This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
This microtome presents all the advantages of any plan heretofore employed in hardening animal or vegetable tissues for section cutting, while it has many advantages over all other devices employed for the same purpose.
Microscopists who are interested in the study of histology and pathology have long felt the necessity for a better method of freezing animal and vegetable tissue than has been heretofore at their command.
In hardening tissues by chemical agents, the tissues are more or less distorted by the solutions used, and the process is very slow. Ether and rhigolene have been employed with some degree of success, but both are expensive, and they cannot be used in the presence of artificial light, because of danger of explosion. Another disadvantage is that two persons are required to attend to the manipulations, one to force the vapor into the freezing box, while the other uses the section-cutting knife.
The moment the pumping of the ether or rhigolene ceases, the tissue operated on ceases to be frozen, so ephemeral is the degree of the cold obtained by these means.
The principal advantages to be obtained by the use of this microtome are, first, great economy in the method of freezing, and, second, celerity and certainty of freezing. With an expenditure of twenty-five cents, the tissues to be operated on can be kept frozen for several hours at a time.
Small objects immersed in gum solutions are frozen and in condition for cutting in less than one minute.
The method of using this microtome can be understood by reference to the illustration. A represents a revolving plane, by which the thickness of the section is regulated, in the center of which an insulated chamber is secured for freezing the tissue. It resembles a pill-box constructed of metal. A brass tube enters it on each side. The larger one is the supply tube, and communicates with the pail, a, situated on bracket, s, by means of the upper tube, t. To the smaller brass tube is attached the rubber tube, t b, which discharges the cold salt water into a pail placed under it. (See b.) The salt and water as it passes from pail, a, to pail, b, is at a temperature of about zero. The water should not be allowed to waste. It should be returned to the first pail for continual use, or as long as it has freezing properties. As a matter of further economy, it is necessary to limit the rate of exit of the freezing water. This is regulated by nipping the discharge-tube with the spring clothes pin supplied for the purpose. Should the cold within the chamber be too intense, the edge of the knife is liable to be turned and the cutting will be imperfect. When this occurs the flow of water through the chamber is stopped by using the spring clothes-pin as a clip on the upper tube. In order to regulate the thickness of the tissue to be cut a scale is engraved on the edge of the revolving plate, A, which, in conjunction with the pointer, e, indicates the thickness of the section.--Microscopical Journal.
THE ST. GOTHARD TUNNEL.--It appears that the traffic through the St. Gothard Tunnel has increased, since the inauguration of through international services, to such an extent that the Company have already obtained sanction for laying the second pair of rails in the tunnel. The Great Eastern Railway Company has increased its steamer traffic, and built additional station accommodation at Harwich.