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Title: The Circle of Knowledge
       A Classified, Simplified, Visualized Book of Answers

Author: Various

Editor: Henry W. Ruoff

Release Date: April 7, 2015 [EBook #48661]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Brian Sogard, Harry Lamé and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.




Easy to Read; Easy to Understand; Easy to Retain

HENRY W. RUOFF, M.A., Litt.D., D.C.L.
Editor of “The Century Book of Facts,” “The Capitals of the World,”
“Leaders of Men,” “The Standard Dictionary of Facts,”
“Masters of Achievement,” “The Volume Library,”
“The Human Interest Library,” Etc.


Exclusive Publishers for Canada and



Copyright, 1916, by

Copyright, 1917, by

All Rights Reserved



All books that are really worth while may be divided into four classes: first, books of information; second, books of inspiration; third, books of entertainment; fourth, books of excitement. By far the most important and practical of these classes is the first. The next in importance is the second; while rather trivial importance attaches to the third and fourth.

THE CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE preëminently belongs to the first; but it is also designed to be both inspiring and entertaining. In its methods of presentation and in its editorship it typifies the modern, progressive spirit. Behind it lies a quarter of a century of successful editorial experience in selecting, adapting, and translating from highly technical treatises into simple, clear, understandable language the essentials as well as important sidelights of human knowledge. Its purpose is to answer the why, who, what, when, where, how, of the vast majority of inquiring minds, both young and mature, and to stimulate them to still further questionings. For it is only through this self-questioning process of the active mind that individual progress is possible.

It is a fact of singular interest that every human being born into the world must independently go through practically the same educative processes from childhood to maturity. No matter how great the storehouse of the world’s past knowledge, or how marvelous the multitude and wonder of new discoveries in every department of human endeavor, each individual must acquire and learn for himself the selfsame facts of nature, history, science, literature, human culture, and everyday needs.

In the present work special effort has been made to separate essentials from non-essentials; to distinguish human interest subjects of universal importance from those of minor concern; to present living facts instead of dead verbiage; and to bring the whole within the understanding of the average reader, without regard to age, in an acceptable and interesting form. The use of graphic outlines and tables; maps, drawings, and diagrams; the pictured works of great painters, sculptors, and architects—all combine in vizualizing and vitalizing both the useful and cultural knowledge of past and present. Indeed it is difficult to conceive how the purely pictorial interest of the work could be surpassed, with its veritable picture galleries illustrating the pageant of man’s progress; while the entire field of knowledge, from the measureless universe of space down to the simple fancy of a child, is sketched in its practical and essential outlines.

Never has there been greater demand for books of knowledge of the present type. The busy reader or consulter soon tires of the diffuse book or set of books of interminable words. He wants conciseness, directness, reasonable compass, reliability, with up-to-date treatment of topics of permanent usefulness. Above all he wants something that appeals to the eye, and, through the interest of its form and subject matter, stimulates thought and the imagination. While simplicity and clearness are undoubted virtues, great care has been exercised to prevent them from degenerating into those childish forms, all too frequent in certain books, that rob real knowledge of almost its entire value.

The best sources in the world of books have been laid under tribute in the preparation of this work, wisely supplemented by the wide experience of many eminent, practical, and progressive men and women—masters in their respective fields. It is earnestly hoped that this joint product will create for it a large sphere of usefulness and numerous satisfied readers.



The Editor desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to the following distinguished educators, scientists, writers and publicists for helpful suggestions, counsel, contributions, or revisions connected with the various departments of THE CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE.


President University of Virginia; Editor-in-Chief Library of Southern Literature; author of Obligations and Opportunities of Citizenship, etc.


Educator and Historian; author of Institutes of General History, History of the United States, etc.


Late President University of Michigan; author of The Higher Education, Progress in International Law, etc.


Cornell University; author of Plant Breeding, Manual of Gardening, Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, etc.


University of Pennsylvania; author of Text-book of Chemistry, Text-book of Physics, etc.


Late President Oberlin College; author of Christian Evidences, Lectures, etc.


University of Nebraska; author of Essentials of Botany, Botany for High Schools and Colleges, Elementary Botany, etc.


University of Kansas; author of The Story of Human Progress, Outlines of Sociology, etc.


Jurist, Publicist; Associate Justice U. S. Supreme Court; author of American Citizenship, The Twentieth Century, etc.


President N. Y. University; former U. S. Commissioner of Education; author of The Making of our Middle Schools, Origin of American State Universities, etc.


Late editor New York Christian Advocate; author of Travels in Three Continents, The Land of the Czar, etc.


Columbia University; author of The Civil War and the Constitution, Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law, etc.


Colorado School of Mines; Geologist for Colorado Geological Survey; author of A Pocket Handbook of Minerals, etc.


Editor Popular Science Monthly; author of School and Society, American Men of Science, etc.


President Notre Dame University; author of Priests of Holy Cross, etc.


Harvard University; author of History of United States, English History for American Readers, etc.


Department of Psychology and Literature, Buffalo State Normal School; author of Talks to Teachers, Outlines of Literature, etc.


Former Secretary Kansas Department of Agriculture; author of Swine Husbandry, Alfalfa, The Farmer’s Encyclopedia, etc.


U. S. Minister to Denmark; author of Lectures on English Literature, Modern Novelists, etc.


President Emeritus Harvard University; author of Educational Reform, The Durable Satisfactions of Life, etc.


Harvard University; author of Synopsis of the History of Continental Europe, Mediæval Europe, etc.


University of Minnesota; Geologist of Minnesota; author of numerous Reports and Technical Papers on Geology.


Tulane University; author of History of French Literature, Louisiana Folk Tales, History of France, etc.


Author of History of Sculpture, Mediaeval Art Inventions of the Vatican, etc.; co-author Sturgis, History of Architecture, etc.


Shakespearean Scholar, Critic; author of The Variorum Shakespeare, etc.


Ex-President Amherst College; author of Land and Law as Agents in Educating the Indian, International Arbitration, etc.

JOHN F. GENUNG, D.D., Ph.D., Litt.D.

Amherst College; author of Practical Elements of Rhetoric, Working Principles of Rhetoric, The Idylls of the Ages, etc.


Meadville Theological School; author of Profit Sharing, A Dividend to Labor, Methods of Industrial Peace, etc.


Harvard University; author of Greek Grammar, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, etc.


Lecturer, Educator; author of Moral Education, Self-Culture through the Vocation, etc.


President Armour Institute; author of Paths to Power, Higher Ministries of Recent English Poetry, etc.


President Clark University; author of Adolescence, Youth—Its Education, Regimen and Hygiene, etc.; editor of the American Journal of Psychology, The Pedagogical Seminary, etc.


Diplomat, Historian; co-author of Life of Abraham Lincoln, Castilian Days, etc.


University of Chicago; minister of Sinai Congregation, Chicago; associate editor Jewish Encyclopedia; author of many articles on religion, etc.



Dean Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Mass.; author of The Episcopal Church, The Pursuit of Happiness, etc.


Art Critic New York Globe; Art Editor New Encyclopedia Britannica; author of Painting in the Nineteenth Century, etc.


Registrar of the High Court of Justice of Ontario; editor of the Ontario Mechanics Lien Act, etc.


Yale University; author of Great Epochs in Art History, Old England: Its Art, Scenery and People, etc.


Jurist, Lecturer; Justice Supreme Court of La.; author of Studies in Civil Law, etc.


University of California; author of Limits of Evolution, Philosophy: Its Fundamental Concepts and Methods, etc.


Dean Washburn College of Law; author of Hughes’ Cases on Evidence, Outline of Criminal Law, Commercial Law, etc.


Late Chancellor American University; author of History of the Christian Church, etc.


President Bowdoin College; author of The Teacher’s Philosophy In and Out of School, The Quest of the Best, etc.


University of Pennsylvania; author of Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, The Study of Religion, etc.


New York University; author of The Trust Problem, Citizenship and the Schools, Government Action for Social Welfare, etc.


Leland Stanford Jr. University; author of Science Sketches, Footnotes to Evolution, Animal Life, Food and Game Fishes of North America, etc.


Director Chemical Laboratory, Harvard University; translator of Haber’s Thermodynamics of Technical Gas Reaction; author of many papers on chemical subjects.


Librarian and Historian; author of History for Ready Reference, Literature of American History, etc.


Historian; author of Studies in Church History, Superstition and Force, etc.


University of Illinois; author of Trade and Commerce, and of many articles on commerce and industry.


Ex-President Iowa State University; author of Textbook of Botany, etc.


Ethnologist, Scientist; author of Origin of Inventions, Woman’s Share in Primitive Culture, etc.


Harvard University; author of Psychology and the Teacher, The Eternal Values, American Problems, etc.


Educator, Lawyer; Ex-President George Washington University; associate counsel Interstate Commerce Commission; etc.


Lawyer, Diplomat, Novelist; U. S. Ambassador to Italy; author of Social Life in Old Virginia, Robert E. Lee: Man and Soldier, etc.


Harvard University; Musician, Composer; author of Realm of Fancy, Song of Promise, etc.


Harvard University; author of Self-Cultivation in English, The Teacher, Trades and Professions, etc.


Yale University; Composer; author of the operas Mona, Fairyland, and much other music.


Co-editor New International Encyclopedia, editor of Harper’s Classical Dictionary, etc.


Late Chief of Bureau of American Ethnology; author of Studies in Sociology, The Cañons of the Colorado, etc.


