“ We're waitin' for him. It's been tele- | the midnight air of some wild mountain graphed along the line that he's murdered land of Wales lurid for many a mile, or some one down at H- , and he's awful may have helped to show to the nightly dangerous."

traveler the horrors of that“ black country" He had ventured out by this time, and above Birmingham, froin which every earnwas standing irresolutely beside the car est visitor will come away with such dark riage door, as if not knowing where to foreboding and such troubled thoughts on turn.

| the great social problems which it must As for me, I could only point to him, suggest. How wonderful a process is this the power of speech was gone; and just by which the constant stream of iron into as they had captured him, I fell senseless the commerce of the world is maintained to the ground.

in its perpetual flow! Compare the lump

of heavy clay, or the mass of red or brown NEW METALS.

dull earthy rock, or of bright iron-gray

stone which form the various varieties of TT is not wonderful that the labors of the iron ore, with the metal that emerges from I miner and of the metallurgist have at all | them ; pound, sift, do what you will with times been linked with superstitious asso- the ore, scrutinize it with the microscope, ciations in the minds of men. The one it is still a stone, no particle of metal can pursuing his search in the depths of the you find there. Examine the metal on the earth, in darkness and uncertainty, only other hand; it has nothing of the earthy ministers to the demands of the other for | in it. Resonant, and bright, and flexible, a perpetual supply of those strange stony and strong ; whence come these newly masses out of which the living metal is gotten powers? They do not reside in drawn; and before chemistry had explained the ore, but seem impressed upon its transevery change which the ore underwent, figured substance by the will of the operafrom its first appearance on the dressing tor; now as "soft-iron," pure and malfloor to its fabrication in the hand of the leable, tough, infusible, bending without artisan, where, in all the range of art, fracture, fibrous, and capable of being were transformations to be found so com- welded bit to bit, like sealing-wax, at a plete, mysterious, and astonishing as these? sufficient temperature ; now as “ cast Let any one stand before a blast-furnace; iron," less pure in its chemical nature from let him wonder at the amount of mingled containing carbon (the chemist's charcoal) ore and limestone and coal that are poured as a constituent, brittle, sharp in its outinto it by the wagon-load in a constant line, crystalline in its structure, readily stream sixty feet above his head; let | melted and cast in molds, breaking, but him watch the perpetual overflow of slag, never bending. How opposite are its chara veritable lava, which slowly emerges acters. Yet we may see it again, in the from the bottom of the furnace at his side ; form of steel, assuming nearly all these and let him await the moment when the characters, or surrendering any one of rough molds are ready, and the channel them once more at a moment's notice : cleared, and the arm of the foreman is for now it shall exhibit, in the most exalted bared to give the final blow that is to degree, brittleness or toughness, a brittlepierce the wall of clay that supports the ness unbending or an elasticity unrivaled, inolten metal within; then let him stand a hardness adamantine or a softness which by as the luminous flood of iron pours yields like brass to the engraver, according down, true to the channel cut for it, yet, as the cunning workman shall impose the as it were, resenting the restraint, and one or the other “temper” on its docile momentarily finging from its surface a substance. And so iron becomes the ready myriad stars of fire, until it flows tranquilly servant that is to work out the vast deinto each trough impressed in the sand | mands of commerce ; it is now the mainfor its reception, and lies in a series of spring of our time-pieces, and the exquifurrows to cool into its well-known form sitely delicate regulator of their every viof “pig” iron. And this process has been bration : it is no less the sinew and the repeated each day without one day's inter- | bone of the iron horse, and the rein that mission, for it may be thirty years, from guides him; the skeleton of the bridge that one furnace; and the flames have risen with its untiring span, and of the ship for that period from its mouth, rendering whose keel can never strain ; at once

the impeller and the impelled of the au ments, from the days of Geber to those of tomaton machinery by which commerce Beccher. Was there, in fact, anything moves.

contradictory or absurd in the belief that Let us consider another metallurgic the crucibles of Albert the Great, of Rayprocess. A furnace is constructed to / mond Lulle, or of Arnold, had yielded gold throw all its heat by reverberation on a when gold had been absent as an ingremass of lead, and as the metal melts, a dient from the conditions of the expericurrent of air is made to play on its sur-ment ? Did not a mere calx, when mixed face. Soon that surface becomes covered with charcoal, yield lead? Did not the with a molten floating liquid, which flows very metal of silver, Luna herself, emerge off from it continually, and will flow so from ores in which no silver could be seen? long as any lead remains. The last por nay, did not even the Saturnine ores-did tions of the lead, however, are preserved not the stones which yielded lead, yield, for the silver they contain ; the rest has too, their small quota of this queenly silall disappeared. This floating dross into ver? If Luna could thus emerge from which the air has converted the lead, hard- the region of Saturn; if the ores of copper ens as it cools, and forms then a beautiful | when mingled with calamine produced not yellow-orange, unmetallic, highly-crystal- copper, the Venus of the metal-firmament, line, soft, solid substance–litharge. It but brass ; if bronze sprang from the conis the “oxyd of lead.” It is the air that junction of Venus and Jupiter, and the cophere, reversing the dictum of Anaximenes, per and the tin lost each their characters is the destroyer. Its oxygen has com- in the bronze they formed, why should not bined with the melted metal. It needs the addition of some subtile, redder mercury not to melt iron to produce an analogous give to tin the properties of gold, or teach effect. If the bar of refined iron be but the alchemist to transmute the dross of left in neglect to the rude influences of Saturn or the charms of Venus into the the weather, to air and moisture, it will glories of Sol, the golden metal-king? soon be seen that the metal, with all its ! But the alchemist passed from the earth, stern qualities, is, like man himself, de- | leaving to an age of less inflated hopes pendent on certain conditions and circum- and of a sounder philosophy-an age that stances, which must be ever supplied and had learned something by the failures of preserved around it, or the bright shall the past-this metallurgic problem for its tarnish, the strong fret away into weak- heritage. To those who have loved to ness, and the lustrous and the elastic, the linger over the gradual dawnings of human stern to labor and the patient to endure, knowledge in past time, who have felt a shall suffer corrosion, and become a dull delight in tracing the growth of some insipid earth, a mere heap of rust.. Yet single idea in the mind of man through all from this earth, this oxyd of iron, no less its doubts, misapprehensions, aspirations than from the dross of lead, the metal may rebuffs, successes, on to its final triumphbe again recovered. The earth or calx is to these, that will ever be an interesting in either instance formed by a union of the history which tells of the progress of the metal with the oxygen of the air, and any first grand idea of chemical philosophy, substance with a stronger tendency to com- the idea of the individuality, so to say, of bine with that oxygen will free the metal the elements; of the elemental character of it, and the iron or the lead may be re of the metals; of the non-elemental, the stored to their metallic form of existence. compound character of the combinations Carbon, that is coal or charcoal, effects of these with the vital element, the oxygen this, and the operation is similar in result of the air. To them the erroneous dream whether it be performed in the blast fur- of Stahl, “the phlogistic theory," will nace whose weekly product is above a carry with it an unceasing interest, al. hundred tons of iron, or in the reverbera- beit that the balance of Lavoisier bantory furnace wherein lead is reduced to | ished that theory from the laboratory, and the form in which we use it.

showed its fundamental error by proving It was this singular conversion of a that the calx, or earth, weighed more than metal into an earthy calx, and this inver- the metal which it yielded-weighed more sion of the phenomenon by the reconver- by a precise amount, which was the exact sion of the earth into the metal, that in weight of oxygen gas that the metal had cited the alchemist to perpetual experi- | taken from the air and fixed in solid com

bination with itself to form this earthy controversy”-received a new significance oxyd. He taught that the metal might in the decomposition which the voltaic be won from this its earthy calx or oxyd, pile effected in it, under the hands of but only by some stronger affinity than the Nicholson and Carlisle, in the year 1800. metal's own for the oxygen the earth con- They found the oxygen given off at the tained. Carbon has this stronger affinity, positive, the hydrogen at the negative, and hence the flow of molten iron from the pole ; the water being gradually separated vast furnace in which its oxyd meets in by the voltaic agency into its component fiery contest with the coal that feeds its elements, oxygen and hydrogen. Davy, flames, meets it only to surrender to that who soon afterward appeared on the scene, coal its oxygen, and to set the iron free to saw at a glance the vast results to be deenter on its life of constant labor and trial veloped by this divellent action of the batin the service of man.

tery upon chemical compounds. There is This doctrine, then, of the compound no one who cannot feel a sympathizing nature of the metal-yielding earths or ox- pleasure as he imagines the young Davy yds, and of the elemental character of the with the wires of his enormous battery metals and of the oxygen they contained, brought into contact through the medium was the grand doctrine of Lavoisier, and of the alkali potash, until that moment unresolved the difficulty, of which the alche- decomposed, and sees him watching a mists, and at last, after them, the phlogistic beautiful phenomenon. Little globules of chemists, had sought in vain for the solution a brilliant metal continually are presenting through so many centuries. But chemistry themselves at the negative wire, and lingerknew of other earths besides these that ing for a moment to show him their true yielded metals when heated with charcoal / metallic character, then cease to shine, --earths to all intents like these, notwith- and become again converted into the potstanding that they had resisted all efforts ash out of which they sprung, too powerto extract metals from them.

fully assailed by the oxydizing air, of which Of these other earths there were several the corrosive action is too strong for a besides magnesia, lime, and the earth of metal of such eager affinities to exist in its clay, alumina ; and nearly akin to them, presence. Davy soon contrived means of though more easily dissolved in water, and fostering his new-born metal, and exhibittherefore lacking one of the prominent ing it to the world under the name of pocharacteristics of an earth, comparative tassium; and soda soon yielded its sodium insolubility, were the alkalies, potash and to the pole of his gigantic voltaic pile. soda. It needed, therefore, after Lavoisier's Both of them are metals which, to be pretime, no great profundity in the chemist served, must be retained out of contact who should assert that it was a fair object with the air; metals, the latter white as of search, and that there was a fair ground silver, and as lustrous, the former with for hope, that some means should be found, something of the tint of tin or platinum ; some more potent affinity than even that both lighter than water, and therefore floatof carbon should be discovered, by the ing on it, but also instantaneously decomagency of which these earths too should posing it to absorb its oxygen, and disapyield up bright metals under the torturing pear in it themselves as potash or as soda. inquisition of crucible and furnace. La-! To decompose magnesia, lime, (calx,) voisier himself had proclaimed this before, baryta, into oxygen and the metals “ magand almost in Lavoisier's time it was ima- | nesium," "calcium,” and “barium," regined by some sanguine experimentalists spectively, was but a work of the few hours in Hungary that the anticipation had been requisite to plan the experiment. And realized. But that realization was not thus an antagonistic force had been found yet ripe for accomplishment, and time had whereby to invert, as it were, the combinto bring in other ideas and other men to ing force of chemical affinity, so that now, contribute to the development of it. Gal

With rod reversed, vani and Volta (the greatest name, perhaps, | And backward mutterings of dissevering power, in the history of physics) had introduced a new force to the experimentalist. By

the master of this new necromancy freed

from several of these earths beautiful metits agency the compound nature of water already proved by the illustrious men

als, till then truly whose names now figure in the “ water In stony fetters fixed and motionless,

But some of the earths refused the solici- this finely divided form it is very difficult tations of even Davy's voltaic magic. to ascertain the properties which a metal Among these was one of a very remarkable may assume when fused into a solid mass. kind, named by the chemists alumina, from Even lead, when in fine division, will burn its occurrence as one of the ingredients in spontaneously in the air, and it is therealum. In the sapphire and ruby this ex- fore not to be wondered at, that in the pul. traordinary body yields only to the diamond verulent aluminum of Wöhler, that chemist in hardness, while it far surpasses it as a did not recognize those remarkable chargem in the beauty, if not in the variety of acteristics which have thrown so much its color-suite. As the lux-sapphire, it interest round the bars of this metal that rivals the diamond itself in colorless purity have been produced by M. Deville, and and exquisite luster. As the ruby, it de- exhibited so recently in Paris. Wöhler, mands a higher price than it, when above indeed, had himself, previously to M. Dea few carats in weight; as the sapphire, ville, formed the metal in fused globules. there is no stone with which it can be con- But the method adopted by M. Deville, founded, when of the true azure blue; though in principle similar, was superior while as Oriental topaz, Oriental emerald, in details to Wöhler's process. The metal, aquamarine, peridot, amethyst, it surpass- as thus obtained, possesses most curious es in beauty of color and luster, and far and unexpected properties. Tin-white in surpasses in value, the several gems from color, it is unaffected by the air, and is less which it thus condescends to borrow its disposed to tarnish than silver itself. It names. In all of these the alumina is is unattacked by any ordinary acid, except pure, and crystallized in perfect transpar- muriatic acid, which, and the alkalies, ency, the colors being due to minutest seem to be its only natural chemical enetraces of other metallic oxyds, such as mies. It is very malleable, and when iron, chrome, or manganese. Then, again, rolled and hammered becomes as hard as in its less brilliant forms, as corundum and iron, a most invaluable property, possessed as emery powder, its uses are almost the by no other metal in use. It is an adsame as those of the indomitable diamond mirable conductor of electricity, and slightdust : while in its softer moods, combined ly magnetic, like iron. It melts at a lower with water, it helps to form the plastic ele- temperature than silver, so that it possesses ment of clay; and at one moment is seen all the most valuable properties required assuming shapes and wearing tints, as vase of a metal by the artisan. But its most and bowl, that give it more than the value singular property is its lightness. In this of sapphire or ruby ; at another, minister- respect it stands above all other bodies of ing in every shape to satisfy the wants of the metallic class that are in use. The man.

