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classes alike from the necessity to provide ноте out-let for the thousands of unemployed who are unable to obtain work at home. Now, if emigration is so necessary, I think the intending emigrant ought to be furnished with correct information in regard to the best placea for settlement, and not forced into any colony merely because some particular class or interest may be benefited thereby. It is a fact patent to all that skilled labour and production is concentrated in the United States, and from her position, immense natural resources, and intelligence she must soon become the commercial mistress of the world. I do not at all agree with "Masquelongne," relating to the portion of North America, Canada. I believe that the British philanthropist» and etatesmen may think they are doing their country good service by turning the tide of emigration to Canada, but those, as a rule, who escape from Canada become violent enemies of Great Britain.
The Canadian papers estimate the number of native Canadians who went last year south of the lakes and the St, Lawrence, and exchanged the Union Jack for the Stars and Stripes, at 80,000. 13,04)0 emigrants landed to stay, and 80,000 who had been living there abandoned it. You may judge from this, that Canada has at present nothing to set over against the superior advantages of her great competitor. I should be glad if the following information should be interesting to "Kansas Emigraut" :—
Kansas is one of the youngest and largest States of the Union, containing* 52,000,000 acres; area, 81,31« square miles; 43,000,000 acres are yet unsold. In 1850 it was a wilderness, in i860 it contained 107.OU0 inhabitants, in 1807 they had increased to 400,000. The soil is very rich, from 2ft. to lift, deep, will no doubt produce heavy crops of all kinds of grain without any manure. Vineyards and orchards have been a great snecess wherever they have been planted. The whole State is a rolling prairie with rich grasses from 2ft. to 4ft. high. The climate is temperate and healthful (consumption being nearly unknown i and is very favourable for stock raising. The following statistics show the immense increase in stock:—
In 1860 there were 18,000 horses. .1807 .. 150,000
„ 1,400 mules .. „ .. 10,000
„ H 87,000 cattle .. „ .. 1,000,000
„ „ 15,000 sheep .. „ .. 100,000
Kansas has many advantages over other States, for west of her lie the iron-producing mining region and large Government posts, which will afford her excellent markets for her produce for years to come. There íb a line of railroad—now cutting her in two from east to west—which will soon bo completed to the Gulf of Mexico. Kansas is the land of cattle and game—the land of corn, the peach, the apple, and the pear. The land is everything necessary for the sustenance of man, and a land rich in the elements of wealth and opulent commerce, and the land I should most strongly recommend to the notice of intending emigrants. The scheme of forming a body of emigrants to establish an English township, or as it has been called an "English Mechanic " colony is, I think, a good one ; as the advantages offered by combination of labour and capital over individual enterprise are obvious to anyone. I shall, therefore, watch for a further development of the scheme, and would most willingly support it, providing that Kansas be determined on as the new home. I ought to add, that emigrants settling there under the Homestead Act are entitled to 160 acres of Government land, or 60 acres of railroad land.
IMPROVED AIR PUMP.
 Sir,—Having soon letters in the Mechanic from "Inductorium'* and others, I enclose you two photographs of my improved air pump now at the Workmen's Exhibition, Islington. It is in every way perfect in construction, being very easy to turn, and as yon will see from the photos, brings the mercury in gauge down to the 30th part of an inch. It exhausts my aurora tube, " 5ft. in length," to such an extent that I am obliged to admit a small quantity of air to ensure brilliancy. I have had one in action six years, and can wish for nothing better. It consists of a brass barrel lOin. in length and 2in¡ bore, with a metallic plunger mechanically fitted. The stuffing-box is com
of music being taught without teaching koy-relationship. The reference to the monotony of going over the intervals of the scale I presume alludes to a system in vogue some years ago, but which was a great mistake; no grounds for it exist in the old notation. Neither is the modulator or musical ladder the exclusive property of the new notation, but I often wish that in elementary works it wore more used; and with regard to time, in addition to the bars, there is in instrumental music the very effective mode of marking expression by joining the stems of the notes, and even the old notation is within the reach of any desiring to attain it; but I would not represent a knowledge of its principles or beauties as of mushroom growth, nor exclude such requisites as industry, perseverance, &c., that are good friends to success in other matters besides music; but I would demur to the conclusion that there is, even in the keys (which I have always understood was the point aimed at by the promoters of new systems), anything to detract from its claim to be tho "established system of musical notation."
P. S.—Will any of your readers favour us with the origin of the Btave? I presume there is no doubt that it represents the strings of an instrument, and the notes the finger touches. Could any notation be more musical? Music.
THE MICROSCOPE.  Sir,—I am very much interested in the article written by your correspondent Mr. Pocklington on "The Microscope, or, Jottings in Town and Country." As our Mechanic gives a large share to the telescope, may ho not hope to give the microscope a little moro elucidation. Its construction, how to make it, how to detect or test good object glasses, and, last of all, how to work it with all its accessories, would, I am sure, bo very interesting to many of your nnmerous subscribers besides myself. Mr. P. speaks fluently of mounting chalk fossils in Canada balsam. I find it a difficult matter to do so without having small air bubbles, but I have no means of having the advice or practical experience of some expert hand in mounting, hence my failure may arise from that cause. Porhaps your kind correspondent would not object to give us the advantage of his experience on mounting objects. I have read several small works, but cannot succeed to my satisfaction. An "axmouth" Resident.
posed of twelve collars of leather and a chamber of oil, which you will observe in your photo has a cup attached for supply, and a piece of hollow brass to divide the other pieces of leather at the end of the gland. I have known this pump remain perfectly air-tight for a fortnight. The valves are made of oil silk, which I have practically proved to be the best material for the purpose. The piston has a slot motion and regulated crank, which adjusts it so as to strike the top and bottom of the barrel, which is a most essential point in gaining a good vacuum. The bottom of piston has a piece of wire in its centre to fit the valve hole so as to exclude all air.
J. A. Rudoe.
 Sib,—I cannot resist the impression that tho whole of Mr. Frayler's arguments apply with at least equal force to the established as to the tonic sol-fa notation. 1st. That a sol-faist can sing as well in a flat key as in the natural key. Why should not this also be done in the old notation? The change of key or,'pitch is much more forcibly impressed on the mind by the signature and the change of position on the stave. And why should signatures of three or four flats or sharps bo perplexing? thoy simply indicating transposition of a third major or minor, the scale containing three major and fonr minor thirds. It ought to bo glaringly apparent that the scale thus transposed can only contain three and four natural notes; what remains of the seven being flats or sharpB? Again, I cannot conceive
PRINTING MACHINES.—A HINT TO "OUR" INVENTORS.
 Sir,—In the last number of the happily absorbed British and Foreign Mechanic, there appears a paragraph containing some rather wonderful information. A Mr. Hector Orr, writing in the Journal of the Franklin Imtitute, states that " we now have machines which print 25,000 impressions per hour." I do not doubt but that it is possible to make a machine which shall be calculated to run at the rate of 25,000 Ыргеи'юпя per hour; but in actual working it has never been done. Hoe's 10-feeder, and Whitworth's improvement of Hoe, are the machines which approach nearest to this fabulous number. I believe they have reallv accomplished 15,000 within the honr; bnfc any attempt to drive them beyond that number пач failed, in consequence of the errific speed splitting and tuu-ing the rollers. Intheso machines the type is carried If^ou a large central cylinder ^^around which revolve ten _smaller "impression cylin~ders," Each impression cylinder has a set of inking rollers, and the ink is distributed upon that portion of the large cylinder which is not occupied by the formes. It will thus be seen that to make 20,000 impressions the type cylinder must make 2,000 revolutions per hour, and each feeder must supply 2,000 sheets per hour—all accurately laid, for a deviation of a \ of an inch spoils the appearance of tho paper, and as the type surface would travel at the rate of over 80in. a second, if a sheet is sent to its impression cylinder only the l-80th part of a second too soon or too late, it will make a difference of lin. in the position of the page upon the paper. I have already said that the rollers will not stand a speed of 20,000 an hour; but even if they can be made to do this I do not beleive it possible to lay 2,000 sheets properly in an hour, i.e., barely two seconds for each sheet. Now for the "hint to inventors." I have shown there aro two difficulties to overcome—rollers and "laying on." The former should be soft, yet tough, elastic withont being liable to split. They are at present made of glue and treacle, glue and molasse?, or glue and honey, in the proportions of 81b. off glue to 1 gallon of sugar-house molasses for summer use, and 41b. of glue to 1 gallon of molasses for winter use. These are thoroughly melted together and poured into moulds. Corrosive sublimate is sometimes added to give greater toughness, at least so it is said. Now with regard to "laying on" the way to improve it is to do without it altogether, and supply the paper in a continuons roll, as is done in the Walter Time* machin«, illustrated and described on p. 523 of "our ' last volume, and in the Bullock machine, p. 609 same volume. In both these machines the paper is in a continuons roll, but while the Timet machino takes np a great deal of room, the Bullock is very compact. The former divides the sheets after the impression, as it is only by the hold the cylinders have on the paper that it is drawn through the machine The latter cuts its paper jubt as the grippers seize the sheet to take it m,'Irr the first impression cylinder. Both machines damp their own paper. A speed of 11,000 an hoar is computed for the Walter machine; but in the description of the Bullock, p. 009, »J. x., no speed is mentioned. Now in any machine thero are three absolute requisites:—The cylinder» must be so arranged that the plates can be readily laid on, i.e., "made ready;" there must be no danger of any of the parts continually "breaking down ; " and the whole must be so arranged that " register" can be easily made and maintained. With these hints I leave the matter in the hands of "onr" inventors, assuring them there is a fortnue for the man who succeeds. A simplo machine is more likely to achieve the desired result than a complicated one; but nevertheless, cteterit paribm, a machine that saves five minutes in each hour has very great attractions for the managors of morning newspapers. Readers should carefully examine the drawings I have mentioned above; and if anyone sees his way to make an improvement, 1 shall be'always happy to help him.
SQUARING THE CIRCLE.—CONIC SECTIONS.
[126J Sib,—My approximate rectification of the circle must yield the palm to the one given by "A Member of tho' English Mechanic Scientific Society." His plan and Mr. Penrose's approximate trisection of an angle must be regarded by all mathematicians as very valuable contributions to theENOLisH Mechanic.
The remarks made by " o llrsa¡ Minoría " (411511 accurately describe the distinction between the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola. It is well to notice that tho name hyperbola is not limited to sections made parallel to the axis of the cone, as is sometimes stated. Richd. A. Pboctok.
CONSTELLATION NAMES. Sir,—I think the criticism on this snbject in
the very kind review of my atlas is just; and very much fear my new constellation names will have eventually to be abandoned. Felis was a name given by Bode' to a constellation he invented. I thought of Ursula for Ursa Minor; but as Ursula is a lady's name I trembled at the thought that I should seem to suggest that all Ursulas are little bears. It would be worth while to make an effort to rotain the new and much shorter names, using both for a time, as in my introduction. They are few, and I think they are manifest improvements. Some of them were suggested to me by Sir John Hcrschel.
Richd. A. Proctor.
MR. PROCTOR AND PROFESSOR PRITCHARD.
 Sir,—Mr. Brandon is very personal while objecting to personality in me. And further, whereas I wrote only what I kuew, he rashly writes without knowledge. It sounds very fair to say that if Professor Pritehard's review on my "book is unjnst, "the merits of tho book will answer the criticism." A review, however, is not writton for those who liave read, but for those who have not read a book. How (he merits of a book can convince those who may be deterred from reading it by an unjust criticism, I leave Mr. Brandon to show. But as a matter of fact every one acquainted with publishing knows that an unfair review, if unanswered, invariably does mischief. As in this case the whole loss would have fallen on Messrs. Longmans & Co., I had a duty to fulfil in the matter.
I have said that Mr. Brandon writes without knowledge. He throws out the suspicion that I have tried to steal a march upon tho Savilian Professor by sending в. Utter to the English Mechanic, having reference to a review which appeared elsewhere. This personal insult finely illustrates Mr. Brandon's objection to personality. Let him now learn that, first, I addressed a letter to the same effect to the paper in which the unfair roview appeared ; secondly, I wrote to Professor Pritchard telling him what I felt it my duty to do; thirdly. I offered to semi him copies of all such comments as I might make, in order that if he thought fit he might reply to them ; fourthly, he has sent me privately a reply to the three chief points of my counter charge. I do not feel at liberty to mention the terms of this reply, and only remark respecting it that it does not meet my statements.
For the rest, Professor Pritehard's quotations from mv book, and tho book itself, are before the public. If anyone is anxious to take up the cudgels in defence of Professor Pritchard, let him show that the quotations are fairly made,—that I have really said (in effect—not in words pieced together unfairly) what Professor Pritchard has asserted. To such evidence I shall gladly listen ; but I can allow no question of my right (with your permission) to correct in your columns what I take to be erroneous and unfair criticisms. I have made it a duty to correct errors respecting scientific matters, errors affecting the repute of others, all errors, in fact, which touch on the subjects I tako interest in; I also carefully admit errors I make myself; surely I may be allowed to correct errors by which, if I permitted them to remain uncorrected, the publishers of my work would suffer.
Lastly, I object as much as Mr. Brandon can to personality, but personality in attack is one thing, personality in self defence is a very different one.
Richard A. Proctor, B.A.
 Sir,—" J. R. W.," p. 311 (No. 40ЧН), asks "How did the Romans perform arithmetical operations with their Z's, Y's, andX's?" The Romans never employed the letters Y / in their notation; but I will endeavour to explain their uso of the characters of the alphabet for the purposes of counting and numbering. Some very ingenious suggestions have been made as to the origin of the use of letters to represent numbers, and one of these certainly has some pretensions to be the true explanation. It will be allowed, I suppose, that the most likely way anyone ignorant of figures would count would be by the uso of his fingers. Thus, then, we have from 1 to 10 enumerated on the fingers, and written with ten strokes; but it is quite feasible to suppose that when ten strokes had been written down the numerator would make some mark to show that his hand was full. We will suppose that he drew a lino in a diagonal direction through those ten strokes, and it is easv to believe that in endeavouring to Bhorten this he would make a character somewhat resembling the letter X. Then to make 100, as one mark across the unit stood for 10, he would very likely put two ligatures to the unit for 100, forming u character resembling С, which in writing would soon be turned into С As regards the 1,000, the unit mark would require three ligatures, which might be made somewhat hite M, and in course of time would probably assume the form of 00, which actually appears in print and in inscriptions as CI;)- Having arrived at these it is easy to see that V is bat the half of X, L the half of C, and D the half of Cl>). We then have the fact that in Roman numerals wherever the lesser symbol precedes the greater, under 100 it is subtracted, bnt alterwarde it is addtd. Thus the unit mark I, the X, and the V are used as fajas 40 (XL, 10 from 50), after which the L is used up to XC (10 from 100), С is used as far as 400, after which it is reversed and the unit mark prefixed (1э) i hence D BOO), and so on up to 1,000, when the mark above noticed is used (CI;)), or M, or the unit mark with a line over the top ( Г); 5,000 is written IpO or V, the reversed Г) thus acting as our 0, and multiplying by 10; so 50,000 was written 1ээ> and ЬУ putting tho same number of C's before the unit as reversed ones occurred after it, tho number was doubled, so CCCIj,) J = 100,000, and 1эээ1 (500,000) is thus turned into a million CCCCIoooa- One peculiarity of Roman numerals is worth mentioning, viz., that the various letters used are alternately quintuplos and doubles of the preceding one: e.g. Ix5 = V;Vx2 = X;Xx5=L;Lx2 = С ; С x 6 = D; Dx2 = M. Whether the Roman arithmeticians (if there ever were any) had arbitrary signs to denote the different values is not known,—certainly none havo been discovered. My own opinion is that they knew nothing of tho science of arithmetic, and what calculations they made hod to be worked out with the cumbrous numerals I have endeavoured to explain. Saul Клика.
