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.

Prof.  A. Vogel conjectures that the formation of tannin in the living plant is to some extent influenced by light.  This supposition is supported by the fact that the proportion of tannin in beech or larch bark increases from below upward—­that is, from the less illuminated to the more illuminated parts, and this in the proportions of 4:6 and 5:10.

Sunny mountain slopes of a medium height yield, according to wide experience, on an average the pine-barks richest in tannin.  In woods in level districts the proportion of tannin is greatest in localities exposed to the light, while darkness seems to have an unfavorable effect.  Here, also, we must refer to the observation that leaves exceptionally exposed to the light are relatively rich in tannin.

We may here add that in the very frequent cases where a leaf is shadowed by another in very close proximity, or where a portion of a leaf has been folded over by some insect, the portion thus shaded retains a pale green color, while adjacent leaves, or other portions of the same leaf, assume their yellow, red, or brown autumnal tints.  If, as seems highly probable, these tints are due to transformation products of tannin, we may not unnaturally conclude that they will be absent where tannin has not been generated.—­Jour. of Science.

* * * * *


   [Footnote 1:  Read before the Birmingham Philosophical Society,
   January 22, 1885.]

By THOMAS TURNER, Assoc.  R.S.M., F.C.S., Demonstrator of Chemistry, Mason College.

There are a number of interesting facts, some of which are known to most persons, and many of them have been long recognized, of which, however, it must be owned that the explanation is somewhat obscure, and the connections existing between them have been but recently pointed out.  As an example of this, it is well known that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water, and hence sea-water may be quite liquid while rivers and ponds are covered with ice.  Again, it is noticed that mixtures of salts often have a fusing-point lower than that of either of the constituent salts, and of this fact we often take advantage in fluxing operations.  Further, it is well known that certain alloys can be prepared, the melting-points of which are lower than the melting-point of either of the constituent metals alone.  Thus, while potassium melts at 62.5 deg.  C., and sodium at about 98 deg., an alloy of these metals is fluid at ordinary temperatures, and fusible metal melts below the temperature of boiling water, or more than 110 deg. lower than the melting-point of tin, the most fusible of the three metals which enter into the composition of this alloy.  But though these and many similar facts have been long known, it is but recently, owing largely to the labors of Dr. Guthrie, that fresh truths have been brought to light, and a connection shown

Project Gutenberg
Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook