The formation of the "American Society of Model Engineers" is about completed. The constitution and by-laws are in press, and copies of same will be mailed to all who have written us expressing a desire to become members. It will be noted that the government of the society is entirely within the control of the members, which ensures freedom from any action in the interests any particular person or idea.
It is the opinion of the founders that the annual dues, which for a time will be $1.00 per annum, be used for prizes for the best designs of machines, tools, instruments, etc., and the obtaining of patterns and castings of same for members of the society desiring them. It is also expected that when the society reaches a size and membership which will permit, that annual exhibitions be held at which the work of members will be shown, and suitable prizes awarded. Also, that a bureau of information and supplies be established, for furnishing members with materials at cost. The value of membership in the society will be evident from what has been mentioned. Those who have not yet expressed their desire to become members should write at once.
In a communication recently received from a subscriber, we noted the statement that the articles published during the past year on general engineering and educational topics were of no particular interest to this reader, and that the space taken for these articles " had reduced the quantity of reading devoted to constructive work." As the same opinion may be held by other readers, we call attention to the fact that the size of type now used throughout the whole magazine is smaller than that formerly used, which permits of about one-third more reading matter in the same number of pages. The space thus gained by the use of smaller type has been used for the general articles above mentioned.
As to the value of these articles we think that the larger number of readers find them of interest. They are carefully selected, and are published for the purpose of keeping readers informed of the progress of engineering development, so far as this may be done by articles not too technical in character. By reading articles of this kind, a better perspective is obtained, so that the relative effect of new work in specific lines can be the better estimated. This result cannot be otherwise than beneficial to all readers, whether they appreciate it at the time or later, and for that reason we feel that the best interests of our readers will be served by continuing to publish a limited number of articles of a general character.
The people who earn a precarious livelihood by gathering amber on the shores of the Baltic sea work only in the roughest weather, says the "Mining World." When the wind blows in from the sea, as it often does with terrific violence, the bowlders are tossed and tumbled at the bottom, and great quantities of sea weeds are washed up on the beach. This is the harvest of the waders, for hidden in the roots and branches of the seaweed, lumps of the precious gum maybe found. In other parts of the coast divers go crawling on the bottom of the sea for the lumps of amber hidden in seaweed and rocks. It i8s believed that amber is the gum exuded from the trees, of which not a vestige remains. The finds are very variable. The largest piece known, weighing 18 pounds, is in the Royal Museum in Berlin. The usual finds range from lumps as big as a man's head to particles like grains of sand. The larger pieces are found jammed in rocks or in tangles of marine vegetation. Divers work from four to five hours a day in all seasons, except when the sea is blocked with ice. The work is so arduous that they are bathed in perspiration even in the coldest weather. For all their ginding toil the Samland natives are happy in their way and increase and multiply as in more favored regions of the earth.