 Sir.—I see from the fourth page of the advertising sheet of our present number (277) that Mesers. Porder & (Jo. have, either consciously or unconsciously, adopted an old idea of mino which I suggested as far back as January IS, 1S89, namely, the application of friction wheels to velocipedes; and, strange to say, abont the same timo I made a model exactly similar to Fig. 2 in their advertisement, which is now in the possession of Messrs. Wilson and Lcingbottom, of liarnsley, ud»o joined with me in taking out a provisional patent for the application of friction wheels to all kinds of velocipedes. We did not proceed with the patent because we decided, after various trials with ordinary bicycles side by side with one fitted up with friction'wheels, that the advantage gaiaed was hardly worth mentioning.
On smooth boards the difference was perceptible, but tho friction wheels by no means compensated for the roughness of the ordinary road. I feel certain that improvements are not so much needed in the velocipede itself as on the road on which it runs. The extreme ease with which a well-made velocipede moves on smooth boards or flags, and the greatly increased exertion which is required when riding on the highroad, show that the impediment to progress is not to be looked for in the friction of the bearings, but in the roughness of the road. Wheels with india-rubber tyres seem to me to be a step in the right direction, as a" velocipede fitted up with them may bo said to lay down its own road as it goes along. W.
1131] Sib,—A good drawing of a hand-planing machine (p. 4*29) is given in yonr current number. But the price quoted is very heavy, and might discourage your readers from attempting to obtain this nseful tool. I may, therefore, state that I have made one for myself at a price of about £10. It admits work l&in. by lliu. by tiin. The castings were made and planed for me by Pearce, of Union-street, Borough. They can also be had ready planed of Thomas Taylor, 7, Chester-street, Huhne, Manchester, for £7, taking in work24in. by 18¿in. by Hin. Mine works with a rack and pinion of 7in. pitch, and a double handle, which gives a longer stroke thau the lever. One of the email American parallel vices fixed to tho table serves to hold small work, aHd costs only £1, instead of £7 10s. A few carriage bolts, costing about a penny each, and some iron dogs complete the machine. The work is set true by a good T-square, and can be removed and replaced under the tool with very little more trouble than in an ordinary vice. W. H. Stone.
BRINSMEAD'ft HISTORY OF THE PIANOFORTE,
AND A "LEETLE" MORE,—Letter I.
 Sib,—Having in No. 827, of the Екоывв Mechanic analyzed to tho best of my very small ability Messrs. Brinsmead'a so-called improvements iii pianoforte actions, I now, as seemeth in duty bound, proceed to analyze a new book of the pianoforte, which is the production of a member of that firm,£ the general goodness of whose productions (othe than literary) I can with much pleasure bear test* шопу.
In justification of my doing this I will, with yonr permission, Mr. Editor, relate a short passage in my own personal history which, for the important moral truth and lesson of charity it contains, may, perhaps, not be unacceptable to my fellow-readers..
Many years ago, a friend of mine, who did the duty to which it pleased Providence* to call him, by belling tea and coffee in the city for six days por week, but who, instead of resting on the seventh, or rather the first day, used to preach what he believed to be the "word in season" every Sunday morning in his own chapel, he being a '* master of words " i. «., eloquence, which I am not, I once strongly urged him as a matter of moral duty to preach against certain and sundry vices of great cities—I may sorrowfully add of rural districts %lso—which I had been writing iu condemnation of as strongly as my very small command of language (combined with an amount of earnestness which those who only know шо in the disguise oí chalí would not givo tue credit lot-1 enabled ш to do. After some time worthily spent in thought, my old jriend said to me, " la. cannot make duty for В. аду шоги than В. can make duty for S. Each servant oí the Mu^t High must fiud his own dnty, and do it, with Heaven's help, to tho best of his ability." After such amoral lesson as this, which I trust by the force of its inherent truth sunk deeply into my mind, and assisted me in after life to judge charitably of what often seemed to me the misdirected efforts of many whose gifts far exceeded mine, I felt that it was not my mission to call my fellow-labourers in the Lord's vineyard of knowledge to account, but to bear my testimony to what seemeth good, and point out apparent evil. My friend, whose loss 1 deplore, farther said, " no doubt youthink 1 ought to bear testimony against these things, and could I but see that ш у doing so would induce more good thau evil, it would indeed become my duty to do so; but yoa have/all«» into the very common error of supposing one man can make duty for another, which error is the root of all persecution." Since that time, I have endeavoured to find my own duty, instead of presumptuously finding other men's duties for thum. One of those found, or perhaps, self-imposed duties, is to examine, judge of, and comment on so-called improvements in pianoforte's, and what matter is published concerning their history. In the execution oí that duty I proceed to treat of Edgar Brinsmead's " History of the Piano," for which I felt in duty bound to pay 3s., or rather '2*. 6d. N.B.— Don't forget the customary allowance of 2d. in the shilling on all new works which competition saves us who aro rather copious, if not liberal, buyers oí new books*
In a former paper on the pianoforte and ite congeners I have said that its true history—certainly the true history of its early manufacture in England—has yet to be written. Brinsmead's book has not induced me to alter that expression of opinion, but as the writer or compiler has collected into a small space a good many facts and sayings of the order of '* things not generally known "" about music and musical instruments, which will probably much interest the majority of readers, who desire rather a brief precie on those subjects than to wade through the ponderous t«BM of Hawkins, Barney, and a whole host of by no im ans lively English and foreign witter«, who, like the blacksmith, are not remarkablo for tho terseness oí their style. I can honestly recommend my fellow readers to follow my example, and invest half-a-crowu in ite purchase, and when they have "gone and done likewise" I venture to prophesy they will not regret its cost. I also trust that some of them at least may be eufficienüy interested in this subject to expend one shilling and sixpence more for an illustrated catalogue thereof, and visit the very remarkable collection of ancient instruments of music deposited in South Kensington Museum for our "beddiflention." They are extremely well worth seeing.
The greater part of the matter contained in the earlier chapters of the work is so good that Dr. Rinibault thought it worth printing A.d. 1^0, and he, at least, ought to be able to select and compile suitable matter relating to the history of music and early musical instruments, especially those having strings, with or without manual keys; but as Rimbaolt's matter is to a large extent copied from Hawkins, Barney, and other older and more modem writers—almost verbatim—so in Brinsmcad thero is little that is new, and much which, if true, is at least unproved.
