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packed the carborundum ore. An alternating electric current is then passed through the core from end to end, bringing the core gradually to an intense white heat. By keeping up this heat for about twelve hours, the carborundum is gradually reduced from the ore in crystaline form, which is then ground to a powder and pressed and molded in suitable forms for use as emery. The carborundum plant employs a 1,000-horse-power static transformer, by which the voltage or pressure is reduced from 2,000 to 100 and 200 volts. A special regulator of about the same size varies the voltage at the core of the furnace according as the resistance of the core changes with change of temperature.
Special devices are adopted in each of these plants for cooling the interior of the apparatus. A blast of air accomplishes this in the Pittsburgh reduction transformers, and oil forced through in the carborundum transformer.
facturing centers as Lowell, Lawrence and Holyoke, in Massachusetts, it is estimated that the possibilities of power at Niagara Falls should make, within half a century, a city of a million inhabitants. The beginnings of this city have been made in an admirably planned village on a block of about eighty-four acres of the ex. tensive tract of land owned by the Niagara Falls Power Company. And between Niagara Falls and Tonawanda, a distance of about ten miles, the open farming country is already being bought up for the purpose of cutting it up for manufacturing sites, while Tonawanda itself is near enough to come within the range of special changes tending to the development of an immense manufacturing center.
The electric power which comes from the Niagara electric generators is that known as an alternating two phase current of twenty-five cycles per second, or 3,000 alternations per minute, the electric motive force or electrical pressure being about 2,000 volts.
Two manufacturing establishments have al ready established their plants under contracts for a supply of power. One is the Pittsburg Reduction Company, manufacturers of alum. inium, requiring 2,000-horse power. The other is the Carborundum Company, manufacturers of carborundum, a variety of emery. This requires 1,000-horse power.
The Reduction Company uses the electricity in smelting alumina, an oxide of aluminium. This is done in carbon-lined retorts, or crucibles, the mass being liquefied and the aluminium reduced by an electric current which passes from a series of carbon rods suspended over the top of the crucible to the carbon lining at the bottom, the rods and the lining forming the two poles of the circuit. About sixty retorts are placed around the room in series with one another and the current carried through the entire series. It is a direct current, the pressure of which at the terminals in the reducing-room is maintained constant at 160 volts. To get this current, the two-phase current, alternating at 2,000 volts pressure, is reduced to 115 by passing through large "static transformers' built on the principle of the Rhumkorff coil. The current thus reduced is passed through a "rotary converter" which changes it from a two-phase alternating current at 115 volts to a direct, or continuous current at 160 volts. The plant has a capacity on the direct-current side of about 2,000 electrical horse-power.
For the Carborundum Company the electricity is taken in a different way. A large core of carbon about eight feet high and a square foot in cross-section is placed vertically in a large smelting-furnace, and around this core is
I am desirous of taking up the French language as a study. Will you kindly recommend the best course to pursue for one who cannot have access to a teacher ? What books are necessary, etc.?
You cannot make any very great success of studying the French language, as a language, without resorting to a good teacher at some stage of your study. It is better, if you can manage it, to get the help of a teacher almost at the beginning, and get a good start in learning to pronounce French. The work with the teacher will amount to most if you take a good example of French writing and learn how to pronounce and translate, with the teacher telling you both the pronunciation and the meaning of the words and phrases.
Suppose, for example, that you take a French text-book in science, choosing some subject of interest to you; or such a work as Ernest Renan's biography of his sister, Henriette. You start at once to read a page or two, with the aid of the teacher, who must act as your grammar and dictionary, as well as instructor in pronunciation. After going through with a page or two, you turu back and go through it again. Then take the lesson for private study with the dictionary, and see if you cannot thoroughly make out the translation. You can turn to the grammar for help toward finding such points as are needed to enable you to see the meaning of words, such as different forms of verbs, etc. Never mind about grammar any further than this. You may next return in a week to your teacher and review the lesson already gone over. Then go on for two or three pages more. Repeat with this lesson the course taken with the first; and so on indefinitely from week to week. It will not be long before you have read through a small book like Renan's, or have fairly mastered the knowledge contained in a considerable text-book.
