GENERAL REMARKS—The progress of improvements in the Palace, during the. past week, has been quite rapid and visible from day to day; in many quarters of the building the permanent arrangement of the articles is made; especially the Agricultural Department has an air of completeness. The Machine Arcade and Fine Art Gallery will be ready for the reception of their treasures in a few days. The Exhibition will realize all the reasonable anticipations that have been formed of it. It will be a tolerable -exposition of the-indue-trial resources of the world. If the Palace and its contents could be buried out of sight, till some Layard and Champollion of the three thousandth century should Jig it up, our descendants of that late day would find enough in the fossil display to satisfy their most eager cariosity about the olden time. There is a great deal at the Palace to be seen, and much worthy of careful study ;—less than a whole day's visit should not be thought ot. Upon the whole the Exhibition is quite a creditable affair, especially in view ot its being an extemporaneous and private speculation. In an enterprise so large, lapses and imperfections that cannot easily be anticipated will of course occur. Constant vigilance of managers is expected and required, and if abuses are not speedily corrected, censures and complaints must come. We desire to speak as we have hitherto,— whether in praise or reproach, plainly, freely, and impartially. THE OFFICIAL CATALOGUE—The Catalogue looks very well—-promises to be the right thing. We expected to find it a valuable guide in our wandering, but we soon found that we could not rely upon it. Whose fault is it that many numbers of the catalogue do not correspond with the numbers on the articles—and that many of the articles are not ticketed at all ? We heard some bitter complaints from gentlemen who came to study and to learn. But there is to be a new edition of the catalogue and all will be right, they say. BARLOW'S PLANETARIUM.—-Conspicuous among the objects of scientific interest is an improved Planetarium, the invention of Thos. H. Barlow, of Lexington, Ky. The peculiarities of this Planetarium are the amazing ingenuity and perfection of the machinery by which the motion, position, and phases of the planets for all time—past and to come—are shown. Difficult and tedious problems may be solved by a few turns of the machinery, with a surprising accuracy. There is no other single piece of astronomical apparatus which can so readily illustrate and demonstrate so many interesting facts of the sublime science. DASTOEI,EOT*F"S—ft is generally understood that the best daguerreotypes are produ- ced in the United States: the fame of our operators is world-wide. Orders for American apparatus and American processes are received from all parts of the globe. Even in Paris, the birth-place of the Art, the most extensive and splendid establishment is called " The American Photographic Saloon." The competition on daguerreotypes at the Palace is entirely among our own artists. The number of exhibitors is about forty—all Americans, we believe. The collection of pictures is very extensive, embracing specimens of all the various processes—such as crayon, illuminated, colored, &c. Probably the best daguerreotypes in the world may be found here ; nd there are many pictures which verify all the extravagancies of those who first described the Daguerrean Art. The beauty and reality of many of these pictures leave nothing more to be desired. Hillotype, even if there were no " stick in the yellow," will be in little demand if operators generally can learn to color with the exquisite taste and skill displayed in the pictures of Gurney and others. There are good pictures by all the exhibitors, but the palm will be borne away by our New York artists. Some of the country gentlemen evidently did not know the men they were to contend with. One of the creditable specimens, worthy of attention, is a panoramic view of Cincinnati, Ohio, from Newport, by A. Bisbee, ot Dayton, Ohio, on six extra large plates. Mr. Bisbee has well met the difficulties of the bold experiment, but he should have been more careful in the mercu-rialization. It is extremely difficult, but not impossible to mercurialize a large plate evenly. The top of the bath should always be considerably larger than the plate. But if the large plates be carefully moved about on the top of the bath during the bringing-out process, we should think the edge might be coated the same as the center portions. PHOTOGRAPHS—Everard Blanquart, of Lille, exhibits " Photographic Illustrations of Various Subjects," in the French Department. These we have not seen, but they are highly spoken of. In the American Department, Whipple, of Boston, exhibits 1; Crystallo-types;" M. A. Root, of Philadelphia, " Tal-botypes," and Hawkins, of Cincinnati, " Solo-graphs." These pictures are produced by substantially the same process. Ample instructions in the art have been published in the Scientific American during the Jast four or five years. We are surprised that so little attention aas been paid to this beautiful art in the United States. On the Continent of Europe Photographs are preferred to Daguerreotypes, and in some cities ot Germany Daguerreotypes are almost obsolete. The chief advantages of Photographs are, that they may be easily and cheaply copied, and that there is no disagreeable metallic reflection as in Daguerreotypes. The cost of a single pic-mre is greater than for a Daguerreotype, but when many copies are wanted, they may be afforded at a comparatively small sum. The pictures are bolder and more distinct than Daguerreotypes and may be viewed in any light. Being on paper they may be colored with great facility. The pictures on exhibition are not the best specimens of the art; some of those we observed are spotted and uneven in tone. But the exhibitors will have the credit of being pioneers of Photography in America. They will introduce it favorably to thousands who have never heard ot such a thing. The Messrs. Langenheim, of Philadelphia, were the first to make it a business ; their pictures are called " Hyalotypes," and have been ex-Eibited in many parts of the Union in Magic Lantern Exhibitions. Bommer & Rolle, 247 Broadway, are exclusively engaged in the business of Photography, and are preparing.some pictures for the Crystal Palace, Which will excel anything now on exhibition. QUACKERY—In the American Department (where else could we expect it?) we found some very notable contributions to the " Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations ;" the names alone, we think, should suggest to our readers, certainly to those who take a country newspaper, or were ever in a flash barber shop, all the needful comments. We took down some of the big words : here they are —" Italian Colornerus," " Chemical Cathai-ron," " West Indian Tincture and Abification Tooth Powder," " Clierhugh's Tricopherous," " Improved Wahpene," " Anti-Scorbutic Soap Wash," " Rose Bandoline," " Great National Instantaneous Liquid Hair Dye," " Oleo-phane," &c. &c. The locality is also1 a depot for distributing the pamphlets describing the magical and all-healing properties of some ot them. Supposing the wise Directors had made no narrow restrictions in this branch of industry, we wandered on expecting to behold a gorgeous display of sticking plasters and pills—a mammoth pill—a sixty-four pounder, say—all beautifully gilded, or a pill equestrian statue of General Washington or Daniel Webster. We presume the Directors rejected such articles. What narrow views of things they must take ? GLASS—Glass working is one ot the oldest of the arts. It is alluded to in the Old Testament, and was one of the unexpected things discovered by Layard in his explorations about Nineveh. Some of the finest specimens of stained glass are the product of the Middle Ages. But it is only within about a hundred years that glass has been afforded cheap enough to be used by all. Before this time it was a luxury or an ornament. Among the ancients it was a costly rarity, so that a glass cup was a princely fortune, and descended Irom generation to generation as an heirloom. Glass was the symbol of brilliancy and splendor with thei poets. Its chemical constitution was not understood till the time of Berzelius " the father ot chemistry." It was chiefly by his researches that the theory of glass making was made plain. Glass is now classed with the salts. The acid is silicic acid (sand or flint), and the base is one or more of the alkalies, alkaline earthsj or metallic oxydes. Glass is then a silicate of soda; potash, &c. The peculiar properties ot any kind of glass will depend, of course, upon the base selected j and experience has determined what base must be used for each property. Potash or soda, or both, is the base of all common glass. Lime increases the hardness ; alumina the difficulty of fusion; oxyde of lead renders it much more fusible, and adds greatly to the brilliancy and softness. Glass is colored or stained by the addition of metallic oxydes. The most brilliant but costly colors are a topaz yellow, produced by the oxyde of uranium, and the ruby red by the oxyde of gold. Oxyde of chromium gives a green ; oxyde of cobalt, blue, arsenic, white, &c. The ruby red color is geneially only superficial. A mass of colorless glass is dipped into the melted color, and becomes coated or plated with it. When brought into the desirable shape by the workmen,—the cup, or whatever it is, appears to be uniformly colored throughout. By engraving or cutting away the colored film, the vessel may be splendidly ornamented. Next to iron glass the most important material used in the arts. There is no substance which could supply its place. To the chemist, particularly it is indispensable, and there is no civilized man who would not be much embarrassed on being deprived of its use. In a World's Fair, then, this branch of industry should take a very prominent place. We should expect contributions from all the nations where the article is manufactured. At the Crystal Palace the show of glass, in respect to quality, is very commendable. The coloring and ornamentation are splendid. Nothing but genius and taste of the highestorder could have fashioned and engraved those beautiful vases, bottles, and cups, exhibited in the French and AmericanDepartments. Glass staining is not a lost art, as the " fogies " tried to prove to us a few years since. Indeed, we believe the Exhibition will show that there are no lost arts. We were tolerably satisfied with the quality but not with the quantity of glass ware. The chief competitors are France, the United States, and Austria. The amount exhibited is not at all commensurate with the importance and condition of the art. About New York City alone there are eleven factories ; in many parts ot the United States the materials for the manufacture are found in the greatest purity and abundance. Considering the high and deserved reputation of the New England Glass Company, their display is quite meagre and unsatisfactory; they have presented, perhaps, some of the best specimens of their skill; but why not more? And why did not they arrange their wares in better taste, so that they would be seen and appreciated ? We are persuaded that they might have made one of the most attractive and instructive displays in the Palace. We expect soon to meet the ingenious professor, Carling, the skillful fancy glass-worker, who has secured a place in the Palace for the exhibition of his wonderful art. The Brooklyn Flint Glass Co.,, to whom was awarded the prize medal at the London World's Fair, exhibit an assortment ot their ware. Plate glass is exhibited only in the few splendid mirrors which adorn various parts ot the building. There is a small display of crown glass from Holland. —and in the United States Department a few boxes from the Baltimore Glass Co. Perhaps the 25,000 square feet inclosing the Palace itself, is sufficient to show what may be done in this line. Bohemian glass, celebrated for its heat-enduring properties, and the beauty of its ornamentation, is exhibited in the Austrian and German Departments. We wanted to see the workmen's tools and specimens of the ware in the different stages of the manufacture—bottles and tumblers half formed, and the huge cylinders and globes from which window panes are cut. Such a display as this would be eminently curious and instructive to most of the visitors.
This article was originally published with the title "The Crystal Palace" in Scientific American 8, 49, 386 (August 1853)