Page images

he picked the plants, stripped them of the bark, and with his own olden tools manufactured the sample of fiber.

My object was to ascertain what kind of plants he selects, and to see the primitive method of manufacture, with the idea that this method might furnish some suggestions for the construction of the machine. We had hardly made a dozen steps in the woods along the twenty-two-mile trail when a rich harvest of Touchardia was found. We found both male and female plants that could be distinguished only by inflorescence. Whereas male flowers are situated on relatively strong, repeadedly forking cymes, growing out of the base of the leaves, female ones look like so many flattened lumps of green dough planted at the base of the top branches. Both plants are taken indiscriminately. Careful discrimination is made, however, in regard to the age of the plant; neither too young nor too old ones are taken. The bark of the old ones is somewhat knotty, woody, and short jointed, and, as I have mentioned, such plant is turned down to the ground to force it to give new shoots. The best stems are not thicker than the finger, about one year and a half old, with the bark of a chocolate-brown color, with distanced scars of former leaves, straight and high (8 to 10 feet), devoid of leaves except on the top. Such stems are cut with the knife near the root and below the crown. Their bark strips easily as a whole from bottom to the top. The ribbon obtained is hung over the neck of the gatherers. There is also a plant with the leaves very much like those of Touchardia, the "hopue"; but this one generally grows to a large-sized tree, has different flower, and light-grayish color of the bark. Neither previous soaking nor drying are resorted to before the extraction. The bark is used raw.

The implements used are: (1) A wood board made of "naou" tree, characterized by its dark color, hardness, compactness, evenness, and absence of knots. This board is about 6 feet long by 2 to 3 inches wide. It has a very light curve in both directions-in width and length; is wider at one end and obtusely

pointed at the other. (2) A plate of fish bone of "họnu" fish, about 8 inches long by 24 wide, and is also slightly curved in both directions. Its lower margin is sharpened under 45° like the edge of a chisel.

The process of manufacturing is as follows: The "naou" board is fastened on the ground with rocks at the narrow end to prevent any forward sliding, the curved surface uppermost. The broader end is a little elevated by another piece of rock. The board is moistened with water. A ribbon of bark from one plant is taken. Its bottom end is first fastened by treading on it with the toe of the right foot, the top end raised vertically by the left hand, so as to tightly stretch the band. Holding the fish plate by the right hand in its middle, the sharp end of the bone is passed upward along the inner surface of the ribbon, which operation is intended for flattening the curled ribbon and taking off the slimy substance covering the inner surface. Then the ribbon is stretched horizontally upon the naou board, the bottom end toward the wider end of the board and the operator, and held tightly to it by the two fingers of the left hand, the outer surface of the bark upward, the inner sticking to the board. Then the fish plate, held in the right hand by the middle at 45°, with its sharp end downward and forward, squeezing the ribbon between the tool and the board, is repeatedly passed toward the pointed end of the board, by which motion the flesh is scrapped off, leaving a ribbon of fiber. From one to two minutes are required to free the bark of one plant. The operation of scraping is easy, the fiber evidently being located on the inner surface. The fiber thus obtained is dried in the sun.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

FRANK SLATER DAGGETT UNDER the directorship of Frank S. Daggett, the Museum of History, Science and Art of Los Angeles, has come to exert an important influence in science and education in Southern California. The collections representing the history of California and the southwest, and especially the splendid representation of the extinct life of California secured from the asphalt deposits of Rancho La Brea, have made the institution the object of frequent visits by large numbers of residents of California and by travellers from the east. The rapid development of the museum, the excellent organization of its collections, and the maintenance of a high standard of efficiency throughout the institution were in a very large measure due to the untiring effort of Mr. Daggett. Interesting and valuable exhibits representing living birds, mammals, and molluscs of Southern California were assembled under Mr. Daggett's direction, but by far the most important collection was that representing the extinct fauna secured in the extraordinary asphalt deposits at Rancho La Brea on the western border of the city.

Born at Norwalk, Ohio, in January 30, 1855, Mr. Daggett was for the greater part of his life engaged in commercial pursuits. He was a successful grain merchant at Duluth, Minnesota, from 1885 to 1894, and was a member of the Board of Trade of Chicago from 1904 to 1911. He was always deeply interested in natural history and from his early boyhood was engaged in the study of insects and birds.

His collection of Coleoptera numbered two thousand species and his bird collections contained over eight thousand specimens. Although he published little of a technical nature his interest in natural history subjects was a continued inspiration to many who were professionally engaged in scientific pursuits, and his influence in the advance of natural history of the Pacific Coast has been a factor of much importance.

Mr. Daggett became the director of the Museum of History, Science and Art in 1911. At the time of his assuming the office, the

building was finished, but contained no exhibits and no staff appointments had been made. Among the first tasks taken up was the securing of privileges for collecting in the Pleistocene deposits at Rancho La Brea. The excavations were carried on with the most extreme care and with all advice that could be obtained from those especially interested in the scientific study of the deposits. With the utmost precautions the great series of specimens unearthed was cleaned, prepared for study, and marked as to location in the beds. At no stage in the handling of this great collection was anything omitted which might have helped to make the material more useful to the student of future years. Along with its many other contributions to science the Rancho La Brea collection of the Museum of History, Science and Art must always remain as a monument to the scientific interest and administrative skill of Mr. Daggett. It was the writer's privilege to make the acquaintance of Mr. Daggett at the time of his first interest in the deposits at Rancho La Brea, and to cooperate with him through the whole work of the excavation and preparation of these collections. In these years of close cooperation and friendship he proved himself a man of the highest ideals and finest purposes in development of all that is most fundamental and significant in the phases of natural science with which he came in contact. Although Mr. Daggett's name will not be known in future years by length of publication lists or by species described, there must be given to him a full measure for very significant constructive work done with much interest, with keen insight, and with an effectiveness which is rarely equalled.



JOHN LOSSEN PRICER,1 of the Illinois State Normal University at Normal, Illinois, died suddenly of heart trouble on August 19, 1920. By his death the scientific interests of Illinois and other mid-western states have suffered a Uni

1 Born January 10, 1871. A.B. and A.M., versity of Illinois, 1907.

very real loss. Professor Pricer had for years maintained an intimate and influential relationship to the problems involved in the teaching of the natural sciences in the secondary schools. His wholesome and extensive personal contact with science teachers and his untiring labor in the work of various educational organizations had brought him into prominence as one of the leaders in the program of reconstruction of the science curriculum of the secondary schools of the middle west. Unusual thoroughness of analysis, fairness of judgment, and whole-hearted sincerity had created for him a place in the esteem of his coworkers in natural science.

As secretary of the Illinois State Academy of Science for a period of four years, his service to that organization has been very marked. In this capacity as well as in his other relations he has done much to bring before the public the needs for more extensive education in science as a foundation for rational living and as an aid to the advancement of public health work.

The reception accorded his work upon the Life History of the Carpenter Ant2 indicates his ability in original investigation. Teaching duties and a sense of personal obligation to devote his energies to teaching problems marked for him a course that lay chiefly through the educational field though he never lost interest in following the progress of current investigations.




THE volcano of Katla, situated some 50 kilometers southwest of Hekla, was in violent eruption in October, 1918, after remaining quiescent since the last previous eruption in 1860. A note by M. A. Lacroix in the Comptes Rendus of the Paris Academy of Sciences, abstracted in the Geographical Journal, gives some account of the eruption from data sent to him from Iceland. A little after noon on the 12th a slight earthquake shock was followed by the uprising above the 2 Biological Bulletin, Vol. 14 (1908).

Mýrdalsjökull of an enormous column of incandescent ashes visible throughout the island for 200 to 300 kilometers. At Reykjavik a thick fall of ash darkened the whole sky, and a tidal wave was experienced on the coast south of the volcano. As is usual in Iceland, the paroxysm was accompanied by violent glacier outbursts. The first visitor to the crater after the eruption was M. Pall Sveinsson, whose notes have been placed at M. Lacroix's disposal. Katla lies in the eastsoutheast of the Mýrdalsjökull, one of the great ice-masses of southern Iceland, and on its southeast side extends the Mýrdalsandur, a great desert of sand formed of the material deposited during the glacial outbursts. In the northwest and southwest the Mýrdalsjökull is surmounted by two domes of ice rising to heights of 1,500 to 1,600 meters. Between them is a cup-shaped depression at the bottom of which the crater of Katla opens. Even the outer slopes of the ice-dome by which M. Sveinsson ascended were covered with ashes to a depth of half a meter, and those falling to the crater with half as much again. The rift of the crater, which measured from 500 to 800 by 40 meters, was free from ice, but water was flowing along it. No fumeroles nor products of sublimation were seen, only a yellowish-brown mud, the lighter portions of which seem derived by alteration from the darker, heavier ash. The glacier torrents had opened two deep ravines towards the south and east, and had done considerable damage, carrying with them huge masses of ice to a distance of 30 kilometers. The stony débris had formed a vast promontory on the coast similar to that formed in 1860. Like the thirteen previously recorded eruptions, that of 1918 was exclusively explosive, with no outpouring of lava-a fact more remarkable from the vicinity of Katla to the scene of the great fissure eruption of 1783. A chemical comparison of the ash of 1918 with the lava of 1783 will be of interest, for it is possible that the exclusive explosive character of the Katla eruptions may be due to the superimposition of the enormous icemass of the Mýrdalsjökull. A preliminary

analysis of the ash shows it to be rich in titanium, a character common to the few examples yet analyzed of the basaltic volcanic rocks of Iceland, the Færoes, and Greenland.


COLONEL W. B. GREELEY, the new chief forester of the United States, has returned from a month's inspection of the timber, water power and national resources of Alaska. In an interview in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer he is reported to have said:

Alaska has more than 100,000,000 cords of pulp wood. The territory has sufficient timber resources to produce 1,500,000 tons of paper annually. The Alaska Pulp and Paper Company, comprising California interests, is now constructing the first pulp plant at Port Snettisham, in southeastern Alaska. This mill will be supplied with 100,000,000 feet of timber just purchased from the Forest Service and is probably the forerunner of a large pulp and newspaper factory at that point.

