Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

But Science says, at first.' Am I to understand by the words at first' that when I, for the first time, announced publicly that I could detect oleomargarine, it was owing to my discovery of the globose crystals of butter showing the Saint Andrew's cross? If such is the meaning intended, nothing could be more erroneous. I did not discover the Saint Andrew's cross until May, 1884, while the record shows that from July, 1879, until May, 1884, I was determining between butter and oleomargarine by the simple method described. Other helps were sometimes employed, such as testing by acids, boiling to get the odor of butter or other fats, etc.; but I have always considered the presence of highly developed fatty crystals in the material conclusive evidence that the substance is oleomargarine.

In a communication to Hitchcock and Wall's Quarterly microscopical journal (vol. ii. July, 1879), published in New York, I set forth, among other statements about butter and oleomargarine, that I was able to detect the latter, owing to particles of cellular tissue, microscopic blood-vessels, and stellar crystals of fat found in it. This paper is illustrated with several cuts, exhibiting respectively the stellar crystals and portions of adipose tissue.

In a bulletin of the microscopical division of the department of agriculture, published in 1884, by direction of Commissioner George B. Loring, a paper of mine appears, with six chromo-lithographic illustrations, two of which relate to the detection of oleomargarine, and show the stellated crystals of lard as seen under the microscope. On p. 6, same bulletin, the following appears: .6 Aware of the fact that all artificial butter was made directly from crystallized fats, I devised a method by which it could be distinguished from true butter. . . . To carry out this plan, I used the low powers of the microscope with Nicols prisms. In this way I found that I had a method of detecting the crystals, whether in perfect starry form or as fragments of these forms, exhibiting all the colors of the rainbow."

In public debate at the late meeting of the American society of microscopists, at Chautauqua, N.Y., I said that all the convictions obtained in the courts of Washington, D.C., on my evidence, had been founded on my detection of lard or beef-fat in the fatty compounds sold as butter. Thus, first and last, my most important test has been the detection of crystals of foreign fats in butter substitutes sold as pure butter.

On p. 224, Science observes further: "Prof. H. H. Weber, however, upon testing the method described by Dr. Taylor, found, that, although the socalled butter crystals could be readily prepared from butter, they could be as readily prepared from beeffat, or mixtures of beef-fat and lard, under like conditions." Answer: According to Professor Weber's own statement (see bulletin 13 of the Ohio experiment station), he did not use beef-fat, but a substance known to the trade as 'oleo,' said to be a manufac tured product, containing a much smaller proportion of stearine and palmatine than does beef-fat, and made purposely by oleomargarine manufacturers to resemble butter as nearly as possible in its chemical composition. The professor triturated this butterlike substance with salt and water, boiled it, and when it was cooled discovered that it formed into globose bodies showing a cross; and he says that the crystal thus formed cannot be distinguished from that of pure butter. In this the professor is greatly

mistaken. When 'oleo' crystals are observed under a half-inch objective, they can at once be distinguished from butter by their highly spinous character. But, I ask, what bearing has this experiment upon the question of my method of detecting oleomargarine? since crystals resembling those of boiled butter are never found in oleomargarine or butterine as sold.

Science further says (second paragraph): “After the publication of these results, the butter crystal' and its Saint Andrew's cross were relegated to a subordinate position." Answer: The Saint Andrew's cross of butter has never been and cannot be 'relegated' from its original position, viz, that of a constant factor of the globose butter crystal; nor can it be used as a means of detecting crystals of lard or of beef-fat in oleomargarine. Pure unboiled butter never exhibits either globose or stellar crystals, while oleomargarine and butterine, as sold, show the crystals of fats foreign to butter. Science says further: "Dr. Taylor insisted that his most important test bas been neglected, viz., the appearance of the unboiled material under polarized light with selenite plate. According to Dr. Taylor, butter shows a uniform tint, while lard and tallow show prismatic colors." Answer: The assertion that the above is my most important test is found nowhere in my writings. In my open letter to Professor Sturtevant of the New York experiment station (March 21, 1886), I say = "The crystals of lard or of tallow generally observed in great numbers are easily distinguished from the mass of amorphous fats with which they are combined. This is one of my most important tests of oleomargarine and butterine." My assertion, This is one of my most important tests,' is thus made the foundation of a statement that something else is my most important test. In my publications relating to the detection of oleomargarine, from 1879 to the present time, I have reiterated the necessity of finding in the suspected material crystals of foreign fats in order to prove beyond a doubt its spurious character. Science further says: "Here again, however, he [Dr. Taylor] has been pursued by Professor Weber, who shows that either butter-fat or lard or tallow, when cooled quickly, will show a uniform tint, while if cooled slowly, so as to admit of the formation of larger crystals, prismatic tints are shown by both. Since imitation butter is . . . liable to undergo sufficient changes of temperature after manufacture to allow of a partial re-crystallization, the test is plainly fallacious." As regards the first sentence of the above quotation, it may be stated that large crystals of butter can never be found in unboiled oleomargarine, from the very nature of its manufacture, since the only butter it contains is derived from the milk with which it is churned. In the manufacture of butterine, however, butter, melted at the lowest possible temperature, is added to liquid oleo' and neutral lard' and churned. Even in this case the butter does not crystallize. Were the butter melted at a high temperature, its odor and taste would be objectionable; it would also crystallize in large globose forms, giving the butterine the granular appearance of lard, which would render it unsalable.

[ocr errors]

In the latter sentence of the above quotation, Science acknowledges that imitation butter is liable to undergo sufficient changes of temperature after manufacture to allow of a partial re-crystallization. For years past I have been endeavoring to convince

those interested in this subject of this very fact thus acknowledged by Science. But be it remembered, that, in the re-crystallization that takes place after manufacture, it is not the 'oleo' crystal with cross that re-appears, but a stellated body resembling lard. Normal butter always shows a uniform tint; lard and tallow, as sold everywhere, show prismatic colors. What Professor Weber alludes to is strictly neither lard nor tallow, but a specially prepared material known as 'oleo' and neutral lard.' These he chills suddenly to prevent crystallization, a condition not suggested by the broad statement contained in my paper. No unbiassed mind would compare the evanescent results of this experiment with an ounce of neutral lard' or 'oleo,' with the constant crystalline condition of the million of pounds sold daily in our markets.

[ocr errors]

6

With regard to the optical test of oleomargarine observed in the use of polarized light and selenite plate, I have said: "If the sample is submitted to the action of polarized light and selenite plate, and appears of a uniform color according to the color of the selenite used, we have another indication that the substance is pure normal butter, which, under these conditions, never exhibits prismatic colors. Sometimes large crystals of salt cause the appearance of prismatic colors in pure butter, by refraction : these should be removed. Butter that has been exposed to light until it is bleached, or butter that has been in immediate contact, for a long time, with a substance that absorbs its oil, as when placed in wooden tubs, has undergone a chemical change, and should not be considered as normal butter (extract from the Sturtevant open letter, which Professor Weber professes to have reviewed). But even butter of this description never exhibits crystals resembling those of either lard or oleo.' The prismatic colors of an abnormal butter, described by Professor Weber, and accounted for by me in my earlier papers as observed in decomposing or over-heated butters, etc., could not be mistaken by any but a novice for the gorgeous tiuts seen, with and without the aid of selenite plate, in butter substitutes in general. In a letter addressed to me, April 8, current year, Professor Sturtevant says: "Your claim for the selenite plate received our attention a long time ago, as we observed it in Professor Wiley's report for 1884. This test seems to offer promise of value." Professor Wiley, chemist of the department of agriculture, says: "Pure unmelted butter, when viewed through a selenite plate by polarized light, presents a uniform tint over the whole field of vision. On the other hand, butter substitutes give a field of vision mottled in appearance. This phenomenon is so marked, that, with a little experience, the observer will be able to tell a genuine from an artificial butter with a fair degree of accuracy. While the examination should never stop with this optical test above, it can be advantageously used as a preliminary step." My bulletin was issued in 1884; the agricultural report for 1884 was issued in 1885.

In a footnote to my paper already mentioned (Hitchcock and Wall's Journal), the following appears: "Well-made oleomargarine may be quite free from any crystalline appearance, at least while fresh.

The sudden cooling on ice seems to prevent the immediate formation of crystals, but it is not unlikely that these will gradually form in course of time." Thus it is shown that Professor Weber was anticipated by seven years in this case. A tub of

fresh oleomargarine, direct from Armour's factory, Chicago, the present month, was examined as soon as received. Stellated crystals were at once ob. served in it, and the entire field was covered with prismatic colors.

Professor Weber states that a sample of butter subjected to heat and cold in his laboratory, but which did not actually melt, showed under the microscope prismatic colors, and he pointedly, although mistakenly, asserts that this butter fairly represents the condition of butter generally. In a paper read before the American society of microscopists, August, 1885, published in the Proceedings of the society, I say: "When oleomargarine or butterine is newly made, crystals of fat are seldom observed in it when viewed under the microscope; but in course of time, owing to its being subjected to light and increase of temperature in stores, it exhibits crystals of fat more or less. In butter substitutes of commerce the crystals are seldom absent."

[ocr errors]

Science further says: Apparently, Dr. Taylor prepared his annual report with these results in mind, for there, and in his paper before the annual meeting of the American society of microscopists at Chautauqua, Aug. 10-16, he gives his method a still different exposition." Answer: The most important part of this sentence, to me, is its personal character. It contains an indirect charge that I so altered my official report to the commissioner of agriculture as that it might appear that I had anticipated Professor Weber in his novel views and experiments. It is sufficient to say that my official report was placed in the hands of Colonel Nesbit, chief clerk of the department of agriculture, at least six months before Professor Weber made his experiments. The points to which Science alludes are all contained in my report to Professor Kellicott, secretary to the American society of microscopists, at Buffalo, N.Y., sent him by mail Oct. 7, 1885, and were not afterwards altered by me, as the publishing committee will testify. Independently of all this, there is on file in the department of agriculture a copy of my original report, made by one of the clerks of the statistical bureau, over one year ago, which agrees with my published official report. Science further says: "Dr. Taylor's first step is now to search for fat crystals in the test sample by plain transmitted light." Answer: As has been shown, this was my method for the first several years, for the simple reason that lard crystals are by this means easily detected, but I subsequently discovered that the crystals of beef-fat could not be properly defined without the aid of polarized light. Science further says: "By the application of polarized light, amorphous crystals,' whatever these may be, may be detected." Answer: I have applied this term, amorphous crystals,' to mottled fats which, seen by polarized light without selenite, exhibit no particular form or structure, but, seen by polarized light with selenite plate, exhibit specks and prismatic colors, thereby showing their crystalline condition. Science further says: To determine whether these amorphous crystals are of beef-fat or of lard, the sample is boiled and slowly cooled, as already described, and mounted in oil." Answer: In my official report I say: Having first examined the suspected material under the microscope, it may be boiled." The precaution of a preliminary examination by polarized light is highly necessary, for, should the sample contain a large per cent of butter, boiling might cause it to crystallize in large globose bodies,

66

66

by which the small crystals of lard and other fats might be absorbed and thereby escape detection. In the case of a true oleomargarine, which consists almost wholly of 'oleo,' the process of boiling would develop beef-fat crystals without cross, which would not be modified in form by the small quantity of butter in the compound.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Science further says: "Under these conditions, he now finds, in accordance with Professor Weber, that butter, lard, and beef-fat all give globular crystalline bodies which (apparently with the exception of lard) show the St. Andrew's cross." Answer: Science is misinformed in this case. The above statement is not in accordance with the facts. Professor Weber's language, in bulletin 13, is: "The butter revealed a well marked black cross;" "the lard, small irregular stellated bodies;" beef-fat, only small stellate crystals." The last is an erroneous description of beef-fat, however, which has a branched and foliated crystal. It must be confessed that Professor Weber has an odd way of 'corroborating' the correctness of my experiments, employing 'oleo oil' instead of rendered beef kidney fat, according to the statement in my abstract.' 'Oleq,' a substance not mentioned in my experiments, is no more beef-fat than phenic alcohol is coal-tar, although the one is a product of the other. Science says: "The above account of Dr. Taylor's method, as at present described by him, is drawn mainly from his last annual report to the commissioner of agriculture." Answer: Science is in error on this point. The points referred to by Science are taken mostly from my open letter to Professor Sturtevant, and from Professor Weber's bulletins 13 and 15, of the Ohio experiment station. My method of detecting oleomargarine has nowhere appeared in the columns of Science, nor in the reports of Professor Weber. My official report for 1885 was not issued when Professor Weber published the paper of March 1, 1886, nor does he seem to have been aware of my other publications mentioned in this paper. In point of fact, Professor Weber, unfortunately, undertook to discuss my method of detecting oleomargarine, by reviewing an abstract that did not so much as mention the subject. In conclusion, Science says: "We shall endeavor to keep our readers informed of the changes which the method undergoes in the future." This last is to me the most gratifying sentence in the whole article.

THOMAS TAYLOR, M.D., Microscopist, U.S. dept. of agric.

Anemometer exposure.

I have been allowed space in recent issues of Science to call attention to errors which may arise from the position of thermometers and barometers relative to surrounding objects: may I now call attention to similar errors which may arise from badly placed anemometers ? The subject is not a new one, but I wish to urge the necessity of a more uniform exposure than that now used by our signal service. According to the Associated press reports of the storm of Oct. 14 and 15 in the lake region, the wind tore through the trees of the Chicago public parks, on the morning of the 14th, with the fury of a hurricane, twisting saplings off and hurling them over the tops of large trees, littering the streets with broken trees and shattered sign-boards, and demolishing at least two buildings; and all this, according to the same despatch, while the wind was blowing

"

with a velocity of 20 miles an hour." Similar reports came from surrounding towns. The production of all this damage by a 20-mile wind seemed so absurd that I wrote to the signal officer at Chicago for the observed wind velocities on Oct. 14, and received the following: Oct. 14, 1886, max. vel. of wind, S.W., 27 at 12.58 P.M.; vel. at 7 A.M., S.E., 11; at 3 P.M., S.W., 28; at 11 P.M., S. W., 11." Wind velocities of 40 miles per hour are not unfrequently recorded in Boston. On Oct. 31 the anemograph at the Boston signal office showed a maximum velocity of 40 miles, and on April 6 a maximum velocity of 51 miles; yet in neither case was there any record of broken or overturned trees and injured or wrecked buildings. This seems to show that wind velocities reported from Boston cannot be compared with wind velocities reported from Chicago. Not only can we not compare two stations of the signal office together, but we cannot compare wind velocities obtained during different years at the same station. During recent years high wind velocities have been much more frequently recorded at the Boston signal office than previously, and we find that while the average monthly wind movement at Boston from 1870 to 1881 was 6,630 miles (see Report chief signal office. 1883), the mean monthly movement during the last two years has been 8,120. Are we hence to conclude that Boston is becoming a windier place? I think not. The signal office at Boston was moved from one building to another building in 1884, and since then the velocities have been higher than previously, and are no doubt due to the changed position of the anemometer. But even with a continuous exposure of an anemometer at the same place, it is doubtful, as anemometers are now exposed, whether wind velocities from different directions can be compared with one another. There are two anea Draper and a Hahl- on the tower of the observatory at Blue Hill. These rise about eleven feet above the roof of the tower and about eight feet above the parapet. The Hahl anemometer is situated on the south side of the tower, and the Draper on the east side of the tower, which is sixteen feet in diameter. During the last three months there have been seventeen days on which the prevailing wind was from the west; and on all of these except four the total daily movement shown by the Hahl was larger than that shown by the Draper. On these seventeen days the average daily movement shown by the Hahl was 438 miles, and by the Draper 426. During the last six months there has been ten days on which the prevailing wind was from the north, and on all but three the Draper recorded more than the Hahl. On these ten days the average daily movement shown by the Draper was 353 miles, and by the Hahl, 346. This seems to show that wind velocities from different directions recorded by either instrument cannot be compared with each other, though the differences in this case are not large. Yet I think the Blue Hill anemometers are better exposed than many of those of the signal service which are near the edge of tall buildings, and have an abrupt descent on one side of them, and a long roof or series of roofs on the other.

mometers

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

SCIENCE.-SUPPLEMENT.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1886.

EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY IN

LEIPZIG.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE period in the development of a science at which observation is supplemented by experimentation has long been recognized as one of critical importance. Moreover, if the nature of the science thus advanced seems to be such that the employment of the new instrument is followed by the positing of a more complete and scientific stand-point; if, in other words, the influence of the experimental stage is as valuable for theory as for practice, the importance of this step is certainly increased. There are many men now living who could have witnessed the beginnings of this movement in psychology, and lived its life with their own. Notwithstanding the great enthusiasm with which this departure was hailed, an enthusiasm which in its short career has experienced many ups and downs, the study has been taken up more largely as an avocation than as a serious life-work. Many scientists, mostly physicists or physiologists or alienists (Helmholtz, Mach, Hennig, Preyer), have taken up the limited portion of the subject in which they were most interested, and devoted themselves to it. The greatest advances of any have undoubtedly resulted from the labors of such men. On the other hand, the propounders of psychological systems have not been slow in incorporating the results and conceptions of the new movement into their doctrines, not always, it may be added, with a very congruous result. But there are many indications that an essential condition of the flourishing of scientific psychology is the existence of specialists devoted to its cause, with all the advantages, both material and intellectual, that their position in a first-class university can bring. Psychology is ready to emerge from the nomadic state; and, having given assurance of its permanency, it asks for a home, or rather for homes. The University of Leipzig, owing to the efforts of Professor Wundt, has been, perhaps, the foremost in answering this call. Many young men have gained an impetus for such work under his direction; and a quarterly Philosophische studien, devoted mainly to the publication of results of research in the Leipzig laboratory, was founded some years ago. The articles relating to experimental topics in the last two numbers of

this journal' will indicate the direction in which work is being done.

A very interesting study is that on the Memory for tone,' by Mr. H. K. Wolfe. The impetus to the research was given by the admirable study of the memory by Dr. Emminghaus, in which he counted the number of repetitions of a series of nonsense-syllables necessary to enable the hearer to repeat the series from memory at once or after a certain interval. He found, for example, that he could repeat seven such syllables when read to him but once; if there were twelve syllables, they would have to be repeated sixteen times, and if twenty-four syllables forty-four times before they were memorized. Mr. Wolfe very justly remarks that what is here understood by memory is the power to reproduce, and that there is a more simple and retentive form of memory, which consists in the power to recognize as familiar an object that has been presented to the senses before. A very common illustration of this is seen in the fact, that, on reading a book a second time, we recognize a great deal more of it than we could have told of it. So, too, we can recognize at least ten times as many shades of color as we can see in the imagination, can understand more words than are in our usual vocabulary; and so on. It is this simpler form of memory that Mr. Wolfe studies. A series of nearly 300 vibrating metal tongues, giving the tones through five octaves, from 32 to 1,024 vibrations, was at his disposal. These tongues gave tones differing by 2 vibrations only in the two lower octaves, and by 4 vibrations in the three higher octaves. In the first series of experiments a tone was selected, and, after sounding it for one second, a second tone was sounded, which was either the same as the first, or different from it by 4, 8, or 12 vibrations in different series. The person experimented upon was to answer whether the second tone was the same as the first, thus showing that he recognized it, or whether it was different, and, if so, whether it was higher or lower. Of course, the interval of time between the two tones was an important factor. The proportionate number of correct judgments, and the smallness of the difference of the vibration-rates of the two tones, would measure the accuracy of the tone memory. It appeared that one could tell more readily whether the two tones were alike than whether they were different, 1 Philosophische studien. Herausgegeben von WILHELM WUNDT. Band iii. hefte 3, 4. Leipzig, Engelmann, 1886. 8°.

although in both cases the accuracy of the memory was remarkably good.' When the tones were really equal, they were recognized as such, on the average, in from seventy-five to eighty per cent of all cases. In using tones differing by only 4 or 8 vibrations, though the difference was very often clearly perceived, the direction of it, whether higher or lower, was not always clear, and even in differences of 12 vibrations there was little confidence in one's judgment. This seems to be a peculiarity of auditory sensations: for in sight you can almost as readily say that a shade is lighter or darker than another as that it is different; you can almost as soon detect the direction in which a point is moving along the skin as you can detect the motion itself. But the main point is the effect of the time-interval between the tone and its reproduction. This was varied from 1 second to 30 seconds, or even to 60 seconds, or 120 seconds in some experiments. The general result is, that the longer the interval, the smaller the chances that the tone will be recognized; and this process of forgetting takes place at first very rapidly, and then more slowly. It is made probable that the interval must increase in a geometrical ratio to produce an arithmetical series of (approximately) equal degrees of forgetting; i.e., the curve is logarithmic. This law is subject to considerable variations, one of which seems to be constant and is peculiar; namely, there seems to be a rhythm in the memory itself, and, after falling, it recovers slightly, and then fades out again. Among other results were that the accuracy of the memory decreases as the pitch of the tone is lowered (within limits); that relatively high tones tend to be judged too high, and low ones too low, by unmusical ears; that the effect of practice is at first marked, but soon diminishes as is its general law; and that the recovering power of the ear is so great that fatigue has little effect. To prove the last proposition, experiments were made for one day from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M. (with ten minutes intermission).

A subject that has always received great attention at the Leipzig laboratory is the measurement of the time of psychic processes. These have been conveniently divided into three kinds : 1°, the reaction time, which is simply the time after the application of the sense-stimulus necessary for an individual to record the fact that he has received the sensation; 2°, the distinction or per

1 Very unfortunately, Mr. Wolfe, in tabulating his results, has worked upon a false mathematical process, and has thus made it impossible to draw conclusions regarding the recognition of the fine intervals of tone. From the original records such conclusions could be drawn. I am thus forced, on this account, to speak only of the recognition of equality of tone, and even to make allowances in stating these.

ception time, which is the additional time necessary for him to appreciate the nature of the sensation, e.g., whether a light was red or blue: 3o, the choice or will time, which is the additional time necessary to react in a certain way on the reception of a certain sensation, e.g., to press a key with the right hand when the red light appears, with the left hand or not at all for the blue light. Dr. J. M. Cattell, in a recent re investigation of a large part of the field, has brought to notice several new facts, and has improved the method in many respects. To insure himself against any variations in the working of his apparatus, Dr. Cattell devised a means of controlling it, an essential part of the device being the determination of the most suitable strength of current for running the chronoscope. The time is recorded on a Hipp chronoscope, which, by the release of a magnet and the springing back of the same, records intervals of one one-thousandth of a second. A falling screen, at a point in its fall, suddenly reveals a card or color, if that is the sense-stimulus, or can convey a shock to the finger, etc., and at the same time releases the magnet of the chronoscope, and sets the hands of the clock in motion. The reaction of the observer is made either by closing a key connected with the chronoscope with his hand, or by speaking through a tube, which, like the hand-key, has the effect of instantly stopping the clock. One can then read on the chronoscope the interval of time between the two events. In this way it was found, as the result of 520 experiments on each of two observers extended over a period of six months, that the reaction time for daylight, reflected from a white surface, was quite constant, and was about .149 of a second (strictly, .151 of a second for one, .147 of a second for the other observer), it being immaterial whether the reaction was made with the right or the left hand. But it takes .030 of a second longer to record the reaction by moving the lips. It is usually considered that the state of the attention has most effect on the reaction time; but Dr. Cattell found that the disturbance caused by the ticking and ringing of metronomes with bell attachments affected the reaction very slightly indeed, and explains this divergence from the results of other experimenters, by the unusual amount of practice which he had in such experiments. In other words, the process was too automatic to be affected seriously by the attention. Again if the attention be distracted by the mental operation of repeatedly adding 17 to a series of numbers, the time is more seriously lengthened; and, if the observer makes a great effort to attend, the time can be slightly shortened. He also shows that this extreme state of attention can be main

« PreviousContinue »