A Catechism of Familiar Things; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 237 pages of information about A Catechism of Familiar Things;.

     Guinea, a country of Western Africa.

What are the uses of Gold?

It is used for money, jewelry, plate, &c.  It is also employed in various ways in the arts.

What is the character of Gold?

Gold is so ductile and malleable, that an ounce of it may be drawn into a thread of 73 leagues in length; or beaten into 160 leaves of 9 inches square, and thin enough to be carried away by the slightest wind.  It readily assumes any form that human art can bestow upon it:  its color is unalterable, and the beautiful polish of which it is susceptible, renders it the best of all metals for ornamental purposes.  It is indestructible by air, water, or fire.  Gold is the heaviest of all metals, except platina; it is neither very elastic, nor very hard.

     League, a measure of length containing three miles.

     Indestructible, incapable of being destroyed.

Is not the use of Gold quite ancient?

Yes; it appears to have been very early known to the inhabitants of the world.  In the 13th Chapter of Genesis, Abram is spoken of as very rich in silver and gold; and in the 2d Chapter of the same book, the “land of Hevilath” (now in the eastern part of Arabia Felix,) is pointed out as having gold.  Arabia was famed for the fineness and quality of its gold.  In the time of Solomon, the gold of Ophir seems to have been much esteemed, as it is recorded that the gold used in the building of the Temple was brought from that place by the merchant-vessels of Hiram, King of Tyre.  Ophir is supposed to have been situated somewhere in the East Indies.

What is Silver?

A beautiful white shining metal, next to gold in value, and, like that precious substance, of great antiquity.  It is found in Sweden, Norway, and the polar latitudes:  when it occurs in hot climates, it is generally amidst mountains, covered with perpetual snow.

     Latitude, breadth, width; in Geography, the distance of a
     place in degrees, north or south, from the Equator.

Where are the richest Silver Mines found?

In South America, especially among the Andes; the mines of Mexico, and those of Nevada, also, are rich in this metal.  The richest and most important silver mines in Europe are those of Koenigsberg, in Norway, and of Andalusia, in Spain.  With the exception of gold, silver is the most ductile of all metals:  a single grain may be extended into a plate 126 inches long, and half an inch broad.  It is capable of still further extension, but its tenacity is inferior even to that of iron or copper.  A silver wire one-tenth of an inch thick will scarcely bear a weight of 290 pounds, whilst a gold wire of the same thickness will support nearly double that weight.  Like some other metals, it is unalterable by air or moisture, but by an intense heat may be volatilized, being sometimes found in the soot of chimneys where large quantities are melted.

Project Gutenberg
A Catechism of Familiar Things; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook