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Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, A

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_VII" id="CHAPTER_VII"></SPAN>CHAPTER VII.</h2> <h3><span class="smcap">Glass, Mirrors, Earthenware, Porcelain, Needles, Pins, Paper, Printing, Parchment, and Vellum.</span></h3> <p><b><SPAN name="GLASS" id="GLASS"></SPAN>What is Glass?</b></p> <p>A transparent, solid, brittle, factitious body, produced by fusing sand with an alkali. The essential ingredients of glass are silex and potash, or soda; a few other substances are sometimes added. Silex is found nearly pure in rock crystal, flint, and other varieties of quartz; for the manufacture of the better kinds of glass in this country, it is generally obtained from sand, especially the white sand of New Jersey.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Factitious</i>, made by art, not found in a state of nature.</p></div> <p><b><SPAN name="POTASH" id="POTASH"></SPAN>What is Potash?</b></p> <p>The saline matter obtained from the ashes of wood, by causing water to pass through them; the water imbibes the salt, which is then obtained from it by evaporation. When purified by calcination, it is termed pearlash. In countries where there are vast forests, as in America and Russia, it is manufactured on a very large scale.</p> <p><b>What can you say of the origin of Glass?</b></p> <p>The period of its invention is quite unknown. Pliny relates that some merchants, driven by a storm to the coast of Phenicia, near the river Belus, made a large fire on the sand to dress <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_54" id="Page_54"></SPAN>[54]</span>some food, using as fuel some of the plant Kali, which grew there in great abundance; an imperfect glass was thus formed by the melting of the sand and ashes together. This production was picked up by a Syrian merchant, who, attracted by its great beauty, examined the cause of its origin, and, after many attempts, succeeded in its manufacture.</p> <p><b>Who was Pliny?</b></p> <p>A celebrated Roman naturalist and historian.</p> <p><b>At what place was Glass first made?</b></p> <p>Some authors mention Sidon in Syria, which became famous for glass and glass-houses; but others maintain that the first glass-houses noticed in history were built at Tyre; which, they add, was the only place where glass was made for many ages. It is certain that the art was known to the Egyptians.</p> <p><b>What is Phenicia?</b></p> <p>A sub-division of Syria in Asia.</p> <p><b>What is an author?</b></p> <p>A person who writes a book.</p> <p><b>What is signified by a glass-house?</b></p> <p>A building erected for the making and working of glass.</p> <p><b>What countries had glass windows first?</b></p> <p>Italy, then France and England; they began to be common about the year 1180.</p> <p><b>In what year, and where, was the making of glass bottles begun?</b></p> <p>In 1557, in London. The first glass plates for mirrors and coach-windows were made at Lambeth, in 1673.</p> <p><b>What is a Mirror?</b></p> <p>A body which exhibits the images of objects presented to it by reflection. The word mirror is more peculiarly used to signify a smooth surface of glass, tinned and quicksilvered at the back,<SPAN name="FNanchor_3_3" id="FNanchor_3_3"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_3_3" class="fnanchor" >[3]</SPAN> which reflects the images of objects placed before it.</p> <div class="footnotes"><p><SPAN name="Footnote_3_3" id="Footnote_3_3"></SPAN><SPAN href="#FNanchor_3_3"><span class="label">[3]</span></SPAN> See Chapter XII., article <SPAN href="#MERCURY">Mercury</SPAN>.</p> </div><p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_55" id="Page_55"></SPAN>[55]</span></p> <p><b>Are they a modern invention?</b></p> <p>The use of mirrors is very ancient; mention is made of brazen mirrors or looking-glasses in Exodus, the 38th chapter and 8th verse. Some modern commentators will not admit the mirrors themselves to have been of brass, but of glass set or framed in brass; but the most learned among the Jewish rabbins say that in those times the mirrors made use of by the Hebrew women in dressing their heads were of metal, and that the devout women mentioned in this passage made presents to Moses of all their mirrors to make the brazen laver for the Tabernacle. It might likewise be proved that the ancient Greeks made use of brazen mirrors, from many passages in the ancient poets.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Commentators</i>, explainers of passages in the Bible, &amp;c.</p> <p><i>Rabbins</i>, doctors among the Jews, their learned men or teachers.</p></div> <p><b>What nation invented the large looking-glass plates now in use?</b></p> <p>The French.</p> <p><b>What city of Italy excelled all Europe for many years in the making of fine glass?</b></p> <p>Venice. The manufacture of fine glass was first introduced into England by Venetian artists in 1078.</p> <p><b>Of what is Earthenware composed?</b></p> <p>Of clay, and those earths which are capable of being kneaded into a paste easily receiving any form, and acquiring solidity by exposure to fire: sand, chalk, and flint are likewise mixed with clay.</p> <p><b>In what manner is it formed into such a variety of shapes?</b></p> <p>The flint or sand, and soft clay, are mixed together in various proportions for the different kinds of ware; this paste is afterwards beaten till it becomes fit for being formed at the wheel into plates, dishes, basins, &amp;c. These are then put into a furnace and baked; after which they are glazed.</p> <p><b>What nation so greatly excelled in the manufacture of a beautiful species of Earthenware?</b><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_56" id="Page_56"></SPAN>[56]</span></p> <p>The Chinese,&mdash;who, as far as can be ascertained, were its inventors. Porcelain is a fine sort of earthenware, chiefly made in China, whence it was called China or China-ware; it is also brought from many parts of the East, especially from Japan, Siam, Surat, and Persia. The art of making porcelain was one of those in which Europe had been excelled by oriental nations; but for many years past earthenwares have been made in different parts of Europe, so like the oriental, that they have acquired the name of porcelain. The first European porcelains were made in Saxony and France, and afterwards in England, Germany, and Italy, all of which differed from those of Japan and China, but each possessing its peculiar character. They are now brought to great perfection in Europe, particularly in England, France and Prussia.</p> <p><b>Before the invention of Earthenware, what supplied its place to the early inhabitants of the world?</b></p> <p>The more civilized the inhabitants of any country became, the more they would perceive the convenience of possessing vessels of various descriptions for holding or preparing their food; some of the objects which first presented themselves would be the larger kinds of shells; and, in hot climates, the hard coverings of the cocoa-nut or gourd. In some cases the skins of beasts were used, as they still are in the East, where they are sewed together, and formed into a kind of bottle to hold milk, wine, &amp;c.; but the people of colder climates would not be able to avail themselves of these natural productions, and would be obliged to make use of other substances.</p> <p><b>What, then, would they employ?</b></p> <p>Clay, which in many countries is found in great abundance, from its adhesive property, and its retaining its form when dry, and becoming insoluble in water after having been baked in the fire, would naturally attract the attention of an improving people: from this it arises that the early remains of culinary and other vessels which have been discovered have been formed of this material. Among the remains of ancient Egypt, numerous vessels have been found formed of common clay baked in the fire; and, though of rude workmanship, extremely elegant in form. <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_57" id="Page_57"></SPAN>[57]</span></p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Adhesive</i>, sticky; apt or tending to adhere.</p> <p><i>Insoluble</i>, not capable of being dissolved.</p> <p><i>Culinary</i>, belonging to cooking or domestic purposes.</p></div> <p><b>Of what are Needles made?</b></p> <p>Of steel; and though exceedingly cheap, they go through a great number of operations before they are brought to perfection. It was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that the English learnt the art of making needles.</p> <p><b>Of what are Pins made?</b></p> <p>Of brass wire, blanched with tin. They are manufactured in England, France, the United States, and other countries. Though there is scarcely any commodity cheaper than pins, there is no other which passes through the hands of a greater number of workmen; more than twenty persons being successively employed in the manufacture of each, from the drawing of the brass wire to the sticking of the pin in the paper. Pins are supposed to have been made in England about 1543, or even earlier. Before this art was invented, the ladies made use of wooden skewers.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Blanched</i>, whitened.</p></div> <p><b>Of what is Paper made?</b></p> <p>Of linen and cotton rags beaten to a pulp in water; also from straw, wood, and many plants.</p> <p><b>What materials were used for writing, before the invention of Paper?</b></p> <p>Various were the materials on which mankind in different ages and countries contrived to write: stones, bricks, the leaves of herbs and trees, and their rinds or barks; tablets of wood, wax, and ivory; plates of lead, silk, linen rolls, &amp;c. At length the Egyptian paper made of the papyrus, was invented; then parchment; and lastly, paper manufactured of cotton or linen <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_58" id="Page_58"></SPAN>[58]</span>rags. There are few sorts of plants which have not at some time been used for paper and books. In Ceylon, for instance, the leaves of the talipot; in India, the leaves of the palm (with which they commonly covered their houses,) were used for books. In the East Indies, the leaves of the plantain tree, dried in the sun, were used for the same purpose. In China, paper is made of the inner bark of the mulberry, the bamboo, the elm, the cotton, and other trees.</p> <p><b>What is Papyrus?</b></p> <p>A large rush, chiefly growing in Egypt, on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians made sails, ropes, mats, blankets, and canvas, of the stalks and fibres of the papyrus. Their priests also wore shoes made of it; and even sugar was extracted from this plant. Moses, the deliverer raised by God to rescue the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, was exposed to the Nile in a basket of papyrus. The plant is now, however, exceedingly scarce.</p> <p><b>Where was the first Paper Mill erected in England?</b></p> <p>At Dartford, by a German named Spilman, in 1588. The only sort made, however, was the coarse brown; and it was not till 1690, when the French protestant refugees settled in England, that their own paper-makers began to make white writing and printing paper. The manufacture has been brought to great perfection, both for beauty and substance, in England and the United States.