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has evidently been taken from one of the temples destroyed during the first Mahomedan invasion.
The most remarkable features are the heads, and festoons (hanging from their mouths), which is one of many instances I have seen of
Hindú ornaments, apparently of Grecian origin, which I shall remark upon more particularly at some future period. M. K.
ART. VI.—Note by Messrs. Jessop & Co. of Calcutta, on the smelting of the Iron Ore of the district of Burdwan. To the Officiating Secretary Asiatic Society. DEAR SIR,-The Iron Ore with which we made the experiment in smelting, was a portion of that obtained by the Coal and Iron Committee from the district of Burdwan. We smelted above half a ton of it, which yielded about 2 cwt. of Iron, or barely 20 per cent. ; it would therefore be considered an Ore of little value by the Iron masters in Great Britain.
The operation was carried on exactly according to the practice of the large blast furnaces in England;—owing however to some peculiarity in the nature of the metal it could not be brought into a fluid state, but after its reduction from the Ore, lay in a mass at the bottom of the furnace.
We were not prepared for such a result, and as we had no means of extracting the metal, we were compelled to discontinue the experiment, when the hearth had become full, instead of carrying it on for a day or two, or until the whole of the Ore we had at our disposal was consumed.
We have no doubt that if we could have submitted the Iron, as it lay in the furnace to the process of puddling, it would have been converted into an excellent malleable Iron, similar to that made by the natives in various parts of India, by whom the metal is never brought into a fluid state.—It would be interesting to ascertain whether the same difficulty, viz. the non-fluidity of the metal, was not experienced at the Porto Novo works; we have some reason to think that it was the case.
We consider it very probable, however, that after repeated experiments, conducted by persons experienced in the business, a method of treating the Ore might be discovered, by which the Iron would be
obtained in a fluid state, so as to be available for the purposes of a foundry.
We have the pleasure to send you samples of the Ore before and after calcination, also of the Iron produced, and of the Lime-stone used in the experiment.—The latter was procured by us from Sylhet and
is of excellent quality.
20th Sept. 1839. JESSOP & CO.
P. S.—The following are the quantities of the materials expended;— Ore 1220 lbs. Coke 1278 lbs. Lime-stone 744 lbs.—The experiment occupied about twenty-three hours.
ART. VII-Note on the habits of the Coel, and on the discovery of Isinglass.-By MAJoR DAvidson.
To the Secretary to the Asiatic Society.
SIR,-Happening to stand in the veranda of my bungalow, a few days ago, I heard a loud chattering noise on the lawn; believing that a young crow had fallen from its nest I advanced to put it out of the reach of harm. Instead of a crow I was much astonished to find that an old crow was feeding a young bird of a dark brown colour, transversely striped with cinereous bars. On asking its name of a native who also saw it, he replied that it was a young Coel. I approached it within a few yards and saw it receive food from the crow's bill, in the usual supplicating posture, with extended wings, and body slightly quivering. The native informed me that the Coel never made a nest, but always took possession of that of a crow, by whose incubation, its eggs were hatched; and also, that the crow invariably continued to feed its adopted nestling, until it could shift for itself. From having seen this I can have no doubt of its truth. A few days ago the neighbouring mango topes, resounded with the plaintive notes of the Coel. but at present they are not to be heard from which I am inclined to believe, that like the Cuckoo it is a bird of passage. It is a curious coincidence that they should both rear their young by practising a similar imposition on other birds. Is this common to the genus:
Observing in your 87th number that Mr. M'Clelland states, that “The very valuable production, Isinglass, has been recently found “to be yielded by one of the fishes of the Hoogly.”
