got well.
Observation at Naval Hospital, N.Y., Aug., 1877. Examined with great care the blood of Donovan, who had had intermittent fever badly. Negative result.
The same was the result of examining another case of typho-malarial (convalescent); though in this man's blood there were found some oval and sometimes round bodies like empty Gemiasmas, 1/1000 inch in diameter. But they had no well marked double outline. There were no forms found in the urine of this patient. In another case (Donovan,) who six months previous had had Panama fever, and had well nigh recovered, I found no spores or sporangia.
Observations made at Washington, D.C., Sept., 1879. At this time I examined with clinical microscope the blood of eight to ten persons living near the Congressional Cemetery and in the Arsenal grounds. I was successful in finding the plants in the blood of five or more persons who were or had been suffering from the intermittent fever.
In 1877, at the Naval Hospital, Chelsea, I accidentally came across three well marked and well defined Gemiasmas in the blood of a marine whom I was studying for another disease. I learned that he had had intermittent fever not long before.
Another positive case came to my notice in connection with micrographic work the past summer. The artist was a physician residing in one of the suburban cities of New York. I had demonstrated to him Gemiasma verdans, showed how to collect them from the soil in my boxes. And he had made outline drawings also, for the purposes of more perfectly completing his drawings. I gave him some of the Gemiasmas between a slide and cover, and also some of the earth containing the soil. He carried them home. It so happened that a brother physician came to his house while he was at work upon the drawings. My artist showed his friend the plants I had collected, then the plants he collected himself from the earth, and then he called his daughter, a young lady, and took a drop of blood from her finger. The first specimen contained several of the Gemiasmas. The demonstration, coming after the previous demonstrations, carried a conviction that it otherwise would not have had.
AGUE PLANTS IN THE URINE.
I have found them in the urine of persons suffering or having suffered from intermittent fever.
When I was at the Naval Hospital in Brooklyn one of the accomplished assistant surgeons, after I had showed him some plants in the urine, said he had often encountered them in the urine of ague cases, but did not know their significance. I might multiply evidence, but think it unnecessary. I am not certain that my testimony will convince any one save myself, but I know that I had rather have my present definite, positive belief based on this evidence, than to be floundering on doubts and uncertainties. There is no doubt that the profession believe that intermittents have a cause; but this belief has a vagueness which cannot be represented by drawings or photograph. Since I have photographed the Gemiasma, and studied their biology, I feel like holding on to your dicta until upset by something more than words.
In relation to the belief that no Alg are parasitic, I would state on Feb. 9, 1878, I examined the spleen of a decapitated speckled turtle with Professor Reinsch. We found various sized red corpuscles in the blood in various stages of formation; also filaments of a green Alga traversing the spleen, which my associate, a specialist in Algology, pronounced one of the Oscillatoriace. These were demonstrated in your own observations made years ago. They show that Alg are parasitic in the living spleen of healthy turtles.
This leads to the remark that all parasitic growths are not nocent. I understand you take the same position. Prof. Reinsch has published a work in Latin, "Contributiones ad Algologiam," Leipsic, 1874, in which he gives a large number of drawings and descriptions of Alg, many of them entophytic parasites on other animals or Alg. Many of these he said were innocent guests of their host, but many guest plants were death to their host. This is for the benefit of those who say that the Gemiasmas are innocent plants and do no harm. All plants, phanerogams or cryptogams, can be divided into nocent or innocent, etc., etc. I am willing to change my position on better evidence than yours being submitted, but till then call me an indorser of your work as to the cause and treatment of ague.
Respectfully, yours, ———
There are quite a number of others who have been over my ground, but the above must suffice here.
[Illustration: PLATE X.—EXPLANATION OF FIGURES.—1, Spore with thick laminated covering, constant colorless contents, and dark nucleus. B, Part of the wall of cell highly magnified, 0.022 millimeter in thickness. 2, Smaller spore with verruculous covering. 3, Spore with punctulated covering. 4, The same. 5, Minute spores with blue-greenish colored contents, 0.0021 millimeter in diameter. 6, Larger form of 5. 7, Transparent spherical spore, contents distinctly refracting the light, 0.022 millimeter in diameter. 8, Chroococcoid minute cells, with transparent, colorless covering, 0.0041 millimeter in diameter. 9, Biciliated zoospore. 10, Plant of the Gemiasma rubra, thallus on both ends attenuated, composed of seven cells of unequal size. 11, Another complete plant of rectangular shape composed of regularly attached cells. 12, Another complete, irregularly shaped and arranged plant. 13, Another plant, one end with incrassated and regularly arranged cells. 14, Another elliptical shaped plant, the covering on one end attenuated into a long appendix. 15, Three celled plant. 16, Five celled plant. 10-16 magnified 440/1.]
I wish to conclude this paper by alluding to some published investigations into the cause of ague, which are interesting, and which I welcome and am thankful for, because all I ask is investigations—not words without investigations.
The first the Bartlett following:
Dr. John Bartlett is a gentleman of Chicago, of good standing in the profession. In January, 1874, he published in the Chicago Medical Journal a paper on a marsh plant from the Mississippi ague bottoms, supposed to be kindred to the Gemiasmas. In a consideration of its genetic relations to malarious disease, he states that at Keokuk, Iowa, in 1871, near the great ague bottoms of the Mississippi, with Dr. J. P. Safford, he procured a sod containing plants that were as large as rape seeds. He sent specimens of the plants to distinguished botanists, among them M. C. Cook, of London, England. Nothing came of these efforts.
2. In August, 1873, Dr. B. visited Riverside, near Chicago, to hunt up the ague plants. Found none, and also that the ague had existed there from 1871.
3. Lamonot, a town on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, was next visited. A noted ague district. No plants were found, and only two cases of ague, one of foreign origin. Dr. B. here speaks of these plants of Dr. Safford's as causing ague and being different from the Gemiasmas. But he gives no evidence that Safford's plants have been detected in the human habitat. In justice to myself I would like to see this evidence before giving him the place of precedence.
4. Dr. B., Sept. 1, 1873, requested Dr. Safford to search for his plants at East Keokuk. Very few plants and no ague were found where they both were rife in 1871.
5. Later, Sept. 15, 1873, ague was extremely prevalent at East Keokuk, Iowa, where two weeks before no plants were found; they existed more numerously than in 1871.
6. Dr. B. traced five cases of ague, in connection with Dr. Safford's plants found in a cesspool of water in a cellar 100 feet distant. It is described as a plant to be studied with a power of 200 diameters, and consisting of a body and root. The root is a globe with a central cavity lined with a white layer, and outside of these a layer of green cells. Diameter of largest plant, one-quarter inch. Cavity of plant filled with molecular liquid. Root is above six inches in length, Dr. B. found the white incrustation; he secured the spores by exposing slides at night over the malarious soil resembling the Gemiasmas. He speaks of finding ague plants in the blood, one-fifteen-hundredth of an inch in diameter, of ague patients. He found them also in his own blood associated with the symptoms of remittent fever, quinine always diminishing or removing the threatening symptoms. Professors Babcock and Munroe, of Chicago, call the plants either the Hydrogastrum of Rabenhorst, or the Botrydium of the Micrographic Dictionary, the crystalline acicular bodies being deemed parasitic. Dr. B. deserves great credit for his honest and careful work and for his valuable paper. Such efforts are ever worthy of respect.
There is no report of the full development found in the urine, sputa, and sweat. Again, Dr. B. or Dr. Safford did not communicate the disease to unprotected persons by exposure. While then I feel satisfied that the Gemiasmas produce ague, it is by no means proved that no other cryptogam may not produce malaria. I observed the plants Dr. B. described, but eliminated them from my account. I hope Dr. B. will pursue this subject farther, as the field is very large and the observers are few.
When my facts are upset, I then surrender.
"NOTES ON MARSH MIASM (LIMNOPHYSALIS HYALINA). BY ABR. FREDRIK EKLUND, M.D., STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, PHYSICIAN OF THE FIRST CLASS IN THE SWEDISH ROYAL NAVY.
[Footnote: Translated from the Archives de la Medecine Navale, vol. xxx., no. 7, July, 1878, by A. Sibley Campbell, M.D., Augusta, Ga.]
Before giving a succinct account of the discovery of paludal miasma and of its natural history, I ought in the first place to state that I have not had the opportunity of reading or studying the great original treatise of Professor Salisbury. I am acquainted with it only through a resume published in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences for the year 1866, new series, vol. li. p. 51. At the beginning of my investigations I was engaged in a microscopic examination of the water and mud of swampy shores and of the marshes, also with a comparison of their microphytes with those which might exist in the urine of patients affected with intermittent fevers. Nearly three months passed without my being able to find the least agreement, the least connection. Having lost nearly all hope of being able to attain the end which I had proposed, I took some of the slime from the marshes and from the masses of kelp and Conferv from the sea shores, where intermittent fevers are endemic, and placed them in saucers under the ordinary glass desiccators exposed on a balcony, open for twenty-four hours, the most of the time under the action of the burning rays of the sun. With the evaporated water deposited within the desiccators, I proceeded to an examination, drop by drop. I at length found that which I had sought so long, but always in vain.
The parasite of intermittent fever, which I have termed Limnophysalis hyalina, and which has been observed before me by Drs. J. Lemaire and Gratiolet (Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires de l'Academie des Sciences, Paris, 1867, pp. 317 and 318) and B. Cauvet (Archives de Medecine Navale, November, 1876), is a fungus which is developed directly from the mycelium, each individual of which possesses one or several filaments, which are simple or dichotomous, with double outlines, extremely fine, plainly marked, hyaline, and pointed. Under favorable conditions, that is, with moisture, heat, and the presence of vegetable matter in decomposition, the filaments of mycelium increase in length. From these long filaments springs the fungus. The sporangia, or more exactly the conidia, are composed of unilocular vesicles, perfectly colorless and transparent, which generally rise from one or both sides of the filaments of the mycelium, beginning as from little buds or eyes; very often several (two to three) sporangia occur placed one upon the other, at least on one side of the mycelium.