Ex-President Johns Hopkins University; author of The Elements of Chemistry, Classical Experiments, etc.


Late Professor Johns Hopkins University; author of Mechanical Equivalents of Heat, The Solar Spectrum, etc.


Iowa State University; Botanist; author of numerous scientific papers.


Late Librarian of Congress, Critic; editor of Library of Choice Literature, Book for All Readers, etc.


Late Professor Cornell University; author of History of the Steam Engine, Materials of Construction, etc.


Harvard University; author of The Religion of Israel, Judaism and Christianity, Quotations in the New Testament, etc.


Rutgers College; author of New Guides to Old Masters, Studies in Pictures, etc.


Brown University; Scientist; author of Sociology and Economics, Pure Sociology, etc.

ROBERT M. WENLEY, Ph.D., Litt.D., D.Sc., LL.D.

University of Michigan; co-editor of The Dictionary of Philosophy, Dictionary of Theology, Religion and Ethics; author of Introduction to Kant, Contemporary Theology and Theism, etc.


President University of California; author of Introduction to the History of Language, Life of Alexander the Great, etc.


Publicist, U. S. Senator; author of Permanent Influence of Thomas Jefferson on American Institutions, etc.


Lawyer, Novelist, Critic; author of The Virginians, Biography of U. S. Grant, etc.


Director Carnegie Institute; Scientist; author of Higher Mathematics, etc.


Educator, Economist, Statistician; author of The Industrial Evolution of the United States, etc.


Oberlin College; author of Man and the Glacial Period, Science and Religion, etc.






⁂Books of Reference about the Heavens.—Campbell: Handbook of Practical Astronomy. Young: Elementary Astronomy, Manual of Astronomy, and General Astronomy. Ball: Story of the Heavens. Turner: Modern Astronomy. Newcomb: Popular Astronomy. Todd: A New Astronomy. Gregory: Vault of Heaven.



⁂Books of Reference about the Earth.—Dawson: Story of the Earth. Lyell: Principles of Geology. Geikie: Primer of Geology. Shaler: Sea and Land. Scott: Geology. Geikie: Text-Book of Geology. Chamberlin and Salisbury: Geology. Le Conte: Elements of Geology. Dana: Manual of Geology. Miers: Mineralogy. Dana: Text-Book of Mineralogy and System of Mineralogy (most comprehensive work in English). Brush and Penfield: Determinative Mineralogy. Rosenbusch-Iddings: Rock-Making Minerals. Hatch: Petrology. Butler: Pocket Handbook of Minerals. Mill: Realm of Nature. W. M. Davis: Physical Geography. Tarr: Physical Geography.


REALMS OF LIFE UPON THE EARTHCHIEF DIVISIONS OF THE PLANT KINGDOM: (1) Cereals, Grasses and Forage Plants; (2) Kitchen Vegetables; (3) The Fruit Trees; (4) Fruit-bearing Shrubs and Plants; (5) Flowers and Other Ornamental Plants; (6) Wild Flowers and Flowerless Plants; (7) Trees of the Forest; (8) Fiber and Commercial Plants; (9) Poisonous Plants; (10) Some Wonders of Plant LifeBOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTSSCIENTIFIC TERMS USED IN BOTANY, CLASSIFIED AND ILLUSTRATEDMAP OF THE PLANT KINGDOM.

⁂Books of Reference about the Vegetable Kingdom.—Gray: New Manual of Botany. Bessey: Synopsis of Plant Phyla. Small: Flora of the Southeastern United States. Coulter and Nelson: New Manual of the Botany of the Central Rocky Mountains. Gray: Synoptical Flora of North America. Britton: Manual of the Flora of the Northern States and Canada. Strasburger, Noll, Schenck and Karsten: Textbook of Botany. Pfeffer: Physiology of Plants. Ward: Disease in Plants. Schimper: Plant Geography. Campbell: Evolution of Plants. Green: Landmarks of Botanical History. Sach: History of Botany, 1530-1860. Green: History of Botany, 1860-1900. Baker: Elementary Lessons in Botanical Geography.



I. Wild Animals:
  1. THE MAMMALS: (a) The Monkey Tribe; (b) Animals of Prey; (c) Gnawing Animals; (d) Hoofed Animals; (e) Toothless Animals; (f) Thick-Skinned Animals; (g) Pouched Animals; (h) Flying Animals; (i) The Seals; (j) The Whales.
  2. THE BIRDS: (a) Birds of Prey; (b) Climbing Birds; (c) Singing Birds; (d) Wading Birds; (e) Swimming Birds; (f) Running Birds; (g) Game Birds.
  3. [vii]THE REPTILES: LizardsChameleonsSnakesCrocodilesTortoisesTurtles.
  4. AMPHIBIANS: FrogsToadsSalamanders.
  5. THE FISHES: (a) Bony Fishes; (b) Cartilaginous Fishes; (c) Armored Fishes; (d) Lungfishes.
  6. THE MOLLUSCS: SnailsCuttlefishSquidsOctopusTusk ShellsBivalvesOysters.
  7. JOINTED-LIMBED ANIMALS: CrabsLobstersScorpionsSpidersInsectsGrasshoppers.
  8. BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS: Straight-Winged InsectsAnts and BeesFlies.
II. Domesticated Animals:
  1. DOMESTICATED MAMMALS: AlpacaAssCamelCatCattleDogElephantGayalGoatGuinea PigHorseLlamaRabbitReindeerSheepSwineYakZebu.
  2. DOMESTICATED BIRDS: CanaryChickens or FowlsGuineaGooseOstrichParrotPeacockPigeonSwanTurkey.
  3. DOMESTICATED INSECTS: Bee—Cochineal—Silkworm Moth.
III. Pronouncing Dictionary of Scientific Terms concerning Animals.

⁂Books of Reference about Animals.—Rolleston: Forms of Animal Life. Huxley: Anatomy of Invertebrated Animals and Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals. Lankester: Treatise on Zoölogy. Parker and Haswell: Text-Book of Zoölogy. Kingsley: The Standard Natural History and Elements of Comparative Zoölogy. Newton: A Dictionary of Birds. Headley: The Structure and Life of Birds. Wilson: American Ornithology. Audubon: Ornithological Biography. Coues: Key to North American Birds. Chapman: Handbook of Birds of East North America. Bendire: Life Histories of North American Birds. Comstock: Insect Life. Packard: Text-Book of Entomology and Guide to Study of Insects. Howard: The Insect Book. Beddard: Text-Book of Zoögeography. A. Heilprin: The Geographical and Geological Distribution of Animals.





⁂Books of Reference about Man.—Prichard: Researches into the Physical History of Mankind. Latham: Natural History of the Varieties of Man. Waitz: Anthropology. Darwin: The Descent of Man. Huxley: Essays and Man’s Place in Nature. Quatrefages: Classification des Races Humaines. Peschel: The Races of Man. Tylor: Anthropology. Lubbock: Prehistoric Times. Ratzel: History of Mankind. Keane: Ethnology and Man. Past and Present. Deniker: The Races of Man. Hutchinson: The Living Races of Mankind.

BOOK OF NATIONS: Geographical, Historical, Descriptive

I. Extinct Nations of the Past.

CHIEF HISTORICAL PEOPLES: EgyptiansBabyloniansAssyriansHebrewsPhœniciansMedes and PersiansHindusGreeksRomansPROGRESS OF HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY AND DISCOVERY, B.C. 3800 TO THE PRESENT, WITH 16 MAPS—THE WORLD’S GREATEST EXPLORERS, B.C. 1400 TO 1917 A.D.—COMPARATIVE OUTLINE HISTORY OF ANCIENT NATIONS, B.C. 5000 TO 843 A.D.—DESCRIPTIVE GEOGRAPHY, HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT: The Spell of Egypt: Ancient and ModernThe Babylonian-Assyrian EmpiresThe Hebrews and the Holy LandThe Phœnicians: First Nation of ColonizersThe Medo-Persian EmpireThe Greeks: Glory of the Ancient WorldRome: Mistress of the WorldThe Saracen Empire: Its Fanaticism, Art, and LearningThe Germanic Empire of Charlemagne.


II. Living Nations of To-day.

COMPARATIVE OUTLINE HISTORY OF MODERN NATIONS—TRANSITION PERIOD FROM THE ANCIENT TO THE MODERN—GEOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE GREAT POWERS: Great BritainFranceGermanyItalyAustriaHungaryRussiaUnited StatesJapan—THE LESSER MODERN NATIONS: In Europe, Spain and Portugal—Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark)—The NetherlandsSwitzerland—The Balkan States (Bulgaria, Roumania, Turkey, Greece, Servia); In Asia, China—Persia—Turkey; In America, BrazilArgentinaChileMexicoCanada.

III. Tables and Charts.

Including Great Wars, Great Battles, Dynasties, Rulers, Comparative Government, Biographical Facts Relating to the Presidents of the United States, Important Facts Concerning the States, etc.