One assertion, in page 88, is certainly new to me. The author says that Plenius, the talented inventor, or improver of the lyrachonl, employed a circular bow— a la hurdy-gurdy—to vibrate its strings, which he says wore moved tu the wheel or bow. AVhat kind of wheel or circular bow could be made to act on the strings of moro than two notes in an instrument whose string9 wore all in the same horizontal plane he leaves, as he found it, a mystery. It is just possible to make one wheel sound the strings of two notes if the said wheel be placed between them, and each pair of strings moved toit, but this is not using one circular bow, but many; indeed, half as many, less one, ivy there arc notes in the compass of the instrument—(say) 29 bows or wheels for 00 notes. Thi9 assemblage of wheels, yet farther extended to ban doable that ппшЪег, was nsed by Schmidt, s, ISOb*, for continuing the vibration of the i of a pianoforte, thu tune of which was said to able that of tht) cymbal. Why, it would puzzle jflo and the muses nine to say, hut this was only one ÖI many attempts in the hurdy-gurdy line "with variations." I may enumerate—tirst, John Hoyden's eluveein violo, A.d. 1000, succeeded by Marins, A.D. 1717, whose model of a mchuuical fiddle, with keys like a harpsichord, is said yi t to be preserved in Paris. There was also Holtield in 17-Vi, and many others, not to mention '• ye hurpsichordis wyth gut strynges"—i.e., lyrachord, which Evelyn records that he went to hear. "This," he says, "was made 'vocal' by 'a zone of parchment,' aud that it sounded like a 'consort' of viols." In fact, it was a viol, it being a bow instrument with fixrd intervals—i.e., our chromatic Hcale. This is just the distinction between viols and fiddles, and its action was rather more practical than using half as many revolving wheels as there are notes in the instrument, for it is obvious that—especially in instruments like the harpsichord, which has metal stringsmoving the strings to the bow (instead of the preferable plan of moving the bow to tho strings) would have the effect of unsettling the tuning of them. At a later time it was done (under circumstances in which it did not have that effect.) in that powerful keyed bow instrument, the claviol of J. J. Hawkins, for in this the hook which pulled the string to tho very ingeniously constructed horsehair rotating bow—it was not strictly a wheel, but an assemblage of horsehair bows inside a wheel, for its strings were attached to very long hcliaeal tempered steel springs—which resolved almost exactly the some amount of tensile force of its waterproof gut strings, whether they were quite straight, or slightly dutiocted to make them touch the bow. Under these circumstances their pitch was not sensibly altered; besides they were tuned when deflected, во as to be in contact with the bow, which it is obvious tho steel strings of a harpsichord, having plectra also, could not be without great inconvenience.
Pleuius would have had little inducement to torment himself by making and keeping in order, duly resined, half as many wheels as there were notes in his lyrachord, for the endless baud had been use<l nearly a century be/ore bis time. This is shown by my quotation from '* Evelyn'» Diary." Plonius, whü was a very clever fellow, would, wo think, havo been about the last man to repeat such a mistake. The lyrachord existed until 1772 at least, for one was sold that year by the elder Christie. I trust it is yet iu existence, and may adorn South Kensington Museum. To it my fine celestina harpsichord. — its celestina stops were added by Walker, its inventor—would be a worthv companion, and Í fully intend it to go there when completely restored.
In Uriu.^mead the old story that Pleuius attempted to mako a copy of the hammer harpsichord, known as Falke Grovillo's piano, makes its customary appearance, but, as usual, no date is given when he made this alleged unsuccessful attempt. To this is added that the only pianofortes manufactured in England were those made by him. If I could suppose this true, small indeed must I assume their number to be. Trying, with small success, to make a copy of an ex
isting piano, and making pianos for salo is sometían rather dissimilar, and the two «tatements are hardly reconcileable. That Pleuius both tried and succeeded in making a mere c-py Ь very probable, for no one wh i has read hie patents can much doubt he was quite capablo of doing something rather more than this. In fact, that he was a person very likely to succeed in anything he attempted. Tho man who copied the old German aud English harpsichord with gut strings, and improved on it to the extent ho claims having dono in his patents (which contain abundant internal evidence that the man who drafted their specifications knew very well what he was writing about, even if, as was tho practice of his time, they are remarkable for the absence of specific instructions)—who anticipated refined modern practice by clothing the mortices in his keys—who double pinned his long bridges (an improvement not universally adopted by square pianoforte makers until about Io20), and ellected other improvements which modern pianoforte makers nse daily, little knowing to whom they are indebted for their introduction, was not likely to fail, even in his first attempt, to perform so simple and merely mechanical an operation us the making a mere copy of a hammer harpsichord is. No inventive power is needed forthis, but 1 should ho glad to be referred to tho authority on wliicli the writer states that he afterwards not only mode pianos for sale, which ie quite possible, but that be was the only man in England who then did so. On tho contrary, tho great probability is that this copy. when made, was like the original, so woak in tone that a Pleniua, accustomed to what were then considered tolerably powerful harpsichords, wonld havo regarded it us the elder Kirkman did the piano of that date generally, *' a very poor, weak affair indeed."
Besides being very weak in tone, this copy was probably also very imperfect in its mechanism. Home of tho earliest pianos did not even have their hammers supported on centres or hinges, but merely had strikers fixed in tho key—in fact tho old tangent of the clavichord with some clothing on the top of it. With this kind of action it was absolutely noodful that the fingershould be lifted instantly after the string was struck. or its vibrations wonld have been stopped or damped by the clothed tangent or strikers acting on it as а damper. I suspect this is at the bottom of what we read about performances by " a maestro accustomed to the touch," Ac., indeed, ho must have been exceedingly well accustomed to such a touch to produce much effect. It waa not until long after this time that English
pianoforte makers—and in this respect they take the lead of their Continental brethren—appreciated and carried out the instruction of their fattier in the art, Christofali, who expressly says "that this kind of (hammer) harpsichord should have much thicker »tring* than tho common sort, for then the objection that its tones are woak doth not so much apply." Since his time we have groatly improved his instruction. Messrs. Broadwood, and other first-rate makers, now use No. 17 or No. 1H wire on middle С; and I, being a dissatisfied person, constantly engaged in trying to improve and make well bettor than well, have goue far beyond this, I having employed No. 20 wire with great advantage for that note, by altering the length, the place at which the hammer strikes it, and increasing the weight of the latter. This is what our American cousins would term a "pretty considerable" advance on No. 7 or b", probably the largest win« the father of tho art over used for that not: ; for I doubt not ho sonn experienced the difficulty of making thu frame strong enough, as then constructed.
Tho author goes on to repeat the old story that the piano did not " at once" supersede the harpsichord. It would have been a very unusual, not to say unprecedented, circumstance it' it had. Not to mention the very grave defecto in tone and touch of all the early pianofortes kuown to have existed in England, of whose mechanism I havo representations—for Christofali's, which is far in advance of them all, does not seem to have been known in this country until a few years ago—I may just remark that it is not very common for new things, however good, to supersede old things " at once." Wo old fogies know very well in our hearts (at least wo should bo afraid to deny) that young ladies and gentlemen are, like all other new (Qy. green) things, far superior to ourselves, their progenitors. Of course the improvement in each succeeding generation is quite manifest, at least to tho angels which are in Heaven, who view tho human race from a high standpoint, if not to our own imperfect perceptions; but somehow, theso clever young people don't push us from our stools and eupemede us " at once." We elders havo a prescriptive right to be allowed a reasonable timo to " die out."
Brinsmead leaves the early history of the manufacture of tho piauo in England just whore he found it— i.e., in outer darkness; he throws no light on it what ever. More than thirty-five years ago, my old friend Joseph Kirkman, Esq., said tbat not only had it not then boon written, but that he much doubted if any one survived, even at that long past time, excepting himself, who combined a memory extending back into the last century, with access to authorities in the archives of so old a firm as his own. He then promised to write his history, but has not yet done so, and I fear never will. Iiiinbault collected a great deal of information concerning keyed instruments in use anterior to the piano, but no very great amount of undisputed facts concerning its early manufacture in England, and this subject continues in "outer darkness." Of course, as usual, wo are told all the early specimens of English manufacture were grands. It may well be so, for Fulke (ireville's pianos were all most certainly of this form, just as the earliest of continental manufacturo of which we have any record, viz., Christofoli'B, is a hammer harpsichord, г.г., an imperfect grand: piano. Strange to say we have squares considerably older thau any grand known to exist of English make, for the earliest—or rather its name hoard, tho instrument itself is lost—bears the паше of Americus Backers, fecit A.d. 1770. Messrs. Tschndi, Broadwood, & Co. did not commence to make grands until 17У1, but they sold squares ten years before that time. I strongly suspect they or Robert Stodart, perhaps in conjunction with Backers, made the first grand piano, properly so called, produced in England ; I mean an instrument with hammers only, not hammers added to jacks, for although the addition of hammers really converted the harpsiehoid into an instrument capable of expression, winch were commonly termed hiirpeiehorde on which you can play piano and forte, harpsichord being yet the principal or leading name of the instrument ; and it seems probable the Americus Backers (of which we only have the name board) may havo been one of this kind.
