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CHAPTER IV.

DISCOVERIES, INVENTIONS AND FACTS IN ART,
SCIENCE, AND NATURAL HISTORY.

AINTINGS in Fresco. - M. Stefano Barezzi, of Milan, has discovered a process for transposing paintings in Fresco from one wall to another without injuring them. He covers the picture with a prepared canvas, which detaches the whole of the painting from the wall. The canvas is then applied to another wall, to which the picture attaches without the least trait being lost. M. Barezzi is now engaged in removing a large picture of Marco d'Oggione, in the Church della Pace, at Rome, and it is hoped that by his process he will be able to rescue from the ravages of time the beautiful remains of the Caena of Leonardo da Vinci. Horizontal direction.—Ajournal of Rome announces that an inhabitant of Bologna, called Mingorelli, has discovered the horizontal direction of aerostatics, which for so many years has been the subject of physical and mechanical research, and for the discovery of which the Royal Academy of London has proposed a prize of 20,000l. sterling. Hydraulic weighing machine.— M. Henry, an engineer of the French royal corps of roads and bridges, has presented to the Academy of Sciences a plan for a new hydraulic machine, the object of which is to weigh loaded boats in the same manner as carriages are weighed, by means of loaded scales. The machine, it

is said, will operate under water, without preventing the boats from continuing to float. This new invention may be usefully applied to the collection of customs on navigable canals. Gas lamp.–A patent has been granted for the invention of a portable gas lamp. This invention consists in condensing the inflammable vapour, by forcing it into a strong vessel by means of a pump, which vessel forms the body or reservoir of the lamp; and when it is desired to light the lamp, the gas is permitted to issue out by a gentle stream, which is effected by the peculiar constitution of the valve. Musical kaleidoscope.—A very curious invention has been made in the art of musical composition. Cards are prepared, on each of which a bar of an air is arranged according to a certain rhythm and key. Four packs of these cards, marked A B C and D, are mingled together; and as the cards are drawn and arranged before a performer in the order of that series, it will be found an original air is obtained. The cards hitherto made are as waltzes, and succeed perfectly. The invention may be called musical permutation. It has received, however, improperly, the name of the musical kaleidoscope. Curious facts in natural history.—

It has been generally considered, worms, but it appears from undoubted authority, that they also destroy mice. A gentleman, residing at Keswick, has published a letter in the Sporting Magazine, in which he says, that one evening in the latter end of July last, he observed a rustling in the strawberry bed in his garden, and found that a toad had just seized a field-mouse, which had got on the toad's back, scratching and biting to get released, but in vain. The toad kept his hold, and, as the strength of the mouse failed, he gradually drew the unfortunate little animal into his mouth, and gorged him.—Another correspondent in the same magazine, relates a wonderful instance of the voracity of stoats: Some workmen on removing a pile of faggots, near a coppice, where it had lain about five months, found sixty-three rabbit skins, and twenty-five hare-skins, all perfectly whole, besides fragments of skins; on removing a few more bundles,

on the authority of Mr. Pennant, that toads live on insects and Worms,

they found six stoats, four of

which they killed, the other two escaped. It is generally thought that stoats merely seek the blood of these animals, but this fact proves that the opinion is erroIl COR1S, Natural phenomenon.—It is stated, in accounts from Giessen, in Hesse-Darmstadt, that on the 3d of May, there fell in different parts of that city, a rain of the colour of blood. Professor Zimmerman, analized it, and says, that its component parts were oxyd of iron, an earthy acid (d’ acide de terre,) and carbon. Many of the inhabitants were much alarmed by the shower. Geography.—It is at length ascertained that the river Niger