IV. Historical Charts and Tables, Maps and Plans.

⁂Books of Reference about the Nations.—HISTORY—Freeman: General Sketch. Haydn: Dictionary Dates. Rawlinson: Manual of Ancient History. Peck: Harper’s Classical Dictionary. Duncker: History of Antiquity. Brugsch-Bey: Egypt under the Pharaohs. Ewald: History of Israel. Allen: Hebrew Men and Times. Ranke: Universal History. Fisher: Outlines of Universal History. Mommsen: History of Rome. Gibbon: History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Grote: History of Greece. Duruy: History of Rome. Merivale: General History of Rome. Lecky: History of European Morals. Hallam: Middle Ages. Guizot: History of Civilization. Sybel: History of the Crusades. Cox: The Crusades. Emerton: Mediaeval Europe; Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages. Harding: Essentials in Mediaeval and Modern History. Gieseler: Church History. Alzog: Manual of Universal Church History. Clarke: Events and Epochs of Religious History. Fisher: History of the Reformation. Ranke: History of the Popes. Dyer: History of Modern Europe. Fyffe: History of Europe. Sybel: History of the French Revolution. Acton: Cambridge Modern History. Larned: Topical Outlines of Universal History.

ATLASES.—Bartholomew: Atlas. Rand-McNally: Atlas; Century Dictionary and Atlas. Johnson: Historical Atlas. McClure: Historical Church Atlas.

GAZETTEERS.—Blackie: Imperial Gazetteer. Longman: Gazetteer of the World. Lippincott: Gazetteer. Baedecker: Guides.

GOVERNMENT AND LAW.—Aristotle: Politics. Bluntschli: Theory of the State. Burgess: Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law. Freeman: Comparative Politics. Goodnow: Comparative Administrative Law. Lalor: Cyclopedia of Political Science. Locke: Treatises of Government. Maine: Popular Government. Montesquieu: Spirit of Laws. Morley: Ideal Commonwealths. Plato: Republic. Rousseau: The Social Contract. Sidgwick: Elements of Politics. Spencer: Man vs. the State. Wilson: The State. Bryce: The American Commonwealth. Hart: Actual Government. Robinson: Elements of American Jurisprudence. Thompson: English and American Encyclopedia of Law. Burdick: The Essentials of Business Law. Lowell: Governments and Parties in Continental Europe. Goodnow: Comparative Administrative Law. Dicey: The Law of the Constitution.


I. CLASSIFICATION OF LANGUAGES—WRITTEN AND SPOKEN ENGLISH—The Proper Use of Words, Sentences and ParagraphsFigures of SpeechPoeticsUse of Capital LettersPunctuationForms of Practical English Composition: Letters, Argument and Debate, News, Short Story, Fiction, Essay, Editorials, Reviews, Criticism, Addresses and Other Forms of Public SpeechABBREVIATIONSPRONOUNCING DICTIONARY OF CLASSIC WORDS AND PHRASESPRONOUNCING DICTIONARY OF WORDS AND PHRASES FROM THE MODERN LANGUAGES.

II. ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE—OUTLINE CHARTS OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN AUTHORS—DICTIONARY OF LITERARY ALLUSIONS: Famous Books, Poems, Dramas, Literary Characters, Plots, Pen Names, Literary Shrines and Geography, and other MiscellanyPRONOUNCING DICTIONARY OF MYTHOLOGY: Gods, Heroes, and Mythical Wonder TalesCHART OF GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHS, their Origin, Relationship and Descent.

⁂Books of Reference.—LANGUAGE.—Sayce: Introduction to the Science of Language. Whitney: Language and the Study of Language. Paul: Principles of the History of Language. Muller: Science of Language. Skeat: Philosophy. Jesperson: Progress in Language, with Special Reference to English. Giles: Manual of Comparative Philosophy for Classical Students. Oertel: Lectures on the Study of Language. Sweet: Primer of Spoken English. Skeat: Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Sweet: Grammar, Logical and Historical. Lewis: Applied English Grammar. Genung: Practical Elements of Rhetoric. Gummere: Poetics. Wendell: English Composition. Palmer: Self-Cultivation in English. Kittredge: Words and their Ways in English Speech. Trench: Study of Words. Fernald: Synonymns and Antonymns.

LITERATURE.—Jevons: History of Greek Literature. Mahaffy: Greek Literature. Crutwell: History of Roman Literature. Fortier: History of French Literature. Robertson: History of German Literature. Garnett: Short History of Italian Literature. Symonds: Italian Renaissance. Horn: History of Scandinavian Literature and Jewish Encyclopedia. Morley: Library of English Literature. Brooke: History of English Literature. Ward: English Poets. Gosse: Short History of English Literature. Tyler: History of American Literature. Matthews: History of American Literature. Stedman: An American Anthology. Johnson: Elements of Literary Criticism. Warner: Library of Universal Literature.

DICTIONARIES.—Webster: New International Dictionary. Worcester: Dictionary of the English Language. Funk and Wagnalls: Standard Dictionary. Whitney: The Century Dictionary. Murray: Oxford English Dictionary. Wright: Dialect Dictionary.



DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCIENCES IN PARALLEL OUTLINES—PRACTICAL MATHEMATICSArithematic and its Modern Applications—The Arithmetic of Business, Commercial and Industrial Transactions—Corporations, Stocks and BondsTable of Commercial LawsWeights and Measures—PHYSICS: Laws and Properties of Matter—Mechanics and Inventions—Sound—Heat—Light and Color—Electricity and MagnetismCHEMISTRY: Theory of ChemistryTable of the Chemical ElementsThe Chemistry of Common ThingsREMARKABLE INVENTIONS AND DISCOVERIES—RECENT SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS, X-rays and Radium, Wireless Telegraphy, Wireless Telephone, Aeroplanes, Submarines, Airships, and Explosives.

⁂Books of Reference.—BIOLOGY.—Brooks: Foundations of Zoology. Morgan: Animal Behavior. Pearson: The Grammar of Science. Spencer: Principles of Biology. Thomson: The Science of Life. Verworn: General Physiology. Weismann: The Germ-Plasm.

PHYSICS.—Ames: General Physics. Ames and Bliss: Manual of Experiments. Hoadley: Measurements in Magnetism and Electricity. Preston: Theory of Heat and Theory of Light. Poynting and Thomson: Heat. Tyndal: Light. Schuster: Theory of Optics. Barker: Physics. Merrill: Theoretical Mechanics. Helmholtz: Sensations of Tone. Kapp: Electric Transmission of Energy. Crocker: Electric Lighting. Sewell: Elements of Electrical Engineering. Jackson: Elements of Electricity and Magnetism and Alternating Currents and Alternating Current Machinery.

CHEMISTRY.—Remsen: Introduction to the Study of Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry. Roscoe: Lessons in Elementary Chemistry. Wurtz: Elements of Modern Chemistry. Ostwald: Inorganic Chemistry. Alexander Smith: Laboratory Outline of General Chemistry and General Inorganic Chemistry. Wiley: Chemistry of Foods and Agricultural Chemistry. Roscoe and Schorlemmer: Treatise on Chemistry. Watts: Dictionary of Chemistry. Thorp: Industrial Chemistry.

(Abridged in the Concise Edition.)



⁂Books of Reference.—Morris: Treatise on Anatomy. Gray: Anatomy. Davidson: Human Body and Health. Martin: Human Body. Huxley and Youmans: Elements of Physiology and Hygiene. Wilson: The Cell in Development and in Inheritance. Thomson: Heredity. Loeb: Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology. Sternberg: Manual of Bacteriology.

(Abridged in the Concise Edition.)



CHRONOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF BIOGRAPHY: (a) The World’s Immortals, specially treated; (b) Present-Day Biographies.

(The Biographical Chart only is included in the Concise edition.)

⁂Books of Reference.—Philips: Dictionary of Biographical Reference. Vincent: Dictionary of Biography. Thomas: Dictionary of Biography. Appleton: Dictionary of American Biography; Dictionary of National Biography; Who’s Who in Great Britain; Who’s Who in America. Ruoff: Masters of Achievement; American Statesmen Series; American Men of Letters; English Statesmen Series; English Men of Letters. Smith: Dictionary of Christian Biography.

(Omitted in the Concise Edition.)



⁂Books of Reference.—PRIMARY EDUCATION.—Arnold: Rhythms. Barnard: Kindergarten and Child-Culture Papers. Blow: Educational Issues; Letters to a Mother; Symbolic Education. Froebel’s translated Mother-Play Songs. Froebel: Education of Man; Education by Development; Last Volumes of Pedagogics; Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. Hailman: Laws of Childhood. Harrison: A Study of Child-Nature; Kindergarten Building Gifts; Misunderstood Children; Two Children of the Foothills. Hughes: Educational Laws. Peabody: Kindergarten Lectures. Snider: Commentary on Froebel’s Mother-Play Songs; Life of Froebel; Psychology of the Play-Gifts. Vanderwalker: The Kindergarten in American Education. Von Bulow: The Child; Reminiscences of Froebel.

(Abridged in the Concise Edition.)



Color Plates

Marvels of the Earth’s Rotation and Forces

Proud Color Beauties of the Land of Flowers

Three Celebrated Pictures of Animal Favorites

Washington, America’s City Beautiful

Architectural Glories of Famous Lands

Famous Historical Pictures by Oriental Artists

Tennyson’s Beautiful “Lady of Shalott”

“Open Sesame!” Ali Baba at the Cave

Picture Diagrams of Eye and Ear

The Fiery Furnace that Purifies Bessemer Steel

The Ides of March

Famous Masterpieces by Famous Painters

(Only six Color Plates are included in the single volume edition)

Diagrams, Maps and Charts

Color Diagram Showing the Ocean Beds

Diagram of Orbits of the Planets

Picture Diagram of the Moon’s Phases

Star Charts of the Chief Constellations

Maps of the Chief Constellations

Chart of the Milky Way

Diagrams Showing Formation of Eclipses

Diagram Showing a Bisection of the Earth

Chart Showing the Geological Growth of the Earth

Geological Map of the United States

Maps Showing Relative Size of Islands of the World

Diagram of the World’s Famous Rivers and Mountains

Maps Showing Relative Size of Lakes

Diagrams Explaining the Seasons, Day and Night

Pictorial Chart of Cloud Formations

Map Showing Distribution of Plant Life

Map Showing Range of Animal Life

16 Maps in Color Showing the Progress of Geographical Discovery

2 Picture Maps Presenting a Panoramic View of Paris

5 Picture Maps Giving a Panorama of the River Rhine

Picture Diagram Showing Parts of a Locomotive

Picture Diagram of Submarine

Picture Diagram Explaining Wireless Telegraphy

Picture Diagram Explaining an Electric Battery

Picture Diagram Showing How Electricity is Generated

Picture Diagram Explaining Radioactivity

Map of Panama Canal and Connections

Other Full Page and Text Illustrations

These include hundreds of beautiful and instructive reproductions illustrative of the heavens, earth, minerals, plants and plant products, animal life, races and peoples, famous examples of architecture, scenes in great cities, historic shrines and ruins, mythology, science, marvels of mechanism, great works of engineering, monuments, industries, etc., as well as numerous photographic and art pictures of famous persons and episodes in the history of progress.


Descriptive and Explanatory


THE SOLAR SYSTEM: Sun, Planets, Moon, Constellations, Stars, Comets, Meteors, Nebulæ, and other Wonders of the Skies








1. Crowded group of stars seen in the constellation Hercules. Solar system Solar system
2. Beautiful circular group of stars in Aquarius. Very brilliant toward the center.
3-4. Fan-shaped groups of stars, frequently to be observed.
5. Round nebula of Ursa Major.
6. A fine star in Gemini with a great, oval atmosphere.
7. Star in Leo Major in the middle of nebula with very pointed ends.
8-9. Nebulæ with luminous trains like the tail of a comet.
10. Two stars in Canes Venatici joined by elliptical nebula.
11. Elliptical nebula in Sagittarius with a star in each of the foci.
12-13. Round nebula in Auriga with three stars in a triangle.
14. Great nebula in Andromeda.
15. Comet of 1819, of remarkable size.
16-17. Great comet of 1811.
18. Surface of the planet Mars, showing the supposed continents and seas.
19. Disk of the great planet Jupiter with its dark streaks and masses.
20. The wonderful planet Saturn with its remarkable rings.
Explanation of Figures
in Diagram
Rate at which the
Planets Travel

Central diagram enlarged (245 kB)
Right-hand side illustration enlarged (181 kB)

Solar system


Explanation of Figures in Diagram

1. Crowded group of stars seen in the constellation Hercules.
2. Beautiful circular group of stars in Aquarius. Very brilliant toward the center.
3-4. Fan-shaped groups of stars, frequently to be observed.
5. Round nebula of Ursa Major.
6. A fine star in Gemini with a great, oval atmosphere.
7. Star in Leo Major in the middle of nebula with very pointed ends.
8-9. Nebulæ with luminous trains like the tail of a comet.
10. Two stars in Canes Venatici joined by elliptical nebula.
11. Elliptical nebula in Sagittarius with a star in each of the foci.
12-13. Round nebula in Auriga with three stars in a triangle.
14. Great nebula in Andromeda.
15. Comet of 1819, of remarkable size.
16-17. Great comet of 1811.
18. Surface of the planet Mars, showing the supposed continents and seas.
19. Disk of the great planet Jupiter with its dark streaks and masses.
20. The wonderful planet Saturn with its remarkable rings.

Solar system

Rate at which the Planets Travel





In the above picture we have represented the planets of the Solar System as we should see them from the earth if the human eye could grasp a space of such immensity. The spectator is supposed to be standing on the earth, and the moon is in the foreground, 240,000 miles away. The planets are in their order outward from the sun, and vary in distance from 40,000,000 miles, in the case of Mars, to 2,700,000,000 miles in the case of Neptune. From the bottom upward, the planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and its rings, Uranus and Neptune.


The earth upon which we live is only one of many worlds that whirl through space. If we are to understand our own world, we must first learn something about the worlds in the skies. These bodies are arranged in groups, or systems, sweeping through circuits that baffle measurement; and such is the magnitude of the boundless space they occupy that our entire solar system is only a point in comparison. To this vast expanse of worlds, and systems and space we give the general name Universe.


First in importance to us in this immense space filled with stars is what astronomers call the Solar System, so-called because the sun is its center. It contains the planets, eight in number, of which our earth is one. They have been named after the ancient deities; the two interior ones, Mercury and Venus, and the exterior ones, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune; the first three being smaller than our earth, and the remainder a great deal larger.

Mercury and Venus are known to be interior planets, that is, planets between us and the sun, because they appear to swing on either side of the sun. Mercury very seldom leaves the sun sufficiently to rise so early before the sun, or set so late after him, as to be visible. Venus, however, [14] gets so far away as to be seen long after sunset or before sunrise, and is called the Evening or Morning star, accordingly.

Besides the planets there are other members of the system, namely, comets and falling stars, which will be mentioned again more fully hereafter. All these bodies form a sort of family, having the sun for their head. The illustrations and drawings on separate pages give a view of the entire system.

Comparative Size. The size of the planets, in general, increases with their distance from the sun. The four composing the first group are all comparatively small, the earth being the largest. Those of the second group are all of great size. Jupiter, the largest, is not less than 1,390 times as large as the earth; but as it is much less dense, the amount of matter it contains is only a trifle more than 337 times that of the earth. All the planets together equal but one seven-hundredth part of the mass of the sun.

The Satellites, except our moon, and the two satellites of Mars, belong wholly to the second group of planets. Jupiter has eight; Saturn eight and several revolving rings; Uranus has four, and possibly more; while Neptune, so far as known with certainty, has but one.


Rotary Motion. The sun, all the primary planets, and their satellites, as far as known, rotate from west to east. Each rotation constitutes a day for the rotating body. The central line of rotary motion is called the axis of rotation, and the extremities of the axis are called the Poles.

Revolution Around the Sun. All the primary planets and asteroids revolve around the sun in the direction of their rotation, that is from west to east; and the planes of the orbits in which they revolve coincide very nearly with the plane of the sun’s equator. One revolution around the sun constitutes the year of a planet.

All the satellites, except those of Uranus and perhaps Neptune, also revolve from west to east.

Most of the comets revolve around the sun in very irregular and elongated orbits, only a few having their entire orbit within the planetary system. Some so move that after having entered our system and made their circuit around the sun, they seem to leave it, never to return.


Large illustration (258 kB)

Since the orbits of the planets are in most cases not far removed from the plane of the ecliptic, they are to be seen in a comparatively narrow belt of the heavens called,

The Zodiac. The belt of the sky which occupies 8° on each side of the ecliptic is called the Zodiac, and it is within this belt that the moon and the chief planets confine their movements, as none of their orbits is inclined to that of the earth by more than 8°. The Zodiac, which circles the celestial sphere, is divided into twelve signs each of which occupies 30°, and roughly coincides [15] with a constellation. The following lists give the signs of the Zodiac, with the seasons in which the sun passes through each of them:

Spring: Aries the Ram; Taurus the Bull; Gemini the Twins.

Summer: Cancer the Crab; Leo the Lion; Virgo the Virgin.

Autumn: Libra the Balance; Scorpio the Scorpion; Sagittarius the Archer.

Winter: Capricornus the Goat; Aquarius the Water-bearer; Pisces the Fishes.

Owing to the precession of the equinoxes, the signs of the Zodiac do not now correspond with the constellations of which they bear the names. Thus the sign Aries, in which the sun is seen on March 21st as it passes the vernal equinox, with which the solar year begins, is now in the constellation of Pisces, and in the course of the next 23,000 years it will move steadily backward through the constellations until it returns to the Ram, where it stood when its name was first given to it.


The laws under which the planets move were discovered through the genius of John Kepler, and are known as Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion. Kepler derived these laws from observation only, but Newton first explained them by showing that they were the necessary consequences of the laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation.

Kepler’s First Law states: “The earth and the other planets revolve in ellipses with the sun in one focus.”

Kepler’s Second Law states: “The radius vector of each planet moves over equal areas in equal times.”

Kepler’s Third Law states: “The squares of the periodic times of the planets are in proportion to the cubes of their mean distances from the sun.”


The diagram on the top illustrates the ellipse, and explains the first and second laws. The picture-diagram on the bottom illustrates the second law, which is that, as the planet moves round the sun, its radius vector describes equal areas in equal times. That is to say, a planet moves from A to B in the same time as it takes to move from C to D.

These laws cannot be fully understood without some acquaintance with mathematics. They may, however, be briefly explained for the comprehension of the non-mathematical reader. The figure in the diagram is an ellipse—what is known in popular language as an oval—which is symmetrical about the line AB, known as its major axis. It has two foci, S and S1. The fundamental law of the ellipse is that if we take any point P on it, and join this point by a straight line to the two foci, then the sum of these two lines SP and S1P is always the same—SP + S1P = C.

The second law is rather less easy to understand. The radius vector is the line joining the sun to the planet at any moment; if we suppose the sun to be at the focus S, and P to be the planet, the radius vector at various positions of the planet will be represented by the lines SP, SP1, SP2, and so on. If the positions P, P1, P2, and so on, represent those which the planet occupies after equal periods of time—say, once a month—then the sectors of the ellipse bounded by each pair of lines, SP and SP1, SP1 and SP2, will be equal. If a planet were to move in a circle round the sun, it is obvious that this law would imply that it moved with a uniform speed; but since the curvature of the ellipse varies in every part of its course, so must the speed of the planet, in order that its radius vector may describe equal areas in equal times. The planet will, in fact, be moving faster when it is near the sun, as at P, than when it is far off from the sun, as at P2.

The third law shows that there is a definite numerical relation between the motions of all the planets, and that the time which each of them takes to complete its orbit depends upon its distance from the sun.

On his discovery of his third law Kepler had written: “The book is written to be read either now or by posterity—I care not which; it may well wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer.” Twelve years after his death, on Christmas Day, 1642, near Grantham, England, the predestined “reader” was born. The inner meaning of Kepler’s three laws was brought to light by Isaac Newton.


The great luminary which warms, lights, and rules the solar system is, like the majority of its fellow stars, a gigantic bubble. In other words, it is a globe of [16] glowing gas, which is nowhere solid, though the immense pressure which must exist in its interior probably causes this gas to assume there a density greater than that of any solid which we know.


Dimensions of the Sun. The sun appears to human vision as a brilliant globe of a little more than half a degree in diameter. It is about the same apparent size as the moon, since the size of the sun is to that of the moon very nearly in the same proportion as their relative distances from the earth. In reality, however, the sun is a gigantic orb, so huge that if the earth were at its center the whole orbit of the moon would lie well within its circumference. The diameter of the sun is about 866,500 miles.

The mass of the sun is about 332,000 times that of the earth, but its specific gravity is only about a quarter that of the earth, 1.41, if that of water be taken as unity. The mean distance of the sun from the earth is about 92,800,000 miles; but, as the earth’s orbit is not circular but elliptic, this distances varies by about 3,000,000 miles, being smallest in January and greatest in July.

The Physical Condition of the sun is very different from that of the earth, though we know it is composed of very similar materials. The white-hot surface that we see, called the photosphere, is believed to be largely a shell of highly heated metallic vapors surrounding the unseen mass beneath. Dark spaces seen in the photosphere are known as sun-spots, [17] and these are often surrounded by brighter patches, termed faculæ. Above the photosphere a shallow envelope of gases, rising here and there into huge prominences, and known as the chromosphere, is seen in red tints when the sun is totally eclipsed. Beyond the chromosphere, there is also seen, at the same time, a faint but far more extensive envelope called the corona.

This diagram illustrates the theory that sun-spots are formed by fragments struck from Saturn’s rings (which are in themselves nothing more than a great meteoric swarm) by the swarm of meteors known as the Leonids, which fragments fall into the solar furnace at a speed of four hundred miles a second.

The sun’s rays supply light and heat not only to the earth, but also to the [18] other planets which revolve round it. Its attraction confines these planets in their orbits and controls their motions.


The Moon, the satellite of the earth, is the nearest to us of all the heavenly bodies, being at a mean distance of 240,000 miles. Its diameter is 2,153 miles and, its density being little more than half that of the earth, the force of gravity at its surface is very much less than that at the surface of the earth. A body which weighs a pound here would only weigh about two and one-half ounces if taken to the moon.


In this diagram the markings on the earth and Mars are to scale, the orbits of the planets are seen in perspective and the measurements are according to Prof. Percival Lowell.

The Moon’s Orbit. Her path is approximately an ellipse with the earth in one focus. Its apparent motion in the sky is from west to east, but she moves much faster than the sun, taking about twenty-seven days eight hours to travel all round the earth. The time between two successive new moons (synodic period or lunation) is twenty-nine and one-half days. The reason of the difference is that the sun moves slowly in his annual course through the stars in the same direction as the moon, which therefore in its revolution round the earth has to overtake him when it returns. The moon rotates on its axis in the same time as it performs a revolution in its orbit; hence the same half is always turned toward us.

When the moon in her orbit lies between the sun and the earth, she is said to be in conjunction with the sun; when the earth is between the moon and the sun, the moon is said to be in opposition to the sun. At either of the two points midway from conjunction and opposition, i. e. 90° from conjunction or opposition, the moon is said to be in quadrature.

The Phases of the Moon. Except at opposition—i. e. when the earth is between the moon and sun—the whole of the moon’s disc does not appear bright to us, and the amount of the bright surface seen by us is found to depend on the relative positions of moon and sun. Half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun; but when it is in conjunction between the earth and sun the whole of the bright surface is on the side away from us; so that the moon is invisible. As it moves farther from the line joining earth and sun, a small portion of the bright side comes into view as a narrow crescent. This increases till half the disc is illuminated, when the lines joining earth and moon and earth and sun are at right angles. From this time the moon loses its crescent shape and becomes convex on both sides, or gibbous (Lat. gibbus, a hump)—the maximum brightness, or full moon, occurring when sun and moon are on opposite sides of the [19] earth. After this the moon becomes gibbous, then crescent, and vanishes before the time of new moon.

It is worthy of note that the moon is higher in the heavens and longer above the horizon in the winter than in summer. This is owing to the plane of its orbit being at night high towards the south in winter and low in summer, as is the ecliptic. The moon’s orbit, like that of other planets, is elliptical, but irregular. When nearest to the earth, she is said to be in perigee; when at the greatest distance, in apogee.


In the above diagram, the earth is in the center, and the circle ACFH the orbit of the moon. Since the inclination of the plane of the moon’s orbit to the plane of the ecliptic is only a few degrees, we may neglect it in this case, and suppose the two planes to coincide. Let the sun lie in the direction ES. Since the distance of the sun from the earth is about three hundred and eighty-seven times the distance of the moon from the earth, the lines ES, HS, BS, etc., drawn to the sun from different points of the moon’s orbit, may be considered to be sensibly parallel. Let us first suppose the moon to be in conjunction with the sun at the point A. Here only the dark portion of the moon is turned towards the earth, and the moon is therefore invisible. This is called new moon. As the moon moves on towards B, the enlightened part begins to be visible, and when it reaches C, half the enlightened part is visible, and the moon is at its first quarter. When the moon is at F, in opposition to the sun, all the illuminated part is turned towards the earth, and the moon is full. The moon wanes after leaving F, passes through its last quarter at H, and finally becomes again invisible at A.

Surface of the Moon. The moon is an opaque, cold globe, covered with mountains, extinct volcanoes, and plains. She has neither water nor atmosphere, and always presents the same surface to the earth in consequence of rotating on her axis in the same time as she revolves round the earth. Moonlight is only reflected sunlight, the illuminated hemisphere being always turned towards the sun.

The face of the moon has been studied and mapped on a large scale. Its chief features are three in number: (1) the [20] numerous volcanic craters, such as Tycho and Copernicus, which are mostly named after distinguished men of science; (2) the wide, dark plains which are known as seas, because they were formerly thought to consist of water; (3) the curious systems of bright streaks, which radiate from many of these craters, of which the most remarkable extend in all directions from the great crater Tycho, near the moon’s south pole, and are conspicuous even to the naked eye at the time of full moon.

The Moon and the Tides. The moon has long been known to have an effect upon the tides, and may perhaps influence the winds. It is of enormous importance to navigators for the determination of longitude, and hence its movements have been investigated with the greatest care and precision.


By reason of its power of attraction, it is well recognized that the Moon exercises a greater influence on the side of the earth which is nearest to it. In consequence the earth is subject to a stress or pull that tends to lengthen it out toward the moon, and then to recede as the earth turns away on its axis.

The Planet Mars. Nearest to the earth, with the single exception of Venus, resembles the earth more closely than any other of the planets, and is most favorably situated for our observation of all the heavenly bodies, except the moon. It is a globe rather more than half the size of the earth. When Mars comes nearest to the earth its distance from us is about 35,000,000 miles. At these favorable moments its brightness is about equal to Jupiter, and only surpassed by that of Venus. Mars has a very pronounced red color, which is supposed to be due to the prevalence of a rock like our red sandstone on its surface, or possibly to the color of its vegetation.

Its density is much less—about three-quarters that of the earth; so a pound weight placed on its surface would not weigh much more than six ounces, and a ponderous elephant would, if there, be able to jump about with the agility of a fawn.

The heat and light which Mars receives from the sun, therefore, vary enormously, and so cause a difference in the lengths of winter and summer in his north and south hemispheres, the seasons in the north hemisphere being far more temperate than those in the south. Viewed with the telescope, large dark green spots are seen, the rest of the surface being of a ruddy tint, except at the two poles, where two white spots are observed and considered to be due to large masses of snow and ice. It has been supposed that the greenish spots are oceans, and the ruddy parts land. The spectroscope has shown that watery vapor is present in Mars’ atmosphere, and appearances like huge rain-clouds sometimes obscure a part of the planet for a considerable period. Physical processes seem to go on there much the same as on our planet; hence many believe that Mars is inhabited and forms, in fact, a miniature picture of the earth.


Jupiter. By far the largest of the planets is second in brilliancy to Venus, unlike which, however, it is a “superior” planet, having its orbit outside that of the earth. It is about five times as brilliant as Sirius, the brightest of the fixed stars.

