Some Curious Items from old Scientific American newspapers
From Science Notes – Scientific American – April 11, 1896
In notes presented before the Paris Academy of Sciences, L. B. Gustave le
Bon claims that he has proved by photographic effects that ordinary lamp
light and gas light are transmitted through opaque bodies, and states that
the body might be a sheet of copper one-thirtieth of an inch in thickness.
His experiments have been questioned, says Science, by M. Niewenglowski,
who states that he has obtained the same effects in complete darkness, and
attributes them to luminous energy stored up in the plates.
The late Jerry Gallimore did extensive experiments to determine if
quartz crystals really did emit or re-emit energy that could be visually
The first photos were stills until Jerry figured out a way to take the
pictures using 16mm film. Visual phenomena was recorded with a light-
tight pinhole box camera. Jerry figured that the energy must have a
high component of UV and since he could not afford quartz lenses (which
transmit UV), he simply used a pinhole camera.
The pinhole camera focus was done with the crystal being placed in a
fixed position and the focal plane adjusted for the sharpest image using
regular light. Once that was done, he would seal the unit and proceed
with the tests in total darkness.
The initial tests using stills would take about 24 hours of continuous
exposure to a single 135 film frame. This is simple to do by setting
your exposure to Base. The pictures clearly showed a light radiating
from all areas of the crystal being photographed.
As the experiments progressed, Jerry tried various film types and ASA
ratings to see which had the best sensitivity and thus required the
shortest exposure times with the highest resolution image.
Jerry found that he could place a coil of wire around a crystal and
excite it with 60 cycle line current and the wire would glow like a
fluorescent tube when photographed in the light-tight box.
He later got the idea to excite the silver nitrate of the film based on
the audio recording principle of biasing an audio recording with a 20KHZ
signal to “loosen” the ferrous oxide particles immediately before the
tape reaches the recording head.
Jerry figured that a magnetic field, either in flux or in a static
condition, would produce just such excitation. I don’t know what
frequency he used but the films showed plain old magnets with no
excitation. The point was, the magnetic field did in fact sensitize the
film and make the exposure times much shorter.
In fact, he found that by using magnets, he could then use an 8mm or
16mm movie film and get very fast recording of the images at the normal
recording speed for such films.
This was many years ago when I saw these films, but the opportunity to
speak with Jerry so extensively regarding these tests and other
phenomena, I considered to be a distinct honor and the information
worthy of passing on to others.
One other point, I was allowed to see the same reel of film several
times. Jerry did not say anything to clue me in, just said to watch.
A very odd thing happened, it seemed that the images CHANGED with each
Jerry said that he and his research associates had stumbled on something
very bizarre that occurs with natural type energies. He termed this
SERIES 7 or SERIES 9….I am sorry, but I forgot the exact number. It
was about 8 years ago and I can’t find my notes on this. However, I do
remember he said it related to the number of dimensions that natural
energies seem to intersect with.
The explanation for this apparent changing of the image with each
viewing was that as the natural energy emanations are recorded, they do
so in a holographic fashion. This produces multiple perspectives ON THE
SAME FILM STRIP.
Each time the film is run, a different perspective is presented to the
viewer. He did not say WHAT caused this perspective to change though he
hinted it had something to do with a time/space flux, possibly gravity,
though I’d not swear to that being his exact explanation.
Years later, I found a similar type of phenomena in a book on psychic
phenomena. It had to do with paintings that seem to change over time.
There were some photographs of paintings over several years where the
images seemed to turn or other aspects of the painting changed. These
paintings were on exhibition and not touched or altered artificially.
When photos from different time periods were compared, the changes were
noticed. This also applied to statues.
At the time, I wondered if the paint, being oil-based, might have “slid”
off the painting due to gravity and time, but why does the image not
degrade were this the cause??
I will see if that book can again be located and scan in those photos
for an auxiliary file that relates to this in a bit more detail.
For those of us who used to read or still do read science fiction, one
writer did a story on something called “slow glass” where light was
captured in this special glass and only emerged about 100 years later.
These glasses were placed on mountaintops or in other places with
spectacular views for 100 years to capture the visual ambience. They
were then sold for very high prices. In the story I read, a murder had
been committed and the event was captured in the glass but could only be
seen 100 years after the event. It was an intriguing idea and it
correlates very loosely to the SERIES 7 phenomena. Dimensional images
that could be selected.
Could we use this holographic recording technique for the “new” CD-ROM?
From Scientific American – April 18, 1896
It is almost an axiom of the legal profession that the law is clear and
certain, and the judges know the law.
It is one of the first principles of Blackstone that “the law cannot make
mistakes.” And yet one of the most eminent of English judges, Lord
Mansfield, once said, in deciding a case,
“as to the certainty of the law, it would be very hard upon the
profession IF THE LAW WAS SO CERTAIN THAT EVERYBODY KNEW IT. The
misfortune is that it is so UNCERTAIN that it costs much money to
know what it is, even in the court of last resort.”
A gentleman once asked a lawyer what he would do provided he had loaned a
man $500, and the man had left the country without sending any
“Why, that’s simple; just write him to send an acknowledgement for the
$5,000 you lent him, and he will doubtless reply stating it was ONLY $500.
That will suffice for a receipt and you can proceed against him if
During the late war Japanese surgeons are said to have employed, as a
dressing for wounds, the ash of rice straw. This was freely applied after
the wound had been cleansed, and sublimate gauze or linen was then
superposed and held in position.
The ash is said to act as a perfect antiseptic, its properties in that
respect being attributed to the presence of potassium carbonate, and it is
certainly the cheapest dressing on record-Pharm. Jour.
From Science Notes – Scientific American – April 25, 1896
The Aeolian harp has been put to a scientific use. Prof. Carl Barus has
shown that the sound made by the wind whistling across a fine wire varied
with the velocity of the wind.
He showed that the velocity of the wind could be computed from the pitch of
the note observed in the case of a given diameter of wire and for a given
temperature of the air.
With the aid of special microscopic attachments, the sounds could be
conveyed through a distance so as to be isolated from the other noises at
the place of exposure. By the use of a number of wires the direction of
the wind could be determined.
Tenacity of Life in Insects
Mr. J. C. Warburg writes to the Entomologist:
“When I was still new to collecting in South France, I discovered one
day, to my great joy, a large female of Saturnia Pyri hidden away in
some bushes. The specimen was the first I had ever caught, and I
decided, on account of its large body, to stuff it (a quite unnecessary
operation; I have kept dozens since unstuffed).
The moth was first apparently killed by being forced into a cyanide
bottle, where it was left about an hour. The abdomen was then emptied
and the cavity filled with cotton-wool soaked in a saturated solution
of mercuric chloride. The insect, pinned and set, was discovered next
day attempting to fly away from the setting board.”
From Science Notes – Scientific American – May 2, 1896
(this pertains to the plethora of odd flying machines
seen in the US and particularly in Texas in 1897 though
this article does not SAY the thing is supposed to fly…)
The work on Herr Andree’s balloon is proceeding rapidly. A balloon HOUSE
is to be erected in Spitzbergen. It will be octagonal in shape, 25 meters
high and 37 meters broad. The walls and floors will be lined with felt at
such points where the balloon will be liable to touch them.
The roof will be covered with cotton cloth and the windows will be of
gelatine in place of glass. The steamer on which the expedition will set
out for Spitzbergen will carry about 33 tons of sulphuric acid to generate
From Science Notes – Scientific American – May 2, 1896
In a recent communication to the French Academy of Sciences, says the
American Shipbuilder, an explanation is given of some of the curious
phenomena pertaining to fog horns. It has been found that, with acoustic
signals or sirens, they are surrounded by a neutral zone, in which the
sound is not heard at the sea level.
This zone is more or less distant, according to the height of about 8,400
feet. On the nearer side of this zone the sound is heard perfectly. But
when it is traversed, the sound weakens gradually until it becomes almost
imperceptible, when it increases again, and, on the zone being finally left
behind, the sound resumes its full intensity.
Experiments have been made with a vessel by causing it to approach and
recede from a lightship to various directions in a straight line. In each
course the sound was deadened almost completely in a zone whose central
line was about 15,000 feet from the siren.
Scientific American – May 16, 1896
The Ethereal Electric Light
At the National Electric Exhibition in this city, on the evening of May 6,
Mr. D. McFarlan Moore gave an interesting and successful demonstration
before the members of the National Electrical Association of what he termed
etherial electric light, which was fully explained in our issue of a few
weeks ago, vol. 1xxiv, No. 9.
As has been stated, the gist of the invention or improvement lies in
inclosing the circuit breaker of the primary circuit of an induction coil
in a vacuum tube, whereby a perfect make and break contact is made without
any loss to the contact surfaces.
A continuous uniform vibration thus ensues which, in turn, produces
continuous and uniform pulsations in the fine wire of the induction coil,
producing uniform discharges from the terminals.
He illustrated on the screen many forms of tubes and explained their
characteristics. He could obtain better results with a glass tube in which
there was a partial vacuum without any interior wire terminals than with,
and simply wrap a piece of wire around the exterior ends of the tube, which
is enough to produce a glow in the interior.
A very singular experiment was the holding in one hand a connected tube
which glowed brilliantly, and the taking hold of the hand of another person
who held at arm’s length a second tube. As soon as the hands were grasped
the second tube began to glow with half the intensity of the other. The
use of a suspended wire screen from the ceiling was shown.
Being connected with the regular terminals of the induced coil, it produced
a magnetic field of some kind, causing tubes of glass held in the hand near
it to glow very brightly, and suspended tubes in the form of letters of
light to appear.
It furnished a capital explanation or suggestion for the production of
mysterious light at seance circles of spiritualists. Mr. Moore remarked
that the quality of this light was more like daylight than any other, and
demonstrated what a square inch of daylight would look like; he also showed
various forms of incandescent lights operated on this plan, including an
example of a real electrical fountain which was very pretty.
The novel applications of the tubes to the lighting of rooms was shown; the
light has a peculiar softness that is quite remarkable, and is to be
produced so easily that every home can have it. The method is still in an
experimental state, but has a good future. Much applause was given the
lecturer on the success of the various steps of his demonstration.
From Scientific American – May 2, 1896
Concerning his observations of wasps which are addicted to the use of
intoxicating liquors. Lawson Tait relates the following:
“I have been watching the wasps with great interest and have noticed the
avidity with which they attack certain fruit when fully ripe, rotting
in fact, and I have also noticed some of the peculiar results of their
The sugar in some fruits which are most attacked by wasps has a
tendency to pass into a kind or kinds of alcohol in the ordinary
process of rotting, a fact which is easily ascertained by the use of a
STILL not large enough to attract the attention of the excise
On such fruits, particularly grapes and certain plums, you will see
wasps pushing and fighting in numbers much larger than can be
accommodated, and you will see them get very drunk, crawl away in a
semi-somnolent condition, and repose in the grass for some time, till
they get over the ’bout,’ and then they will go at it again.
It is while they are thus affected that they do their worst stinging,
both in the virulent nature of the stroke and the utterly unprovoked
assaults of which they are guilty. I was stung last year by a drunken
wasp, and suffered severely from symptoms of nerve poison for several
days. In such drunken peculiarities they resemble their human
contemporaries.” -Registered Pharmacist.
From Science Notes – Scientific American – May 16, 1896
Since it has become known that milk in a bucket standing in a sick room
will absorb germs, a recent writer (Medical Press and Circular) has applied
the idea in the treatment of smallpox, fevers, diphtheria, etc. with MARKED
The patient is laid on a mattress covered with blankets. He is then packed
in a sheet saturated with milk, covering the entire body, in which
condition he remains an hour. A warm water bath is then given, after which
the surface is dried and the patient is put to bed.