With a linear magnitude of 480, the sporangia have a transverse diameter of one to five millimeters, or a little more in the larger specimens. The filaments of mycelium, under the same magnitude, appear exceedingly thin and finer than a hair. The shape of the conidia, though presenting some varieties, is, notwithstanding, always perfectly characteristic. Sometimes they resemble in appearance the segments of a semicircle more or less great, sometimes the wings of butterflies, double or single. It is only exceptionally that their form is so irregular.
Again, when young, they are perfectly colorless and transparent; sometimes they are of a beautiful violet or blue color (mykianthinin mykocyanin). Upon this variety of the Limnophysalis hyalina depends the vomiting of blue matters observed by Dr. John Sullivan, at Havana, in patients affected with pernicious intermittent fever (algid and comatose form). In the perfectly mature sporangia, the sporidia have a dark brown color (mykophaein). From the sporidia, the Italian physicians, Lanzi and Perrigi, in the course of their attempts at its cultivation, have seen produced the Monilia penicinata friesii, which is, consequently, the second generation of the Limnophysalis hyalina, in which alternate generation takes place, admitting that their observations may be verified. The sporangia are never spherical, but always flat. When they are perfectly developed, they are distinctly separated from their filament of mycelium by a septum—that is to say, by limiting lines plainly marked. It is not rare, however, to see the individual sporangia perfectly isolated and disembarrassed of their filament of mycelium floating in the water. It seems to me very probable that these isolated sporangia are identical with the hyaline coagula so accurately described by Frerichs, who has observed them in the blood of patients dying of intermittent fevers. But if two sporangia are observed with their bases coherent without intermediary filaments of mycelium, it seems to me probable that the reproduction has taken place through the union, which happens in the following manner: Two filaments of mycelium become juxtaposed; after which the filaments of mycelium disappear in the sporangia newly formed, which by this same metamorphosis are deprived of the faculty of reproducing themselves through the filaments of myclium of which they are deprived. The smallest portion of a filament of mycelium evidently possesses the faculty of producing the new individuals.
It is unquestionable that the Limnophysalis hyalina enter into the blood either by the bronchial mucous membrane, by the surface of the pulmonary vesicles, or by the mucous membrane of the intestinal canal, most often, no doubt, by the last, with the ingested water; this introduction is aided by the force of suction and pressure, which facilitates their absorption. It develops in the glands of Lieberkuhn, and multiplies itself; after which the individuals, as soon as they are formed, are drawn out and carried away in the blood of the circulation.
The Limnophysalis hyalina is, in short, a solid body, of an extreme levity, and endowed with a most delicate organization. It is not a miasm, in the common signification of the term; it does not carry with it any poison; it is not vegetable matter in decomposition, but it flourishes by preference amid the last.
In regard to other circumstances relative to the presence of this fungus, there are, above all, two remarkable facts, namely, its property of adhering to surfaces as perfectly polished as that of a mirror, and its power of resistance against the reagents, if we except the caustic alkalies and the concentrated mineral acids. This power of resisting the ordinary reagents explains in a plausible manner why the fungus is not destroyed by the digestive process in the stomach, where, however, the acid reaction of the gastric juice probably arrests its development—is that of the schistomycetes in general—and keeps it in a state of temporary inactivity. This property of adhering to smooth surfaces explains perhaps the power of the Eucalyptus globulus in arresting the progress of paludal miasm (?). But it is evident that other trees, shrubs, and plants of resinous or balsamic foliage, as, for example, the Populus balsamifera, Cannabis sativa, Pinus silvestris, Pinus abies, Juniperus communis, have equally, with us, the same faculty; they are favorable also for the drying of the soil, and the more completely, as their roots are spreading, more extended, and more ramified.
In order to demonstrate the presence of the limnophysalis in the blood of patients affected with intermittent fever during the febrile stage, properly speaking, it appeared necessary for me to dilute the blood of patients with a solution of nitrate of potassa, having at 37.5C. the same specific gravity as the serum of the blood. With capillary tubes of glass, a little dilated toward the middle, of the same shape and size as those which are used in collecting vaccine lymph, I took up a little of the solution of nitrate of potassa above indicated. After this I introduced the point of an ordinary inoculating needle under the skin, especially in the splenic region, where I ruptured some of the smallest blood-vessels of the subcutaneous cellular tissue. I collected some of the blood which flowed out or was forced out by pressure, in the capillary tubes just described, containing a solution of potassa; after which I melted the ends with the flame of a candle. With all the intermittent fever patients whose blood I have collected and diluted during the febrile stage, properly speaking, I have constantly succeeded in finding the Limnophysalis hyalina in the blood by microscopic examination.
