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The much abused “potato bug' or Colorado beetle is an oval insect, half an inch long, its body of yellow color, spotted with black, with ten black longitudinal stripes on the elytra. It is a native of the Rocky Mountains. It is specially destructive to potato crops, and has at various times done great damage to those of the United States aud even managed to get into England and other countries.
General Washington, in 1789, visited a mill at Hartford, Conn., which made 5,000 yards of cloth and sold it at $5 a yard. Washington wrote in his diary: "Their broadclothis are not of the first quality as yet, but they are good, as are their cassinets, cassimeres, serges, and everlastings; of the broadcloth I ordered a suit to be sent to me at New York, and of the commoner goods a whole piece to make breeches for my serve ants.”
In the working of railways very important advantages have been reaped from what is now known as the "block-system.' The line is divided into a number of comparatively short sections, and no train is allowed to pass into a section till the signals at either end indicate that the section is entirely clear of other trains. The signals are directed by telegraph; and, if the system is strictly observed, collisions become impossible.
A viscid and adhesive substance which is placed on twigs of trees, or wire-netting, to catch the birds that may alight thereon, is thence called birdlime. It is generally prepared from the middle bark of the holly, mistletoe or distaff-thistle, by treating with water, boiling for several hours, straining and exposing to fermentation for several weeks. The result is a gelatinous mucilage, consisting mainly of a substance called viscin.
The degrees of alcohol in wines and liquors are: Beer, 4.0; porter, 4.5; ale, 7.4; cider, 8.6; Moselle, 9.6; Tokay, 10.2; Rhine, 11.0; Orange, 11.2; Bordeaux, 11.5; hock, 11.6; gooseberry, 11.8; Champagne, 12.2; claret, 13.3; Burgundy, 13.6; Malaga, 17.3; Lisbon, 18.5; Canary,
18.8; sherry, 19.0; Vermouth, 19.0; Cape, 19.2; Malmsey, 19.7; Marsala, 20.2; Madeira, 21.0; port, 23.2; Curaçoa, 27.0; aniseed, 33.0; Maraschino, 34.0; Chartreuse, 43.0; gin, 51.6; brandy, 53.4; rum, 53.7; Irish whisky, 53.9; Scotch, 54.3
"High seas' means the open sea, including the whole extent of sea so far as it is not the exclusive property of any particular country. The rule of international law is that every country bordering on the sea has the exclusive sovereignty over such sea to the extent of three miles from its shores; but all beyond, not within three iniles of some other country, is open or common to all countries. The part of sea within three miles' distance is generally called the territorial sea of the particular country, or mare clausum.
Koumiss is an intoxicating beverage much esteemed by the Kalmucks. It is made from the soured and fermented milk of mares, and has an acidulous taste. A spirit is obtained from it by distillation. The tribes which use koumiss are free from pulmonary phthisis, and the observation of this fact has led to the beneficial use of an artificial koumiss made of ass's and cow's milk in cases of consumption. Of late extensive establishments have been founded in the southeast of Russia for treating invalids with genuine koumiss; one at Samara is visited by fifteen hundred patients in a season.
The Non-importation Act was passed by Congress on March 26, 1806, to prohibit the importation of British manufactures into the United States. The immediate cause of this prohibition was the annoyance caused by the “Leander" cruising off New York, and insisting on searching American vessels under pretence of looking for desert
In one of these searches an American sailor, named Pearce, was killed, and the hostility of the States, which had long been smouldering, burst into a blaze.
India rubber is obtained mostly from the Seringueros of the Amazon, who sell it for about 12 cents a pound to the merchants of Para, but its value on reaching England or the United States is over 50 cents a pound. The best rubber forests in Brazil will ultimately be exhausted, owing to the reckless mode followed by the Seringueros or tappers. The ordinary product of a tapper's work is from 10 to 16 pounds daily. There are 120 india rubber manufacturers in the United States, employing 15,000 operatives, who produce 280,000 tons of goods, valued at $260,000 000, per annum.
Amber is a substance analogous to the vegetable resins, usually of a pale-yellow color. It occurs in round, irregular lumps, grains or drops, slightly brittle and emits a pleasant odor when rubbed. It melts at 536° F. Amber becomes negatively electric by friction, and possesses this property in a high degree-which, indeed, was first observed in it, and the term electricity is derived from elektron, the Greek name of amber. The specific gravity of amber is 1.065 to 1.070. Amber was anciently regarded as a charm against witchcraft. It is employed extensively in the arts, for the mouthpieces of pipes, for jewelry and other ornamental purposes.
The name alcohol (Arab. al-koh'l, originally applied to a collyrium, a very fine powder of antimony for staining the eyelids; afterwards "essence," "spirits”). Ordinary or ethyl alcohol is a limpid, colorless liquid, of a hot pungent taste, and having a slight but agreeable smell. It is the characteristic ingredient of fermented drinks, gives them their intoxicating quality, and is obtained from them by distillation. It is said to have been first obtained by this process by Abucasis, in the twelfth century. If we look at the extraordinary consumption of these liquors for various purposes, it is seen to be one of the most important substances produced by art.
