Lapas attēli
[ocr errors]

we should have one hundred and twenty meteors for the whole sky in one hour; one-three-hundredth part of the probable number visible in 1833, at Boston, in one hour. During the display of 1833, ninety-eight meteors were seen in fifteen minutes, the rate being three hundred and ninety-two per hour, within three-quarters of an hour of sunrise.

Neither does it appear that the meteors seen by Mr. White had an apparent radiant. One of the meteors of which he speaks, "glided almost perpendicularly towards the earth: this was succeeded by another of a most brilliant appearance, which took a westerly direction."

The ten meteors to which I have before referred, are said to have appeared between Leo, Virgo and Ursa Major. This place, as assigned in a general description, is a matter of course, since these were the principal constellations within view from the north and east windows from which Mr. White observed. Nothing is said about a radiant, too remarkable a fact to have been overlooked, had it existed.

But the number of these meteors has frequently been equalled, and even exceeded, in cases, between which and the meteors of 1833, no connexion has been claimed. I need only quote a few cases. On August 8th, 1823, Professor Brandes noticed sixty-five in two hours. On August 10th, "one hundred and fifty were noticed in less than two hours, and Professor Brandes remarks that they were obliged to leave many unrecorded." ."* During August, 1833, Mr. Espy and myself noted, over onefifth of the visible heavens, thirty-seven meteors in one hour. We have noted eight in fifteen minutes, six in nine and a half minutes, five in ten minutes; and this at a time of the evening, and at a season when meteors are comparatively infrequent. At other times one meteor only would be seen in half an hour, showing the variable nature of the occurence, even on the commonest occasions. Prof. Olmsted himself refers to showers of meteors seen in April, 1833 in Virginia, in England on the nineteenth of November, in France in April, 1833, in August, 1833 in England, &c.

There is no connexion in point of time, between the English observations and those made in America. The meteors seen by both Mr. White and the Rev. Mr. Clark, occurred at a time when meteors were not frequent, even at New Haven.

The "American testimonies" given by Prof. Olmsted would determine the question if it were did meteors occur on November 13th, 1834; but upon the one really at issue they do not bear. The authorities, consisting of a member of the Theological Seminary at Andover, an anonymous writer in the St. Louis Observer, and a female servant at Zanesville, give no particulars on which to found an opinion as to the nature of the meteors which they saw. The St. Louis Observer merely states, loosely, that he saw, at five, A. M., in fifteen or twenty minutes, thirty or forty meteors. The accounts want the precision necessary to form any opinion in the case.

In regard to the remarks which my friend, Prof. Olmsted, appended to his facts, it is necessary to observe, first, that in addition to the indirect evidence of no meteoric displays having been seen at eleven military posts from Maine to Florida, six western posts, and five on the northern frontier, and which he notices, I presented other indirect evidence, not noticed by him, derived from scientific friends at Wilmington, Baltimore, the University of Virginia, and the University of North Carolina; and direct evidence, also unnoticed by him, from observations at New York, Philadelphia, and Nash

⚫ On shooting stars, by E. Loomis. Amer. Journ. Sci. vol. xxviii. p. 96.

ville. Further, that a sentinel at Mackinac, where meteors did fall in considerable numbers, saw and remembered the fact. My friend states his preference for the testimony of nautical men, and yet of all those who navigated between this and England, on the night in question, not one has recorded observations of any extraordinary meteoric occurrence like that of the 13th of November, 1833.

In the second remark, allusion is made to a record on the minutes of the American Philosophical Society. This record* is there entered as a "verbal communication in relation to the result of observations on the recurrence of the remarkable meteoric display of November 13th, 1833." This record rests, not on the responsibility of that learned body, but on my own, and I believe I have shown full warrant for it. Records are made of all verbal communications presented to the Society, and among them will be found a reference to the new facts presented by my friend, Prof, Olmsted, as the substance of another verbal communication made by me.

In conclusion, I think the examination of those of the new facts which are susceptible of such a course, has conclusively shown that the meteors referred to in them were of ordinary character. And a comparison of this result with the inferences which I have elsewhere drawn from my own observations, and those of others, leads to the conclusion, that no satisfactory evidence has yet been presented of the occurrence, in 1834, of a meteoric display, which, in numbers, in peculiarities, or in connexion (as parts of the same phenomenon) and extent combined, was such as to connect it with the meteoric display of November 13th, 1833.

Bibliographical Notices.

The Book of Science. A familiar Introduction to the principles of Natural Philosophy, adapted to the comprehension of Young People. PART III. CHEMISTRY. [Philadelphia, Carey, Lea & Blanchard.]

The little work now before us is one of a series on Natural Philosophy. It has a merit which is rare in books of its class, that of accuracy. The preparation of elementary works is too often undertaken by the half learned in the subject of which they treat. Hence erroneous, partial, or inaccurate, views are sometimes instilled. It is a high distinction of our time, that men the most eminent in the different branches of science, have applied themselves to the preparation of popular works. The difficulty in such cases seems to be that few are able to come down sufficiently to the comprehension of the general reader. And few stand so high that their reputation may not be touched by treating a subject superficially. The class of works now referred to is however, a different one from that to which the subject of the present notice belongs.

Chemistry is a difficult subject to bring down to the comprehension of the young in a book: it requires experiments to illustrate, and frequent verbal explanations to relieve difficulties. A teacher who would take in hand the Chemistry of the Book of Science, and follow it in his experiments, and accompany it by his explanations, would do a good service to the youth under his charge, for the information is exact and such as he may rely on himself. It is besides generally brought up to the Chemistry of the day.

• This quotation from the minutes, which are not published, is made by permission of the Society.

If however the work should be placed in the hands of youth without such auxiliary aid, we doubt if they could at all comprehend it, or if they would be at all attracted by the science which it contains. Lively as some portions of it are, the general character is that of dryness. Hard words are not spared, and matters hard to be understood are unfolded. It would in fact, fully employ a teacher's thoughts, and he would be gratified with the task of expounding.

In schools where an elementary course of chemistry is taught by experiment and with verbal explanations, this work will, we are of opinion, be found useful. The typographical execution of the book is good, and the cuts though plain are generally illustrative.


The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, for the year 1836. [Boston, Charles Bowen.]

This is the seventh volume of a very useful and creditable American work, containing a body of scientific and other useful matter, which must recommend it to very various classes of readers.

The astronomical department of the Almanac is as heretofore under the charge of Mr. R. T. Paine, one of the most zealous of our devotees to this branch of science. Besides the usual valuable matter requiring a yearly change, additions have been made to the tables of this branch, and a table of the moon's librations has been added. The table of longitudes has been corrected in several cases from observations either made or collected by the editor, and we have especially remarked, that the positions given to Charleston, Beaufort, (S. C.) and Savannah, differ considerably from those heretofore assigned. The arrangement of the tables which was made anew last year is continued, and if change of location were not objectionable in a book of reference, we should be disposed to prefer the new arrange


Of the astronomical phenomena predicted for 1836, the principal will be a solar eclipse to occur on the 15th of May. The general eclipse will first begin (at 5h. 58.4m. mean time at Washington) at a place in South America, the latitude of which is 2° 9' S. and longitude 76° 51′ W., and end (at 10h. 48.4 mean time at Washington) at the place in the Mediterranean the latitude of which is 35° 11' N. and longitude 28° 50' E. The calculations of the general circumstances of this eclipse, and of the beginning, middle and end, &c., for seventeen places in or near the United States, with the approximate result for twenty-four others are given in the Almanac.

The second part of the Almanac, devoted to statistical and other information, contains papers on the statistics of crime in France, on Pauperism in France, on Agricultural and Rural economy, besides a mass of valuable statistical information relating to the United States and to the individual States, to religion and to education. The work contains a distinct head for meteorological information. It has indeed been reproached by a contemporary with containing too much matter, an objection not often to be urged to a work of so moderate a price, and one which needs only to be urged forcibly to induce a most extensive circulation. Such a circulation we heartily wish it may obtain. B.

Mechanics' Register.


With Remarks and Exemplifications by the Editor.

1. For a Thrashing Machine; William Laighton, Portsmouth, Rockingham county, New Hampshire, June 6.

This patent is taken for an improvement on that of November 17th, 1834, described Vol. 15, p. 397. The claim now made is very similar to that in the original patent, and does not in any manner allude to new improvements; the patentee says, "the principles I claim as my invention, are the conical ribbed cylinder, and the semicircular ribbed cradle conforming thereto, by which, from the angular position with which they come into action, the hull of the grain is split without injury to the seed." As these principles made a part of the first patent, the claim cannot be sustained under the present one, or a man might renew his patent forever. The claim, to have been valid, should have pointed to those improvements only which the patentee has made since November 1834.