It is only necessary for me to mention here that it is of the highest importance to be able to demonstrate the presence of fungus in the blood of the circulation and in the urine of patients in whom the diagnosis is doubtful. The presence of the Limnophysalis hyalina in the urine indicates that the patient is liable to a relapse, and that his intermittent fever is not cured, which is important in a prognostic and therapeutic point of view.
When the question is to prevent the propagation of intermittent fevers, it is evident that it should be remembered that the Limnophysalis hyalina enters into the blood by the mucous membrane of the organs of respiration, of digestion, and the surface of the pulmonary vesicles. We have also to consider the soil, and the water that is used for drinking.
In regard to the soil, several circumstances are very worthy of attention. It is desirable, not only to lower as much as possible the level of the subterranean water (grunawassen) by pipes of deep drainage, the cleansing, and if there is reason, the enlargement (J. Ory) of the capacity of the water collectors, besides covering and keeping in perfect repair the principal ditches in all the secondary valleys to render the lands wholesome, but also to completely drain the ground, diverting the rain water and cultivating the land, in the cultivation of which those trees, shrubs, and plants should be selected which thrive the most on marshy grounds and on the shores and paludal coasts of the sea, and which have their roots most speading and most ramified. Some of the ordinary grasses are also quite appropriate, but crops of the cereals, which are obtained after a suitable reformation of marshy lands, yield a much better return. After the soil in the neighborhood of the dwellings has been drained and cultivated with care, and in a more systematic manner than at present, the bottoms of the cellars should be purified as well as the foundations of the walls and of the houses.
The water intended for drinking, which contains the Limnophysalis hyalina, should be freed from the fungus by a vigorous filtration. But, as it is known, the filtering beds of the basins in the water conduits are soon covered with a thick coating of conferv, and the Limnophysalis hyalina then extends from the deepest portions of the filtering beds into the filtered water subjacent. It is for this reason that it is absolutely necessary to renew so often the filtering beds of the water conduits, and, at all events, before they have become coated with a thick layer of conferv. The disappearance of intermittent fevers will testify to the utility of these measures. It is for a similar reason that wooden barrels are so injurious for equipages. When the wood has begun to decay by the contact of the impure water, the filaments of mycelium of the Limnophysalis hyalina penetrate into the decayed wood, which becomes a fertile soil for the intermittent fever fungi.
The employment for the preparation of mortar of water not filtered, or of foul, muddy sand which contains the Limnophysalis hyalina, explains how intermittent fevers may proceed from the walls of houses. This arises also from the pasting of wall-paper with flour paste prepared with water which contains an abundance of the fungi of intermittent fever.
The miasm in the latter case is therefore endoecic, or more exactly entoichic. With us the propagation of intermittent fever has been observed in persons occupying rooms scoured with unfiltered water containing the Limnophysalis hyalina in great quantity.
The following imperial ordinance was published on the 25th of March, 1877, by the chief of admiralty of the German marine. It has for its object the prevention and eradication of infectious diseases:
"In those places where infectious diseases, according to experience, are prevalent and unusually severe and frequent, it is necessary to abstain as much as possible from the employment of water taken from without the ship for cleansing said vessel, and also for washing out the hold when the water of the sea or of a river, in the judgment of the commander of a vessel, confirmed by the statement of the physician, is shown to be surcharged with organic matter liable to putrefaction. With this end in view, if you are unable to send elsewhere for suitable water, you must make use of good and fresh water, but with the greatest economy. In that event the purification of the hold must be accomplished by mechanical means or by disinfectants."
"As I have demonstrated by my investigations that in the distillation of paludal water, and that from the marshy shores of the sea, the Limnophysalis hyalina, which is impalpable, is carried away and may be detected again after the distillation, it must be insisted that the water intended to be used for drinking on shipboard shall be carefully filtered before and after its distillation."
The Klebs-Tommasi and Dr. Sternberg's report, as summarized in the Supplement No. 14, National Board of Health Bulletin, Washington, D.C., July 18, I would cordially recommend to all students of this subject.
I welcome these observers into the field. Nothing but good can come from such careful and accurate observations into the cause of disease. For myself I am ready to say that it may be that the Roman gentlemen have bit on the cause of the Roman fever, which is of such a pernicious type. I do not see how I can judge, as I never investigated the Roman fever; still, while giving them all due credit, and treating them with respect, in order to put myself right I may say that I have long ago ceased to regard all the bacilli, micrococci, and bacteria, etc., as ultimate forms of animal or vegetable life. I look upon them as simply the embryos of mature forms, which are capable of propagating themselves in this embryonal state. I have observed these forms in many diseased conditions; many of them in one disease are nothing but the vinegar yeast developing, away from the air, in the blood where the full development of the plant is not apt to be found. In diphtheria I developed the bacteria to the full form—the Mucor malignans. So in the study of ague, for the vegetation which seems to me to be connected with ague, I look to the fully developed sporangias as the true plant.
Again, I think that crucial experiments should be made on man for his diseases as far as it is possible. Rabbits, on which the experiments were made, for example, are of a different organization and food than man, and bear tests differently. While there are so many human beings subject to ague, it seems to me they should be the subjects on whom the crucial tests are to be made, as I did in my labors.
As far as I can see, Dr. Sternberg's inquiries tend to disprove the Roman experiments, and as he does not offer anything positive as a cause of ague, I can only express the hope that he will continue his investigations with zeal and earnestness, and that he will produce something positive and tangible in his labors in so interesting and important a field.
I would then that all would join hands in settling the cause of this disease; and while I do not expect that all will agree with me, still, I shall respect others' opinions, and so long as I keep close to my facts I shall hope my views, based on my facts, will not be treated with disrespect.
Gemiasma verdans and Gemiasma rubra collected Sept. 10, 1882, on Washington Heights, near High Bridge. The illustrations show the manner in which the mature plants discharge their contents.
Plate VIII. A, B, and C represent very large plants of the Gemiasma verdans. A represents a mature plant. B represents the same plant, discharging its spores and spermatia through a small opening in the cell walls. The discharge is quite rapid but not continuous, being spasmodic, as if caused by intermittent contractions in the cell walls. The discharge begins suddenly and with considerable force—a sort of explosion which projects a portion of the contents rapidly and to quite a little distance. This goes on for a few seconds, and then the cell is at rest for a few seconds, when the contractions and explosions begin again and go on as before. Under ordinary conditions it takes a plant from half an hour to an hour to deliver itself. It is about two-thirds emptied. C represents the mature plant, entirely emptied of its spore contents, there remaining inside only a few actively moving spermatia, which are slowly escaping. The spermatia differ from the spores and young plants in being smaller, and of possessing the power of moving and tumbling about rapidly, while the spores of young plants are larger and quiescent. D, E, F, and G represent mature plants belonging to the Gemiasma rubra. D represents a ripe plant, filled with spores, embryonic plants, and spermatia. E represents a ripe plant in the act of discharging its contents, it being about half emptied. F represents a ripe plant after its spore and embryonic plant contents are all discharged, leaving behind only a few actively moving spermatia, which are slowly escaping. G represents the emptied plant in a quiescent state.
Figs. A, B, C represent an unusually large variety of the Gemiasma verdans. This species is usually about the size of the rubra. This large variety was found on the upper part of New York Island, near High Bridge, in a natural depression where the water stands most of the year, except in July, August, and September, when it becomes an area of drying, cracked mud two hundred feet across. As the mud dries these plants develop in great profusion, giving an appearance to the surface as if covered thickly with brick dust.
These depressions and swaily places, holding water part of the year, and becoming dry during the malarial season, can be easily dried by means of covered drains, and grassed or sodded over, when they will cease to grow; this vegetation and ague in such localities will disappear.
The malarial vegetations begin to develop moderately in July, but do not spring forth abundantly enough to do much damage till about the middle of August, when they in ague localities spring into existence in vast multitudes, and continue to develop in great profusion till frost comes.
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ANALYSIS OF THE MALARIA PLANT (GEMIASMA RUBRA).
By Prof Paulus F. Reinsch.
Author Alg of France, 1866; Latest Observations on Algology, 1867; Chemical Investigation of the Connections of the Lias and Jura Formations, 1859; Chemical Investigation of the Viscum Album, 1860; Contributions to Algology and Fungology, 1874-75, vol. i.; New Investigation of the Microscopic Structure of Pit Coal, 1881; Micrographic Photographs of the Structure and Composition of Pit Coal, 1888.
Dr. Cutter writes me September 28, 1882: "My dear Professor: By this mail I send you a specimen of the Gemiasma rubra of Salisbury, described in 1862, as found in bogs, mud holes, and marshes of ague districts, in the air suspended at night, in the sputa, blood, and urine, and on the skin of persons suffering with ague. It is regarded as one of the Palmellace. This rubra is found in the more malignant and fatal types of the disease. I have found it in all the habitats described by Dr. Salisbury. Both he and myself would like you to examine and hear what you have to say about it."
The substance of clayish soil contains, besides fragments of shells of larger diatoms (Suriella synhedra), shells of Navicula minutissima, Pinnularia viridis. Spores belonging to various cryptogams.
1. Spherical transparent spores with laminated covering and dark nucleus—0.022 millimeter in diameter.
2. Spherical spores with thick covering of granulated surface.
3. Spherical spores with punctulated surface—0.007 millimeter in diameter.
4. Very minute, transparent, bluish-greenish colored spores, with thin covering and finely granulated contents—0.006 millimeter in diameter.
5. Chroococcoid cells with two larger nuclei—0.0031 millimeter in diameter. Sometimes biciliated minute cells are found; without any doubt they are zoospores derived from any algoid or fungoid species.
I cannot say whether there exists any genetic connection between these various sorts of spores. It seems to me that probably numbers 1-4 represent resting states of the hyphomycetes.
