« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the force of steam are the most powerful ever formed by the art of man. One of these machines or engines, employed for draining the deep mines of Cornwall in England, works a pump of eighteen inches diameter, and upwards of six hundred feet high, at the rate of from ten to twelve strokes, of seven feet long each, in a minute. The power of this engine may be more easily comprehended, by saying that it can raise a weight equal to eighty-one thousand pounds, eighty feet high in a minute ; which is equal to the combined action of two hundred good horses....Darwin. Steam is now employed in several important uses, in the United States; particularly in navigating the Hudson and some other rivers, and also Lake Champlain.
STEEL, iron purified in the fire with other ingredients, which render it white, and its grain closer and finer. It is probably owing to a total deprivation of vital air, which it holds with so great avidity, that irons kept many hours or days in ignited charcoal, becomes converted into steel, and thence acquires the faculty of being welded, when red hot, long before it melts, and also the power of becoming hard when immersed in cold water. Some artists plunge edge tools into very cold water as soon as they are completely ignited, and moving them about, take them out as soon as they cease to be luminous beneath the water ; they are then rubbed quickly with a file, or on sand, to clean the surface ; the heat which the metal still retains soon begins to produce a succession of colours.
If a hard temper be required, the piece is dipped again, and stirred about in cold water as soon as the yellow tinge appears ; if it be cooled when the purple tinge appears, it becomes fit for graver's tools, and is used in working upon metals; if cooled while blue, it is proper for springs....Nicholson.
STOCK DOVE, a species of dove from which all the varieties of pigeons are supposed to derive their origin. This bird, in its natural state, is of a deep bluish ash colour; the breast dashed with a fine changeable green and purple ; its wings marked with two black bars; the back white, and the tail barred near the end with black. The stock dove is easily tamed, breeds
every month, lays two white eggs, from which are commonly hatched a male and female. The old pair take turns in setting. The female sets from three or four o'clock in the evening till nine the next day ; the male then sets from nine to three. If the female neglects coming at the fixed time, the male follows her, and drives her along to the nest : so also if he keeps away when he ought to be setting, she goes after him and scolds him home. When the birds are hatched, the old male usually feeds the young female, and the old female feeds the young male. Among the varie. ties proceeding from the stock dove, the species called the iurtle dove, is very remarkable. This kind of pi. geon is distinguished from others by a crimson circle round the eye-lid, and is noted for its surprising constancy and fidelity to its mate; a pair of turtle doves being put together in a cage, if one dies, the other grieves itself to death.... Goldsmith.
STORK, a bird of the crane kind, of a white and brown colour. It preys upon frogs, fishes, and ser. pents; and always lives near towns and populous places. Storks are birds of passage ; but it is hard to say whence thcy come or whither they go. When they withdraw from Europe, they all assemble on a particular day, and never leave one of their company behind them. They take their flight in the night, and they generally return into Europe in the middle of March, and make their nests in the tops of chimnies and houses, as well as of high trees. The old Duich republicans were very solicitous for the preservation of the stork in every part of their territory ; having an opinion that it would live only in a republic. This bird seems to have taken refuge among their towns ; building on the tops of their houses without any molestation : it was seen resting familiarly in their streets, and was protected as well by their laws as by the prejudices of the people. The ancient Egyptians paid adoration to this bird, by reason of its usefulness in destroying serpents.... Goldsmith.
STRALSUND, a strong town in Pomerania, situated between the Baltic and the Lake of Franken. In 1715, Charles XII. of Sweden, with a small number of forces,
was besieged in this town by the combined armies of Danes, Russians, and Germans. The bombs fell upon the houses as thick as hail, and half the town was reduced to ashes : but all this seemed to make no impression on the mind of Charles. One day while he was dictating some letters, a bomb bursting very near his apartment, his secretary dropped his pen. “What is the the matter," said Charles. “ The bomb, sir,” replied the astonished secretary. 6 Write on," said Charles, with an air of indifference;“ what relation has the bomb to the letter I am dictating ?"
STROMBOLO, a volcanic mountain, five hundred fathoms in height; situated on one of the Lipari islands, in the Mediterranean. Of all the volcanoes recorded in history, Strombolo seems to be the only one that burns without ceasing. Etna and Vesuvius often lie quiet for many months, and even years, without the least appearance of fire ; but Strombolo is ever at work, and, for ages past, has been looked upon as the great lighthouse of the Mediterranean Sea. Notwithstanding its incessant fires, the mountain is inhabited at some distance from the crater....Adam,
STURGEON, a fish of great curiosity, as well as great importance. His mouth is placed under the lead, without teeth, like the opening of a purse'; which he has the power to push suddenly out, or retract. Before the mouth, under the beak, or nose, hang four tendrils, some inches long, and which so resemble earth-worms, that at first sight they might be mistaken for them. This clumsy toothless fish is supposed by this contrivance, to keep himself in good condition ; tbe solidity of his flesh evidently shewing him to be a fish of prey. The flesh of the sturgeon was so valued at the time of the Roman Emperor Severus, that it was brought to table by servants with coronets on their heads, and preceded by music; which might give rise to the custom of presenting it by the lord mayor of London to the king of England. At present it is caught in the Danube, the
Don, and other large rivers, for various purposes. The skin makes the best covering for carriages; isinglass is prepared from parts of the skin,
362 SUBMARINE PLANTS....SUEZ....SUGAR.
[and from the sounds ;] cavear from the spawn ; and the flesh is pickled, or salted, and sent all over Europe. ....Darwin.
SUBMARINE PLANTS, vegetables growing at the bottom of the sea. The bottom of the sea is
pasturage for innumerable multitudes of living creatures which dwell there. The whole bottom of the Red Sea, in particular, is, literally speaking, a forest of submarine plants, and corals, formed by insects for their habitations. Here are seen the madrepores, the sponges, mosses, sea-mushrooms, and other marine productions, covering every part of the bottom. Such submarine productions are also found in great quantities in the Persian Gulph, along the coasts of Africa, and those of Provence and Catalonia....Goldsmith.
SUEZ, an isthmus, or neck of land, by which Africa is joined to the continent of Asia. It extends about sixty miles from the Mediterranean, or mouth of the Nile, to the Arabian Gulph or Red Sea. About six hundred years before our Saviour's nativity, Necho king of Egypt attempted to dig a canal, through the Isthmus of Suez from the mouth of the Nile to the Red Sea ; in which work, it is said, above twenty thousand Egyptians perished. Such a canal, from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, if completely navigable, would shorten the voyage from Europe to India nearly two thirds : yet, by reason of the monsoons, it could take no less than three years to perform that voyage. See MONSOONS and RED SEA.
SUGAR, a substance of a sweet and very agreeable nature, made of the juice of the sugar-cane. Sugar was first brought from Arabia into Europe ; and for many centuries was used not for food, but for medicine only. Among the Romans it was unknown before the reign of Nero. According to Ramsay's Review, the quantity of this article used in England, more than threedoubled from the year 1700 to the year 1790. A century ago, even the rich considered it as a luxury, and used it sparingly at their tables ; now the poorest people think it a necessary of life.
ŞUGAR CANE...SUGAR MAPLE ...SULPHUR. 363
SUGAR CANE, a pointed reed terminating in leaves or blades, whose edges are finely and sharply serrated. The body of the cane is strong, but brittle, and when ripe of a fine straw colour, inclinable to yellow; and it contains a soft pithy substance, which affords a copious supply of juice of a sweetness the least cloying and most agreeable in nature. The length of the cane, in very strong lands, is sometimes twelve feet; its general length, however, is from 3 and an half to 7 feet; and in very rich lands the root has been known to put forth upwards of a hundred suckers or shoots. A pound of sugar from a gallon. of the raw liquor of the cane, is reckoned in Jamaica very good yielding A sugar plantation well conducted, and in a favorable soil, is computed to yield as many hogsheads of sugar annually, of sixteen hundred pounds weight, as there are negroes belonging to it. The average annual profits of sugar plantations in the West-Indies, is not more than three and an half per cent on the capitals.... Bryan Edwards.
SUGAR MAPLE, a handsome clean tree which gives a deep shade, and is excellent for fuel : it grow3 readily from seeds. The largest of these trees arc five and an half or six feet in diameter; and will yield five gallons of sap in one day; and from twelve to fifteen pounds of sugar, during the season. The younger and smaller trees afford sap or juice, in a still greater proportion. It is only during four or five weeks in the spring, that the juice can be collected. While the trees are frozen at night, and thawed in the day, the sap runs plentifully ; but as soon as the buds come on, the sap ceases to flow in such a manner as that it can any longer : be collected.... Williams.
SULPHUR, or Brimstone, a hard inflammable mineral, of a yellow colour; it is found most frequently and plentifully in the vicinity of volcanoes, and is generally cast in rolls for sale. Sulphur is of great utility in the arts. It is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of gun-powder : when converted into an acid by combustion in the open air, it affords that extensively useful liquid, vulgarly termed oil of vitriol ; considerable