The planet is a beautiful object when viewed with a telescope; it is probable that the markings are entirely due to its atmosphere, and that the actual surface of the planet is rarely visible. Jupiter has hardly yet cooled from the condition of incandescence, and it is only slightly solidified. It possesses eight satellites, four of which were discovered by Galileo when he applied the telescope first to the investigation of the heavens. By means of these satellites the first observations of the velocity of light were made. A fifth was discovered in 1892 at the Lick Observatory.

Saturn was recognized as a planet by the ancients, and was the outside member of the solar system as known by them. His diameters at the equator and poles differ considerably, the protuberance at the equator giving him there a diameter of 74,000 miles, while at the poles it is only 68,000. In size Saturn is the largest of the planets except Jupiter, being in fact seven hundred times larger than our earth, but his density is so small that he would be able to float on water far more easily than an iceberg. From this it follows that he cannot consist of solid or liquid matter, and in fact we can only view a mass of clouds intensely heated within, the whole being probably a planet in the early stage of development—younger even than Jupiter.

The most remarkable characteristic of Saturn, which makes him an object of such interest in the sky, is his possession of a luminous ring. The ring is only luminous on account of its reflection of the sun’s light; hence is invisible to us when, for instance, we are endeavoring to look at the ring from below while the sun is shining above. It also sometimes happens that the plane of the rings passes through the sun or through the center of the earth, in which case only the thin edge of the rings can be seen. The ring is divided into two parts, the inner being the wider, while another faint division appears to divide the outer part into two smaller rings. In 1850 another ring was discovered; this is quite different from the outer rings, being dark, and generally known as the dusky ring of Saturn. The outer ones, though far from solid, can receive a shadow of Saturn, and themselves cast one on his disc. The rings are not continuous masses of matter, but consist of countless myriads of tiny satellites, so close together that to the observer they appear as one body. The planet has eight satellites which seldom pass behind or in front of the planet’s disc, and therefore are not objects of great interest.

Uranus is the next planet beyond Saturn. His mass is about fifteen times as much as that of the earth, an amount which makes him more than outweigh Mercury, Venus, the Earth, and Mars combined. All astronomers do not agree in their estimation of these numbers, Uranus being too far away for measurements to be more than approximate. Gravity on his surface is only three-quarters of what it is here. Uranus has four satellites, and possibly faint rings like those which encircle Saturn.

Neptune is farthest from the sun, the distance between the two bodies being about 2,750,000,000 miles. At this immense distance it will, according to Kepler’s laws, take a long time to travel once around its orbit, and this time has been found to be one hundred and sixty-five of our years. Although it is ninety-seven times as large as the earth, yet, on account of its enormous distance from us it can only just be seen, even with a powerful telescope. Neptune possesses one satellite, which moves around the planet in rather less than six days.

Mercury is the smallest planet, except the planetoids, in the solar system, and the one nearest the sun. It is never seen for more than two hours before sunrise or after sunset, and is not always visible then; but when it does appear, it is extremely brilliant. Even when it is most distant the sun appears four and a half times as big to it as it does to us, and when the two are at their nearest, this small planet gets ten times as much light and heat as we do. It is, however, so small and difficult to observe, that comparatively little is known of it.

Venus appears to us as the most brilliant of all the planets, sometimes [22] heralding the sun’s approach in the morning and sometimes following him at night. Hence she has been called the “morning” and the “evening” star; and the ancient Greeks, believing her to be two bodies, and not one, called her Hesperus (Vesper) when she appeared at night, but Phosphorus when she preceded the dawn, this last name having been translated in the Latin, Lucifer. We know very little of the actual surface of Venus, for her envelope of clouds remains constantly in front of us to baffle curiosity, and never lifts to give us a glimpse of the planet beneath. These clouds send on to us the light they borrow from the sun, and shine to us with a brilliant silvery lustre interrupted here and there with shadowy markings of short duration. But when Venus shines to us in crescent-form, certain spots near the ends of the horns can be seen more definitely, and the effects of light and shadow round these points suggest that they are lofty peaks, reaching above the clouds.

The Minor Planets or Asteroids. The space between Mars and Jupiter is occupied by a strange and numerous swarm of minor planets or asteroids. The first of these singular bodies was discovered by an Italian astronomer, Piazzi, on the first night of the nineteenth century. Three others were discovered within the course of the next seven years, and the number now known is upward of 600, most of which have been recognized by the record of their motion on photographs of the sky. The four asteroids first discovered, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, are naturally the largest, ranging in diameter from four hundred to one hundred and eighteen miles.

Vesta, though not the largest, is considerably the brightest of the minor planets, and is occasionally visible to the naked eye. None of the other asteroids has a diameter so great as one hundred miles, and probably the majority of them are only ten or twenty miles in diameter.


In addition to the planets and their satellites, the sun is attended by numerous other bodies, moving with far less regularity, and generally much less conspicuous in the heavens. These are known as comets and meteorites or shooting stars. One of the most interesting of recent astronomical discoveries is that an intimate physical connection exists between these two classes of bodies.

Comets. Comets have been known from the earliest times, because every now and then a very large and conspicuous one hastens up to the sun from the remote regions of space, and perplexes monarchs with the fear of change. They are called comets, from the Latin coma, meaning hair, because when they are bright enough to be seen with the naked eye they look like stars attended by a long stream of hazy light, which was thought to resemble a woman’s hair flowing down her back. This train of light is known as the comet’s tail. Such bright comets are sometimes as brilliant as Venus; their tails have been known to stretch halfway across the visible sky.

These comets are very beautiful and conspicuous objects, which usually appear in the sky without any warning from astronomers, and invariably create a great popular sensation. By far the greater number of comets, however, are only visible through a telescope, and it is rare that a year passes without at least half a dozen of these being reported. Up to the present time nearly a thousand comets of all sizes have been recorded. Not more than one in five of these visitors is visible to the naked eye.

Cometary Orbits. In all cases in which a comet has been observed sufficiently often for its orbit to be calculated, it is found that it moves in one of the curves which are known to the geometer as conic sections. Less than a hundred of the known comets move like the planets in elliptical orbits, and consequently their periodical return to visibility can be predicted. As a rule the eccentricity of these cometary orbits is very much greater than that of any planetary orbit, which means that the comet approaches fairly close to the sun at one end of its orbit, but at the other flies away far beyond the outermost planet, and for a long period disappears from the view of our most powerful telescopes.

The great majority of comets have only been seen once, and their orbits appear to be either parabolic or hyperbolic. Neither of these is a closed curve, and what seems to happen in such cases [23] is that a comet travelling in such an orbit dashes up to the sun from the remote parts of space, swings round it, often at very close quarters, and flies away again forever. Only those comets which have elliptical orbits can be said to belong to the solar system. The others are visitors from space, which in the course of their motion come near the sun and are deflected by it, but then fly away until after a lapse of ages they perhaps come within the sphere of another star’s attraction. Of the comets which move in elliptical orbits, about twenty have been observed at more than one return to the sun. Some of these complete their orbits in quite a short period, like Encke’s comet, which has the shortest period of all, less than three and a half years; the longest periodical comet is known as Halley’s, which returns to the sun after seventy-six years, and last appeared in 1910; it is a bright and conspicuous object.

The Constitution of Comets. The nature of comets was long in doubt, and even today their physical characteristics are not fully understood. They are certainly formed of gravitational matter, because they move in orbits which are subject to the same laws as those of the planets. But they also appear to be acted upon by powerful repulsive forces emanating from the sun, to which is due the remarkable phenomenon of cometary tails. Perhaps there is not much exaggeration in the statement once made by a well-known astronomer that the whole material of a comet stretching halfway across the visible heavens, if properly compressed, could be placed in a hatbox. The old fear that the earth might suddenly be annihilated by a comet striking it is thoroughly dispelled by modern investigation, which leads us to believe that the worst results of such an encounter would be an extremely beautiful display of shooting stars.

Meteors, or Fireballs, are bodies which do not belong to the earth, but come from other parts of space into our atmosphere, and are seen as bright balls of fire crossing the sky, with a train of light behind. Suddenly they are seen to go out, and very often a fall of stones occurs. Sometimes they are observed to break in two, and loud explosions like thunder are heard. They move very fast—ten or twelve miles per second, and are visible when between forty and eighty miles above the earth.

Other meteors dart across the sky and disappear, all in a very short time. These are known as shooting stars, and are sometimes big and bright, like planets. It is estimated that about six or eight meteors which drop stones come into our atmosphere every year; but some 20,000,000 of small bodies pass through the air every day—these would all appear as shooting stars if they occurred at night.

At some periods of the year there are so many shooting stars that they appear like a shower of fire. On November 14th this happens, the shower being greatest every thirty-three years. A stream of meteors is travelling round the sun, and every thirty-three years the earth just comes through them. Meteoric showers also occur about August 9th to 11th, and smaller ones in April.

The luminosity of meteors is due to the intense heat caused by the resistance of the air to their passage, and in support of this theory it is found that meteoric stones are always covered, either wholly or in part, with a crust of cement that has recently been melted.


We shall now study the so-called fixed stars, those stars, namely, which preserve the same relative position and configuration from night to night, only varying, and that with perfect regularity, in the times at which they reach the meridian. For this reason they have been known from the dawn of astronomy as fixed stars, in contrast with the planets or wandering stars.

The observer who watches the nightly changes in the sky with close attention will soon perceive that all these fixed stars appear to move in circles or parts of circles. Some of them describe larger circles than others, and the further south a star is when it passes the meridian, the larger circle will it describe.

It cannot be too often repeated that this motion of the stars is only apparent, being due to the real rotation of the earth, along with the observer on its surface, in the contrary direction. It is estimated that there are about three thousand stars visible to the naked eye [24] in our latitude, though not all these are visible at the same time, many of them being below the horizon, while others are elevated in the sky at different times and seasons.


In beginning our study of the stars, let us put ourselves in the position of the earliest observers. Let us first, like them, watch the stars, and see how they appear from night to night.

We see, at the first glance, that the stars vary much in brightness. The brightest ones—like Sirius, Capella, Arcturus, and Vega—are called stars of the first magnitude. Those less brilliant, like the six brightest of “the Dipper,” are said to be of the second magnitude. All the stars which can be seen with the unaided eye are thus divided into six classes or magnitudes, according to their brightness.

Constellations. We also see that the stars are not uniformly distributed over the sky. They seem to be arranged in groups, some of which take the form of familiar objects. Every one knows the seven bright stars which are called “the Dipper.” Another group resembles a sickle, another a cross, and so on. All the stars in the heavens have been divided into groups called constellations. Many of these were recognized and named at a very early period.

We should become familiar with these constellations in order to study the stars with any profit.

It is necessary, in the first place, to have some way of designating the stars in each constellation. Many of the brighter stars have proper names as Sirius, Arcturus, and Vega; but the great majority of them are marked by the letters of the Greek alphabet. The brightest star in each constellation is called α (alpha); the next brightest, β (beta); the next, γ (gamma); and so on. The characters and names of the Greek alphabet are as follows:

α, Alpha.
β, Beta.
γ, Gamma.
δ, Delta.
ε, Epsilon.
ζ, Zeta.
η, Eta.
θ, Theta.
ι, Iota.
κ, Kappa.
λ, Lambda.
μ, Mu.
ν, Nu.
ξ, Xi.
ο, Omicron.
π, Pi.
ρ, Rho.
σ, Sigma.
τ, Tau.
υ, Upsilon.
φ, Phi.
χ, Chi.
ψ, Psi.
ω, Omega.

These letters are followed by the Latin name of the constellation. Thus Aldebaran is called α Tauri; Rigel, β Orionis; Sirius, α Canis Majoris.

If there are more stars in a constellation than can be named from the Greek alphabet, the Roman alphabet is used in the same way; and when both alphabets are exhausted, numbers are used.

Circumpolar Constellations. One of the most important constellations, and one easily recognized, is the Great Bear, or Ursa Major. It is represented in Plate 1 on the Star Chart. It may be known by the seven stars forming “the Dipper.” The Bear’s feet are marked by three pairs of stars. These and the star in the nose can be readily found by means of the lines drawn on the chart. It may be remarked here, that in all cases the stars thus connected by lines are the leading stars of the constellation. The stars α and β are called the Pointers. If a line be drawn from β to α, and prolonged about five times the distance between them, it will pass near an isolated star of the second magnitude known as the Pole Star, or Polaris. This is the brightest star in the Little Bear, or Ursa Minor (Plate 2). It is in the end of the handle of a second “dipper,” smaller than the one in the Great Bear.

On the opposite side of the Pole Star from the Great Bear, and at about the same distance, is another conspicuous constellation, called Cassiopeia. Its five brightest stars form an irregular W, opening towards the Pole Star (Plate 2).

About half-way between the two Dippers three stars of the third magnitude will be seen, the only stars at all prominent in that neighborhood. These belong to Draco, or the Dragon. The chart will show that the other stars in the body of the monster form an irregular curve around the Little Bear, while the head is marked by four stars arranged in a trapezium. Two of these stars, β and γ, are quite bright. A little less than half-way from Cassiopeia to the head of the Dragon is a constellation known as Cepheus, five stars of which form an irregular K.

These five constellations never set in our latitude, and are called circumpolar constellations.

Constellations Visible in September. At this time the Great Bear will be low down in the northwest, and the Dragon’s head nearly in the zenith. If we draw a line from ζ to η of the Great Bear and prolong it, we shall find that it will pass near a reddish star of the first magnitude. This star is called Arcturus, or α Boötis, since it is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes. Of its other conspicuous stars, four form a cross. These and the remaining stars of the constellation can be readily traced with the aid of Plate 3.

Near the Dragon’s head (Plate 4) may be seen a very bright star of the first magnitude, shining with a pure white light. This star is Vega, or α Lyræ.

If we draw a line from Arcturus to Vega (Plate 3), it will pass through two constellations, the Crown, or Corona Borealis and Hercules. The former is about one-third of the way from Arcturus to Vega, and consists of a semicircle of six stars, the brightest of which is called Alphecca or Gemma Coronæ,—“the gem of the crown.”

Hercules is about half-way between the Crown and Vega. This constellation is marked by a trapezoid of stars of the third magnitude. A star in one foot is near the Dragon’s head; there is also a star in each shoulder, and one in the face.

Just across the Milky Way from Vega (Plate 5) is a star of the first magnitude, called Altair, or α Aquilæ. This star marks the constellation Aquila, or the Eagle, and may be recognized by a small star on each side of it. These are the only important stars in this constellation.

In the Milky Way, between Altair and Cassiopeia (Plate 4), there is a large constellation called Cygnus, or the Swan. Six of its stars form a large cross, by which it will be readily known. α Cygni is often called Deneb. It forms a large isosceles triangle with Altair and Vega.

Low down in the south, on the edge of the Milky Way (Plate 6), is a constellation called Sagittarius, or the Archer. It may be known by [25] five stars forming an inverted dipper, often called “the Milk-dipper.” The head is marked by a small triangle. The other stars, as seen by the map, may be grouped so as to represent a bow and an arrow.


Large illustrations (all less than 100 kB):
Plate 1, Plate 2, Plate 3, Plate 4,
Plate 5, Plate 6, Plate 7, Plate 8

Low in the southwest is a bright red star called Antares, or α Scorpionis.

The space between Sagittarius and Hercules and Scorpio is occupied by the Serpent (Serpens) and the Serpent-bearer, or Ophiuchus (Plates 6 and 7). The head of the Serpent is near the Crown, and marked by a small triangle. The head of Ophiuchus is close to the head of Hercules, and may be known by a star of the second magnitude. Each shoulder is marked by a pair of stars. His feet are near the Scorpion.

Nearly on a line with Arcturus and γ Ursæ Majoris (Plate 1), and rather nearer the latter, is an isolated star of the third magnitude, called Cor Caroli, or Charles’ Heart. This is the only prominent star in the constellation of Canes Venatici, or the Hunting Dogs.

Cassiopeia is almost due east of the Pole Star. A line drawn from the latter through β Cassiopeiæ [26] and prolonged, passes through two stars of the second and third magnitude. These, with two others farther to the south, form a large square, called the Square of Pegasus. Three of these, as seen by the chart (Plate 5), belong to the constellation Pegasus, or the Winged Horse. α Pegasi is called Markab, and β is called Algenib. The bright stars in the neck and nose can be found by the chart.


Large illustrations (all less than 100 kB):
Plate 9, Plate 10, Plate 11, Plate 12,
Plate 13, Plate 14, Plate 15, Plate 16

The fourth star in the Square of Pegasus belongs (Plate 8) to the constellation Andromeda. Nearly in a line with α Pegasi and this star are two other bright stars belonging to Andromeda. The stars in her belt may be found by the chart.

Following the direction of the line of stars in Andromeda just mentioned, and bending a little towards the east, we come to Algol, or β Persei, a remarkable variable star. This star may be readily recognized from the fact, together with β and γ Andromeda and the four stars in the Square of Pegasus, it forms a figure similar in outline to the Dipper in Ursa Major, but much larger. If the handle of this great Dipper is made straight instead of being bent, the star in the end of it is α [27] Persei, of the second magnitude. This star has one of the third magnitude on each side of it. The other stars in Perseus may be found by the chart.

Just below θ in the head of Pegasus (Plate 9) are three stars of the third and fourth magnitudes, forming a small arc. These mark the urn of Aquarius, the Water-bearer. His body consists of a trapezium of four stars of the third and fourth magnitudes. Small clusters of stars show the course of the water flowing from his urn.

This stream enters the mouth of the Southern Fish, or Piscis Australis. The only bright star in this constellation is Fomalhaut, which is of the first magnitude, and at this time will be low down in the southeast.

To the south of Aquarius is Capricornus, or the Goat. He is marked by three pairs of stars arranged in a triangle. One pair is in his head, another in his tail, and the third in his knees.

Near Altair (Plate 5), and a little higher up, is a small diamond of stars forming the Dolphin, or Delphinus.

A little to the west of the Dolphin, in the Milky Way, are four stars of the fourth magnitude, which form the constellation Sagitta, or the Arrow.

Constellations Visible in October. If we look at the heavens at eight o’clock on the 15th of October, we shall see that all the constellations described above have shifted somewhat towards the west. Arcturus and Antares have set. In the east, below Andromeda (Plate 10), we see a pair of bright stars, which are the only conspicuous ones in the constellation Aries, or the Ram.

About half-way between Aries and γ Andromedæ are three stars which form a small triangle. This constellation is called Triangulum, or the Triangle.

Between Aries and Pegasus is the constellation Pisces, or the Fishes. The southernmost Fish may be recognized by a pentagon of small stars lying below the back of Pegasus. There are no conspicuous stars in the other Fish, which is directly below Andromeda.

