Educators seeking means by which to promote, with convenience and economy, the physical as well as the mental training of those in their charge, will be interested in the school room arrangeaient of gymnastic appliances shown in the accompan y ing illustration. The improvement forms th e subj ect of a patent issued to Mr. Theodore Bessing, the manufacturers and owners being the School Gymnasium Company, of No. 226 South Sprin g Street, Los Angel es, Cal. The appliances comprise ring, wand, dumb bell, bar bell, and horizontal and parallel bars, the latter being very simply adjusted and dropped out of the way altogether, as indicated by dotted lines in one of the small figures. Another view is a section representing the attachment of the bar bracket and combination rack to a desk. The whole arrangement is compact and does not project into the aisle when not in use. The improvement has received the warm commendation of numerous teachers and school superintendents. A Great Sailing Ship. The Seaboard relates a curious incident with regard to the iron vessel May Flint, said to be the largest sailing ship that ever entered the port of San Francisco. She is 361 ft. long, 43 ft. beam, 25 ft. in depth, has a registered tonnage of 3,287 tons, and was carrying at the time of t he occurrence referred to 4,320 tons of coal, which brought her down in the water 23 ft. Her commander, Captain E. D. P. Nickels, reports that during a recent voyage his ship encountered head winds and the usual rough weather near Cape Horn, losing her three topgallant masts, three topsail yards and a number of sails, which were blown away. The passage from the equator was quite uneventful until the ship arrived off the port of San Francisco. The wind failing, the vessel drifted north close to Bodega Heads. Captain Nickels tried to work her round the point into Bodega Bay, but was unable to manage the great becalmed ship. So he let go the starboard anchor about half a mile from the beach. The wind was so light that the anchor held the ship, though she had only about nine fathoms of water under her stern. At this point the steamer Alice Blanchard came along, and seeing the great ship in such a dangerous position, offered to tow her off for $12,000! Such a sum for throwi n g a ha wser to the bow of a drifting ship on a calm day was a modest demand, to say the least of it. The d eman d then fell suddenly to $5,000. Captain Nickels offered $160 for the end of a tow rope, but the steamer, blowing her whistle as a salute, passed on, and her captain now passes as the meanest man on the coast. Liquefaction of (oases. Olszewski recently succeeded in producing a momentary liquefaction of h y drogen by allowing it to expand suddenly from 140 atmospheres pressure, when cooled to about —210 C. with liquid air or oxygen boiling under a pressure of less than 20 mm. Its boilin g point under atmospheric pressure was found to be—243 5 C., only 30 above absolute zero. In a letter to Ramsay (Nature, October 3) he now announces that under the same conditions helium shows no sign of liquefaction. Its boiling point is therefore still lower than that of hydrogen, and it is the most volatile substance known. In view of the great difficulty in reaching still lower temperatures, it would seem that the present methods will have to be considerably improved before helium can be liquefied. Staining Wood Black. A process that is much employed for the above purpose consists in pain ti n g the wood consecutively with copper sulphate solution (1 per cent) and alcoholic aniline acetate (equal parts of alcohol and acetate). A very durable black—and the nearest approach to real ebony—is readily obtained by moistening the surface of the wood with dilute sulphuric acid (1:20), and subsequently applying heat. A temperature of 60—90 C. suffices in a very few minutes to produce the desired result. An excellent black was obtained in this way on beech, bass, and boxwood; while a second treatment with acid was necessary in the case of cherry, walnut, and birch. With oak and ash the results were not so good; and apple, and different varieties of pi ne, were still less amenable to the process, pine especially being unevenly stained. In order to after ward remove the acid from the wood, it might be well to thoroughly wash the latter with dilute soda solution, followed b y clean water. It is unlikely that this method can be ap pl ied to any but small articles, because of the risk of possible fractures during the necessary heating of the wood.—Badische Gewerbe-Zeitiung. Who Has the Largest Bible? The Evening Telegram puts the above query, and then proceeds to state that that of the Buddhists is in 325 volumes and weighs 1,625 pound s. These sacred books are perfectly appalling in their bulk. They are called the Tripitaka. the Three Baskets, and were originally written in Pali, a vernacular form of Sansk rit. They h ave been translated into many languages, such as Chinese, Thibetan and Mandshu. They have also been written and published in various alphabets, not only in Devauagarie, but in Singhalese, Burmese and S iamese letters. The copy in nineteen volumes lately presented to the University of Oxford by the Ki ng of S i am contains the Pali text written in Siamese letters, but the language is always the same; it is the Pali or vulgar tongue, as it was supposed to have been spoken by Buddha himself about 500 B. C. After having been preserved for centuries by oral tradition. it was red uc ed for the first time to writing under King Vattagamani, in 88-76 B. 0., the time when the truly literary peri od of India may be said to begin. But besides this Pali Canon there is another in Sanskrit, and there are books in the Sanskrit Canon w h ich are not to be found in the Pali Canon, and vice versa. According to a tradition current among the Southern as well as the Northern Buddhists, the original Canon consisted of 84,000 books, 82,000 being ascribed to Buddha himself and 2,000 to his disciples, writes Max M uller in the Nineteenth Century. Book, however, seems to have meant here no more than treatise or topic. But. as a matter of fact, the Pali Canon consists, according to the Rev. R. Spence Hardy, of 275,250 stanzas, and its commentary of 361,550 stanzas, each stanza reckoned at t h irty-t wo syllables. T h is would give us 8.802,000 syl l ab les for the text an d 11,569,600 syllables for the commentary. T h is is, of cou rse, an enormous amount : the question is only whether the Rev. S pence Hardy and his assistants, who are responsible for these statements, counted rightly. Professor Rhys Davis, by taking the average of words in ten leaves, arrives at much smaller sums, namely, at 1,752.800 words for the Pali C anon, which in an English translation, as he says. would amount to about twice that number, or 3,505,600 w ords. Even this would be ample for a Bible ; it would make the Buddhist Bible nearly five times as large as our own ; but it seems to me that Spence Hardy s account is more likely to be correct. Professor Rhys Davis, by adopting the same plan of reckoning, b rings the number of words in the Bible to about 900,000. We found it given as 773,692. But who shall decide ? What the bulk of such a work would be we may gather from what we know of the bulk of the translat i ons. There is a complete copy of the C h ines c translation at the India Office, in London, also in the Bodleian, and a catal ogue of it, made by a Ja panese pupil of mine, the Rev. Bunyiu Nanjio, brings the number of separate works in it to 1,632. The Thibetan translation, which dates from the eighth century, consists of two collecti on s, commonly called the Kanj u r and Tanjur. The Kanjur consists of 100 vol u m es in folio, the Tanjur of 225 volumes, each volume weighing four or five pounds. This collection, published by command of the Emperor of C h ina, sells for 630. A copy of it is found at the India Office. The Buriates, a Mongolian tribe converted to Buddhism, bartered 7,000 oxen for one copy of the Kanjur, and the same tribe paid 12,000 silver rubles for a complete copy of both Kanjur and Tanjur. What must it be to believe in 325 volumes, each weighing five pounds—nay, even to read thro igh such a Bible ! The Formation of Coal. Carbon is the principal element in the composition of coal. A good specimen of hard dry anthracite would show from 91 to 98 par ce il t of car bon. The average anthracite of commerce, known technically as semi anthracite, would show from 85 to 90 per cent, and the bituminous and semi-bituminous varieties would range all the way fro m 50 to 85 per cent. The amount of volatile matter contained increases from three per cent in the anthracites to 38 per cent in the bituminous spec i es. The conduct of these d i fferen t kinds of coal in combustion gives practical emphasis to the difference in composition. The anthraci tes burn with a s mall blue flame ofcarbonic oxide until .thoroughly ignited, g i ve off no smoke, and leave a c omparative l y s m a 11 percentage of ashes. The bituminous classes, on the other hand, burn with a continuous yellowish flame, give off considerable smoke. and leave a large percentage of ashes. That coal is a vegetable product may be specifically proved. Indeed. ocular demonstration may be had of that fact. For w h ile to t he naked eye t he structure of a frag m en t of mi neral coal is purel y amorphous, yet if that fragment be made so thin that it will transmit light, and if it be then examined th rough a po werful microscope, its vegetable structure will be readily distinguished. Heat, pressure and con finement have prod uced the transformation. It is s i mply a process of smothered combustion. The operation may be watched in any peat bog. A peat bed is simply an accumulation of the remain s of pl ants which have grown and decayed, and have been year by year buried more deeply under succeeding growths. Remove the u pper layer, and you find peat with its 52 to 66 per cent of carbon. The deeper you go, that is, the older and longer buried the product, the better will be its quality for fuel. If this process of deposition should continue th rough many geologic ages, the result wou ld d ou btless be true coal. It is known that during the carboniferous age the area now covered by the Middle, Southern and Western States was little more than a vast marsh burdened with the most luxuriant vegetation. The conditions were all favorable for the rapid and enormous growth of plants. The soil was rich and moist. The heat was greater than exists to-day at the torrid zone. The h um idi ty of the atmosphere was great and constant. The air was laden with carbon. Plants luxuriated in it. They grew to enormous sizes. Plants which in our day are mere stems, a fraction of an inch in diameter, were in that time represented by trees from one to three feet in diameter and from 40 to 100 feet in height. This mass of vegetation, in-cluding more than 500 different s pecies, was constantl y growing, falling and decaying, each succeeding growth forming a st ill richer bed for the vegetation to foll ) w. If the theory propounded by Laplace is correct, our earth was at one tim e a ball of liquid fire. C oolin g and condensation progressed from the surface toward the center. Contraction of the earth s crust necessarily followed, and vast area! of land sank and were covered by the waters. This process was still going on duri ng the carboniferous age. The submergence of a bed of th is incipient coal meant the cessation, for a time, of veget ab le growth from its s urfac e. That surface was covered instead by the sand, mud and gravel washed over it by the waves, by the drift from higher levels, and by the limestone deposits swept up to it from the sea. When contraction ceased for a time and the earth s crust again became stable, the waters began to recede, leaving behind them great wastes of mud and sand. And, following this slow recession to the sea, vegetation crept once more over the surface of the land, the soil grew rich with ihe products of decay, and plant life reigned and rioted anew. But cooling and contraction of the earth s body were going continuously on, and submergence followed again and again, each bed of vegetable matter. thick or sh allow, being covered in turn by its layers of sand and silt. In this submergence and burial of the deposits of the coal era we find all the conditions necessary for the transformation of vegetable matter into coal. Only from one-ninth to one-sixteenth of th e mass of vegeI table matter subj ected to this h eat and pressure was retained in the form of coal. This was largely carbon, the hydrogen and oxygen having been expel led. As we h ave already seen, the anthracite coal contains a much larger percentage of carbon than does the bituminous, and a much less quantity of v ol at ile matter. Of the immense coal areas in the U n it ed S tates only an extremely small percentage are of the anthracite variety, and these all lie in t he State of Pennsylvania, east of the Allegheny Mountains, with the exception of a small field in Rhode Island. It is not thought that the vegetable life which entered into one class differed in any material res pect from that w hich entered into the other. The presumption is natural, if not eonclusive, that prior to t he close of the carboniferous age all the coal deposit! had been bituminous in character, but that the violen t movement of the earth s crust at the time of the Ap pal ach i an revolution, the en o rm o us pressure and intense heat, were sufficient to expel a large portion of the volatile matter from the bi t um i no u s coal beds, and otherwise change their character into what we now class as anthracite. In the slate strata immediately overlying each coal seam, it is common to find the impressions of twigs, nuts, seeds, leaves, the most delicate fern tracery, and the trunks of great trees mashed flat between the layers; while in the softer beds of cannel coal, whole trees have been found, roots, trunks, branches. leaves, seeds, and all transformed into like material wit h that by which they were surrounded. One of the res ults of the v i ol en t disturbances of the earth s crust already noted was to leave great rents in it across the lines of strata. These rents are known geologically as fissures. They have faces which are either parallel or inelooe a wedge sh ap ed cavity. Sometimes igneous rock from the molten mass below was forced up into these openings; sometimes the cavities were filled with drift and rock fragments from the surface. In either case the mass became hard and compact, but with a character materially different from the roek on ei th er side, the form ation of which was contemporaneous with that of the coal. The mind must exert itself to the utmost in order fully to realize through what vast period s of time the processes were continued by which the coal of to-day was formed. Still more difficult of comprehension is he fact of the enormous amount of vegetable matter vhich entered into the composition of these beds of oal. In the Pottsville regions in Pennsylvania the avrage thickness of t he com b ined anthracite coal seams is 20 feet. In order to make up this quantity of resultant oal, there must have been an average thickness of regetable deposit amounting to at least 1,200 feet.— (ew Science Review. - m -_ Graduating Glas Measures. Graduations on gl ass bottles, measures, etc., may be asily engraved with the aid of a few small files, a set f six of which, of various shapes, can be bought it most tool shops for a bout one shilling. A small botle of turpentine in which some camphor has been disolved is also very useful as a lubricant, although it is ot absolutely necessary. Suppose it is wished to graduate a bottle which will iold about ten ounces or half a pint of water. First ix a strip of gummed paper, about three-quarters of in inch wide, vertically on the outside of the glass, aking care that it is long enough to come slightly ibove the place where the ten ounce mark will be. iVhen the gum is dry and the paper sli p firmly secured o t h e glass, pour exactly ten ounces of water i nto the nottle, place the latter on a flat table, and when the surface of the water has become level and perfectly steady mark the height in pencil on the paper strip. Now take a dry graduated two-ounce measure, pour ;wo ounces of water from the bottle and mark the level f the eight ounces remaining ; in the same way regis;er the position of th e six, fou r and two ounce marks. Then empty the bottle and proceed to refill it at one junce at a time, marking the level of the water at each addition ; every second ounce ought to agree with the marks m ad e at first, and in th i s way the correctness of :he measurements will be checked. When satisfied with the accuracy of the graduations, file with one edge of a fi n e triangular file through the paper where each mark occurs, until you feel that the tool is cutting int o the gl ass. The marks can be made any length you please ; the file c a n not slip, as the paper will keep it in the proper place. When all the lines have been well cut in, the paper can be removed and the marks deepened or made wider by using a differently shaped file ; the angle of a square or the edge of a very th in flat one dipped in the turpentine and cam-phorwill make good broad lines that can easily be seen. If it is wished to number the graduations, Roman numerals a re the easiest to make, hut they should all be penciled on the paper and cut through, as before described. It will generally be found on trial that two or three cf the small files will easily cut the surface of the glass when med at the point like pencils ; and in this case any sort of numerals or letters can easily be engraved, provided that t hey are first started through the paper. The turpentine should not be used until the paper has been remo v ed, as it is important to keep the l atter dry, but afterw ard the files will work much more easily and quickly with the aid of the lubricant. If thick, bold lettering is required, it s h ould be dra wn on the paper and the thick lines removed with a sharp pointed penknife. In most cases i t is better to c u t through all pencil lines with a sharp knife before filing, as this prevents the files from becoming dogged. If very broad lines are required, it is as well to commence them by m aking two thinner lines the proper distance apart; the surface of glass between the lines can then be easily chipped awav with the end of a file. There is not the slightest difficulty with any part of the operation excepting when elaborate writing is attempted, and even this can be easily mastered by any one who is accustomed to use the pencil. T h e precautions to be observed are : First mark upon the paper every l ine that is required to ap pear upon the glass, and do n ot remove the pap p r until every line has been cut, or rath:r scratched, on the surface of the glass. Special care must be taken to insure this in th e case of lettering, as it is very d i ffie ul t to remedy omissions in the absence of the paper. Numbers or lettering will always look neater if placed between two parallel lines, which need only be lightly scratched on t h e glass. These will, in a great measure, prevent the tool from overshooting the mark when deepening and picking out the bod y of the letters, and will also insure that the latter will all be of the same h eight. If these instruct ions are carefully carried out, with very little practice measures and bottles can be easily graduated in such a m an ner as to give no evid en ce of the work of an amateur engraver.—Photo Notes. Tobaceo Boxes. Formerly the plugs were pressed into the boxes by powerful leverage, which necessitated great streng th in the box. Most of the manufacturers now have iron or steel moulds, into which the freshly made plugs are press ed into a body just large enough to exactly and evenly fill the wooden boxes in which they are marketed. T h i s allows the use of lighter boxes without cleats or comeipieces.
This article was originally published with the title "A School Room Gymnasium" in Scientific American 73, 22, 345-346 (November 1895)