The overland route to India, Australia and the East, is now understood to be that from England across France, through Mont Cenis by tunnel, to Brindisi in Italy, thence through the Levant, the Suez Canal, Red Sea and Indian Ocean. This makes the journey only about half as long as the voyage round by the Cape of Good Hope, a little over six thousand miles instead of more than twelve thousand. The saving in time is even more considerable. The time from London to Bombay is about four weeks, instead of three months by the Cape. In 1838 a monthly service was started to carry the mails across Egypt; but to Lieutenant Waghorn (1800-50) belongs the credit of first showing how the voyage from India could be still further shortened. On October 31, 1845, he arrived in London with the Bombay mail of October 1 (via Austria, Bavaria, Prussia and Belgium) The railway from Suez to Alexandria by Cairo was opened in 1858; but the great event that rendered the overland route available for passengers generally was the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.
The variety of starch called Arrowroot is extracted from the roots of certain plants growing in tropical countries. It is a fine starchy farina, much valued as a delicacy, and as an easily digestible food for children and invalids. It is obtained from the root-stocks of different species of Maranta. The species chiefly yielding it is a native of tropical America, cultivated in the West India Íslands, and growing about two feet high, with ovate-lanceolate somewhat hairy leaves, clusters of small flowers on two-flowered stalks, and globular fruit about the size of currants. The rhizomes are often more than a foot long, of the thickness of a finger, jointed, and almost white, covered with large papery scales. They are dug up when a year old, washed, carefully peeled, and reduced to a milky pulp. In Jamaica the roots are reduced by beating in deep wooden mortars; in Bermuda by means of a wheel-rasp; but modern machinery has now been introduced.
Steam navigation practically commenced in 1802, with the launch of the “Charlotte Dundas,” which plied on Forth and Clyde Canal. She had one paddle-wheel near the stern. Fulton, who invented the paddlebox, established the American steamboat system with his “Clermont" (1807), which plied on the Hudson. The first steamer used in ocean navigation was Stevens' “Phænix,” which steamed from New York to Philadelphia in three days (1808.) The first passenger steamer in Great Britain was Henry Bell's "Comet," built at Port Glasgow (1812.) The first steam vessel in the British navy was also called the “Comet," built at Woolwich dockyard (1822). Regular steamboat communication across the Atlantic was established in 1838. The first screw steamer in Great Britain was the "Archimedes,” built on the Thames (1839); the first screw steamer in the British navy was the “Dwarf (1843); and the first iron screw steamer was the “Fire Queen,'' built at Glasgow(1845). Ocean steamers are now built of steel.
A famous Indian product is Arrack, or Rack, a name often used for all sorts of distilled spirituous liquors, but chiefly applying to that procured from toddy or the fermented juice of the cocoa or other palms, as well as from rice, and the kind of brown sugar called jaggery. The palms in other tropical countries furnish a fermented beverage similar to the toddy of India, and in a few instances also it is distilled, but arrack essentially belongs to India and the adjacent countries. The cocoanut palm is a chief source of toddy or palm wine, which is obtained from trees ranging from twelve to sixteen years old, or in fact at the period when they begin to show the first indication of flowering. After the flowering shoot or spadix enveloped in its spathe is pretty well advanced, and the latter is about to open, tne toddy-man climbs the tree and cuts off the top of the flowershoot; he next ties a ligature round the stalk at the base of the spadix, and with a small cudgel he beats the flower-shoot and bruises it. This he does daily for a fortnight, and if the tree is in good condition, a considerable quantity of a saccharine juice flows from the cut apex of the flowershoot, and is caught in a pot fixed conveniently for the purpose, and emptied every day. It flows freely for fifteen or sixteen days, and less freely day by day for another month or more; a slice has to be removed from the top of the shoot very frequently. The juice rapidly ferments, and in four days is usually sour; previous to that it is a favorite drink known in some parts of India as callu, and to the Europeans as toddy, When turning sour, it is distilled and converted into arrack. It is largely manufactured in Goa, Batavia, Ceylon and Siam. A similar
spirit is made pretty largely from the magnificent fan-leaved palm, and also from the so-called date-sugar palm. The name is also given to a spirit obtained from rice and sugar fermented with cocoanut sap. An imitation arrack may be prepared by dissolving ten grains of benzoic acid in a pint of rum.
RAILWAY MILEAGE OF THE WORLD. The dates of the opening of the first railways, and the mileage in 1891, of the principal countries are as under: Austria-Hungary.
20th September, 1828.
.5th May, 1835
18th September, 1844.
..1st October, 1828.
.7th December, 1835.
25.969 Great Britain and Ireland...
.27th September, 1835.
20,073 18th February, 1869.
.3d October, 1839.
13th September, 1839
14th July, 1853
9th July, 1854
4th April, 1838
.30th October, 1848.
9th February, 1851.
15th June, 1844.
.4th October, 1860..
26th January, 1856.
1,494 India ..
18th April, 1853.
16,996 United States..
17th April, 1827
.19th March, 1847.
8th October, 1850.
5,827 Argentine Republic.
14th December, 1861
30th April, 1854.
29th May, 1851.,
1st January, 1869.
9th February, 1868.
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY-TWO DAYS. This will be of interest to those "tourists” who contemplate the “girdling of the earth!"
Start from any of the Atlantic cities to Omaha, Neb., via the regular trunk lines of railway-about 1,400 miles, in two days and two hours.
From Omaha to San Francisco, Cal., via Union and Central Pacific railroads-1,914 miles, in four days and six hours.
From San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan, by Pacific Mail line of steamers—4,700 miles, in twenty-two days.
From Yokohama to Hong Kong, China, by Pacific Mail or Peninsular and Oriental steamers-1,600 miles, in six days.
From Hong Kong to Calcutta, India, by Peninsular and Oriental steamers—3,500 miles, in fourteen days.
From Calcutta to Bombay, India, by the East Indian and Great Indian Peninsular railways—1,450 miles, in three days.
From Bombay to Suez, Egypt, by Peninsular and Oriental steamers—3,600 miles, in fourteen days.
From Suez to Alexandria, Egypt, by rail-225 miles, in ten hours.
From Alexandria to Brindisi, Italy, by Peninsular and Oriental steamers—850 miles, in three days.
From Brindisi to London, England, by rail, via Paris or the Rhine-1,200 miles, in thiee days.
From London to Liverpool, England, by railway-200 miles, in six hours.
From Liverpool to the Atlantic cities, America, by either of the great Atlantic steamship lines--3,000 miles, in ten days..
Total distance, 23,639 miles. Time, eighty-two days. Fare, about $1,100; with $1 per day for meals and incidentals, the total cost of the trip, $1,500.
THEORY OF AUCTIONS. One of the most convenient modes of offering property for sale is correctly indicated by the name “Auction,” which means an arrangement for increasing the price by exciting competition amongst purchas
In the Dutch Auction of the “Cheap Jack,” the usual mode of proceeding is reversed, the property being offered at a higher price than that which the seller is willing to accept, and gradually lowered till a purchaser is found. “Cheap John” auctions are extensively in vogue in the larger cities of this country, in which “cappers" and other shady characters are employed to bid upon articles and entrap unwary persons into extravagant purchases. These institutions have become public nuisances, and many of them are little better than “iences” for stolen goods. Thus far not much has been accomplished in the way of their suppression. In legitimate auctions “Conditions of Sale” are usually published, which constitute the terms on which the seller offers his property, and form an integral part of the contract between seller and purchaser. The contract is completed by the offer or bid on the part of the purchaser, and the acceptance by the seller or his representative, which is formally declared by the fall of the auctioneer's or salesman's hammer, and in former times by the running of a sandglass, the burning of an inch of candle (hence the term “sale by the candle”), or any other means which may have been specified in the conditions of sale. Mere advertisement does not make a contract. These conditions or articles ought further to narrate honestly and fully the character of the object or the nature of the right to be transferred, to regulate the manner of bidding, prescribe the order in which offerers are to be preferred, and to name a person who shall be empowered to determine disputes between bidders, and in cases of doubt to declare which is the purchaser.
CURIOUS BY-PRODUCTS OF COAL. There are a good many products from coal, of which the majority of people know nothing. Their number will go into the thousands, and research into this particular branch of inorganic chemistry is bringing new and rich rewards to scientists each year. One of the hydrocarbons distinctly produced from coal tar is benzole. This is the base of magenta red and blue coloring matters and of the oil of bitter almonds. This oil formerly came entirely from the vegetable product from which it takes its name, but now it is to a large extent made from benzole, and a chemically pure product is secured. The vegetable oil of bitter almonds contains a certain anıount of prussic acid, which is a poisonous substance. Toluene, or tolulo, is another product from coal tar, which is the base of a great many chemicals. Benzoic acid, which used to be made almost entirely from plants, is now readily made from toluene. Carbolic acid is another product of tolulo. The latter is a colorless fluid with a smell very much like crude petroleum, while carbolic acid and salicylic acid, two of its products, are far from being sweet-smelling compounds. Yet this same tolulo is the basis of a number of very fragrant products. Wintergreen oil, much purer than from the plant, and generally preferred by confectioners and others who use it, is one; oil of cinnamon, cinnamic acid, and oil of cloves are among the middle products which are in great demand. As yet the products of coal tar have not been made use of for medicines to any great extent, except as disinfectants, but, from experiments now going on, it is hoped to produce pure quinine from