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Protestant</i>, a name given in Germany to those who adhered to the doctrines of the apostate monk, Martin Luther, because they protested against a decree of Charles V. and applied to a general council.</p> <p><i>Refugee</i>, from refuge, a place of safety from danger; an asylum. Here it more particularly means those French Protestants who quit their homes and sought other countries, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which deprived them of their religious liberty.</p></div> <p class="center"> <SPAN href="images/image_06_1.jpg"><ANTIMG src="images/image_06_2.jpg" alt="THE DOME OF PISA, ITALY; WITH THE FAMOUS LEANING TOWER, IN THE DISTANCE. Please click to view a larger image." width="559" height="317" title="Please click to view a larger image."/></SPAN><br /> <span class="caption">THE DOME OF PISA, ITALY; WITH THE FAMOUS LEANING TOWER, IN THE DISTANCE.</span></p> <p><b>Is it known to whom we are indebted for the invention of Linen Paper?</b></p> <p>Not exactly. It has long been disputed among the learned<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_59" id="Page_59"></SPAN>[59]</span> when, and by whom, it was invented; some authors say it was discovered by the Germans, others by the Italians; others ascribe it to some refugee Greeks at Basil, who took the idea from the making of cotton paper in their own country; some, that the Arabs first introduced it into Europe. Perhaps the Chinese have the best title to the invention, inasmuch as they have for many ages made paper, and in some provinces of the same materials as are now used by us in its manufacture.</p> <p><b>In what place was the art of Printing first practised?</b></p> <p>Who were the inventors of Printing, in what city, and in what year it was begun, has long been a subject of great dispute. Mentz, Harlem, and Strasburg, cities of Germany, all lay claim to the invention, but Mentz seems to have the best title to it.</p> <p><b>What was the first Book that was printed from metal types?</b></p> <p>A copy of the Holy Scriptures, which made its appearance between the years 1450 and 1452.</p> <p><b>Who introduced Printing into England?</b></p> <p>William Caxton, a merchant of London, who had acquired a knowledge of it in his travels abroad.</p> <p><b>Of what does Printing consist?</b></p> <p>Of the art of taking impressions with ink, from movable characters and figures made of metal, &amp;c., upon paper or parchment.</p> <p><b>What is Parchment?</b></p> <p>Sheep or goat's skin, prepared after a peculiar manner, which renders it proper for several uses, especially for writing on, and for the covering of books. The ancients seem to have used the skins of animals as a writing material, from a remote period.</p> <p><b>From what is the word Parchment taken?</b></p> <p>From Pergamena, the ancient name of this manufacture, which it is said to have taken from the country of Pergamus; and to Eumenes, king of that country, its invention is usually ascribed, though in reality, that prince appears to have been the improver, rather than the inventor of parchment; since <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_60" id="Page_60"></SPAN>[60]</span>some accounts refer its invention to a still earlier period of time. Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, who lived about 450 years before Christ, relates that the ancient Ionians made use of sheep and goat-skins in writing, many ages before the time of Eumenes; the Persians of old, too, wrote all their records on skins, and probably such skins were prepared and dressed for that purpose, after a manner not unlike our parchments, though not so artificially.</p> <p><b>Who were the Ionians?</b></p> <p>The inhabitants of Ionia, an ancient country in the western part of Asia Minor.</p> <p><b>In what manner is Parchment now prepared?</b></p> <p>The sheep-skins are smeared over with lime<SPAN name="FNanchor_4_4" id="FNanchor_4_4"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_4_4" class="fnanchor">[4]</SPAN> on the fleshy side, folded, laid in heaps, and thus left for some days; they are next stretched very tight on wooden frames, after having been washed, drained, and half dried. The flesh is then carefully taken off with iron instruments constructed on purpose, and the skin cleansed from the remaining hairs that adhere to it. After having gone through several operations till it is perfectly clean and smooth, it is fit for writing upon.</p> <div class="footnotes"><p><SPAN name="Footnote_4_4" id="Footnote_4_4"></SPAN><SPAN href="#FNanchor_4_4"><span class="label">[4]</span></SPAN> See Chapter XVI., article <SPAN href="#LIME">Lime</SPAN>.</p> </div> <p><b>What are the uses of Parchment?</b></p> <p>Parchment is of great use for writings which are to be preserved, on account of its great durability; the writing on it remaining perfect for a great number of years. It is also used for the binding of books, and various other purposes.</p> <p><b>What is Vellum?</b></p> <p>A finer sort of parchment than the former, but prepared in the same manner, except that it is not passed through the lime-pit. It is made of the skins of very young calves: there is also a still finer sort made of the skins of sucking lambs, or kids; this is called <i>virgin</i> parchment, and is very thin, fine, and white, and is used for fancy-work, such as ladies' fans, &amp;c.</p> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_61" id="Page_61"></SPAN>[61]</span></p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>
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