2. For an improvement in the Theodolite; Samuel Stone, Long Green, Baltimore county, Maryland, June 6.

The patentee states his improvement to be "in the art of measuring distances at one station with a theodolite, or any other instrument by which an angle can be made either perpendicularly or horizontally," &c. The patent, however, is taken for an improvement in the instrument, and not in the art of using it. He says, "the first improvement which I claim is the mechanical addition to the common theodolite, by extending the diameter of the horizontal limb for the purpose of forming a surface as well as a centre on which a circular rim or plate revolves, as already described; and also the application of the logarithmic calculations as applied to the circle, as already described. But I particularly claim the improvement of measuring distances by an angle at one point or station, using the pole or stave, with its graduations, for one side of the triangle."

With respect to its construction and use, the inventor says:

"This instrument embraces all the principles of a modern theodolite; besides which, it contains the following improvements: The first improvement is a circular revolving plate, sliding or resting upon the limb of the instrument, the upper surface of which forms a plane with the upper surface of the limb; on which are delineated a set of mathematical numbers, which supply the place of a table of logarithms, and all other logarithmic tables.

In the second place, this instrument is so constructed as to supersede the necessity and use of a chain in all cases. The distance of any visible object can be ascertained at one station, as far as the flag staff can be distinctly seen through the telescope of the instrument, to the exactness of chains, links, and decimals.

It also calculates the latitude and departure of every course run, and the base and perpendicular of all elevations. It further embraces all the fundamental rules of common arithmetic, viz: multiplication, division, single rule of three, interest, mensuration of superficies and solids, guaging, &c.

Any question in plain trigonometry, right angled or oblique, can be solved on the instrument correctly; including all questions that can be performed by logarithms or logarithmic tables. The whole without the use of figures or a mathematical calculation.”

The instrument has received the approbation of the New York Institute, the managers of which have awarded their highest premium, a gold medal, to the inventor.

3. For Extracting Gold from its Ores; Nathaniel Bosworth, city of Philadelphia, June 6.

"The improvements herein described, for which a patent is asked, consists in the arrangements and connexions by which we are enabled to collect the particles as soon as disintegrated from the rock, thereby preventing their becoming armed with stoney matter as in the old process, which prevented the gold from coming in contact with the mercury. Also, by preventing the gold from parting with a portion of its substance in forming the streak upon rocks in contact during the operation of stamping, which has heretofore been a source of waste. By the old process the gold was necessarily stamped so fine as to flow over the top of the bocard with the water. By the new process the gold is carried out even with the bottom of the bocard, retaining its size and form as when in the matrix. Also the use of silver or gold plate surface, by which we obtain a new agent, that of mechanical pressure, in addition to chemical affinity. Should it not be convenient to obtain the precious metals for the amalgamating plates, and a substitute be used, such as brass, copper, tin or bismuth, it will be proper to subject the amalgam to the action of a single acid that will dissolve the baser metal and not the gold; for if tin, zinc or bismuth, or some of the other metals be combined with gold by melting, it then becomes extremely difficult to separate them."

"As other metals than gold and silver may be used, I claim not only their employment for the purpose described, but, generally, the amalgamating upon a hard fixed metallic substance of any kind, quickening the same by the smallest quantity of mercury which will answer the intended purpose of arresting the particles of gold in their passage over it, whereby I expose any required extent of quicksilvered surface, on which the gold will become firmly attached, or the particles effectually united."

Several drawings accompany the specification, and are referred to in it, affording a complete view of the apparatus.

4. For Constructing Coffins of American or Hydraulic Cement; Daniel Dayton, Hiram Hoyt and John White, Salina, Onondaga county, New York, June 6.

"This improvement or invention consists in making coffins of the American or hydraulic cement, and that improvement or invention is hereby desired to be patented."

We think that the making of a vessel or box in the form of a coffin, out of a material of which various vessels have been previously made, will neither be viewed as an invention or improvement in the eye of the law, nor do we perceive how such an invention could employ the powers of three individuals.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »