This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
A knowledge of geology is indispensible to the complete education of the miner, the prospector, the civil engineer, and the military engineer, and a first hand acquaintance with at least its elements is eminently desirable for the agriculturalist, the geographer, the traveler, and the biologist. Many may even be willing to admit that the literary man and the man of culture would be the better for knowing something of its principles and its conclusions.
Among the numerous uses for charcoal are, as a fuel, polishing powder, in blowpipe work, in filters, as a defecator and decolorizer of liquids, an absorbent of gases and aqueous vapors, a non-conducting packing in ice houses, safes and refrigerators, an ingredient of gunpowder and fireworks, and in the galvanic battery and electric light.
The iron in mineral springs is chiefly in the form of carbonate, the best form for medicinal purposes.. Carbonic acid in the water keeps the carbonate of iron in solution, and when the water is at rest its surface shows a yellowish rust. Chalybeate springs are numerous, the more important being at Saratoga, New York; Harrogate, England; Santa Catarina, Italy, and St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The discovery of extensive underground deposits of calcium borate practically revolutionized the borax industry in this country. The greatest mine at present being worked is situated at Borate, in the southern part of the Mojave desert, 12 miles north of the Santa Fe railroad in California. This deposit takes its name from its discoverer, W. F. Coleman. The colemanite is developed by 2 shafts, which at present have been sunk 600 feet and levels opened from them. The shafts are equipped with cages operated by gasoline engines, each of 50 h. p. About 250 men are employed in the mine. The colemanite is obtained in lumps of various sizes, only a small percentage coming to the surface as fines. The mineral of lowest grade is sent to Marion, California, where it is calcined. The high-grade mineral and the product of the Marion plant are sent to Bayonne, X. J., where the most complete plant in the world has been constructed for making this into borax.
The sciency of chemistry, which deals with the composition and transformation of matter, had its origin in remote antiquity. In its earliest form it was purely empirical, a mass of disconnected facts which were brought to light in the natural course of development of various industries. In the extraction of metals from ores, in the preparation of drugs and medicines, in dyeing and the like, many chemical data were discovered, and of such facts a large number were known to the ancient Egyptians. Indeed, one plausible deri-ation of the word "chemistry" is from Khem, an early name of Egypt, which has reference to the blackness of the soil. With this name the Arabic word "chema," to hide, appears to have some relation, and when it is remembered that much ancient learning was preserved for us by Arabian scholars the description of chemistry as the Egyptian science or as the hidden or occult art, become intelligible. The modern distinction between elements and compounds was first clearly stated by Robert Boyle in 1161.