Don't on any account burden yourself with details of grammar and usage of words beyond what is necessary to get the meaning of what you undertake to read. Students of language, as Greek, Latin, or French, are commonly required to root out things which Demosthenes, Cicero, Montaigne could not have told about. If you wish to study philology, let it come much later. Your first object is to know the literature, and so much of the language and its grammar as is involved in knowing the lit erature.
For a teacher, you can just as well have almost any one who has a thorough knowledge of the language, and who has intelligence enough to explain the propunciation and meaning of words according to the methods which we have set forth. It is not at all necessary to take the lessons which are commonly given by teachers of French. A course of such lessons, however, may be very well worth while after considerable progress has been made in learning to read French.
In case you cannot have access to any one who can serve the purpose of a weekly teacher, you must content yourself with learning to read without the aid of a teacher. You can readily get a book designed to give a knowledge of French without a teacher. With such a book, with a good grammar for consultation and a good dictionary, you will, without much difficulty, get under way with reading whatever book, as we have explained above, you may choose for the purpose. There is nothing better for a grammar than Dr. Emil Otto's French Conversation-Grammar; the eleventh edition : published by Julius Groos. It is better to get one of the best dictionaries. You can get the English-French part of Tibbins and Fleming's thoroughly trustworthy dictionary for about $12, and it will be a much better investment than less money spent for an inferior work.
Which was the greater general, Grant or Lee? Was Grant's success due to his superiority as a general ?
We know of no reason for denying to either Grant or Lee greatness of the first order. Both were men of superlative quality. The father of Lee was a favorite of President Washington. He was known as “Light-Horse Harry." He commanded the little army of 15,000 men which Washington ordered out for the suppression of an attempt in Western Pennsylvania to revolt against the authority of the Union.
In his descent, therefore, and not less in his personal character, Lee was the peer of any historical character which this country has produced. There is no reason to doubt that he acted as conscicatiously as Washington himself did in leading the Revolution, or as Patrick Henry in Virginia, and Samuel Adams in Massachusetts, and others of the first patriots of the Revolution did, in their doubts about, or their opposition to the adoption of, the National Constitution, which made state rights subordinate, and which permitted the North in 1860 to insist on the paramount authority of the Union. In stainless honor, therefore, it seems impossible not to award equal rank to both of the consummate leaders on either side in the war of 1860 to 1865.
For comparison of their military genius and conduct the history hardly affords anything decisive. One great fact overshadows the whole field, and that is the greater weight of the legions of the Union, with unquestionably equally desperate leroism on both sides. We see not how any historian, at even the remotest distance of future time, can recall the colossal memories of Gettysburg without shrinking from the task of disparaging the generalship of Lee, pitted there against Meade instead of Grant; and if we follow Lee and his beaten army to their last stand, face to face with Grant, there seems to be no escape from the fact, that the awful frown of destiny ard not the failure of Lee gave to Graut the final triumph of the Union. That both were giants in their places, and the strength of each, or the weakness, almost wholly the strength or weakness of his cause, seems to be the conclusion to which historical study will be shut up the more the sub.. ject is investigated.
Can you give me directions how to study Greek without a teacher ?
For satisfactory study of Greek without a teacher there can be no better plan than the following: Procure a copy of “The Beginner's Greek Book,” by Prof. J. W. White, of Harvard University. It is published by Ginn & Company, Boston and Chicago. It gives every possible assistance to learn to read Greek. The method and the knowledge of Greek which it represents are recognized as standing at the head of instruction in Greek for those whose own language is English. The pages are made, through the perfection of the present art of printing, a delight to the eye. It is not worth while to pay any attention to the exercises for translation from English into Greek. Attend only to reading the exercises in Greek; that is, to translatiog them into English.
A second book, which may be taken in hand as the great anniversary festival, commemoalmost or quite from the start, is “The Iliad of rated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts Homer; Books I-VI, with an Introduction and of devotion to God Almighty, from one end of Notes,” by Robert P. Keep. Read those parts the continent to the other, from this time for of the introduction which are found not difficult ward forevermore.” to understand, and then begin at once with the Immediately after adopting the above resolu. first lines of the first book of the Iliad. Attempt tion of independence, on the 2d of July, Cononly to know what the poet says, not spending gress entered upon the consideration of the any time on finding the explanation of the declaration of independence. During the rewords he uses. All that may come later. The first mainder of that day and the next two days the object is to learn to read as fast as possible, pre- language, the statements, and the principles of cisely as a young child would, not bothering at the paper were closely scapped. It was on all about grammar any more than is necessary the evening of the 4th that the declaration of to understand the author. Little by little independence was adopted by the vote of Conpoints of the grammar may be carefully looked gress. Both on the 2d and on the 4th New up, and thus knowledge in that direction slowly York abstained from voting, and the great deacquired, but let the reading keep well ahead, cision was made by twelve states, New York and be the only thing on which interest is con not participating. The declaration was not centrated.
signed by the members of Congress on the day It is far better to study grammar after a large on which it was agreed to, but it was duly auknowledge of words and of reading has been thenticated by the President and Secretary of obtained. The Beginner's Book, already spoken Congress, and published to the wurld The of, will supply a fairly good understanding of signing of the declaration, which is so widely grammatical points. For further grammatical known by the fac simile list of the signers, knowledge, it is well to have a copy of Prof. took place on the 2d day of August. Public W. W. Goodwin's Greek grammar. It has no opinion throughout the country, in taking up equal as an interesting and instructive author. the matter of celebrating the anniversary of ipity for grammatical knowledge of Greek. Read dependence, gave nu heed to the feeling which ers who might prefer something else to Homer, dictated the language of Adams, quoted above, or might wish to take a second book after but settled upon the day on which the declaraHomer, or to take the two books in the reverse tion was adopted by Congress. In doing this, order, cau find nothing better than Prof. Good. it took no note of the fact that the adopwin's “New Anabasis," part of a prose work tion was reached in the evening of July 4. which is easy reading, and is interesting. The matter of making the 4th a legal holi
day had nothing to do with the origin of Please inform me in regard to the origin
the anniversary celebration. The celebration of our Fourth of July, and how it was
could take place without making the day a made a legal holiday ?
legal holiday. It belongs to states to fix such The facts in regard to July 4th as the anni. holidays for suspension of business, and there versary of the Declaration of Independence are has been an increasing tendency to adopt conthese :
spicuous popular days as legal holidays. Jefferson reported the declaration to Congress on the 28th of June, 1776. On the 2d day of
1. What is the cause of spontaneous July, the twelve colonies, in Congress, adopted
combustion? 2. What is the cause of exthis resolution :
plosion of dust in large flouring-mills? “That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that It is in appearance only that combustion is they are absolved from all allegiance to the "spontaneous.” In reality it is precisely the British Crown, and that all political connection same as any other combustion. It has been between them and the state of Great Britain is, separately noted as spontaneous because of want and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
of exact knowledge of the true nature of all In was with reference to this resolution for combustion. independence that John Adams said :
Combustion requires two things: first, a com“The greatest question was decided which bustible atom or molecule hot enough, that is, ever was adopted in America, and a greater vibrating rapidly enough, to be ready to unite perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among with or to be seized by the oxygen of the air. men. The second day of July, 1776, will be the If, for instance, we strike a match, the direct most memerable epoch in the history of Amer- effect of our striking is to bring some particle of ica, to be celebrated by succeeding generations the match into such a state of vibration that the
oxygen of the air will seize it. Here it is im- upon the particles of the oil and the cotton portant to note that we do not, as we naturally heats them rapidly until they reach the point suppose, strike the fire. We only strike or of ignition. Then the next step of the process cause the state of vibration, and no fire would is taken-that of the oxygen striking fiercely come of it but for what the oxygen does after enough for a fiery effect, thus causing the oiled us. As soon as the particle vibrates fast enough cotton to burst into flame. The unobserved the oxygen strikes it with lightning quickness cause here of the heating is the intensely beatand energy, and that striking gives the fire. ing oxygen. The imagination can hardly form
The state of vibration which prepares the an adequate conception of the violent intensity combustible particle for the oxygen is called with which the oxygen of the air is beating “the point of ignition.” This point is a long against everything. The rust of steel is the way off from fire, but it is enough to let the oxy result of the eating power which the beating gen strike. The oxygen is electrical, appar- oxygen has. Oiled cotton is easily and quickly ently at least; at any rate, it is something which affected by this action of the oxygen of the air, causes it to strike like a molecular bolt of light which thus, on the sly as it were, does the prening, instantly heightening the point of igni. paratory work of combustion which ordinarily tion or state of vibration so greatly as to give is done for it by some other heating cause. fire. What we see of the fire is its incomplete Now, in the case of explosion in flour-mills, state. There is a point, or instant, at which the or in places where dry coal-dust fills the air, particle struck by the oxygen is heated red, or that which takes place is comparable exactly to white hot, and shows accordingly. This is what we have described in the case of the cotjust before the oxygen has completed its work. ton waste, heated to the point of ignition and In many cases particles are taken so quickly by then burned through the operation of oxygen the oxygen and with so little preliminary heat- alone. One-fourth part of the air of the mill is ing that no show of fire, or very little, is made. oxygen in the state which we have described. If the particle is carbon, a big show is made, but the fine particles of dry dust, flour or coal in if it is hydrogen, although the heat in the op- the air are easily heated by the action of the eration is much greater, there is very little show oxygen to the point of ignition, and once at of fire. What the oxygen is after is not fire, that point the lightning stroke of the oxygen, but to unite with and carry off the combustible all the molecules of the whole air acting in one particle-carbon or hydrogen, or any other. instant, or flash, make the explosion. The
In the whole business the all-comprehending terrific energy of an explosion cannot be propfact is the lightning quickness and energy of erly understood without a considerable further the oxygen. The greatest fire consists of noth explanation of the way in which the explosive ing more than the oxygen of the air eating up effects take place. But the matter of the initiawhatever materials fall a prey to the conflagra- tion of the explosion has its complete explanation. In no matter what conflagration, it is tion in what we have said of the natural action not the fire which consumes anything. All that of the oxygen of the air. the visible fire does is to heat unburned material to the point of ignition. The real work of
I wish to take a course in anatomy and consuming whatever is burned is the work of physiology preparatory to studying medithe oxygen of the air in seizing and carrying
cine. Kindly put me in a way to do so. away combustible particles. These are mostly The two subjects are of peculiar interest taken particles of carbon and particles of hydrogen. together. That of Anatomy can be pursued The particles of carbon are carried off one atom with great satisfaction through careful reading, at a time, every molecule of oxygen taking its first, of the elaborate encyclopædia articles one atom of carbon. The particles of hydrogen in the Britannica, including the biographical are in the same way taken two at a time. In articles on the eminent men who represent difconsuming hydrogen the oxygen molecules ferent steps of advance in the history of the scidivide each into two oxygen atoms, and each ence; and, second, in the best, most recent single atom takes its two hydrogen atoms. works which bring the subject up to date.
Now, in the case of spontaneous combustion, Physiology is provided for in the same way, unobserved causes produce heat among particles and very fully, in the Britannica and in recent of combustible character. If, for instance, a works of the highest character and value; but painter throws a ball of cotton waste, with the subject is one not yet clearly and concluwhich he has rubbed down an oiled surface, sively taught anywhere, although opinions exout upon a snowdrift, he may see it take fire pressed with the greatest confidence and in very there in consequence of the fact that the elaborate expositions of what are supposed to oxygen of the air beating intensely among and be the facts, are abundant.