The Harmonious Blacksmith.
just so the true phrenologist infors from a large braincase or cranium a large brain within it, and from that fact, in accordance with the observations of all comparative anatomists on tlxo cerebral hemispheree of man, and what wo with great self-complacence term the lower animals—he also infers, emterië paribus^ greater mental power, for it iá no leas true of nervoua than it is of muscular tissue, that quantity is tho external sign of power. That the phrenologist also assumes that ho can, from differences in the local growth of brain, infer greater aptitude for certain kinds of mental activity is quite true, and it is ouly when he draws these inferences that he steps beyond tho path of the mere physiologist; but these special inferences do not affect tho main principle one jot, that size of brain is, cateri* puribiu, an indication of mental power. It only enables him to indicate the kind of mental activity a given brain is likely to be capable of.
The physiologist who infers from the muscular development of Mr. Strong-in-the-arm that he can exert great force does not presume to say on what kind of labour that force is habitually exerted; he never nay» of one, this is an oarsman—of another, this man is accustomed to use the plane and the saw, or to wield the axe or blacksmith's sledge hammer, or that he is a minor or artilleryman, but simply that his arms fit him for the various labour.-» of persons eugaged in such labours as I have enumerated; and he can do tnia aa well blindfolded as with Ms eyes open. So likewise can the phrenologist manipúlalo und judge the heads of tho people as well with bis eyes shut аз with them open; but there is all the difference between judging the kind of work a given head U likely to be capable of doing, and determining the specific work it habitually does. This is as far beyond tho province of phrenology as it is beyond the ability of a stranger to the individual whose pericranium is midcrgoing manipulation, and to expect it of tho former ia about as reasonable as to expect it of the latter, for he obviously cannot determino by the mere external form of a bromease whether it belonged to a poet or a philosopher— an author or an editor—although, if his eyes are "thoroughly open," and artistically educated, it might not, from his peculiar physiognomy, bo quito impossible to distinguish tho latter from tho former, for Minerva herself—aithoughfeminine andstrong-mmded. even if sho wore ringlets or a chignon (which is not on record in Kollin)—could hardly have had the assurance to ape the ambrosial curls of Olympian Jovo. Tub Harmonious Blacksmith.
IRON IN BATTERIES.  Sib, — Your correspondent, Thomas Haines, says ho is inclined to think that iron has not received much attention as a positive element in a batten-. I beg to inform him that it is well known that iron stands next to nine in the list of eleetro-poaitivo metals, zinc being the highest of the two. Many use. zinc and iron fora galvanic battery. When such is used east iron is the best, because out of every 100 parte of common cast iron sixty-five parts are curbon and thirty-five parts iron. This explains how cast iron stands so electro-negative to zinc. Ihe reason I believe, whv iron is not so much tised m the са1л ame batten-, though being highly electro-positive to copper, carboii, &c., is because it is acted upon so furiously uy acids, and not aa ea*v metal to amalgamate; Uiout,n cheop in the first place, it is dear ш the end.
A . J . J Л It M А л .
-Docs " Xenophon" (12701 wish for
 S:n,—For so '"nmblo" a correspondent, as lowly as a mere blacksmith, to givo utterance to opinions differing from those of so august, sublime, and eage а personage аз an editor seems almost /car majesty; hat, just as the "sl.ivos" of old Rome had their Saturnalia, so your humblest of slaves would, although in abject fear of your whip, exercise a similar license by asking if von were not lately just a leetle hard oil the poor phrenologists, when you triumphantly enquired it they were able to distinguish astronomers from gastronomers, poets from parsons, engineers from enginedrivers, or solicitors from surgeons—ill a word, the profession of the "party" whose poricrauium they manipulate blindfolded; and whether this is not rather too much to ask?
Without committing myself to the acknowledgment of belief in all so-called phrenologists havo put forth, I may just say that I believe the foundations of this so-called science—which, after all, is only one division of human physiology—are well-ascertained physiological facts; for what scientilic physiologist can dispute that fundamental one that, citlerit paribiu, iite is tho almost universal external indication of power both of nervous and muscular tissue.
When wo see a man's arm of great girth, and we find its muscles hard and healthy, we feel perfectly justified in inferring that it is capable of exerting great force;
fused" magnesium "remain behind with the'unaltered
^ThTsimplest mode of obtaining magnesinm from its hydrate is to fuse itwith sodium. The best way, though is' to first convert it into the double chloride of ammonium and magnesium aud then fuse with sodium.
Sodium is obtained from its carbonate—most simply by distilling with potassium, most economically by converting it into the tartrate, mixing with charcoal and distilling. Four ounces of sodle carbonato by tun, means will vield one and n half ounce of «xUum.
Potassium is obtained most simply by distilling at a white heat the oxide, or hydrate rather with carbon, or else by decomposing by a powerful battery. It is most easily prepared by igniting the tartrate with charcoal and disfillmg at a bright red heat. Six ounces of potassie hydrate will yield little more than one of
P°ASporëe'lain incased graphite crucible will prove most durable for such work, and will. I think, best
""^^•"А^Ш apply to Griffin's they will doubtlessly furnish him with a detailed description ÎAS.&I their gas furnace whichby oUtUe manipulation is readily converted into muffle furnace of a very superior description. It uses from -0 to ono cubic feet per hour, as may be needed.
p H (420» ! Chloride of silver turns blue from decomposition.
p 8 one of your correspondents wishes to know
the'date of tho Metrical Act. From a copy of the „iard measures of this commission, printed for private nse of the members, I find it to be known aa 1064, the vear of the commission.
THE SAFETY-VALVE LEVER.
 Sib,—I send yon, for the benefit of my brother readers, the following experiment, conducted by me within the last month, on the safety-valve lever, showing that the effective pressure of a tapered lever may be calculated with as much facility and with sufficient accuracy for all practical purposes as a parallel one.
The first was a parallel lever of the following dimensions—viz., length, 22*75in.; distance from the fulcrum to the centre of the valve, iiin.; and weight 2-8751b.
22-75in. ~ 2 = lP875in. = half the length of lever. ll*876in. -H 3in. = 3-7916' = the ratio of the distance from the fulcrum to the end of the lever, to the ■distance from the fulcrum to the centre of the valve. 3-7»lti 2*875
10-9008500 Effective pressure by calculation .. 101b. 14oz. ,, ,, dynamometer 101b. 8oz.
The second was a tapered lever of the following dimensions—viz., length, 22in. ; distance from the fulcrum to the centre of the valve, 2*75iu. ; breadth of the lever of the fulcrum, l'Siii.; breadth at the end Jin.; and weight, 41b. 2oz.
The only thing to be observed in calculating the
effective pressure of a tapered lever is, to diminish the
half of the lever by the difference of the taper.
ljin. - Jin. = $m. .'. llin. - gin. = login, or 10*375in.
2-750 ) 10-375 (3*772 = ratio of the two arms
that a continuous discharge of artillery will draw rain in clondy weather. Many military men have noticed this, and it is well known that many of our modern battles have terminated in a deluge of rain, as Waterloo. Long practice of artillery has been known, even in India, frequently to draw rain; and it has been remarked that*the practice of our Volunteer Artillery is often followed by a rainy evening.
