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PROGRESS OF INVENTION.

PREPARING FIBRE FROM BAMBOO CANE.—The bamboo cane is separated into fibre by proper machines. It is then boiled in caustic alkali of about six degrees Beaumè in an open kettle, until the siliceous and gummy matter is extracted. It is then pressed to extract water, and as much of the siliceous and gummy matter as may be held by the fibre. It is then boiled for about three hours in a weaker solution of caustic alkali, and afterwards for two hours in soap and water. This cleanses and softens the fibre, and does not reduce it to a pulpy condition, nor does it impair its strength. The fibres are then washed clean, and are prepared for carding by passing them through a machine backle. They are next subjected to strong cards, which reduce them to a proper condition for spinning. The fibre should be in a moist state during the process of carding. This bamboo fibre thus prepared may be used separately, or mixed with other substances for the manufacture of textile fabrics.

Food For HORSES AND CATTLE.— This invention consists in introducing into the food for cattle the fruit of the date-palm. The mixture is stated to be good for poultry and game, as well as for horses. The mixture of date-palm with flour, or other farinaceous substances, is moistened and made into cakes. It is then baked, and afterwards pulverized. The water and baking may be dispensed with when the food is to be used as meal. Medicinal properties may be imparted to this food by mixing it with mineral waters. Again, a better kind may be prepared and dipped in lemon juice, and dried at a low temperature, and this may be used by sailors for curing or preventing scurvy. The inventor is Mr. James Spratt, of Holborn.

BUTTON FASTENING.–Mr. Henry Mayhew proposes to attach buttons to any fabric in the following manner :-He takes a small strip of pliable metal, the ends of which are pointed. This he passes over the bar of the button; he then brings the ends close together. The two ends are then passed through the material to which the button is to be fastened, and each end of the metal is then to be bent back and compressed. The button can only be removed by bringing the ends together again.

NEEDLE CASE AND WRAPPER.—A very simple needle-case has been invented by Mr. Charles Bartlett James, of Redditch. It consists of an outer cover, or case and sheath combined, made of paper, silk, or any other suitable material, so as to fold up and close with a tongue-piece. From the inner side of the body of this outer case, to which it is attached, a strip of ribbon or paper passes into the sheath, where it is attached to the side of the same, so that upon the descent of a packet of needles into the sheath, it will press upon and draw down with it into the sheath the material of the strip, such action tending to bring together and close the parts of the case ; whilst the opening out of the same has a contrary

effect, the strip being drawn out of the sheath, and consequently propelling or forcing upwards, and partially out of the sheath, the packet or case of needles.

SMELTING, CARBONIZING, AND PORIFYING IRON.- Mr. Isham Baggs, of High Holborn, has patented a process for effecting the above object, in which he does away with the use of coal or coke. The substances he employs as his source of heat being coal gas, hydrogen, carbonic oxide, or other combustible gases, also naphtha vapour, petroleum, or other hydrocarbons under pressure, and in combination with a blast of hot or cold air. The liquid hydro-carbons may be forced in as inflammable vapours under the pressure of their own atmospheres, or otherwise. The proportions in which the air and inflammable matters are mixed are regulated by valves or taps. For the purpose of carbonizing the iron, whether in or ont of the furnace, as may be desired, coal-gas, or other carbides, or materials containing carbon, are blown through the furnace, or brought into contact with the molten metal by blowing the same through it. When purification is required, hydrofluoric acid is blown through the melted metal on its way from the furnace, and in this case it is better to mix the gas with atmospheric air.

PREPARING BLOCKS FOR SURFACE PRINTING.-Mr. Edward Wimbridge, of Great James Street, describes his invention as follows:-"I prepare or manufacture blocks for printing in this manner. I take a metal plate, or a stone, or other suitable surface, and draw on it a design in ink, which contains gum, or other adhesive matter. I then apply Brunswick black, or other analogous material, in the ordinary manner; and I next wash the surface with water. This removes the ink, and lays bare the metal surface where the design has been drawn ; the remainder is covered with Branswick black. I then apply acid to eat out the design to the required depth. The surface thus prepared forms a mould, from which I take a cast in metal, and on which the design will be in relief. I then cover the design with Brunswick black, and afterward apply acid to the metal, whereby the parts not composing the design are acted upon, and a greater relief is obtained.”

Plastic COMPOSITION FOR DECORATING BUILDINGS.— The advantages offered by this invention are that it is effective, cheap, and simple in its application. It can be employed for the decoration, external or internal, of walls, floors, pavements, roofs, ceilings, etc., and consists essentially in the employment for such purpose of a peculiar composition, wbich is applied in a manner similar to plastering, and which, when hardened, can be smoothed and polished. The composition consists of a peculiar kind of scagliola made of chalk, or ordinary cement, and, if desired, colouring matter can be added to it. This material is mixed with water to the consistency of plaster, and is spread out into a thin sheet, and allowed to dry and harden. When dry, the composition is to be broken up into irregular fragments. These fragments are then mixed with a semi-fluid

mixture of ordinary cement and chalk, and this may be tinted or not, as desired. This compound is applied to the surface, to be ornamented, with a trowel, and when dried, is to be ground and scraped with a wirebrush, so as to produce a level surface. It is then hardened by the application of a solution of silicate of soda. This composition is, it is asserted, capable of resisting the action of moisture. It may also be cleaned and washed with ordinary soap. Mr. Benjamin Nicoll, of Regent Street, is the patentee.

PRESERVING AND HARDENING STONE CEMENT, ETC.—Mr. Frederick Ransome, well-known as the inventor of several processes for the induration of stone, and for the manufacture of artificial stone, has patented the following invention, which consists in the application in succession to stone, or other material of a solution of lime, or baryta, or other similar substance, and a solution of silica in the form of an alkaline silicate or otherwise. In order to obtain a more concentrated solution of lime, or of baryta, sometimes Mr. Ransome uses molasses or sugar. The second consists in applying in succession solutions of phosphate of lime and of baryta, strontia, or lime ; but the baryta is used in preference, and then a solution of an alkaline silicate; the solution of phosphate of lime may be wholly or partially replaced by solutions of alumina, zinc, lead, or other metallic salts. Colouring matters may, if desired, be used together with these applications. If it be' desired that the solutions should penetrate to a great depth, it is better to use weak solutions, say of specific gravity 1050, and they should be applied again and again until the desired effect has been produced. If it be not desired to effect the waterproofing and hardening deeply into the stone or material, or if a very porous material is to be operated upon, stronger solutions, say of specific gravity 1300, might be employed.

LITERARY NOTICES.

RELIQUIÆ AQUITANICÆ; being contributions to the Archæology and Palæontology of Perigord and the Adjoining Provinces of Southern France, by Edouard Lartet and Henry Christy. Edited by Thomas Rupert Jones, Professor of Geology, etc., Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Part IX. (Baillière.)—The present part of this elaborate work continues the examination of the Cro-Magnon skulls and bones, and arrives at some very curious and interesting results. The Cro-Magnon race must have presented a characteristic mixture of high qualities and low ones, fitting them to be energetic and progressive savages, but not raising them above the barbarous conditions under which they lived. “The great volume of the brain, the development of the frontal region, the fine elliptical profile of the anterior portion of the skull, and the

orthognathism of the upper facial region, are incontestible evidences of superiority which are met with usually only in civilized races. On the other hand, the great breadth of the face, the alveolar prognathism, the enormous development of the ascending ramus of the lower jaw, the extent and roughness of the muscular insertions, especially for the masticatory muscles, give rise to the idea of a violent and brutal race, especially when we are nearly certain that the woman was killed with the blow of an axe, and that the old man bore on his femur traces of an old and severe wound.” The tibias of these skeletons are remarkably flat, and the linea aspera of the femurs extraordinarily prominent. There may be great danger in assuming the characters of a race from a few specimens, and too much may be made of the probable murder of the woman and the wound in the man's leg. We could easily-and unhappily-furnish amongst our own population illustrations of women killed by axes, and men with wounded legs; and we could supply plenty of specimens of animal development; but the amount of brutality extant in the English race would be very imperfectly judged from a partial survey of its peculiarities; and we are not entitled to say much about the Cro-Magnon race until further evidence is supplied. It is, however, highly important to show that, at a certain pre-historic period, some savages possessed a kind and degree of development likely to have enabled them to make considerable advances on the lowest forms of human life. M. Quatrefages remarks, “it is clear that the cave-dwellers of the stone age who fought the elephant and the rhinoceros with their flint weapons, are represented in their remains by two distinct races." The Cro-Magnon skulls are dolicocephalic. M. Pruner Bey compares them to some modern Esthonians, from which M. Quatrefages dissents. It seems, however, clear that, as M. Quatrefages says, “the men who preceded us in Europe were already divided into several distinct races,” and as the process of division may have been long, the antiquity of man seems likely to grow greater the more completely it is investigated. The plates attached to this part possess the usual excellence which has characterized the illustrations to this work.

CYCLOPÆDIC SCIENCE, simplified by J. H. Pepper, Professor of Chemistry and Honorary Director of the Royal Polytechnic Institution, Fellow of the Chemical Society, Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers; author of various works for youth, etc., with six hundred illustrations. (Warne and Co.)— Few men have done more than Professor Pepper to popularize a taste for science. While the directors of the Crystal Palace destroyed the educational and artistic character of that great institution, by degrading it to the level of Rosherville, Professor Pepper raised the Polytechnic in profit as well as reputation by improving its scientific exhibitions, and making the lectures more instructive as well as more entertaining. The work before us, treating of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, pneumatics, acoustics, and chemistry, is just what might have

been expected from his pen, in fulfilment of a promise to add a more advanced book to the introductory volumes he had previously offered to youthful students. It is exactly the sort of book to put into the hands of clever boys and girls to tempt them into the paths of science. The subjects are well selected, the explanations clear, and the illustrations judicious as well as extremely numerous. It is a handsome gift volume.

THE FLORAL WORLD AND GARDEN GUIDE. Edited by Shirley Hibberd, Esq., F.R.H.S. (Groombridge and Sons.)-The June number of this popular serial has papers on “Zonal Pelargoniums," with a coloured plate of “Richard Headley" (not the man but the plant); “Fuchsias for Home Decoration and Exhibition ;" the “Ladies Garden;" “Utilization of Rubbish;" the "Pyrethrum;" “Early Strawberries;” “New Plants," etc., etc.

HALF-HOURS WITH THE STARS; a Plain and Easy Guide to the Knowledge of the Constellations, showing, in twelve maps, the position of the principal star-groups night after night throughout the year. With introduction and a separate explanation of each map. True for every year. By Richard A. Proctor, B.A., F.R.A.S., etc. etc. (Hardwicke).—These maps differ considerably from the star-charts previously compiled by Mr. Proctor. Their object is distinctness and simplicity, which they have successfully realized. The chief stars of all the prominent constellations are represented in a series of planispheres, with white figures on a blue ground. At the bottom of each map nine dates are given, on which the map and the heavens will correspond. Thus the first map is true for December 21, at 10 o'clock p.m., December 24, at 9., and so on up to January 20, at 8 o'clock. When the sky is too light for the stars to be discovered at any of the hours mentioned, the succeeding map will be found to give the celestial aspects two hours later, and the others in succession. Each map is accompanied by a page of letterpress explanation, placed opposite to it and easy for reference. The centre of each map is supposed to be exactly over the head of the observer, or to represent the zenith point but as holding the maps in that position would be awkward for stady, they are printed so as to come right for the northern and southern half of the sky when placed on a table, or held so that the northern, or southern horizon, as the case may be, comes lowest, and the east and west points are in their right position. Parallels of right ascension, declination, etc., are omitted as confusing, and we may safely call these charts the plainest and easiest to follow that have been produced. A child could be taught in half-an-hour to find any principal star visible in the sky, or to ascertain the name of any one he saw.

CATARACT AND ITS TREATMENT, MEDICAL AND SURGICAL. By Jabez Hogg, F.L.S., Senior Assistant Surgeon, to the Royal Westminster Opthalmic Hospital, etc., etc. (Renshaw.)-This is a reprint of an instructive paper read before the Medical Society. It contains much interesting and curious information. VOL. III.NO. VI.

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