empties itself into the Atlantic ocean, a few degrees to the northward of the equator. This important fact is confirmed by the arrival of Mr. Dupuis from Africa. This gentleman was appointed consul from this country at Ashantee (where Mr. Bowdich resided for some time.) He is acquainted with the Arabic and Moorish languages, and got his intelligence by conversing with different traders, with whom he fell in, at Ashantee. He thought it so important as to warrant his voyage home to communicate to government what he had learnt. We say that Mr. D. has confirmed this fact; for it so happens, that he has been anticipated in the discovery by the geographical acumen of a gentleman of Glasgow, who arrived at the same conclusion by a most persevering and diligent investigation of the works of travellers and geographers, ancient and modern, and examining African captives; and had actually constructed and submitted to the inspection of government a few months ago, a map of Africa, in which he lays down the Niger as emptying itself into the Atlantic in about four degrees north latitude, after tracing out its entire course from the interior. Astronomy.—Baron Lindeneau has recently published some observations respecting the diminution of the solar mass. It will be found, he says, that the sun may have been imperceptibly subject to successive diminution since the science of astronomy has been cultivated. Baron Lindeneau sup

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repos, near Lausanne, in cutting through an eminence composed of sand-stone, when a loose fragment of rock split open, which contained a fan-shaped leaf in a fossil state in good preservation, of the low palm (cheemerops humilis) without thorns, which is known to grow in the south of Italy and Spain. This curiosity has been deposited in the society's Imuseum. Fattening oren.—The practice of fattening oxen with raw potatoes, has, of late, been attended with great success in the counties of Kent and Norfolk. They gradually become fond of them, and thrive rapidly. The cattle should be in a thriving condition when put on potatoes, as, if lean, they will yield a poor profit. No water should be given, when the animals are fed entirely on potatoes. The potatoes need not be cut, and it is unnecessary to wash them. One acre of fair potatoes will fatten two beasts. It is not recommended to give potatoes to milch cows; mangel-wurzel will suit them better, by increasing the quantity of milk, the quality of which will not be injured.

Galcanic magnetism.—An important result of electro magnetic experiments has recently been obtained by professor Oersted. He states, that a plate of zinc (about three inches high, and four inches broad,) placed in, and by an arch of small wire, connected with a trough nearly fitting it, made of thin copper, and containing a mixture of one part of sulphuric acid, one part of nitric acid, and sixty parts of water, forms an apparatus, which, being suspended by a very small wire, only sufficiently strong to bear its weight, will, if a powerful magnet be presented to it, exhibit magnetic polarity—turning its corresponding pole to the pole of the magnet. The suspending wire is attached to the apparatus by a thread, rising from one side of the trough to the wire, and descending to the other side of the trough; and the plate of zinc is kept from coming in contact with the copper case, by a piece of cork interposed on each side of

the plate. Double refraction.— M. Soret. has, in the Journal Physique (see p. 363,) given two simple methods to ascertain the double refraction of mineral substances. The apparatus for the first method is simply two plates of tourmaline, cut parallel to the axis of the crystal, and placed crossways, so as to absorb all the light. The substance to be examined is to be placed between these plates: if it be double refractory, the light re-appears through the tourmalines; if not, it all remains dark. The second method consists in placing the mineral to be examined over a hole in a card, and examining the light transmitted mitted through it by an achromatic prism of Iceland spar. If the two images produced are coloured differently, it indicates double refraction. Remedy for mildew in wheat.— Dr. Cartwright, to whom the agriculturists of this kingdom lie under great obligations for numerous improvements, has discovered that a solution of common salt, sprinkled on corn infected with mildew, commonly removes the disease. In the year 1818, he was engaged in a series of experiments, to ascertain the minimum of salt that would be required to destroy vegetation in certain weeds, as coltsfoot, bindweed, the common thistle, &c. The salt, it was found, had very little effect on weeds, or other vegetation, when they had arrived at that stage in which they ceased to be succulent, and are becoming fibrous. But as soon as the rain washed the salt down to their roots, if in sufficient quantity, they languished and died. Happening to have some wheat at the time that was mildewed, the doctor tried the experiment upon it; and the result was such as was anticipated, without any injury to the corn; salt having no injurious effect on fibrous matter, whether vegetable or animal. The expence in this case ceases to be any object, for six or eight bushels will serve an acre, which, at the price of salt applied to agriculture, will be under twenty shillings; and this will be more than repaid by

the improvement of the manure,

arising from the salted straw. Two men, one to spread, and the other to supply him with the salt water, will get over four acres in

a day; the operation of the remedy is very quick: in less than forty-eight hours, even the vestiges of the disease are hardly discernible. Its efficacy has been completely verified by more recent experiments. Mode of destroying insects on fruit trees.—It has long been believed, that leaves of the elder tree, put into the subterraneous paths of moles, drive them away; but it is not generally known, that if fruit trees, flowering shrubs, corn, or vegetables, be wiped with the green leaves of elder branches, insects will not attach to them. An infusion of elder leaves in water is good for sprinkling over rosebuds, and flowers subject to blights, and the devastations of caterpillars. Prevention of gumming in fruit trees.--Horse dung, clay, sand, and pitch tar, form a composition, which, when applied to the trunk and stems of fruit trees, after they are properly cleansed, prevents that spontaneous exudation called gumming, which is very injurious to the growth of trees. Liquor from mountain ash-berries. —In North Wales, a liquor, called diod griafel, is brewed from the berries of the mountain-ash, by merely crushing, and adding water to them. After standing for a fortnight it is fit for use; its flavour somewhat resembling perry. A substitute for potatoes. Europe owes infinite gratitude to the memory of sir Francis Drake, who first introduced from America, the potatoe. We are assured, that there grows in Santa Fé de Bagota, a root, called arakatscha, even more nourishing, and as prolific

prolific as the potatoe; resembling the Spanish chesnut in taste and firmness. It is a native of the Cordilleros, a climate as temperate as that of Europe, and might be cultivated here with the same facility as the potatoe. It would be a most desirable thing to procure the plant, as well as some of the seed; and we earnestly recommend it to the Admiralty, to instruct the officers of ships on the South American station, to make inquiries concerning it; and to bring a few of the roots home, for the purpose of experiment. Immense block of amethyst.—A most singular curiosity has been brought to the presidency of Calcutta, by a Portuguese vessel lately arrived from Brazil. Incredible as it may appear to those who have not studied the wonderful combinations of nature, it seems to be a mass of amethysts, of the enormous dimensions of four feet in circumference, by something less than one foot in height, and weighing ninety-eight pounds. It is in its rough state, and is described rather as an assemblage of more than fifty irregular columns, high, smooth, transparent, purple, and white, shooting up like a crystallization from one common bed or source, than as a regularly formed and perfect stone. It was sent from the Brazils as a real amethyst, and such also has it been declared by judges of the subject, who have examined it since its arrival in Calcutta. Newly invented boat.—A boat, manned by four men, lately proceeded from the harbour of North Berwick to Canty Bay, a distance of two miles, and, after refresh

ing the crew, proceeded round the Bass Rock, and returned about a quarter past nine, having performed their voyage in the space of an hour and a quarter, gross time, being upwards of six miles, the whole performed without either sails, oars, or any steam apparatus. The invention is entirely that of a respectable millwright there, who expects a patent before he publishes the means of impulsion. Mode of sweeping streets, &c. by machinery.—Mr. Tucker, a gentleman who lately left Limerick for New York, has obtained a patent there, for sweeping streets by machinery. IIe is to perform the work of forty men, by two horses, to draw the machine up one side of the streets, and down at the other, which is not only to sweep but to collect the dirt in heaps, ready to carry away. Remedy for a disease brought on by drinking cold water.—A man in Oliver-street, New York, after imprudently drinking cold water during the great heats, was seized with very alarming symptoms, from which he was relieved by Dr. John De Alton White, who dissolved half an ounce of camphor in a gill of brandy; of this one-third was given at intervals of three minutes, which soon gave the patient relief. t Hydrophobia.--Dr. Lyman Spalding, one of the most eminent physicians of New York, announces, in a small pamphlet, that for above these fifty years, the Scutellaria lateristora, L. has proved to be an infallible means for the prevention and cure of the hydrophobia, after the bite of mad animals. It is better applied as a dry powder than fresh. - According

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