No. 5 represents one and two celled states of chroococcus species belong to Chroococcus minutus.
The crust of the clayish earth is covered with a reddish brown covering of about half a millimeter in thickness. This covering proves to be composed, under the microscope, of cellular filaments and various shaped bodies of various composition. They are made up of cells with densely and coarsely granulated reddish colored contents—shape, size, and composition are very variable, as shown in the figures. The cellular bodies make up the essential organic part of the clayish substance, and, without any doubt, if anything of the organic compounds of the substance is in genetical connection with the disease, these bodies would have this role. The structure and coloration of cell contents exhibit the closest alliance to the characteristics of the division of Chroolepide and of this small division of Chlorophyllaceous Alg, nearest to Gongrosira—a genus whose five to six species are inhabitants of fresh water, mostly attached to various minute aquatic Alg and mosses. Each cell of all the plants of this genus produces a large number of mobile cells—zoospores.
Fig. 9 represents very probably one zoospore developed from these plants as figured from 10 to 16.
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M. Berthelot, in the Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie for March, states that from peculiar physical relations he is led to suspect that the true element carbon is unknown, and that diamond and graphite are substances of a different order. Elementary carbon ought to be gaseous at the ordinary temperature, and the various kinds of carbon which occur in nature are in reality polymerized products of the true element carbon. Spectrum analysis is thought to confirm this view; and it is supposed the second spectrum seen in a Geissler tube belongs to gaseous carbon. This spectrum, which has been recognized along with that of hydrogen in the light of the tails of comets, indicates a carbide, probably acetylene.
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By P. CARLES.
When tinned iron serves for containing alimentary matters, it is essential that the tin employed should be free from lead. The latter metal is rapidly oxidized on the surface and is dissolved in this form in the neutral acids of vegetables, meat, etc. The most exact method of demonstrating the presence of lead consists in treating the alloy—so-called tin—with aqua regia containing relatively little nitric acid. The whole dissolves; the excess of acid is driven off by evaporation at a boiling heat, and the residue, diluted with water, is saturated with hydrogen sulphide. The iron remains in solution, while the mixed lead and tin sulphides precipitated are allowed to digest for a long time in an alkaline sulphide. The tin sulphide only dissolves; it is filtered off and converted into stannic acid, while the lead sulphide is transformed into sulphate and weighed as such.
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NEW BLEACHING PROCESS, WITH REGENERATION OF THE BATHS USED.
By MR. BONNEVILLE.
To a cold solution containing 1 per cent. of bromine, 1 per cent. of caustic soda at 36 B. is added, then the material, to be bleached is first wet and then immersed in this bath until completely decolorized. It is passed into a newly-acidulated bath, rinsed, and dried. After the bromine bath has been used up, it is regenerated by adding 1 per cent. of sulphuric acid, which liberates the bromine. To the same bath caustic soda is added, which regenerates the hypobromite of soda. The hydrofluosilicic acid can be used, instead of the sulphuric acid, with greater advantage. A bath used up can also be regenerated by means of the electric current.
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DETECTION OF MAGENTA, ARCHIL, AND CUDBEAR IN WINE.
These colors are not suitable for converting white wine into red, but they can be used for giving wines a faint red tint, for darkening pale red wines, and in making up a factitious bouquet essence, which is added to red wines. The most suitable methods for the detection of magenta are those given by Romei and Falieres-Ritter. If a wine colored with archil and one colored with cudbear are treated treated according to Romei's method, the former gives, with basic lead acetate, a blue, and the latter a fine violet precipitate. The filtrate, if shaken up with amylic alcohol, gives it in either case a red color. A knowledge of this fact is important, or it may be mistaken for magenta. The behavior of the amylic alcohol, thus colored red, with hydrochloric acid and ammonia is characteristic. If the red color is due to magenta, it is destroyed by both these reagents, while hydrocholoric acid does not decolorize the solutions of archil and cudbear, and ammonia turns their red color to a purple violet. If the wine is examined according to the Falieres-Ritter method in presence of magenta, ether, when shaken up with the wine, previously rendered ammoniacal, remains colorless, while if archil or cudbear is present the ether is colored red. Wartha has made a convenient modification in the Falieres-Ritter method by adding ammonia and ether to the concentrated wine while still warm. If the red color of the wool is due to archil or cudbear, it is extracted by hydrochloric acid, which is colored red. Ammonia turns the color to a purple violet. Knig mixed 50 c.c. wine with ammonia in slight excess, and places in the mixture about one-half grm. clean white woolen yarn. The whole is then boiled in a flask until all the alcohol and the excess of ammonia are driven off. The wool taken out of the liquid and purified by washing in water and wringing is moistened in a test-tube with pure potassa lye at 10 per cent. It is carefully heated till the wool is completely dissolved, and the solution, when cold, is mixed first with half its volume of pure alcohol, upon which is carefully poured the same volume of ether, and the whole is shaken. The stratum of ether decanted off is mixed in a test-tube with a drop of acetic acid. A red color appears if the slightest trace of magenta is present. The shaking must not be too violent, lest an emulsion should be formed. If the wine is colored with archil, on prolonged heating, after the addition of ammonia, it is decolorized. If it is then let cool and shaken a little, the red color returns. If the wool is taken out of the hot liquid after the red color has disappeared, and exposed to the air, it takes a red color. But if it is quickly taken out of the liquid and at once washed, there remains merely a trace of color in the wool. If these precautions are observed, magenta can be distinguished from archil with certainty according to Knig's method. As the coloring-matter of archil is not precipitated by baryta and magnesia, but changed to a purple, the baryta method, recommended by Pasteur, Balard, and Wurtz, and the magnesia test, are useless. Magenta may in course of time be removed by the precipitates formed in the wine. It is therefore necessary to test not merely the clear liquid, but the sediment, if any.—Dr. B. Haas, in Budermann's Centralblatt.—Analyst.
