There is a cherry stone at the Salem, (Mass.) Museum, which contains one dozen silver spoons. The stone itself is of the ordinary size, but the spoons are so small that their shape and finish can only be well distinguished by the microscope. Here is the result of immense labor, for no decidedly useful purpose; and there are thousands of other objects in the world, fashioned by ingenuity, the value of which, in a utilitarian sense, may be quite as indifferent. Dr. Oliver gives an account in his Philosophical Transactions, by-the-way, of a cherry stone, on which were carved one hundred and twenty-four heads, so distinctly that the naked eye could distinguish those belonging to popes and kings, by the mitres and crowns. It was bought in Prussia for $1,500, and thence conveyed to England, where it was considered an object of so much value, that its possession was disputed, and became the object of a suit in chancery. This stone Dr. O. sawinl6S7. In more remote times still, an account is given of an ivory chariot, constructed by Mermecides, which was so small that a fly could cover it with its wing; also a ship of the same material, which could be hidden with the wing of a bee. Pliny, too, tells us that Homer's Iliad, which has fifty thousand verses, was written in so small a space as to be contained in a nut shell; while Elia mentions an artist who wrote a distich in letters of gold, and enclosed it in the rind of a kernel of corn. But the Harren MS. mentions a greater curiosity than any of the above, it being nothing more or less than the Bible written by one Petre Bales—a chancery clerk—in so small a book that it could be enclosed within the shell of an English walnut. D'Israeli gives an account of many other similar exploits to that of Bales. There is a head of Charles II, in the library of St. John's College, Oxford, wholly composed of minute written characters, which, at a small distance resemble the lines ot an engraving. The head and ruff are said to contain the book of Psalms, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. Again, in the British Museum, is a portrait of Queen Anne, not much bigger than the hand. On this drawing are a number of lines and scratches, which, it is asserted, include the entire contents of a thin folio.
This article was originally published with the title "Minute Mechanism"