Herr Hefner-Alteneck has suggested a new standard light for photometric purposes, which promises to be very simple and effective in operation. The light is produced by an open flame of amyl-acetate burning from a wick of cotton fiber which fills a tube of German silver 1 in. long and 316 mils. internal diameter; the external diameter being 324 mils. The flame is 1.58 in. high from top to bottom; and it should be lighted at least ten minutes before using the light for testing. A cylindrical glass chimney surrounds it to ward off air currents. About 2 per cent. of the light is absorbed by the glass. The power of the flame is that of a standard English candle; and experiments have shown that amyl acetate, which besides is not expensive, is the best fuel for steadiness and brilliance. Neither the substitution of commercial amyl-acetate for pure nor the use of a wick of cotton thread for loose cotton fiber alters the illuminating power; but the wick should be trimmed square across the mouth of the tube, for if it project and droop the illuminating power is increased.
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In a recent number of the Zeitschrift fur Instrumentenkunde (iv., 42-50, February, 1884), Dr. K. Feussner of Karlsruhe has given a detailed description of a polarizing prism lately devised by him, which presents several points of novelty, and for which certain advantages are claimed. The paper also contains an account, although not an exhaustive one, of the various polarizing prisms which have from time to time been constructed by means of different combinations of Iceland spar. The literature of this subject is scattered and somewhat difficult of access, and moreover only a small part of it has hitherto been translated into English; and it would appear therefore that a brief abstract of the paper may not be without service to those among the readers of Nature who may be unacquainted with the original memoirs, or who may not have the necessary references at hand.
Following the order adopted by Dr. Feussner, the subject may be divided into two parts:
In comparing the various forms of polarizing prisms, the main points which need attention are—the angular extent of the field of view, the direction of the emergent polarized ray, whether it is shifted to one side of, or remains symmetrical to the long axis of the prism; the proportion which the length of the prism bears to its breadth; and lastly, the position of the terminal faces, whether perpendicular or inclined to the long axis. These requirements are fulfilled in different degrees by the following methods of construction:
[Illustration: Fig. 1., Fig. 2., and Fig. 3.]