Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885.
[Footnote 1:  It is also made of a solid cylinder of buffalo’s horn, with a central hollow of three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter and three inches deep burnt into it.  The piston, which fits very tightly in it, is made of iron-wood or some wood equally hard.]

Another method of obtaining fire by friction from bamboos is thus described by Captain T.H.  Lewin ("Hill Tracts of Chittagong, and the Dwellers Therein”, Calcutta, 1869, p. 83), as practiced in the Chittagong Hills.  The Tipporahs make use of an ingenious device to obtain fire; they take a piece of dry bamboo, about a foot long, split it in half, and on its outer round surface cut a nick, or notch, about an eighth of an inch broad, circling round the semi-circumference of the bamboo, shallow toward the edges, but deepening in the center until a minute slit of about a line in breadth pierces the inner surface of the bamboo fire-stick.  Then a flexible strip of bamboo is taken, about 11/2 feet long and an eighth of an inch in breadth, to fit the circling notch, or groove, in the fire-stick.  This slip or band is rubbed with fine dry sand, and then passed round the fire-stick, on which the operator stands, a foot on either end.  Then the slip, grasped firmly, an end in each hand, is pulled steadily back and forth, increasing gradually in pressure and velocity as the smoke comes.  By the time the fire-band snaps with the friction there ought to appear through the slit in the fire-stick some incandescent dust, and this placed, smouldering as it is, in a nest of dry bamboo shavings, can be gently blown into a flame.—­The Gardeners’ Chronicle.

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When we read how one mediaeval saint stood erect in his cell for a week without sleep or food, merely chewing a plantain-leaf out of humility, so as not to be too perfect; how another remained all night up to his neck in a pond that was freezing over; and how others still performed for the glory of God feats no less tasking to their energies, we are inclined to think, that, with the gods of yore, the men, too, have departed, and that the earth is handed over to a race whose will has become as feeble as its faith.  But we ought not to yield to these instigations, by which the evil one tempts us to disparage our own generation.  The gods have somewhat changed their shape, ’tis true, and the men their minds; but both are still alive and vigorous as ever for an eye that can look under superficial disguises.  The human energy no longer freezes itself in fish-ponds, and starves itself in cells; but near the north pole, in central Africa, on Alpine “couloirs,” and especially in what are nowadays called “psycho-physical laboratories,” it maybe found as invincible as ever, and ready for every fresh demand.  To most people a north pole expedition would be an easy task compared with those ineffably tedious measurements

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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