In addition to the vast pulp resources of Alaska, Puget Sound offers splendid opportunity for at least six large pulp and paper mills. There are frequent inquiries of the Federal Forest Department for pulp wood concessions in this state. Even at the present time there is enough or would be enough wood of inferior quality cut in logging camps to support a large local paper industry here. Establishment of such an industry on Puget Sound would be a great accomplishment from the standpoint of practical conservation-it would afford a market for inferior woods now being wasted in logging camps already established. In addition, there are large areas of hemlock and spruce and balsam on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Snoqualmie national forest. The entire forestry industry of the United States is moving westward, and with it is coming the paper industry.

Alaska contains 100,000,000 cords of pulpwood. She has the resources to produce 1,500,000 tons of paper yearly. That is nearly a third of the paper used in the United States, an amount nearly equal to what we are now compelled to import from Canada. With reasonable care, under the methods followed by the Forest Service, this output can be kept up from the national forests of Alaska perpetually. There is a real solution of the paper shortage.

A few years ago we heard much about the inferior character of the forests in Alaska. As a matter of fact, aside from enormous quantities of good pulpwood and serviceable construction timber, the territory probably contains the largest quantity of clear, high-grade spruce to be found in the United States.

During the war this spruce passed every test for airplane construction, and it is now being shipped to the eastern states in increasing quantities for car and factory stock and high-grade finish. One of the things we shall accomplish by bringing the paper industry into Alaska will be to open up her thousands of miles of coastal forests and make available a much larger supply of special products like cedar, clear spruce and long piling.


THE third session of the International Chemical Conference met at Rome, June 21 to 25, with Professor Charles Moureu, member of the Institute of France, as president. According to the account of the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry the program began with the meeting of the council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, composed of the representatives of the five nations which founded the Union. The council considered the adhesion to the union of seven new countries: namely, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Czecho-Slovakia, which were all admitted. The plan of organization and administration of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which was presented by M. Gerard, was as follows:

To adhere to the union a country must establish a liaison between its chemical groups by the formation of a national council or federation. The initiative of this organization must be taken by a chemical society, the National Academy, the National Research Council or a similar national institution, or by the government.

The union is governed by the council, composed of delegates from each of the supporting countries, whose executive power is vested in a bureau. The general assembly receives reports from the council, approves the accounts of the past session, adopts the budget for the following session, and considers the questions to be included on the program. Under the council and an executive com

mittee, a permanent staff carries out the program of action as defined by the bureau. This staff is situated at the headquarters of the union, and is the pivot of all the organizations connected therewith. The council can also establish permanent committees as they may seem necessary.

An advisory committee, divided into sections corresponding to the different scientific and industrial branches, considers in detail the questions figuring in the program of action. The associated nations are represented in each section by delegates, elected for three years. The delegates of each nation constitute a national committee, whose duties include the study of questions interesting to chemistry from scientific, industrial, and economic points of view.

A meeting of the council, of the permanent committees, of the advisory committee, and of the General Assembly is held each year, under the title of the "International Chemical Conference.''

The report presented by Professor Lindet, for the Fédération Nationale des Associations de Chimie de France, asking that the International Congress be joined to the union, provides that the International Conference shall every four years be converted into an International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Elections to the council, to permanent committees, and to the advisory committee shall take place at this time.

The languages for the congress are English, French and Italian. Communications may be made in another language, provided authors give a translation or an abstract in the official languages. To avoid errors in interpretation, communications, votes, resolutions, and official acts, if not originally offered in French, must be translated into that tongue.

To encourage research, the council may, within the limit of funds granted each year by the assembly, award prizes and medals to the authors of work considered worthy of such distinction.


SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR PAYNE, acting on the recommendations of Dr. F. G. Cottrell, director of the Bureau of Mines, has selected Rolla, Mo., as the place for the latest mining experiment station of the bureau. This station will look after the mining interests of the Mississippi Valley and will give consideration to the various problems which are met with in the production of lead and zinc.

After a careful investigation, The Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla, Mo., was selected as an ideal place to carry on much of the actual laboratory and investigative work of the new station. However, it was also decided that the central offices of the station should be at or near St. Louis, Missouri. Consequently, the plan is that the actual laboratory and investigative work shall be done in cooperation with the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla, but that headquarters of the station should be in St. Louis.

For a long time the Bureau of Mines has desired to take up, in cooperation with the mining and metallurgical industry, those problems. met with in the Mississippi Valley where lead and zinc deposits occur. As is well known, the ores of this district are for the most part sulphide ores and are ordinarily not difficult to treat. However, there are also large deposits of oxidized lead ores in certain districts of Missouri, and their mining and metallurgical treatment presents a serious problem. Concentration by gravity methods had been tried for years on these ores, and there are many thousands of tons of high grade tailings, as well as crude ore, awaiting proper methods of recovering metallic values. Such being the case, the bureau will carry on such research and investigational work in connection with the treatment of these ores as will assist in the development of processes which will prevent their being wasted, due to the lack of a metallurgical process which it may be commercially feasible to apply to them.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »