The oldest working clock in Great Britain is that of Peterborough Cathedral, which dates from 1320, and is conceded to have been made by a monastic dock- maker. It is the only one now known that is wound up over an old wooden wheel. This is some 12 feet in circumference, carrying a galvanized cable about 300 feet in length, with a leaden weight of 3 hundredweight. The cable has to be wound up daily. The gong is the great tenor bell of the cathedral, which weighs 32 hundredweight, and it is struck hourly by an 80-pound hammer. The going and the striking parts of the clock are some yards apart, communication being by a slender wire. The clock is not fitted with a dial, but the time is indicated on the main wheel of the escapement, which goes round once in two hours. This clock is of most primitive design, more so than the famous one made for Charles V. of France by Henry de Nick. According to the report of M. R. Gallerand, a French scientist, the S'akalaves of Madagascar use the pith of a certain palm tree as anof food. The tree is found in the AmlJongo region and is known as the sairanalie. According to Pernir, it is the Mcdemia nobilis, nearly related to the Hyphrnne. In that region the satranalie covers vast spaces either along the sea- coast or bordering the rivers. After cutting down the tree, the natives take out the pith, which runs from 4 to 10 pounds per tree, then dry, powder and sift it, thus forming a kind of flour. Some of this flour was sent to Marseilles to be analyzed at the Industrial Laboratory. It is a fine yellow powder and when fresh has a somewhat sweetish taste, which it had lost, however, upon arriving, and its solution did not act upon a beam of polarized light. When shaken up with water, the flour swells up and a light yellow liquid is obtained which has the odor of beer. About 17 per cent of the matter is dissolved. When fresh the product contains 13,3 per cent of water. After drying to expel all the water, it anaylzes as follows: Starch, 66.833 per cent; cellulose, 12.939; albuminoid matter, 10.538; fatty matter, 1.037; mineral salts, 8.2 per cent. Among the salts are sulphate of potash, chloride of sodium, phosphate of lime, magnesia, oxide of iron; silica is also found. What is to be remarked principally about this product is the relatively large proportion of albuminoid matter it contains, In this respect it ranks ahead of the potato, manioc, and sweet potato, seeing that the latter contain 6.23, 3.30, and 3.38 per cent of nitrogen substances, Some highly interesting and valuable archeological discoveries have been made on the site of the ancient Greek city Olbia. The site is situated on the southern bank of the Boug, about midway, between Otchakoff and Nicolaielf, and not far distant from the estuary of the Dnieper. This ancient city was a colony of Miletus 655 B. C., and was a great center for Greek trade with the interior. It is generally maintained among archeological authorities that a trade route extended from Olbia across country to the northern sea, and when a find of ancient Greek coins was made, it was contended to be substantial proof of the fact. Recently, however, it was proved that, these coins were spurious. Olbia was destroyed by the Getm about 70 to 60 B. C., but it revived, and when it was visited by Dion Chrysostum about 100 A. D., it was again a flourishing city. The excavations that are now in progress upon the site of this city are being carried out by M. Formakovsld under the auspices of the Russian Archeological Society. Mr. Formakovski has succeeded in unearthing extensive portions of the walls and foundations of the original city, which date back from the seventh century B. C. The masonry is identical with that of the ruins of ancient cities excavated in various parts of Greece. Before this depth was reached, two different strata of walls and basements bearing descriptions of the fourth and first centuries B. C. were encountered. The stone blocks composing the ruins of houses, temples, etc., in these upper strata are of remarkably exact area, square proportions, and excellently dressed. The more solid construetive work is, however, found in the remains of the original city. At this depth there was unearthed a perfectly preserved wine cellar. Some fifty huge jars or vases had evidently contained red wine, now turned to a light powdery substance. A large collection of valuable antiques in gold, marble, and ancient pottery has also been found in these newly-uncovered ruins. These have been dispatched to the Hermitage at St. Petersburg. M. Formakovski, however, is carefully examining every antique unearthed, to establish its genuine character, as .it was on this site that the spurious tiara of Saitapharnes, now in the Louvre, was alleged to have been discovered.
Science Notes - July 2, 1904
This article was originally published with the title "Science Notes" in SA Supplements 58, 1487supp, 5 (July 1904)