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Panax Victori is a compact and charming plant, which sends up numbers of stems from the bottom in place of continually growing upward and thus becoming ungainly; it bears a profusion of elegantly curled, tasseled, and variegated foliage, very catching to the eye, and unlike any of its predecessors. The other, P. dumosum, is of similar habit, the foliage being crested and fringed after the manner of some of our rare crested ferns.—The Gardeners' Chronicle.
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A NOTE ON SAP.
[Footnote: Read at an evening meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society, London, April 4, 1883.]
By Professor ATTFIELD, F.R.S.
Beneath a white birch tree growing in my garden I noticed, yesterday evening, a very wet place on the gravel path, the water of which was obviously being fed by the cut extremity of a branch of the birch about an inch in diameter and some ten feet from the ground. I afterward found that exactly fifteen days ago circumstances rendered necessary the removal of the portion of the branch which hung over the path, 4 or 5 feet being still left on the tree. The water or sap was dropping fast from the branch, at the rate of sixteen large drops per minute, each drop twice or thrice the size of a "minim," and neither catkins nor leaves had yet expanded. I decided that some interest would attach to a determination both of the rate of flow of the fluid and of its chemical composition, especially at such a stage of the tree's life.
A bottle was at once so suspended beneath the wound as to catch the whole of the exuding sap. It caught nearly 5 fluid ounces between eight and nine o'clock. During the succeeding eleven hours of the night 44 fluid ounces were collected, an average of 4 ounces per hour. From 8:15 to 9:15 this morning, very nearly 7 ounces were obtained. From 9:15 to 10:15, with bright sunshine, 8 ounces. From 10:15 until 8:15 this evening the hourly record kept by my son Harvey shows that the amount during that time has slowly diminished from 8 to a little below 7 ounces per hour. Apparently the flow is faster in sunshine than in shade, and by day than by night.
It would seem, therefore, that this slender tree, with a stem which at the ground is only 7 inches in diameter, having a height of 39 feet, and before it has any expanded leaves from whose united surfaces large amounts of water might evaporate, is able to draw from the ground about 4 liters, or seven-eighths of a gallon of fluid every twenty-four hours. That at all events was the amount flowing from this open tap in its water system. Even the topmost branches of the tree had not become, during the fifteen days, abnormally flaccid, so that, apparently, no drainage of fluid from the upper portion of the tree had been taking place. For a fortnight the tree apparently had been drawing, pumping, sucking—I know not what word to use—nearly a gallon of fluid daily from the soil in the neigborhood of its roots. This soil had only an ordinary degree of dampness. It was not wet, still less was there any actually fluid water to be seen. Indeed, usually all the adjacent soil is of a dry kind, for we are on the plateau of a hill 265 feet above the sea, and the level of the local water reservoir into which our wells dip is about 80 feet below the surface. My gardener tells me that the tree has been "bleeding" at about the same rate for fourteen of the fifteen days, the first day the branch becoming only somewhat damp. During the earlier part of that time we had frosts at night, and sunshine, but with extremely cold winds, during the days. At one time the exuding sap gave, I am told by two different observers, icicles a foot long. A much warmer, almost summer, temperature has prevailed during the past three days, and no wind. This morning the temperature of the sap as it escaped was constant at 52 F., while that of the surrounding air was varying considerably.
The collected sap was a clear, bright, water-like fluid. After a pint had stood aside for twelve hours, there was the merest trace of a sediment at the bottom of the vessel. The microscope showed this to consist of parenchymatous cells, with here and there a group of the wheel-like or radiating cells which botanists, I think, term sphere-crystals. The sap was slightly heavier than water, in the proportion of 1,005 to 1,000. It had a faintly sweet taste and a very slight aromatic odor.
Chemical analysis showed that this sap consisted of 99 parts of pure water with 1 part of dissolved solid matter. Eleven-twelfths of the latter were sugar.