My attention was particularly called to this fact upon the occasion of the Sultan's visit to this country. Wherever he went he was followed by rain. It was so when he went to the City—to the review at Spithead— and especially to that at Wimbledon, where he sat on horseback in drenching rain—although not a drop had fallen until the rounds of artillery, which announced his at rival, had been discharged. I wrote a letter for insertion in the Times, with a view to draw attention to this matter, being confident that if our men of science, who have accomplished such wonders in other directions, could be induced to take it np, something would be done for our relief. My letter was dated Wednesday, the 15th nit., and in it I asked whether an explosion of gunpowder would produce the same effect as the firing of artillery. The editor did not think my letter worth publishing, but the question I asked was answered the following day by the explosion of the Government Powder Mills, at Waltham Abbey, which was followed, as is well known, by some hours of rain, extending into the surrounding counties. Such an explosion would certainly cause a concussion of the atmosphere, which—drawing the clouds together— would produce thunder and lightning, aud rain; and did so on this occasion, reaching in a circle as far as 150 miles from the scene of the disaster. We all know what a ripple or wave will reach the shore when even a small stone is thrown into a pond. And if, as I have heard, the firing of a gnn will cause a dead body, hid at the bottom of a pool, to rise to the surface, I can well believe that the explosion of gunpowder may cause rain to fall from clouds passing over us, which otherwise would empty themselves into the German Ocean.
If the insertion of this letter in your valuable paper will draw the attention of the right men to this subject, I believe agriculturists, all over England, will be greatly your debtors. R. P.
MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETIES.
—In your valuable paper, No. 264, page 89, I -see a letter on "Mutual Improvement Societies, English Mechanic." Ever since I first read that letter I have had a deBire that one should be formed in the town where I reside (Dewsbury, Yorkshire), a3 I think it would be both instructive and interesting to be able to discuss with some of my fellow-townsmen the many topics which are weekly under review in the Mechanic.
I do not wish to take it npon myself to call a meeting, as I had rather hear the ideas of some of my fellow-subscribers. I would suggest that if a meeting is called, it may be away from a public-house or tavern. I hope some one besides myself may think it worthy of notice. F. H. S.
LATHE CONSTRUCTION.—TO "J. K. P."  Sib,—I hail the arrival of your most comprehensive journal as one of the greatest pleasures of the week, and mast add my testimony to the zeal and ability with which it is now conducted. I did oncegive it np, when I fonnd proposals for emptying leaking ships by a syphon seriously entertained, and other childish matters filling up valuable space, Mais nous avous change cela. I have derived great benefit from the various papers on lathe construction, and I wonld endorse your correspondent's request that some such proficient as " J. K. P." should give a complete description, illustrated with working drawings, of a lathe which combines all the latest improvements.
I am very anxious to obtain information as to the construction of Lo *e's medallion cutter, as I would wish to construct one, and I cannot find that it has ever been described in your pages. I have never either seen Messrs. Kennan's, of Dublin, very ingenious geometric cutter, mentioned in our journal. It is a beautiful tool, and ornaments, fiat-sided pedestal, &c., As no other tool can. H. D. C, dipt. R. E. Gibraltar.
ARTILLERY DISCHARGES AND RAIN.
 Sib,—A continued drought in this country is so uncommon that the attention of our scientific men has not been drawn to the question whether such a calamity may not be mitigated if not averted. The want of rain has already cost us millions, and it is time we raised this important question. It is a known fact
a 30in. connecting rod to a Cin. ellipse I can scarcely perceive any error in the curve. In each figure C is centre of expanding crank C D, and D E the connecting rod with the pencil P, the distance P D in each
case being *422 of D E or 1 — _ which in this case,
with the connecting rod Gin. long, is equal to 6 x -422 or 2'53in., which will be right for projecting circles in isonietrical drawing. I think the easiest guide to make for the end E would be as I have drawn it, with a small roller kept in contact with a short straight-edge by means of an elastic band. I have shown the base-piece as made, of sheet iron about l-12in. thick, with a gap in the middle and feather edges to place on one axis of ellipse, and a broad arrow to be brought into contact with the other.
The lower, Fig. 2, would probably be the best for showing the ellipses for this purpose, as the half exhibited is generally all on one side of the major axis, and in this plan the two halves of that half match each other, or are symmetrical, while in Fig. 1, the oval is symmetrical about the major, and not the minor axis. In case of the whole ellipse being required it might be drawn half at a time, first on one side of axis, and then reversing the instrument, for the other half, or better still the whole struck in from both sides, and the mean of the two taken with a French curve. This would scarcely be necessary, however, except with a short connecting rod, or with the largest ovals that the instrument will take in. I have drawn the connecting rod only four times the length of the ellipse shown, and Fig. 1 is quite equal to drawing one of 2Jin. long. The gap is much deeper than necessary, as I have made it semicircnlar, which it has to be in any other instrument. These things could be turned out very cheap, and I should think would pay an instrument maker to bring out. The base of Fig. 2 would have to be something like a capital Y, and would be made of wood. J. K. P.
CHEAP GAS.  Sib,—In my letter (p. 354) on the subject of "Cheap Gas" I made some remarks upon the present state of gas manufacture, the relative interest of the gas companies and their customers, as bearing upon the question under consideration, but I also stated
that I only referred to it in order that we might g*st si the real state of the case, and did not wish to folk>* that part of the subject, observing that in doing this w* must expect objections from parties that were interest«-J in the existing gas companies.
I am glad to see that I have helped to ventilate thlimportont subject, but I certainly felt not a little stir prised to find (p. 870 of your number for the ^ti inst.) our well-known and valued contributor ** Sigma.1' indulging in rather discourteous language in his critiqoe on my letter.
I little thought that we should have to class him amongst the interested parties from whom we mostU prepared for objections in our attempts to reduce otrr g±* bill*, and had he advanced any scientific facts or a,rj^: meuts against my statements I am sure that all year readers, including myself, would have felt much oblige to him for such, as we already arc for his valuable article upon "Electricity," &c., 4c., which I am Buto are resj "with deep interest and attention by thousands of is' fellow subscribers to the English Mechanic.
But I fear our talented electrician has rather lost fc temper upon my having unknowingly trod on k "tender corn," and that he has written rather hastaJabout " gas."
I do not think your readers will care much to knivr what he or I think of each other's knowledge abost gas, nor do I wish to fill your valuable space with personal dispute, but as "Sigma" distinctlv charges me with making t( misleading statements," he is bound to prove such a sweeping and dogmatic assertion; boS he does not do this, for the rest of bi3 letter goes, in fact, to confirm what I stated regarding the extraction of the hydrocarbon vapours from the gas in the course of manufacture; but he does not tell us what Li most undoubtedly a fact—viz., that the Uluminating power of the gas is lowered thereby.
I could add much on this point, and show that "Sigma" has kept back part of the truth in his desire to " burk" the subject, by talking about "false statements" aud gas quacks, Ac., which is rather strong language; but as the whole subject of "gas-making" is to be found fully explained in anv of the good works upon practical chemistry, and all the trick* and dodges have been often exposed, it is no use "Sigma," or "any other man," trying to throw dost in our eyes. And if he classes auch writers as Letbebj, Fr&niJsnd, Defries, Kenton, and others as g%$ quicks, because they have proved the doings of the gas companies to be open to remark, I shall be proud to be called a gas quack too.
It is very well known that a fcmol cool wul yield gas, differing in quality and in r/uaiuity, according, to the manner in which it is treated in the retort*—in ti» one case giving off a fine and brilliant gas ol tew quantity; and in the other case producing a larperqwatity, but of very inferior gas, of which the consumer* are obliged to use more to obtain requisite light, and thus our gas bills are found to get heavier, and the public suffer.
Tho concluding port of ** Sigma's" letter is really very rich indeed, for while he tells us it is oar ova fault that the price of gas is so high, he takes rare not to admit the fact of the handsome dividends fiat have been paid to the shareholders, and of the fe*u \a addition, to avoid the letter of the law, which restricts their dividing a higher dividend.
I do not think that I need take any notice of the offhand way in which the question of carburetting g» » also disposed of. Let your readers try, and they *tH soon find "facts are stubborn things," and wort&» host of such sneers, which are so evidently prejudi ■ ■"■ that they will go for nothing with all rt-a\v: _. minds.
