Scientific American Supplement No. 822, October 3, 1891 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 149 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement No. 822, October 3, 1891.

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as heretofore, but by the formula C_{2}H_{5}(OC_{2}H_{5}), which is ethyl-ethoxol.  Acetone would admit of a similar explanation.

Finally the assumption of dissimilarity in character of the hydrogen atoms in the water molecule possibly may lead to the discovery of a number of unlocked for isomerides.

Thus, by appropriate methods, it ought to become possible to introduce the alkyl groups solely into the hydroxyl group (instead of into the place of the loosely attached H-atom).  In that case chemists might arrive at an isomeride of methyl alcohol of the formula H.(OCH_{3}), or at methoxyl hydride, a compound not alcoholic in character, or at a nitroxyl hydride, H(ONO_{2}), not of an acidic nature.  Oxychlorides would be classed with this latter category, that is, they would be looked on as water in which the free hydrogen atom has been substituted by the metal, and the hydrogen atom of the hydroxyl by chlorine.  This example, indeed, furnishes a most characteristic illustration of our theory.  In the case just now assumed we arrive at the oxychloride; when, however, the metal and chlorine change places in the water molecule, the isomeric hypochlorous salts are the result.  It is true that such cases of isomerism are as yet unknown, but we do know that certain metals, in our present state of knowledge, yield oxychlorides only, while others only form hypochlorous salts.  This condition also explains why hypochlorites still possesses the bleaching power of chlorine, while the same is not true of oxychlorides.  However, it seems needless to multiply examples in further illustration of the theory.

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In 1750, Bonnet, a Genevese naturalist, remarked that leaves immersed in water became covered in the sun with small bubbles of a gas that he compared to small pearls.  In 1772, Priestley, after discovering that the sojourn of animals in a confined atmosphere renders it irrespirable, investigated the influence of plants placed in the same conditions, and he relates, in these words, the discovery that he made on the subject: 

“I put a sprig of mint in a quantity of air in which a candle had ceased to burn, and I found that, ten days later, another candle was able to burn therein perfectly well.”  It is to him, therefore, that is due the honor of having ascertained that plants exert an action upon the atmosphere contrary to that exerted by animals.  Priestley, however, was not completely master of his fine experiment; he was ignorant of the fact, notably, that the oxygen is disengaged by plants only as long as they are under the influence of light.

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Scientific American Supplement No. 822, October 3, 1891 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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