lightest of these is zinc, which is seven From the nature of this earth, it was times heavier than water ; iron is nearly difficult to bring it within the sphere of eight times, silver is ten and a half action of the battery. But Davy recog times, and gold nearly twenty times heavnized in his new metal, potassium, a sub- ier than water, whereas aluminum is stance whose avidity for oxygen might be little more than twice and a half as heavy utilized for the decomposition of the refrac as that fluid, and, consequently, about a tory earth which he could not subdue by quarter of the weight of silver. An ounce, his voltaic wires. And so he heated alu- therefore, of this metal will go as far as mina white hot, and passed his new metal four ounces of silver, or eight of gold. Its in the form of a metallic gas over it, and price per ounce is, however, at present obtained thereby small globules of a metal that of gold, and hence about four times as which had its source in the alumina em dear, bulk for bulk, as silver. Doubtless ployed. This new member of the metal neither commerce nor chemistry will rest family, aluminum, he did not, however, suc till aluminum can be used for household ceed in effectually isolating, and he could no less than for philosophical purposes, not, therefore, announce its properties. / and doubtless, also, for what may prove a Later it was produced by Wöhler by an most important application of it, the foranalogous but better process, but then not mation of light, hard, useful, and beautiful in sufficient quantity, nor in advantageous alloys with other metals. A bell formed form for investigating its physical charac- of it would possess singular novelty. Its ters. He obtained it as a powder, and in 1 ring is the sharp clear note of glass, not the fuller tone of metal ; one's fancy al

ST. PAUL'S SALUTATIONS. ready anticipates the music in which some instrument whose vibration shall ring from ITT has often been objected, that howaluminum bars shall take its part.

I ever we may admit the inspiration of Another metal not less curious than other parts of Holy Scripture, the same aluminum has followed in its wake. The cannot be affirmed of the “ Salutations," emerald and the beryl are varieties of the and other seemingly minor matters, with same mineral, rivaling all except, perhaps, which St. Paul frequently closes his Episthe sapphire family in beauty as gems. tles. It is said they are too trivial to be These contain an earth called by the Greek- the subject of inspiration, not worth the derived name of glucina, from the sweet- interference of the Holy Spirit either one ness of its salts. The metal of this earth way or another. There is no harmfulness had also been isolated by Wöhler, but its in them, but it is absurd to apply to them properties are first described by M. Debray, | the solemn words, “All Scripture is Goda pupil of M. Deville. It appears as a inspired.” beautiful white metal, nearly as unalterable | We do not purpose to answer this obas aluminum itself, but with the curious jection in detail by way of argument. We property of being one-fifth lighter, its spe. would rather see whether something may cific gravity being twice that of water. not be gleaned from these salutations Lime has also now surrendered its con- which shall, on the one hand, show that stituent metal, calcium, in pure form, and there is nothing trivial in them, and, on the it proves to be yellow like gold, but, un- | other, lead to the conclusion that there fortunately, as evanescent as it is beautiful. are no exceptions to the rule that St. Paul The action of the air alone is sufficient to spake as he “ was moved by the Holy corrode it into its natural calx, the well | Ghost." known earth, lime.

And we may mark by the way the inIt is curious to see science thus work- ternal evidence which such passages afford ing out, in its own way, and by lights of to the genuineness of St. Paul's Epistles. its own kindling, problems after the solu- | An impostor who wished to foist on the tion of which the alchemist groped so long world a human composition as the revelain darkness, whose obscurity he increased tion and very word of God, would never and perpetuated, because he would retain | have endangered his scheme by inserting for himself alone and for “the adepts," such passages as that wherein Paul bids not for the world, the riches which he Timothy bring his cloak which he had sought.

left behind at Troas, or as the salutations Like the miner, and unlike the metal and greetings by name of many members lurgist with whom we commenced, the al of the Church at Rome. There is a natchemist delved in dark recesses after gold. uralness about them which goes far in He handled, indeed, metallic ores, but he itself to forbid the thought of imposture. touched not the living metal. It was only It is just what we should expect St. Paul when that ore was brought into the light to write. He is sending a letter to Rome and into the furnace, that it assumed the by the hands of Phæbe. As he dictates real metallic shape ; only when the fire of its final sentences, associations and retruth has tried it, and the advancement, membrances of all kinds spring up in his intellectual no less than material, of the heart. Many were personally known human race is the object to be won, is the to him. Some had been his companions transmutation of ignorance into knowledge as he went forth preaching " the Gospel effected, only then is the superstition of of the blessed God,” fellow-laborers in the miner corrected by the higher knowl- the work that was nearest his heart. edge of the experienced and sagacious Others had been diligent in the varied inetallurgist.

departments of Christian labor and ChrisThe transmutations wrought by modern tian benevolence. One was affectionately chemistry are as great in character, and, remembered as his first convert in Achaia. however different in kind, are far more Others had known Christ and His Gospel important and useful in their result, than at a time when he himself had been a perseall that alchemy ever dreamed of; they cutor and a blasphemer. All were the obare not the less complete because their jects of his Christian love, dear to his heart character has been so correctly explained. I in the bonds of the faith of Jesus Christ.

« ElőzőTovább »