A Catechism of Familiar Things; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about A Catechism of Familiar Things;.

     Factitious, made by art, not found in a natural state.

What is Zinc?

A metal of a brilliant bluish white color.  Its name was unknown to the ancient Greeks and Arabians.  It is mixed with other substances in the ore, from which it is obtained by smelting in the furnace.  It has never yet been found native or pure.

For what is Zinc used?

From its readiness to dissolve in all acids, and unite with other metals, it is used in alloy with them in the composition of brass, &c.  Thin sheets of zinc are also used to cover roofs of houses, and in the manufacture of various household utensils.

What is Lapis Calaminaris?

Lapis Calaminaris, or calamine stone, is a native carbonate of zinc, of some use in medicine, but chiefly in founding.  It is, sometimes brownish, as that found in Germany and England, or red, as that of France.  It is dug out of mines, usually in small pieces; generally out of those of lead.  Calamine is mostly found in barren, rocky soils.

Founding, the art of casting metals.

CHAPTER XI.

YAMS, MANGOES, BREAD-FRUIT, SHEA OR BUTTER TREE, COW TREE, WATER TREE, LICORICE, MANNA, OPIUM, TOBACCO, AND GUM.

What are Yams?

The roots of a climbing plant growing in tropical climates.  The root of the yam is wholesome and well-flavored; nearly as large as a man’s leg, and of an irregular form.  Yams are much used for food in those countries where they grow; the natives either roast or boil them, and the white people grind them into flour, of which they make bread and puddings.  The yam is of a dirty brown color outside, but white and mealy within.

What are Mangoes?

The fruit of the Mango Tree, a native of India and the south-western parts of Asia; it also grows abundantly in the West Indies and Brazil.  It was introduced into Jamaica in 1782; where it attains the height of thirty or forty feet, with thick and wide-extended branches.  The varieties of the mango are very numerous,—­upwards of eighty are cultivated; and the quality of these varies according to the countries and situations in which they grow.  The mangoes of Asia are said to be much better than those of America.

Describe the appearance of the Mango Tree.

The flowers of this tree are small and whitish, formed in pyramidal clusters.  The fruit has some resemblance to a short thick cucumber, about the size of a goose’s egg; its taste is delicious and cooling; it has a stone in the centre, like that of a peach.  At first this fruit is of a fine green color, and some varieties continue so, while others change to a fine golden or orange color.  The mango tree is an evergreen, bearing fruit once or twice a year, from six or seven years old to a hundred.

Pyramidal, resembling a pyramid.

How is this fruit eaten?

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A Catechism of Familiar Things; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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