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Full text of "(1) Chemische Technologie der Gespinstfasern (2) The Textile Fibres: their Physical, Microscopical and Chemical Properties"

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April 30, 1914] 


NATURE 


2 11 


author in his discrimination of the local schools 
of sculpture, each with its own traditions and 
technique. It may suffice to say that in “ Art in 
Egypt ” the reader will find these subjects treated 
systematically. In the work before us he will 
see Sir Gaston Maspero evolving the principles 
he there explains. A special word of praise must 
be given to the illustrations, the great majority 
of which are admirable reproductions of photo¬ 
graphs on a large scale. L. W. K. 


ASTRONOMY. 

Astronomy: a Popular Handbook. By Prof. 

Harold Jacoby. Pp. xiii + 435 + 32 plates. 

(New York : The Macmillan Company; London : 

Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1913.) Price 10s. 6 d. 

net. 

N the arrangement of the subject-matter in this 
book the author has attempted to serve a 
double purpose, namely, to provide material to 
satisfy the requirements of the ordinary reader 
who wishes to make himself acquainted with the 
present state of astronomy and also to produce a 
text-book for use in high schools and colleges. 
To attain this end the book consists of two parts, 
the former being a series of chatty discourses on 
astronomical matters devoid of all mathematics, 
the latter, called an appendix, which contains a 
series of notes involving the occasional use of 
elementary algebra, geometry and trigonometry 
so far as the solution of plane right angle tri¬ 
angles. The first part covers 361 pages and the 
second 58 pages. 

As an introduction the author gives the reader 
a good general idea of the whole universe, at the 
same time pointing out the practical use of astro¬ 
nomy and its value as a culture study. In the 
subsequent twenty chapters he deals with the 
subject more in detail. The general reader will 
find that the author has been very clear and precise 
in all his statements and presents the matter in 
an easy, readable form. The thirty-two plates and 
numerous figures in the text enhance the value of 
the book considerably, the reproductions being 
principally from the fine negatives secured by 
Barnard and by the astronomers at the Lick 
Observatory. 

In reading the book a few points have come to 
the reviewer’s notice which rather invite criticism. 
In the chapter on solar parallax a good account 
is given of Gill’s determinations, but while refer¬ 
ence is made to the Eros value, the name of Mr. 
Hinks is omitted. In describing the solar features 
the reader is shown a fine photograph of the solar 
NO. 2322, VOL. 93] 


disc taken in calcium light by Fox; while the 
bright portions shown in the reproduction are 
referred to as faculse, the usual term “flocculi” 
is not mentioned. 

Of recent years fine photographs of the spectra 
of comets have been secured, but the reference 
to a comet’s spectrum here given is decidedly 
brief, and occupies two lines as follows : “ . . . ex¬ 
istence of hydrocarbon gas in a luminous state as 
well as a dim continuous spectrum containing 
Frauenhofer lines. . .” Stellar spectra classifica¬ 
tion is also curtly dismissed, being restricted to 
that given by Secchi, the fact that other classi¬ 
fications have been suggested and are in use 
receiving no mention whatever. 

It may be said, however, that in spite of the 
above minor deficiencies, the book is one that will 
serve a very useful purpose, and should appeal 
to a large circle of readers. 


TEXTILE FIBRES. 

(1) Chemische Technologic der Gespinstfasern. 
By Dr. Karl Stirm. Pp. xvi+410. (Berlin: 
Gebriider Borntraeger, 1913.) Price 12 marks. 

(2) The Textile Fibres: their Physical, Micro¬ 
scopical, and Chemical Properties. By Dr. J. 
Merritt Matthews. Third edition. Pp. xi + 630. 
(New York: John Wiley and Sons; London: 
Chapman and Hall, 1913.) Price 17s. net. 

(1) TT cannot be said that the contents of this 
work quite correspond to its title, for if 
the chemical parts of the subject were left out 
altogether, a very substantial volume would still 
remain. The actual chemical technology of the 
fibres is inadequately represented, though the 
author may be said to err rather on the side 
of omissions than on that of mis-statements. In 
this latter respect, however, attention should be 
directed to the statement (p. 6) that the tempera¬ 
ture at which cotton begins to decompose is 
160 0 C., no mention being made of the time factor 
used in arriving at this result. It is well known 
that by prolonged heating cellulose begins to 
decompose at much lower temperatures than that 
stated. A further statement that caustic potash 
is much less energetic in its action on cellulose 
than caustic soda might well have been qualified, 
for in equivalent strengths there is no difference in 
the mercerising action of the two alkalies. Again, 
the descriptions of the processes of bleaching cotton 
and linen are of the nature of generalisations, and 
are more likely to confuse than to enlighten the 
student. It might have been expected that the 
work of Haller, Lester, Knecht and Allan, Ploff- 


©1914 Nature Publishing Group 










2 12 


NATURE 


[April 30, 1914 


meister, and others on the natural impurities con¬ 
tained in these fibres would at least have been 
mentioned, but such is not the case. On p. 37 
reference is made to the presence in raw cotton of 
resins which withstand the action of alkalies, but 
no mention is made of the source of the in¬ 
formation nor does the author appear to have 
published any original communication on this 
subject. 

Wool and silk are more adequately dealt with 
from the chemical point of view, though here we 
miss a very important property of the former, 
viz., its behaviour on steaming which Breinl has 
shown to account for “ending” in the dyeing of 
piece goods (by which is meant that one end of 
the piece comes out deeper in shade than the 
other). A fairly good account is also given of 
the artificial fibres. 

The rest of the work (pp. 261-378) contains 
what can scarcely be called more than a rudi¬ 
mentary account of dyeing and printing, in which 
the chemistry of the products employed and of the 
processes plays a very subordinate part. 

The figures in the work are generally good, but 
it appears strange that in a special work of this 
kind the author has not recognised the import¬ 
ance of giving the appearance of cross-sections 
of the fibres described. A very large proportion 
of the text is taken up by matter which is quite 
irrelevant to the subject. Thus, in the case of 
wool no fewer than five pages are taken up by a 
description of the spinning process, while five 
more are devoted to trade statistics. Altogether 
the work is disappointing. It must, however, 
be said in its favour that the author generally 
acknowdedges the source of his information, which 
has been largely taken from other German works. 
His copious references to current literature will 
act as a good guide to students and others who 
make use of the book. 

(2) Since the textile fibres constitute the raw 
materials for some of our most important indus¬ 
tries, a well-planned and conscientiously compiled 
monograph on the subject, in w'hich all the facts 
concerning them are systematised and lucidly dis¬ 
cussed, should form a welcome addition to our 
technical literature. It has been the endeavour of 
the author, in writing the present volume, to carry 
out this ideal, and though he does not claim to 
have attained it, we have no hesitation in saying 
that he has produced a most useful monograph. 
The subject-matter is well arranged, and is 
brought up to date, chiefly in the copious foot¬ 
notes w'hich give epitomes of the more recent 
researches and patent specifications. The figures 
representing the textile fibres are mostly micro- 
NO. 2322, VOL. 93] 


graphs by the author, and although they are some¬ 
what rough, they bring out the essential features 
more prominently than many of the photographic 
reproductions that have been published. The 
figure on p. 230 seems to be out of place. 

The last, and not the least, useful part of the 
work (pp. 461-592) gives an account of the various 
methods available for the analysis of textile 
materials. In his classification of the fibres- 
(especially bast fibres) and the enumeration of the 
numerous species of the genus Gossypium 
(cotton), the author is rather too profuse. No 
mention appears to be made of the important 
effect of drying mercerised cotton in decreasing 
its affinity for dyestuffs. While admitting in the 
footnote on p. 283 that cotton begins to decom¬ 
pose above 120° C., the author seems to place 
the temperature at wdiich decomposition begins at 
160 0 C. (p. 282), but both are too high. No men¬ 
tion is made of that excellent reagent paranitro- 
aniline for lignocellulose. The chlorination of 
wool, which is now a most important large-scale 
operation in connection with the production of un¬ 
shrinkable fabrics, might with advantage have 
been more fully gone into. In spite of these 
shortcomings, the work must be regarded as one 
of considerable merit. That it has supplied a want 
is shown by the fact that within a comparatively 
short period it has gone through two editions. 


OUR BOOKSHELF. 

Pflansenphysiologie. Versuche und Beobach- 
tungen an hoheren und niederen Pflanzen 
einschliesslick Bakteriologie und Hydrobiologie- 
mit Planktonkunde. By R. Kolkw'itz. Pp. v 
+ 258 + xii plates. (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 
1914.) Price 9 marks. 

Prof. Kolkw'itz tells us that'his book has grown 
out of courses of practical instruction in plant 
physiology for university and agricultural classes. 
It is a little difficult to see exactly for whom it 
is designed—students w'ould probably find it a 
difficult book to use, still the teacher of ordinary 
plant physiology will discover many hints that he 
can utilise wdth advantage. 

A number of experiments are described, illus¬ 
trative of the physiology of the higher plants, but 
the greater part of the volume is devoted to the 
lower forms of life. This later portion is an odd 
mixture of systematic description of illustrative 
species, but the accounts given are often so 
meagre as to be practically worthless. Directions 
are given for the culture of some forms, and the 
distribution of certain plankton species is briefly 
discussed. Incidentally, the chief sources of in¬ 
formation are usefully given, but the whole volume 
suggests that it is a reproduction of the private 
notes of a teacher who has explored a fairly wide 
field himself, and wants the notes to refresh his 


©1914 Nature Publishing Group