As to the mode in which ozone is generated in the air, we have only probabilities to guide us. There can hardly be a doubt that it is formed to some extent by the agency of light ning, and it is possible that this is the sole mode of its production. Some writers assert and some deny that it is present in the oxygen evolved by plants under the influence of light, but though such a formation is probable enough, the evidence both for and against it, is at present inconclusive, and lastly, it is possible, though still unproved, that it may be formed during some of the processes of slow oxidation which are so common on our globe, However it is formed, it is at least certain that ozone exists in the air, and that, though small in quantity, it must, from its extraordinary activity, have important functions to fulfill in nature, But this very certainty has, unfortunately, been a fruitful source of wild assumptions and mere speculative guesses, doing infinite harm to the progress of true knowledge, |3ome have asserted, and have attempted to prove by perfectly inconclusive reasoning, that ozone arrests infection, and destroys the germs of epidemic disease. It is highly probable that such is the case, and it is certain that its presence is incompatible with that of many noxious gases. But then it is not certain that epidemics are due to noxious gases, and if, as is more likely, they are propagated by spores, we have yet to prove that the minute trace of ozone in the air is capable of destroying those spores. We can no more assume it than we could assume that it killed birds. Even more vague, and much, more improbable, is the floating notion that an excess of ozone in the air " does us goo.d." Men talk of running down to the seaside " to get a little more ozone," just as if it weie not possible that the little more ozone might do them harm instead of good when they got it. In large quantity it is certainly an intensely powerful irritant poison, and that it is useful in large quantities is the merest assumption. As to the notion of its assisting the process of blood oxidation, the probability is all the other way, for its energy would be much more likely to cause it to oxidize, and cfestroy the lung itself, than to permit it to pass quietly into the blood, and effect the work performed by the more gentle oxygen. The simple fact is, that we know next to nothing about this branch of the subject ; and if, instead of guessing at random, we were to set to work to try to elucidate some of the obscurities by which dt is surrounded, or, at any rate, were to wait until others had done it for us, we should act a much more sensible and modest part. For the future there is every hope. The main elements of the inquiry have already been acquired, and a strong body of experimenters are at work upon it. The British Association has appointed a committee to investigate some of the moot points, and from the high eminence of every member of it, we may justly anticipate some important contributions to our knowledge, banning A New Process, A process has been invented in England for preparing hidea to receive more readily the action of tannin. After the hair and particles of flesh have been removed, and the hides have been properly cleaned by the action of lime, the first step in this new process is to place the hides in water sufficient to cover them. The hides are to be placed in separately, with the fleshy side upwards, and are to be sprinkled with bran in the following proportions: Light hides, for uppers, etc., each skin---- 6 ounces Calf skins.............................. 3 " Sheep skins............................ 4 " Heavy hides, for sole leather...........14 *' In this vat the skins must remain until fermentation has taken place, which will be, in warm weather, in about two days, but in cold weather somewhat longer. After this the skins must be removed and scraped from any adhering particles of lime or other substances. When this has been done the skins are subjected to the action of mustard seed, which forms the distinguishing characteristic in this process. It is carried out in the following manner: A vat of proportionate size is filled with a sufficiency of water to cover the skins, and to this water there must be added for every hundred pounds weight of the skins, when dry, five pounds of ground Italian mustard seed, and five pounds of barley meal. When these ingredients have been thoroughly mixed with the water, the skins must be dipped therein, so that they may be perfectly saturated with it, and they must be left in this dip for the following length of time Calf, sheep, or goat skins................24 hours Light hides and kips...................36 " Heavy hides, for sole leather............48 " When this time has expired the skins must be taken out and hung up to dry, but only partially, as when subjected to the next process they should still be in a damp condition. The dip which has just been described has a very powerful action on the skins; the combined action of the mustard seed, barley meal, and heat thereby generated, is to open the pores of the skins, and thus to render the remaining processes in tanning them by means of bark much more speedy than under any other methods hitherto known. A New Alloy. A new alloy, forming, we are told, a beau tiful white metal, very hard, and capable of taking a brilliant polish, is obtained by melting together about 70 parts of copper, 20 of nickel, 5-J- of zinc, and 4J- of cadmium. It is therefore, a kind of German silver, in which part of the zinc is replaced by cadmium. This alloy has been recent] y made in Paris for the manufacture of spoons and forks which resemble articles of silver. The British Government and Inventors. The relations subsisting between inventors and various branches of the government, needing and using the intelligence of inventors, have long constituted a topic of painful comment and incrimination. British law regards every inventor as an outlaw; as a man having no legal rights in any matter relative to the use of his invention by the government. It would be an insult to the reader's intelligence were we to debate the moral right and wrong of this decree. We only state what is the law, expressing, at the same time, our conviction that public opinion would never second or sanction the strict upholding of this, in any case of