One of the great matters not yet perfectly ingly fine particles wholly reflect the waves of resolved grows out of the fact that physiology light which give a blue effect. covers the whole plant world; everything vege- But as the sun rises in the east or sets in the table, not less than the animal world. But the west, his rays come to the eye through air in greatest difficulties in physiology are met with which the floating particles of matter are larger, in connection with the attempts which are made and these larger particles reflect, it may be to explain what vital energy is and what are its waves which give yellow, or, with particles still sources. Here the field is almost wholly in pos larger, the waves that give red effect. To have session, even to the present moment, of pseudo- the heavens blood-red, it would only be necesscience. The immense and masterly five-vol- sary to have the upper air filled with fine partiume text-book, for example, by Foster, of the cles of the right size for reflecting the red waves. University of Cambridge, elaborately expounds Suns or skies that scare people, as if solar ana thoroughly wrong, not to say absolutely ab- ger or celestial terror were revealed, really surd, theory of the source of vital energy in the mean nothing, except that the universal dust of animal. Prof. Huxley, in an admirable small the air is composed of particles enough larger book on Physiology, sets forth this theory, than the common to reflect red instead of blue. claiming that the same stir among the molecules or atoms of the system, which takes place in a What was the origin of vaccination? rotting carcass, gives, when it takes place in the living system, the animating and moving
Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination, was an energy of the system.
apprentice to a surgeon at Sodbury, near BrisA pumpkin, for instance, left lying on the
tol, England, when, about 1769, his attention ground, will, through chemical stir among its
was called to the popular belief which he found molecules, sink down in a mass of rottenness.
current in Gloucestershire that cowpox antagIf a cow eats the fresh pumpkin, the same chem
onized smallpox. From 1770, as a student unical stir, taking place at once, is supposed by
der John Hunter, in London, for two years, Huxley and Foster to give the cow animating
and as a practitioner at Berkeley, his native and vital energy. The rotting of the pumpkin
town, he pursued occasional inquiry without in her interior unlooses, they say, the energy
any clear result. In the years 1775 to 1780 he which enables her to kick over the milk-pail,
became satisfied, by careful investigation, that and perhaps violently gore the milk-maid. Just
one form of cowpox taken at the right time how the decay of a pumpkin in a cow's interior
would antagonize smallpox. In 1788 he had should contain any such energy, much less let
on exhibition a drawing of the cowpox as seen it off, the labored explanation about it has never
on the hands of a milkmaid. In 1796, May 14th,
he made an experiment on a boy 8 years of attempted to state. In the next number of SELF CULTURE the
age, whom he inoculated with cowpox matter, editor will begin a series of outline studies
and later, July 1st, inoculated with smallpox of the double subject of Anatomy and Physiol
matter without any smallpox following. Two ogy, together with the Chemistry and Physics,
years followed before he could experiment furthe Electricity and Magnetism, the Zoology and
ther and announce, as he then did, his discovery Botany which are necessarily a part of the
in a published pamphlet. Both strong opposition study. An indexical digest of readings in the
and strong advocacy immediately followed, and Britannica will be given, with definitions and
in the course of 1799 the practice of inoculating defining descriptions of all the objects covered
with cowpox matter spread over England, was by the study, and an outline view of teaching
extended within a year to the United States, and on the subject, with additional references to the
on the continent of Europe, and so over the best recert authorities.
whole world within the short period of six
years. Spain, for example, in 1803, sent a cowWhat is the cause of the beautiful col- pox diffusion expedition on a three-years' cirors at sunrise and sunset ?
cumnavigation of the globe, to introduce the
new practice in all the Spanish possessions. The cause of the blue color of the sky is the The greatest excitement and enthusiasm atpresence in the air through which we see a blue tended the early progress of the practice sky of particles of matter so fine and minute throughout the world. The exact philosophy as to agree in size with the smallness of the of the practice cannot be said to have been smallest light-waves; those which give to the perfectly made out during these years, and eye the effect of blue. If the air were perfectly questions, therefore, as to its merit and its clear of these fine particles of matter, the sky pecessity cannot be said to have been fully would be black instead of blue. The exceed. answered. In 1811 London was greatly excited