In reply to the questions of "Cheap Gas" (p. 88S\ regarding the size of his burner, he had better try & smaller size than that he has been using, or he will find no saving in the quantity of gas. The be4 burners are the new brass patent ones, sold for 2d. bv Hulett, 56, High Holborn. The No. 2 gives a light equal to nine candles, which is a better result than I have found with the old burners.
In reply to the second question, I have always obtained the best carboline or carburine from Messrs. Woodward &. Co., 2, Mint-street, Borough, SJS. It is simply light naphtha with unextracted benzole, obtaiued from coal tar, or shale. Messrs. Carles* ani Blagden, of Hope Chemical Works, Hackney Wist also sell the " carburine " at 8s. 6d. a gallon, obous=J from petroleum, but it does not give so fine rest]* <* prove cheaper in the end, as it consumes quicks *aa gives less light. C. B.C.
 Sir,—Will you kindly allow me space for a few lines by way of a reply to Mr. Grierson's remarks respecting the comparative merits of Lewis's and Pitman's systems? I am a writer of Pitman's phonography, and, notwithstanding all the " complications " of which Mr. Gricrson speaks, I completely mastered the system iu about nine mouths, without more than three hours practice per week during the whole time.
I think it is unfair for Mr. Grierson to quote from the 11th edition of Phonography, in his endeavours to prove its inferiority to Lewis's system, for if his only object be to direct "Heimit" to the best system of shorthand he should make a comparison between Lewis's system and phonography a* it is rather than as it was; though I by no means admit that the 11th edition of Phonography was in any respect inferior to Lewis's system.
As I do not desire to trespass largely on your space, I will at once proceed to review Mr. Grierson's remark* on the vowel scale of the system. He objects to tho number of vowels in Mr. Pitman's system without showing anything in Lewis's which will in any way compensate for the correctness obtainable by using the extended vowel scale of Pitman. According to his own admisskUi*^!?.- Grierson has no means of ascertaining whether a vowel in Lewis's system should be read before or after a consonant, for he вауа, "in the former (Lewis'h) system it is not of the least consequence on which side of the consonant a vowel is placed. It is inserted as near its proper situation as convenient, otherwise its position is immaterial." The con sequence of this is, that the writer of Lewis's system has to g ал • ■■ where the vowels should be placed when he comes to read what he has written, even if they are inserted in the manuscript. How much more difficult, then, must it be for a second person to read this system with any degree of fluency. This, then, is a very prominent defect. Mr. Grierson proceeds to state that Mr. Pitman has six different positions for the vowel; bat, on the contrary, he has only three—viz., at the beginning, middle, and end of the consonant; but, in order to insure accuracy and to avoid the possibility of mistaking a third position vowel for a first position vowel, the third place vowel is written before the »econd contenant instead of after the first, and the second place short vowel is written before the second consonant to distinguish it from a second place long vowel. Then bearing iu mind that the vowels—with few exceptions —are only inserted in shorthand correspondence and magazines, is there not an obvious advantage in the arrangement adopted by Mr. Pitman? In Pitman's system the reporter may with perfect safety omit all vowels, with the exception of about fifty scattered over the whole of the English language. So far as the consonants are concerned, enough has (been said in other letters, but I may be permitted to say a word or two upon the prefixes and affixes. Mr. Pitman uses five signs representing eight prefixes, and twelve signs representing as many affixes. Of these the majority are disjoined from the body of the word, thus rendering their character clear to the reader, and it must be patent to the most casual observer that the nearer the number of signs employed for the representation of prefixes and affixes approaches the number of prefixes and affixes so represented, the less difficulty will be experienced in deciphering what has been written. Mr. Grierson also takes exception to the number of signs employed for the aspirate, and tells as that Lewis represents it with a character written in much less time than a dot. Perhaps Mr. Grierson will inform us what this character is. For my own part I cannot conceive any character which, by itself, will occupy less time in writing than а dot. Immediately after this, Mr. Grierson, in a very triumphant manner, proceeds to ridicule Mr. Pitman's method of doubling consonants by the addition of initial and final hooks. "Why all this complication," Says Mr. Grierson, "Lewis has nothing of the sort." Is its absurdity or uselesanoas proved because Mr. Lewis has nothing of the sort? Certainly not. Mr. Grierson goes on to state that Mr. Pitman has nothing corre* »ponding to Lewis's " key symbols," and only twenty four "grammalogues," as compared with Lewis's 108 " definite contractions for small words." Now this is not quite correct, for Mr. Pitman has marks corresponding to Mr. Lewis's "key symbols," and upwards of four-hundred "grammalogues" instead of twenty-four BS represented by Mr. Grierson. Not only so, but there are only about fifty of these which require committing to memory, for the remainder are remembered almost without effort.
In conclusion, allow me to remark that any careful observer of Pitman's system will fail to find any " perfectly unnecessary rules and regulations," and that if Mr. Grierson will give himself the little trouble necessary to learn Pitman's system before he passes an authoritative opinion on it, he will probably avoid making a number of other errors similar to those he has already made. Herbert Clarke.
 8iR,—As Mr. Grierson (page 400) invites corrections and criticisms, will you allow me to state that he ought not to have quoted from the "Phonographic Teacher," which is only for learners, but from the "Manual." where he would have found seventyfive "grammalogues, or letter-words," for ordinary use, and about 800 for reporting. This, I think, puts Lewis's 106 contractions into the shade. Mr. G. brings up all his old arguments against Pitman's system—such as the number of different positions for the vowels, etc. It is quite a sufficient answer to all this to say that the alleged difficulties exist only in your correspondent's imagination.
Phonographers themselves do not complain. I am sure that amongst the *' cloud of witnesses" who have written to our Editor in defence of Pitman, there will not be found one complaint on any of the points stated by Mr. G. We are also told that Lewis's system is as phonetic at Pitman's. This is not the case. Pitman'в is the only system which is phonetic in the true sense of the word. Lewis's, in company with all other stenographic methods, is just as much phonetic as our ABC alphabet, and no moro. Mr. G. ridicules Pitman for giving a character to tho sound ZII. It is sufficient to say that the sound exists in the English language, and therefore no phonetic alphabet would be complete without a corresponding sign. If Lewis's alphabet is phonetic, where is his sign for ZH?
In comparing different systems of shorthand, three grand features ought not to be overlooked—brevity, speed, and legibility. And I contend that on all these three points phonography carries off the palm. As regards brevity, it bos been found that the average number of strokes required to write a word in phonography is one and a quarter. As regards speed, it is now generally admitted that the resources of phono
graphy are superior to those of any other system; and its superiority in the matter of legibility has been so fully proved by previous correspondents, that I should almost imagine Mr. Grierson himself has conceded the point. Mr. G. challenges any one to show any complexity in Lewis's system. This, I contend, is not a fair test. The absence of what, to an outsider, might seem as apparent complexities, simply proves that the system is, iu its earlier stages, a little easier for the beginner, but it is almost sure to result in what has been found to be the weak point of all stenographic systems—viz., an inferiority in brevity, speed, and legibility. To say that the decline of stenography and the spread of phonography is owing to the clearness of the former and the cheapness of the latter system is not correct. A man who is going to adopt reporting as a profession would scarcely stick at giving half a guinea for a book if it was superior to all others. The very fact of sixteen out of the nineteen reporters on the Times parliamentary staff using phonography speaks volumes; for the post is one which, above all others, will put to the severest test the capabilities of any system of shorthand.
I will, in conclusion, beg those of your readers who are contemplating learning shorthand to remember that the "proof of the pudding is in the eating ;" and when those who are eating the pudding are loud in its praises, the grumblings of an outsider go for very little. It is absurd to suppose that photography could have supplanted, as it certainly has done, all other 'systems of shorthand, both amongst parliamentary reporters, and throughout England and America, if it had not been found sufficiently easy to learn, and if its resources as to brevity, speed, and legibility had not been found superior to those of any other system. W.
