FROST CRYSTALS UPON DRIED GRASS.—Several persons have by this time laid up to put into bouquets the beautiful grasses which they gathered in the autumn and sumr of the present year. In order to add variety and some pleasing effects to portions of such grasses, they may be covered with imitatl.on frost-crystals, some white, others blue-green, and amber. To crystallize dry grass white, steep it in a solution of one pint of hot water containing one pound of alum. As it becomes cold, crystals will adhere to the grass, which will increase in size if left for a day or mire ; but small crystals look the best; and in order to keep them so, the grass should be often moved and turned about. When taken out of the solution and dried in the air, they are fit for mounting with the other grasses, and greatly add to their beauty. For the blue-green crystals use sulphate of copper, and for amber crystals use chromate of potash instead of the alum. Feathers may also be crystallized in the same way. Art and taste will arrange them into forms of beauty.—Septimua Ptss6. A NEW THING IN PoSTAGE.—The Austrian Governmer.t has introduced a novelty in postage, which igt be introduced with great benefit in al countries. The object is to enable persons to send off, with the least possible trouble, messages ohmall importance, without the trouble of obtaining jia-per, pens, and envelopes. Cards of a fixed size i sold at all the post offices for two kreutzers, one side being for the address and the other for the note, which may be written either with ink or with any kind of pencil. It is thrown into the box, and delivered without envelopes. A halfpenny post of this kind would certainly be very convenient, especially in large to'Yns, and a man of business, carrying'a few such cards in his pocketbook, would find them very useful. There is an additional advantage attaching to the card, namely, that of having t address and pomirk inseparably fixed to the note. To CURB THE RANK SMELL OF HORSE STABLES.—Saw-dust, wetted with sulphuric acid, diluted with foity parts of water and distributed about horse stables will, it is S:iid, remove the disagreeable ammoniieal smell, the sulphuric acid combining with the ammonia to form a salt. Chloride oi lim slowly evolves chlorine which will do the same thing. Lut then the ehlorine smells worse than the ammonia. Siilpl uric acid on the contrary is perfectly inodorous. The TOixture should be kept in shallow earthenware vessels. Th", sul-phuric acid used alone, eithir diluted or strong, would al sorb more or less of the ammonia, but there wbuld be danger of spiling it about and causing serious damages, and besides this the sawdust offers a laige surface to the floating gas. The experiment is easily tried, and it may prove succeS8fal. THE Boston AdvlYl'tiser reports that a curious phenomen0n is frequently takin g place at Machiasport, Maine, in harbor ipot the wharves. It is an upheaval, by some power altogether unknown, of vast quantities of waer, mud, and stones, to the distance of many feet, and with a furious rush. ing noise. This phenomenon has occurred quite a number of times during the summer. and once as late as a month ago. PATENT CLAms.—Persons defliring the weekly officia] list of patent claims, are referred to a notice coaeeming the sup. plying of them in our advertising columns. The Commissioner of Patents would deem it a speal favor if parties who intend to subscribe would order immediately, So that he may know how lar an edition to publish. A COEEESPONDENT of the Mecanics' Magosine elates that the Moncrieff system of mounting artillery, which has lately attracted so much attention abroad, was anticipated 1811, by a French officer, who published a stem of moanting gUns not essentially different from that of Capt. Moneridf.. BLACK PAINT FOE l:RONWOEK.—A varnish for ironwort can be e as follows: Obtain some good clean gas tar, and b0il for four or five hours, until it runs as fine as water; theK add one quart of turpentine to a gallon of tar, and boil another half hour. Apply hot. THB following is a German recipe for coating "\'rood with a substaDce as hard as stone: 40 parts of chalk, 50 o f resm, and 4 of linseed oi1, meld together; to this should be added one part of oxide of copper, and afterwards one part of sulphuric acid. This last ingredient must be added carefully. Th mixture, while hot, js applied with a brush. Wire and Picket Fence. The use of wire as a substitute for bars between posts of fences, has gone the way of plank roads. It was " weighed in the balance and found wanting." The reasons for this termination to the experiment are too well known to need discussion here. The invention shown in the annexed engraving, employs wire only as a connector between upright pickets in lieu of the rails between posts, to which pickets are ordinarily nailed, and also reduces tEe number of posts required as will be seen in its description below. It is intended to furnish a cheap , neat, and durable fence, that can be rapidly constructed, and dispenses with the use of nails. The saving in posts it claimed to be sufficient to pay forthe wire, as the posts are set from twenty to thirty feet apart. Two wires are drawn through a hole in the first post set, and through similar holes in the other posts, to any convenient distance. The wires being fastened at the first or starting post, are left slack along the line for the insertion of the pickets, and wound around the last post of the section of fence under construction to keep them from being drawn back during the insertion of the pickets. The wires are then tightened by laying weights on the slack between posts, the palings distributed along the line answering perfectly for this purpose, one end being allowed to rest upon th e ground and the other lying upon the slack wire, and as many being used in a bunch as may tighten the wire sufficiently. The slack being thus taken up, the butts of the palings are successively set in a shallow trench dug between the posts on the fence line, and the tops.being inclined laterally, until they will enter between the wires from the under side, they are brought to the vertical position, the wires being crossed between each picket, care being taken to keep the same wire always at the top. The wires may be tightened if they should ever become slack by simply putting a. twist in them, using a pair of palings for this purpose, turning them in opposite directions. As fast as the pit1ngs are ihSe:tM; tft butts ' are held by filling in and packing the earth in the trench. This fence is impassable to all kinds of domestic animals, as notBing but a rat or similar burrowing animal can get under it. and a squirrel is about the only living thing which would attempt to climb over it. No domestic animal could crowd the pickets apart to get through it. The paHngs can not be pulled off, nor can the wind blow it down. The pickets take the strain off the posts, each one being, in fact, itself a post. The corner posts only require to be of greater strength than the other posts. Each post saves a paling, and may be made to look like it. The sides of the fence are uniform in appearance. The fence represented in our engraving is a rude farm fence made with split palings; but with sawed palings of equal widths, it can be made very tasteful in appearance, and any form of either wood or metal palings may be used, to suit the taste of the builder. The inventor states that three hands can easily put up six hundred yards of this fence per day. He estimates the actual expense of a complete farm fence with top-sharpened split palings, with butts coated with tar or petroleum, as less than fifty cents per rod. The palings need only be set from four to eight inches in the ground, according to the character of the soil. When stones are plenty they can take the place of a trench, in which case the butts of the palings do not need any protective coating. Whether this invention was called forth by our article on cheap fences, published on page 9, current volume, or not, we ar,) unable to say, but it meets a want therein set forth. At any rate, men of inventive genius will find in that and the numerous similar articles we publish, hints that will guide them to important and profitable inventions. This fence was patented through the Scientific American Patent Agency, June 29, 1860, by P. Davis, of Newport News, Va., whom address for further information. Paper Hangings. When an amateur attempts this kind of domestic decoration it is desirable that he should attend to the following instructions, otherwise the work, when finished, will show blemishes and stains. First, pum' ce-stone the wall to remove all irregularities of surface, then wash over the size, about one ounce of glue to a gallon of water, and when dry, the wall is ready to ready to receive the paper. The paste should be well boiled and then passed through a hair sieve to extract the lumps, a fruitful source of stains. If the walls are inclined to show damp, add a little corrosive sublimate to the paste to prevent mildew forming on the surface of the paper The most important matter is to allow the paper to remain pasted for about ten minutes before hanging, in order that it may be well stretched before being placed on the wall. Stout paper hangings such as the " flocks," etc., require a longer time. If these directions are attended to the thinnest papers .will hang without a crease or the objectionable water stains which characterize bad workmanship. Gluing in Veneers. I have advised the use of waterproof cements for fine inlaying, so that dampness will not affect them, but as this is not always convenient, it is well to make the glue so that it can be used and the work finished off in a short time. This is easily done by making the glue as thick as it will run, or so that it is like a jelly. If applied in this condition , it will set hard in thirty minutes, and the work may be cut down without fear or danger of its moving. I have done this fre" quently, in order to see what kind of work I was making. Always put a clamp on your work wherever you can, for although the glue will adhere of itself to the wood, it adheres much more strongly if pressed down by a clamp. Also, never put a veneer on a piece of work that is uneven, for although it map set square under the pressure of the clamp, when you come to scrape ;t, it will give way and yield to the inequali, ties, and when varnished and polished, will be full of depressions. Don't be afraid to rub down with sand paper, under the impression that you are gpqiliiyf thf work, but let the varnish get thoroughly dried, and be hard before you attempt it. Be sure, also, to remove every particle of varnish if you touch it at all, otherwise that which remains will take a coat while the bare wood will not take so much, and you will have a surface full of scars and ridges. It is not necessary to touch the wood in rubbing down, but go down to the wood, so that a waxy appearance is presented, and you will have a handsome finish that will add greatly to the beauty of the work. White holly is easily soiled when used in connection with ebony, by the dust from it, and it ivill be necessary to rub it, or scrape it delicately, before varnishing, without touching the ebony.— Watson's Manual of the Hand Lathe.
This article was originally published with the title "Editorial Summary" in Scientific American 21, 24, 371-372 (December 1869)