I beg to mention that on the 18th of June, 1820, while residing at Sooltanpoor, Oude, in a bungalow on the banks of the Goomty, I addressed a letter to that eminent naturalist the late Major General Hardwicke, acquainting him that I was in the habit of opening every
large fish of the genus Cyprinus that was brought for sale, and extracting the air bladder, from which I made Isinglass. While residing at Calpee, on the Jumna, in 1832, I made a quantity large enough to fill the drawer of a writing desk, from every large fish such as Rohoo, Kutla, Muhaseer, and various others which were brought for sale. The weights of the pods varied according to the size of the fish, (which was never above forty pounds) from half a drachm to half an ounce. I rejected the fibrous and soaked the gelatinous coat in strong limewater for five or six days, (in the cold weather) when it was ready for use as Isinglass, and equal to any for sale. I am of opinion that the article may be found in every fish that rises to breathe, whether whale, grampus, porpoise, shark, &c.; that the quantity will depend on the size of the fish, and the quality be found
nearly similar in all.
- S. C. DAVIDSON. Allahabad, 15th Sept., 1839.
ART. VIII.-Note on the Scapes of Xanthorhaea and Fossil Stems of Lepidodendra.—By Lieut. N. VIcARY.
To the Secretary to the Asiatic Society.
I have the pleasure to send you some remarks on the resemblance, existing between the stems of “ Xanthorhaea ;” a native of New South Wales, and the fossil stems of “Lepidodendra.” It is an object of such great interest to trace any affinity between fossils and existing species, that I make no apology for obtruding my rough note upon you, and asking you to publish it.
Xanthorhaea belongs to the tribe Asphodeleas and is well known in N. S. Wales under the name of “Grass Tree,” the naked flower scapes rise to ten or twelve feet in height, from the bosom of a tuft of grass like leaves, and are used by the Aborigines as shafts for their spears, for which they are well suited from their lightness and strength; there are seven species described, some of which do not form a distinct stem, and others form a stem often eight or ten feet in height, and occasionally branched in an irregular manner, not symmetrical as in Coniferae, from which in the fossil state, that alone would be sufficient to distinguish them—they have no true bark, but as in Cycadeae an outer coat formed by the bases of the fallen leaves, the coat is from one to two inches in thickness, rough outside, but becoming smoother on the older parts, exhibiting the bases of the leaves, arranged in quincuncial order, their very bases become accreted within into a false bark of considerable strength—the outer coat is with difficulty separated from the fresh stem for the purpose of examination, but in the old and partly decayed stems, is easily detached and gives a clear view of the inner surface. I found some stems quite hollow, the woody core having decayed and disappeared, the cortical portion contains a large quantity of resin with the appearance and colour of Gamboge, which is perhaps the cause of its preservation, this resin is also found abundantly on the ground round the base of the plants, and I believe is for the most part exuded on those occasions when the grass is set fire to, a practice resorted to in N. S. Wales as in India, for the purpose of destroying the more rank kinds of vegetation—the inner surface of the false bark is densely covered with lozenge-shaped areolae arranged in a quincuncial manner—the transverse diameter (with respect to the axis) is the longest—the woody core exhibits impressions of similar areolae, a point rises in the middle of each, which is received in a corresponding hollow in the areola of the outer coat—it appears in fact as if the outer coat was a mould in which the wood was cast, the base next the crown of the root is thickest, rounded and blunt, the shaft is often irregular in thickness with a strangulated appearance, owing perhaps to those seasons in which the growth of the plant was retarded. I regret having neglected to examine a transverse section of the wood, and cannot recollect any thing peculiar about it unless its coarse and loose grain. The above imperfect note exhibits several points that quadrate with the descriptions given of some Lepidodendra and I send it to you chiefly for the purpose of drawing the attention of those who feel an interest in such things to a further and more complete investigation of the subject. It was my intention to have brought some stems to Calcutta and to have followed up the inquiry with the assistance of some person more competent to the task, I however was unable to do so. It would be easy to procure them from Sydney, as there are many very large trees flourishing at about two miles to the South of it, small ones are to be had everywhere.—The resin mentioned above has been sent to England, and found to be useful to coach makers as a varnish. I am Sir, &c. &c. - N. VICARY, 4th Regt. N. I.