 Sir,—When in No. 271, your "Hermit" quietly asked you to stir up your "small army of shorthand writers" in his favour, he must not have expected that nearly your whole force took it for granted that he wished to join the " battalion of reporters." I have known very many of both sexes who became proficient writers of shorthand, and used it continually for their own purposes, who never had a notion of doing reporter's duty. A very small percentage of all who now practise shorthand use it for reporting purposes; whilst those who use it for " taking notes," even if they do not print them, and whose note-books remain " sealed " to the uninitiated, count, in the United Kingdom alone, as your "small army." Considering the " Hermit " as but one of the many who would wish to acquire an easy and accurate system, and one that would not involve much time in its mastery, I took it on me to point out (in No. 274), a mode of trying the merits of different systems now much appreciated; for I do believe that at the very beginning of our science, a student of it can judge clearly enough between tho rivals. In that belief I again recommend a comparison of alphabets, and, as the matter of course, a comparison of their junction tables. As to vowels, they may be afterwards selected. As an interesting part of education, I wish to see the advance of shorthand; but I assure you that I care little what system triumphs,'provided it be good and sound, and judged of by ks own merits, apart from its many admirers. Mac D .
MR. LOCKYER, MR. PROCTOR, AND SATURN'S RINGS.  Sm, —I do not like to see men of science pitching into one another; but if they will do it let us have fair play. In your last number Mr. Proctor says, " I once, evolved from the depths of my moral consciousness, the fact that in certain parts of Saturn the sun is concealed by tho rings of the planet for such and such intervals. This remark struck Mr. Lockyer as worth appropriating, and accordingly it appears in his 'Elementary Lessons of Astronomy, Ac'" I do not wish to be hard upon Mr. Proctor, but I might ask whose "remark he thought it worthwhile to appropriate"? I assure him that Dr. Dick, in more than one of his very popular works on astronomy, pointed out the same fact before Mr. Proctor was born. The idea evolved by Mr. Proctor is one which almost everybody acquainted with Saturn is struck with.
Luke The Labourer.
THE FLUTE.  Sir,—I am sorry that I have been unable to respond before this to your courteous invitation to follow out the subject of the Boehm flute, but must apologize if I have unintentionally misled your readers in leading them to suppose I could give much more information on the subject. I regret that such is not the case, but perhaps a few remarks that I intended to have sent in my first note to you may be of some interest to them.
There are two descriptions of bore in common nee; one is called the conical bore, that is, the interior of the instrument gradually increases in diameter from the smallest end to the top of the middle joint, the head being cylindrical. The other is termed the cylindrical bore (the same as the clarionet). On this system the instrument is of the same diameter from the lowest part to the top of the middle joint, and the head conical, decreasing upwards. The bore of the Equisonant flute differs from both of the above for the following reasons:—Taking the human voice for a model, it will be found that every different sound has a different sizo or diameter of the larynx. Musical instruments are based upon the same principle—for instance, the pipes of an organ are gradually shortened in the ascuudlng scale, but the mere act of shortening is not sufficient,
they must also vary in diameter. A similar change of diameter is observable in the strings of a pianoforte, harp, Ac.
If a flute be made with a cylindrical bore, it follows that every sound must have the same diameter of tube, and consequently be in direct opposition to nature. The Equisonant flute is based on the principal that each note should have its true and natural diameter of tube, hence the notes are equal throughout (a point of great importance, as on the old flute it was often impossible to give the desired expression to a musical phrase, because the accented and emphatic notes of the passage were obliged to berendered by some of its weakest tones).
"Another Flautist" (3974) may obtain the Equisonant flute at 35, Percy-street, Tottenham Court-road, und the prices vary from eight to thirty-five guineas. J. T. O'Brien (4082) may make his flute sharper by cutting the head-joint shorter. H. T. Left Wich.
P.S.—Just before sending this off, I received your impression of July 15, containing a note from Mr. Chapman (73), who eulogizes the old flute so much in five paragraphs that I was quite astounded to find that in the sixth he had himself abandoned it. H. T. L.
COMPOSITION OF THE HUMAN BODY.  Sir,—In tho Food Department, South Kensington Museum, there is a case (No. 1) that attracts much attention, since it is intended to illustrate the nature of the materials of which the human body is constructed. As the subject is one of interest, and perhaps not generally known, I will, with your permission, offer a few remarks upon it. Chemistry teaches us that all substances are either simple or compound. To the former the term " element" is applied. When two or more elements combine together, a compound is formed. The human body, like all other substances, can be analyzed or separated into its component parts; and assuming the average weight of a man to be 11 stone, or 1541b., the following may be considered as the quantities of compounds or "proximate principles" that build up the human fabric :—
lb. oz. gr.
1 Water, a compound of oxygen and
hydrogen gases .. .. Ill 0 0
2 Gelatine, entering into tho composi
tion of bone, skin, and other tissues 15 0 0
3 Fat, forming the so-called "adipose
tissue" ., .. 12 0 0
4 Phosphate Of Lime. This is the chief
mineral constituent of the bones .. 5 13 0
5 Fibrin, found in the muscles, also in
the clot and globules of the blood.. 4 4 0
6 Albumen, a constituent of the blood
and nervous tissue .. .. 4 3 0
7 Carbonate Of Lime, found in the
bones .. .. .. .. 10 0
8 Chloride Of Sodiuh, or common
salt. It exists in the blood or other
secretions .. .. .. 0 3 370
9 Fluoride Of Calcium, or fluor-spar.
It is a constituent of the bone, and
the enamel of the teeth .. .. 0 3 0
10 Sulphate Of Soda л f 0 1 170
11 Carbonate Of Soda I .°c°ar"n8 ) 0 1 72
12 Phosphate Of Soda >mtheblood\ о 0 400
13 Phosphate Of Potash ) ftnd tweoes t o 0 400
14 Peroxide or Iron, constituting the
colouring matter of the blood .. 0 0 150
15 Phosphate Op Potash, found in the
blood and tissues .. .. 0 0 100
16 Phosphate Of Magnesia, found in
the bones .. .. .. 0 0 75
17 Chloride Of Potassium, met with in
the blood and tissues .. .. 0 0 10
18 Silica, occurring in the hair and teeth 0 0 3
154 0 0 These compound substances or " proximate principles," when resolved into their simplest forms, furnish us with the following list of elements and their quantities:—
lb. oz. gr.
1 Oxygen, a gas. The quantity con
tained in the body would fill a
space equal to 1,300 cubic feet .. Ill 0 0
2 Carbon, a solid, familiar in the form
of charcoal 21 0 0
8 Hydrogen, a gas. The lightest body in nature. It would occupy nearly 3,000 cubic feet.. .. ..1400
4 Nitrogen, a gas. It fills a space of
more than 40 cubic feet.. .. 8 9 0
5 Calcium, a metal. It is the base of
lime ... .. .. .. 20 0
в Phobphorus, a solid of a very inflammable character .. .. 1 12 190
7 Chlorine, a gas of a yellowish-green
colour. With sodium it forms
common salt .. . • . • ** 0 2 382
8 Sulphur, a solid, commonly called
brimstone . - 0 2 219
9 Sodium, a metal. It inflames in con
tact with water .. .. .. 0 Я 116
10 Fluorine, a gas. With calcium it
forms fluor-spar .. .. 0 2 0
It Potassium, a metal. It readily
oxidizes and inflames in «ontaut
with water 0 2 290
12 Iron, a well-known metal .. .. 0 0 100
13 Magnesium, a metal. It burns with
a brilliant light, forming magnesia 0 0 12
14 Silicon,a non-metallic body. It is the
base of flint and sand .. • « 0 0 2
154 0 0