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In the year 1817, M. Sertuerncr, an apothecary at Eimbeck, in the kingdom of Hanover, published the result of his experiments on opium, which had occupied him for several years. He was the discoverer of Morphia. There are several ways of obtaining it, but the following seems the shortest and best:—Boil a concentrated solution of opium with a small quantity of magnesia (one grain of magnesia to fortynine of opium is sufficient,) for a quarter of an hour, when a copious grey precipitate falls down. Separate this by the filter, wash it in cold water, and then macerate it for some time in weak alcohol, which is warmed, but not allowed to boil. By this means, the colouring matter is separated, and what remains is to be washed with cold alcohol. It is then to be dissolved by continued boiling in concentrated alcohol; the boiling liquid is then to be filtered, and on cooling, it deposits Morphia in crystals nearly free from colour. Thus obtained, the substance is transparent and colourless, with a very bitter and astringent taste, having nearly the same effect on the animal economy as opium. It acts more when in a state of solution than when in a solid state. Aeids neutralize it, whence Chemists call it an alkali; and this property of acids makes them, particularly vinegar, the best means of counteracting its poisonous effects.
When we began this article, we had some expectation that we should have some curious experiments recently made on the acetat of morphia to communicate to our readers; but having been disappointed in getting access to the foreign Journal in which we have been informed they are contained, wemust postpone them till our next Number.
AN ALCHYMISTS TRICK.
The best delusion ever practised by the Alchymists, says Voltaire, was that which a Kosicrucian played, towards 1620, on Henry I. Duke of Bouillon, of the house of Turenne. reigning Prince of Sedan.
"You do not possess," said the flattering charlatan," asovereignty worthy of your great qualities; and it is in my power to make you richer than the Emperor. I can only remain, however, two days in your territories, for I am obliged to go to Venice, to attend a grand meeting of the brethren; if, therefore, I confer wealth on you, you must keep my secret. Send to the chief apothecary of the city, and purchase some sugar of lead; throw in a single grain of the red powder which I will give you, and put the whole into a vessel over the fire, and in less than a quarter of an hour it will be converted to gold." He performed the operation, and repeated it three times in the presence of the Kosicrucian, who had previously purchased all the sugar of lead which was in Sedan, and had resold it, mixed with some gold On quitting Sedan, be made the Duke a present of all his transmuting powder; who, having obtained a small quantity of gold in his experiments, did not doubt that, with the three hundred grains of powder, he should gain three hundred ounces of gold. He began to reckon his wealth; and calculated, that within a week he should gain thirty-seven thousand pounds, without thinking of what he might afterwards gain. The philosopher, however, was in haste to depart. He had given all his treasure to the Prince, and only wanted a small sum of the current money of the country to carry him to Venice, where he was to bo present at the meeting of the Her. metic States. He was very moderate in his desires, and travelled without spending much money. He only asked 20,000 crowns to defray the expense of his journey to Venice: the Duke was ashamed that a man who bad given him so much should receive so small a gum, and gave him 40,000. Ho soon afterwards consumed all the sugar of lead in Sedan, and then he made no more gold. The adept returned no more, having made a very good bargain, in getting 40,000 crowns for about three ounces of gold
METHOD OF MAKING COKE.
CofU, which is made by burning coal in a particular manner, is at present very extensively employed in various manufactures and arts. It now supplies the place of charcoal, which was formerly used in making iron from the ores of that metal. It is used to dry malt, to smelt metals, to refine gold and silver, and to make fires for many operations, to which the bituminous and sulphurous parts of the coal would be injurious. In fact, coke consists of the more' pure and carbonaceous matter of the coal, while the sulphurous portion, which would give a taint to the malt and brittlencss to the metals, and which is very often extremely injurious to workmen, is dissipated by the previous action of the fire. Within these few years, in consequence of the great demand for this article, considerable attention has been paid to selecting the coal best adapted to make coke, and to the best means of making it. The most general method of making coke was by burning coals in a heap, similar to the mode of making charcoal. A hearth was prepared, by beating the earth into a firm, flat surface, covering it over with clay, The pieces of coal were then piled up, inclining towards one another, and those pieces underneath were so placed as to rest on the ground with the least possible surface. The piles were made from 30 to 50 inches high, from nine to 16 feet broad, and contained from 10 to 100 tons of coals. A number of vents were left, reaching from top to bottom, into which the burning fuel was thrown, and the vents were then closed by small pieces of coal beat firmly into the holes. The kindled fire was thus forced to creep along the bottom, and when that from all the vents was united, it burst out on every side. If the coal contained pyrites ■—sulphat of iron—the combustion was allowed to continue a considerable time after the flame had hurst out in all parts, and the smoke had disappeared, in order
to extricate thesulphur.conipletcly, part of which.is usually formed on the surface. If the coal contained no pyrites, the fire was covered up . soon after the smoke disappeared,, beginning at the bottom, and proceeding gradually to the top. In the course of 50 or 60 hours the heap is entirely covered with the ashes of char, formerly made; and in 12 or 14 days the coke may be removed for use. Treated in this way, a ton of coals produces from 700 to 1100 pounds of coke.