That the birch readily yields its sap when the wood is wounded is well known. Philipps, quoted by Sowerby, says:
"Even afflictive birch, Cursed by unlettered youth, distills, A limpid current from her wounded bark, Profuse of nursing sap."
And that birch sap contains sugar is known, the peasants of many countries, especially Russia, being well acquainted with the art of making birch wine by fermenting its saccharine juice.
But I find no hourly or daily record of the amount of sugar-bearing sap which can be drawn from the birch, or from any tree, before it has acquired its great digesting or rather developing and transpiring apparatus—its leaf system. And I do not know of any extended chemical analysis of sap either of the birch, or other tree.
Besides sugar, which is present in this sap to the extent of 616 grains—nearly an ounce and a half—per gallon, there are present a mere trace of mucilage; no starch; no tannin; 3 grains per gallon of ammoniacal salts yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; 3 grains of albuminoid matter yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; a distinct trace of nitrites; 7.4 grains of nitrates containing 17 per cent. of nitrogen; no chlorides, or the merest trace; no sulphates; no sodium salts; a little of potassium salts; much phosphate and organic salts of calcium; and some similar magnesian compounds. These calcareous and magnesian substances yield an ash when the sap is evaporated to dryness and the sugar and other organic matter burnt away, the amount of this residual matter being exactly 50 grains per gallon. The sap contained no peroxide of hydrogen. It was faintly if at all acid. It held in solution a ferment capable of converting starch into sugar. Exposed to the air it soon swarmed with bacteria, its sugar being changed to alcohol.
A teaspoonful or two of, say, apple juice, and a tablespoonful of sugar put into a gallon of such rather hard well-water as we have in our chalky district, would very fairly represent this specimen of the sap of the silver birch. Indeed, in the phraseology of a water-analyst, I may say that the sap itself has 25 degrees of total, permanent hardness.
How long the tree would continue to yield such a flow of sap I cannot say; probably until the store of sugar it manufactured last summer to feed its young buds this spring was exhausted. Even within twenty-four hours the sugar has slightly diminished in proportion in the fluid.
Whether or not this little note throws a single ray of light on the much debated question of the cause of the rise of sap in plants I must leave to botanists to decide. I cannot hope that it does, for Julius Sachs, than whom no one appears to have more carefully considered the subject, says, at page 677 of the recently published English translation of his textbook of botany, that "although the movements of water in plants have been copiously investigated and discussed for nearly two hundred years, it is nevertheless still impossible to give a satisfactory and deductive account of the mode of operation of these movements in detail." As a chemist and physicist myself, knowing something about capillary attraction, exosmose, endosmose, atmospheric pressure, and gravitation generally, and the movements caused by chemical attraction, I am afraid I must concur in the opinion that we do not yet know the real ultimate cause or causes of the rise of sap in plants.
Ashlands, Watford, Herts.
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[Footnote: Abstract of a recent discussion before the Connecticut State Board of Agriculture.]
Prof. W. A. Stearns, in a lecture upon the utility of birds in agriculture, stated that the few facts we do know regarding the matter have been obtained more through the direct experience of those who have stumbled on the facts they relate than those who have made any special study of the matter. One great difficulty has been that people looked too far and studied too deeply for facts which were right before them. For instance, people are well acquainted with the fact that hawks, becoming bold, pounce down upon and carry off chickens from the hen-yards and eat them. How many are acquainted with the fact that in hard winters, when pressed for food, crows do this likewise? But what does this signify? Simply that the crow regulates its food from necessity, not from choice.
Now, carry this fact into operation in the spring into the cornfield. Do you suppose that the crow, being hungry, and dropping into a field of corn wherein is abundance to satisfy his desires, stops, as many affirm, to pick out only those kernels which are affected with mildew, larva, or weevil? Does he instinctively know what corns, when three or four inches beneath the ground, are thus affected? Not a bit of it. To him, a strictly grain-feeding and not an insect-eating bird, the necessity takes the place of the choice. He is hungry; the means of satisfying his hunger are at hand. He naturally drops down in the first cornfield he sees, calls all his neighbors to the feast, and then roots up and swallows all the kernels until he can hold no more. There is no doubt the crow is a damage to the agriculturist. He preys upon the cornfield and eats the corn indiscriminately, whether there are any insects or not. That has been proved by dissection of stomach and crop.
If corn can be protected by tarring, so that the crows will not eat it, they will prove a benefit by leaving the corn and picking up grubs in the field. Where corn has been tarred, I have never known the crows to touch it.
Mr. Sedgwick remarked that, in addition to destroying the corn crop, the crow was also very destructive of the eggs of other birds. Last spring I watched a pair of crows flying through an orchard, and in several instances saw them fly into birds' nests, take out the eggs, and then go on around the field.
In answer to Mr. Hubbard, who claimed the crow would eat animal food in any form, and might not be rightly classified as a grain-eating bird, Prof. Stearns said the crow was thus classified by reason of the structure of its crop being similar to that of the finches, the blackbird, the sparrows, and other seed-eating birds.