undisputed use and adoption by a governmental department of an invention originating with a member of the public. Not wishing to overrate the grievances inventors have complained of in the course of their dealings with the government, we are free to admit, that although the legal ruling is precisely as we have stated, yet the cases of inventors whose inventions have been adopted by the government, remaining totally unrewarded, are comparatively few. Usually some bonus has been conceded, but the manner of this assessment and award has been hitherto most unsatisfactory. Government, in these matters, has acted as though prompted by the desire to give an inventor the very maximum of trouble ; to tire him out by all sorts of unnecessary delay, whereby in time his hopes and aspirations might be lowered to a convenient despair for inducing him to accept a trifle. Indications, we are gratified to state, are not wanting that Mr. Gladstone's administration is not insensible to the past injustice to which we have referred, and is resolved that inventors coming before governmental departments, and having their inventions ultimately adopted, shall be equitably treated in future. The first indication is seen in the terms of a recent announcement issued from the War Office, for the consideration of inventors, whereby various checks are imposed to the suppression of a valuable invention ; first, establishing a more fairly constituted tribunal than heretofore for the assessment of value; secondly, defining the mode of payment, and indicating the precise time. In former days, if a man possessed an invention bearing upon warlike art, and wished to treat on behalf of the same with the government, his usual course of proceeding was the following: He made application either to the War Office, the Ordnance Select Committee, or the Admiralty. His letter of communication met a prompt response, accompanied with a printed statement of th terms on which alone the government would condescend to treat with him. He must defray all expenses ; he must disclose all particulars ; finally, he must trust wholly and absolutely to government for reward in the event of ultimate adoption. Now, the common opinion is (and it is one that, conscientiously, having arrived at belief through evidence within our own knowledge, we cannot gainsay) that, on many occasions, inventive particulars thus communicated to the War and Admiralty departments, have been turned to unfair account; that, by some means or other, those particulars have become known to members of the public service, "improved," ostensibly, at least, into discoveries of their own, to their sole advantage. If this did not happen, it readily might have happened. So powerful an incentive to profitably unfair dealing, without much chance of discovery, should never have been permitted. By the terms and wording of the recently issued memorandum, we are glad to see a check imposed on this contingency of unfair dealing. Inventors now are given to understand that their communications are not to be addressed to either of the war departments, but to one of the Undersecretaries of State, who takes upon himself the responsibility of laying them before the War Department, where due consideration is pledged. The government do not hold themselves responsible for any expenses an inventor may have occurred in the in ceptive stages of an invention, but express readiness, under certain circumstances, to contribute towards expenses necessary to the development of an invention. The next point of importance in the recent memorandum is relative to the tribunal of assessment, which is to be a committee held in the War Office, a great improvement on the old mode of leaving this matter to the discretion of the legal heads of departments. Whether or not any civilian element is contemplated in these War Office committees of adjudication, the memorandum does not state ; but if not, the machinery will be needlessly defective. Lastly, as regards time and mode of payment in behalf of inventions deemed worthy of acceptance and adopted, these matters so important to inventors are, by the memorandum, clearly defined. As soon as the value of an accepted invention has been assessed, the sum under sanction of the Secretary of State is to be inserted in the estimates, when, on being passed by the House (but not till then), the inventor will receive his award. The new regime may be said to have found its first application in the award to Captain Moncrieff; for, although government had come to a conclusion in respect to this matter, before the memorandum to which we have been referring was issued, yet the spirit of it is clearly seen in the terms and manner of Captain MoncriefFs award. Altogether, the aggregate sum receivable from the government by this gentleman, may be set down as some twenty thousand pounds. After paying him for the expenses of drawings, models, etc., a concession rather in advance, by the way, of the terms of the new convention he is to have ten thousand pounds on the passing of estimates, and five thousand more at the date when his assistance may be no longer required by government in farther developing his system. He is to be paid a thousand a year for such time as he has been already assisting the government, and for all future time until his services are no longer required. Then he is to receive five thousand pounds Altogether this is an arrangement more liberal as we have already said than the new memorandum, strictly interpreted, would warrant inventors to expect. All the fetter, is what we say; and if this liberality of treatment is to be repeated, all the better still. The English public, we are right. sure, will never uphold unfairness by the government to inventors who have advanced the interests or increased the power of any public department. The Engineer. ,-------------- -o Agricultural Implements. Probably no department of invention has on the whole more munificently rewarded the genius expended upon it, or still offers greater inducements to inventors than that of agricultural implements. It is true that powerful and effective reapers, and threshers, and a host of minor inventions have been brought nearly to perfection, so far as anything human can be said to be perfect; but there remain very many agricultural operations to the aid of which machinery has not been yet successfully applied. The annual address before the New York State Agricultural Society, delivered February 10th, by Thomas H. Faile, the retiring president, contained among much other interesting matter some statements of special interest to inventors. He spoke in the highest terms of the beneficial effect upon both visitors and exhibitors of implements at the annual fairs of the society, bringing together as they do the manufacturers and those for whose benefit improved machinery is designed. He says " I think it a mistake to suppose that manufactures of agricultural implements attach any importance to the cash value of premiums. It is the opportunity to exhibit and make them known which they want, and this they get at every well conducted fair, whether State or county: in proof of which, I was told by an exhibitor of a small implement at the last fair, that he had spent over $30,000 in exhibiting and introducing it, and had been well compensated for his outlay by sales which he never could have made but for the fairs. The exhibition of machinery and agricultural implements was the crowning excellence of the best fair. The increased number of new machines, and the improvement of those long known for their usefulness, showed in a stronger light than ever before, the marvelous inventive genius of our people. The time has passed when mere hand work can make the cultivation of the soil remunerative, and it is only by the use of improved implements that success can be attained. Even in the remote parts of our country the scythe, the sickle, and the cradle, have been superseded by the mowing machine and the reaper, and by means of these and other agricultural implements, the fertile lands of the West have been brought into use, making Chicago the most important port in the world for the shipments of cereals. " The different trials of implements mainly agricultural have resulted in such vast benefit, not only to farmers, but to the whole community, that another should not be long deferred. In ditching and digging machines especially, there is open a wide and very important field for improvement and invention ; and when the vast quantities of wet lands, which could be reclaimed and made valuable by ditching, and the unavoidably slow work of the present method is considered, it seems to me that the society might do great good by offering an oportunity for a competitive trial of these important machines ; more especially as it is now claimed that there is a rotary digging machine in Illinois which has been successfully operated " It has been suggested that a separate trial should be made of portable steam engines, sewing machines, etc., but it would seem that all such inventions can be more effectually tested by those whose interest it is to procure the kind best adapted to their purposes. I allude to manufacturers, especially those using sewing machines, who in preparing the various articles in their line, aim to have the best, and to whom $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000, is a small expenditure for ascertaining that fact. Hence I think that no premiums or certificates of merit should be given to such articles at our fairs. Nor do I think there should be any awards for pianos or musical instruments of any kind. In the great national exhibitions held in London and Paris, where the highest musical talent in the world was congregated, it was no doubt proper; but farmers are not supposed to be Mozarts and Rubinis, and a certificate of merit or superiority of one instrument over another is simply absurd, and leads to unnecessary trouble and dissatisfaction. As before mentioned, the opportunity to exhibit to such large assemblages as frequent our State fairs, is what the makers want, they knowing full well the advantages to be derived from it." It will be seen here that the privilege of exhibition is regarded as a sufficient inducement to manufacturers of other than agricultural goods, at the annual fairs of the society, as a premium even when obtained would be of little service to makers of pianos and other articles not strictly pertaining to agriculture. While acknowledging the force of this view as regards piano manufacturers, we think the exclusion of sewing machines unwise. A premium on a sewing machine at a gtate agricultural fair is well worth competing for, especially as sewing machines are almost as common now in farmers' houses, as churns] There can be no doubt that the annual fairs of this society have been a great stimulus to the demand for improved agricultural machines and implements, and have aided inventors in bringing their improvements before the public. If continued in the same spirit of liberality that has hitherto characterized their management, they will be still sustained by all classes of manufacturers and inventors; but a narrower policy may prove disastrous, unless careful discrimination is used in the exclusion of articles from the prize list. Furnaces for Smelting Glass. An improvement in the method of creating drafts in glass furnaces has been made by James Davison, of England. At present long caves are placed under glass furnaces, and large cones of brickwork above them, in order to get the sufficient amount of heat requisite for the perfect fusion of the materials used in glass making. Mr. Davison's invention does away with these expensive and inconvenient draft creators. He employs steam, which is generated in any suitable boiler, and which is injected into small flues, chimneys, or funnels, by steam pipes or jets ; these he places in any convenient part of the furnace, and one or any number may be applied according to the size of the f urnace,and the number of glass pots it may contain. In each flue or chimney the steam pipes or jets may be either fixed or portable ; they are provided with stop cocks so as to regulate the supply of steam, and in this manner a draft is created and the heat of the furnace increased and regulated at pleasure. The principal features of this invention are,the application of steam injected into furnaces for the manufacture of glass, and the materials employed in that manufacture for the purpose of obtaining the necessary draft; but the flues may also be so arranged as to consume the smoke from the fuel.
This article was originally published with the title "Generation of Ozone in the Atmosphere"