The success of this method de-. pended on the pieces of coal being sufficiently large to allow of the passage of air in places; and, of course, small coal could not in this way be converted into coke, and was very often thrown away. To burn small coal into coke, however, an oven is now in use in various parts of England; and we here present our readers with a re-: presentation of the ground plan, and front elevation of such an oven. It is a circular building, 10 feet in diameter within, and the floor,which is raised three feet above the ground, for the convenience of placing a low carriage under the door-way, to receive the coke as it is raked from the oven, is laid with common bricks set edgeways. The wall of the oven rises 19 inches above the floor, and a brick arch is then turned, rising three feet five inches more, and forming a figure closely resembling a cone, the base of which is 10 feet, and the apex is two feet, if measured within. The whole height of the building, from the floor, is five feet, and the wall, 18 inches thick, is built with good bricks, and closely laid, so that no air may get in through any part of the work. Around the whole a strong wall is built, as high as the oven, forming a complete square. The space between this wall and the oven is filled up with, rubbish, well rammed down, to give solidity to the whole, and totally exclude atmospheric air.
The mode of making coke in this sort of oven is as follows:—Small refuse coal is thrown in at the opening at the top, till the oven is filled up to the springing of the arch; the coal is then levelled with an iron rake, and the door built up with loose bricks. In two or three hours the fire is so violent that it is necessary ■ to check the admission of air; and the doorway, except the upper row of bricks, is plastered up with wet sandandclay. When the charge has been in the oven 24 hours, this row is also closed; and in 12 hours more, when the flame is gone, the chimney is also closed with a thick bed of sand and earth. The whole remains twelve hours cut oft' from all connexion with the air and
then, the process being complete, the door-way is opened, and the coke raked out into wheelbarrows or low wagons. The whole takes up 48 hours, and as soon as it is finished the process is again begun. About two tons of coals are put in each time; and the coke thus produced is used in manufactures which require an intense and long continued heat. After the process has been once gone through, the heat of the oven is sufficient to set the fresh coal on fire, and then the work goes on, night and day, without any interruption, or any further expense of fuel.
The other Cut represents another mode of making coke. A substantial brick chimney is built on arches, in an open space, and the coal is piled round it. When the heap is made, a quantity of burning coal is thrown down the chimney, which falling through the arches, kindles the heap in its neighbourhood, and the fire spreads from the middle through the whole heap. When it is judged to be sufficiently burnt, the mass is broken up and quenched by water. The coke thus prepared is better than any other, and less of it is required to efl'ect a given purpose, so that the saving of expense is considerable. In our cities, the coke most in use is that from which the gas for lighting the streets is obtained. In Ihis case, as the object is not to make coke, but to extract as much gas as possible from the coal, the coke being
a refuse, as it were, disposed of for what it will fetch, the coal is much more roasted than in the other, but is quite as good for many purposes.
HISTORY OF THE CHERRY.
Ccrasus. THts beautiful fruit was procured and brought into Europe on occasion of the overthrow of Mithridates, King of Pontus, when he was driven from his dominions by Lucullus, the Roman general, who found the cherry-tree growing in Cerasus, a city of Pontus, (now called Theresoun, a maritime town in Asia, belonging to the Turks,) which his army destroyed, and whence this fruit derives its present name of Cherry. Lucullus. who was as great an admirer of nature as of the arts, thought this tree of so much importance, that when lie was granted a triumph, it was placed in the most conspicuous situation among the royal treasures which he obtained from the sacking of the capital of Armenia; and we doubt much, if a more valuable acquisition was made by Rome daring that war, which is stated by Plutarch to have cost the Armenians 155,000 men. We may very justly style it the fruit of the Mithdridatic war.
Botany seems to have been more studied in early times by distinguished persons than at present. In this instance we find the conqueror and the conquered both botanists. Mithridatcs, whom Cicero considered the greatest monarch that ever sat on a throne, and who had vanquished twenty-four nations, whose different languages he had learnt, and spoke with the same ease and fluency as his own, found time to write a treatise on botany in the Greek language.
It was in the 68th year before Christ that Lucullus planted the cherry-tree in Italy, which " was so well stocked," says Pliny, " that in less than 26 years after, other lands had cherries, even as far as Britain, beyond the ocean." This would make their introduction into England as early as the fortysecond year before Christ, although tbey are generally stated not to have been brought to this country until the early part of the reign of Nero, A. D. 55.
Pliny mentions eight kinds of cherries, which were cultivated in Italy, when he wrote his Natural History,in the seventieth year, A.D. "The reddest cherries," he says, "are called tipronia; the blackest actio; the Caecilian are round; the Julian cherries have a pleasant taste, but are so tender, that they must be eaten when gathered, for they will not endure carriage." The duracine cherries were esteemed the best, but in Picardy the Portugal cherries were most admired. The Macedonian cherries grew on dwarf trees; and one kind is mentioned by the above author, which never appeared ripe, having a hue between red, green, and
black. He mentions a cherry that was, in his time, grafted on a baytree stock, which circumstance gave it the name of Iaurea: this cherry is described as having an agreeable bitterness. "The cherry-tree could never be made to grow in Egypt, with all the care and attention of man."
The county of Kent has long been famous for the quantity of cherries which it produces; and, in all probability, they were first planted in this part of England, of which Caesar speaks more favourably than of any other part which he visited. Some authors assure us, that the whole race of cherries that had been brought to this country by the Romans, were lost in the Saxon period, and were only restored by Richard Harris, fruiterer to Henry the Eighth, who brought them from Flanders, and planted them at Sittingbourn in Kent. This appears to be an error, as Gerard says, " The Flanders cherrie-tree differeth not from our-English cherrie-tree in stature or in forme."
The Kentish cherry is considered to be the original kind, and it is also thought the most wholesome. Great quantities of this variety of the cherry are cultivated at Paris, where they are generally preferred, particularly the variety with the short stalk, called Montmorency, from the fertile and delightful valley of that name, in the vicinity of Paris. It is a curious circumstance, that, in England, fruit should, in general, be considered as a luxury, while, in most of the other countries of Europe, it forms a large part of the food of the people. This is particularly the case with the French, Germans, and Italians; and an Englishman, who has not visited foreign countries, finds it difficult to conceive in what an abundant manner the markets of the Continent are supplied with fruit. Paris is particularly well supplied, and the fruits which grow in the neighbourhood of Montmorency, have a high reputation from their superior flavour.
Mr. T. A. Knight has raised a new variety of this fruit, called after him. Knight's em ly black cherry, and which seems to possess a very desirable property, that of ripening considerably earlier than the May-duke: it is of a fine dark hue, and its flesh is fiim and juicy. It blossoms much earlier than any other sort.
There is an account of a cherry orchard of thirty-two acres in Kent, which, in the year 1540, produced fruit that sold in those early days for 1000/., which seems an enormous sum, as at that period good land is stated to have let at one shilling per acre. We can only reconcile our minds to this great price, from the deficiency of other fruits in this country, and the splendour in which Henry VIII. and his ministers lived. Evelyn tells us that, in his time, an acre planted with cherries, a hundred miles from London, had been let at ten pounds.
Fruit orchards are still considered the most valuable estates in Kent, and cherry gardens, while' in full bearing, pay better than orchards; but the cherry-tree does not generally continue more than thirty years in perfection. A single tree produces fruit that sometimes sells for above five pounds per annum for seven years in succession.
Luke Wardo's cherry is so called because he was the first that brought the same out of Italy. The Naples cherry was first brought into our country from Naples: the fruit is very large, sharp pointed, somewhat like a man's heart in. shape, of a pleasant taste, and of a deep blackish colour when it is ripe.
The cherry seems to have heen a fruit highly esteemed by the Court, in the time of Charles the First, as we find by the survey and valuation of the manor and mansion belonging to his Queen, Henrietta Maria, at Wimbledon, in Surrey, which was made in 1649. There were upwards of two hundred cherry-trees in those gardens.
The cherry, like many other kinds of fruit, has had its sorts so
multiplied, by various graftings and sowing the seeds, that we now enjoy a great variety of this agreeable fruit, and for a considerable portion of the summer, as it is one of the first trees that yields its fruit in return for the care of the gardener. From the ripening of the Kentish and the May-duke to that of the yellow Spanish and the Morel lo, we ma) reckon full onethird of the year that our tables are furnished with this ornamental fruit; and to those who have the advantage of housed trees, the cherry makes a much earlier appearance, as it is a fruit that will bear forcing exceedingly well.
Dried cherries are much esteemed for winter puddings; and the wine made from this fruit much resembles the red Constantia, both in colour and flavour. The small black cherries, with good brandy, produce one of the most wholesome as well as agreeable liqueurs. Eau de cerises is an admired liqueur in France.
The wood of the cherry tree, which is hard and tough, comes next to oak for strength, and near mahogany in appearance: it is in much request with the turners, for making chairs, &c, and is highly esteemed by musical instrument makers, who pretend that it is sonorous.
Tho common black cherry tree prospers in a cold soil, and affords considerable timber; and Evelyn mentions some that were 80 feet in length. In all probability these trees originally sprang from the cultivated cherry that had been introduced by the Romans, as they do not partake of the character of any of our native trees.
It is observed of stone fruit in general, that if sown immediately after they are excarnated, they will appear the following spring, but if kept too long, they will not germinate under two years.
The timber of the wild cherrytree comes to perfectiou in about 40 years.
Judiciously planted, the cherrytree is very ornamental in a shrubbery ; its early white blossoms con