Constellations Visible in November. At eight o’clock in the evening on the 15th of November, we see at a glance that the constellations with which we have become acquainted have moved yet farther to the westward. Boötes, the Crown, Ophiuchus, and the Archer have set; Pegasus, Cassiopeia, and Andromeda are overhead; while new constellations appear in the east.

We notice at once (Plate 11) a very bright star in the northeast, directly below Perseus. This is Capella, or α Aurigæ. There are five other conspicuous stars in Auriga, or the Charioteer; and with Capella they form an irregular pentagon.

Somewhat to the eastward (Plate 12), and a little lower down, is a very bright red star. This is Aldebaran, or α Tauri. It is familiarly known as the Bull’s eye. It will be noticed by the map that it is at one end of a V which forms the face of the Bull. This group is known as the Hyades. Somewhat above the Hyades is a smaller group, called the Pleiades,—more commonly known as the Seven Stars, though few persons can distinguish more than six. The bright star on the northern horn, or β Tauri, is also in the foot of Auriga, and counts as γ of that constellation.

All the space between Taurus and the Southern Fish, and below Aries and Pisces (Plate 13), is occupied by Cetus, the Whale. The head is marked by a triangle of rather conspicuous stars below Aries; the tail, by a bright star of the second magnitude, which is now just about as far above the horizon as Fomalhaut. On the body there are five stars, forming a sort of sickle. About halfway between this sickle and the triangle, in the head, is σ Ceti, which is also called Mira, or the wonderful star.

Constellations Visible in December. At eight o’clock in the evening in the middle of December, we shall find that Hercules, Aquila, and Capricornus have sunk below the horizon; while Vega and the Swan are on the point of setting. The Great Bear is climbing up in the northeast. In the east we behold by far the most brilliant group of constellations we have yet seen. Capella and Aldebaran are now high up; and below the former (Plate 12) is the splendid constellation of Orion. His belt, made up of three stars in a straight line, will be recognized at once. Above this, on one shoulder, is a star of the first magnitude, called Betelgeuse, or α Orionis. About as far from the belt, on the other side, is another star of the first magnitude, called Rigel. There are two other fainter stars which form a large trapezium with Betelgeuse and Rigel. The three small stars below the belt are upon the sword.

Below Orion (Plate 14) is a small trapezium of stars which are in the constellation of Lepus, or the Hare. The head is marked by a small triangle, as seen on the map.

To the north of Orion, and a little lower down (Plate 12), are two bright stars near together, one of the first and the other of the second magnitude. The latter is called Castor, and the former Pollux. These stars are in the constellation of Gemini, or the Twins. A line of three smaller stars just in the edge of the Milky Way marks the feet, and another line of three the knees. Pollux forms a large triangle with Capella and Betelgeuse.

Constellations Visible in January. At eight in the evening on the 15th of January, Vega, Altair, the Dolphin, Aquarius, and Fomalhaut have disappeared in the west; Deneb and the Square of Pegasus are near the horizon; while Capella and Aldebaran are nearly overhead. Two stars of exceeding brilliancy have come up in the west. The one farthest to the south (Plate 14) is the brightest star in the whole heavens. It is called Sirius, or the Dogstar; and is in the constellation of Canis Major, or the Great Dog, which can be readily traced by the lines on the map.

The other bright star is between Sirius and Pollux (Plate 12), and is called Procyon. It is in Canis Minor, or the Little Dog. The only other prominent star in this constellation is one of the third magnitude near Procyon.

Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse form a large equilateral triangle.

Orion and the group of constellations about it constitute by far the most brilliant portion of the heavens, as seen in our latitude. There are, in all, only about twenty stars of the first magnitude, and seven of these are in this immediate vicinity.

Constellations Visible in February. If we look at the heavens at the same time in the evening about the middle of February, we shall miss Cygnus and Pegasus from the west. Auriga and Orion are nearly overhead.

Southeast of the Great Bear (Plate 15) is a red star of the first magnitude, called Regulus, in the [28] constellation of Leo, or the Lion. There are five stars near Regulus, which together with it form a group often called the Sickle. The star in the tail is Denebola, which makes a right-angled triangle with two others near it.


Large illustration (363 kB)

Between Leo and Gemini is the constellation Cancer, or the Crab. It contains no bright stars, but a remarkable cluster of small stars called Præsepe, or the Beehive.

Below Regulus (Plate 14) is a bright red star of the second magnitude, called Cor Hydræ, or the Hydra’s Heart. The head of Hydra is marked by five small stars. The coils of the monster can be traced by the map. A portion of the constellation is on Plate 16.

Constellations Visible in March. At the middle of March, the heavens will have shifted round somewhat towards the west; but all the conspicuous constellations of the preceding month are still visible, while no new ones at all brilliant have come into view.

If we draw a line from the end of the Great Bear’s tail to Denebola, it will pass through two constellations,—Canes Venatici, described above; and Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s Hair, a large cluster of faint stars. (Plate 15).



1. Double nebula in Gemini. 2. Double nebula of great brilliancy in Coma Berenicis. 3. Small double nebula. 4. Curiously shaped nebula in Ophiuchus. 5. Two nebulous spots in Canes Venatici. 6. Remarkable veil-like nebula in Lyra. 7. Elliptical nebula in Perseus. 8. Nebulous spot in Sagittarius, split into three pieces; a double star in center. 9. Large curiously-shaped nebula in Rober Caroli, filled with minute stars. 10. Great nebula in Andromeda, visible to the eye. 11. Nebula in Cetus. 12. Elongated nebula in Cygnus. 13. Brilliant round spots in Sagittarius. 14. Round spots in Andromeda. 15-16. Spots in Orion and Ursa Major. 17. Most remarkable of all nebula, in Orion. 18. Great oval nebula in Vulpes, containing two darker nebulae. 19. Nebulous figure in Canis Venaticus. 20. Nebular clouds in the Southern hemisphere.

Large illustration (497 kB)

Constellations Visible in April. At the middle of April, Aries and Andromeda have set; Taurus, Orion and Canis Major are sinking towards the west; the Great Bear and the Lion are overhead; Arcturus has risen in the northeast (Plate 16); and some way to the south of this is seen a star of the first magnitude, which forms a large triangle with Arcturus and Denebola. It is called Spica [30] Virginis, and is the chief star in the constellation Virgo, or the Virgin. The stars on the breast and wings can be found with the aid of the map.

South of Virgo is a trapezium of four stars, which are in the constellation of Corvus, or the Crow.

Constellations Visible in May. At the middle of May, Taurus, Orion, and Canis Major have set; Vega has just come up in the northeast; and between Vega and Arcturus we again see Hercules and Corona. Below Spica are two stars of the second magnitude, belonging to the constellation Libra, or the Balance. Another star of the fourth magnitude forms a triangle with these, and marks one pan of the balance. (Plate 7).

Constellations Visible in June. In June we shall find that Canis Minor, Perseus, Auriga, and Gemini have either set, or are on the point of setting; Arcturus is overhead; Cygnus and Aquila are just rising. Ophiuchus is well up; and low in the southeast we see again the red star Antares, in the constellation Scorpio, or the Scorpion (Plate 6). There is a star of the third magnitude on each side of Antares, and several stars of the third and fourth magnitudes in the head and claws. The configuration of these stars is much like a boy’s kite with a long tail. Scorpio is a very brilliant constellation, and is seen to better advantage in July and August.

Constellations Visible in July and August. We have now described all the important constellations visible in our latitude. Those which are seen in July and August are mainly those described under the last two or three months, and under September.

Southern Circumpolar Constellations. There are a number of constellations near the South Pole of the heavens which never rise in our latitude, just as there are certain ones near the North Pole which never set. These are called the southern circumpolar constellations.


The following table gives the constellations visible at eight o’clock in the evening about the middle of each month. The stars opposite the names of the constellations indicate those visible in the month designated at the top.

NAME OF CONSTELLATION Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June July Aug.
Ursa Major (er´sa mā´jor). The Greater Bear.
Ursa Minor (er´sa mī´nor). The Lesser Bear.
Draco (drak´ō). Dragon.
Cassiopeia (kas-si-o-pē´a). Lady’s Chair.
Cepheus (´fe-us).
Bootes (bo-ō´tēz). The Oxdriver or Plowman.            
Corona Borealis (kō-rō´na bō-rē-ā´lis). The Northern Crown.            
Ophiuchus (of-i-u´kus). The Serpent Bearer.                
Sagittarius (saj-i-tā´ri-us). The Archer.                  
Hercules (her´ku-lēz).            
Lyra (´ra). The Lyre.            
Aquila (ak´wil-a).              
Delphinus (del´fin-us). Dolphin.              
Capricornus (kap-ri-kor´nus). The Goat.                
Cygnus (sig´nus). The Swan.          
Sagitta (saj´it-ta). The Arrow.              
Aquarius (a-kwā´ri-us). The Water-bearer.                
Piscis Australis (pis´sis aw-strā´lis). The Southern Fish.                
Pegasus (peg´a-sus). The Winged Horse.              
Andromeda (an-drom´e-da).          
Perseus (per´sus).        
Aries (a´ri-ēz). Ram.            
Pisces (pis´sēz). Fishes.                
Cetus (´tus). The Whale.                
Triangulum (trī-ang´u-lum). The Triangle.              
Auriga (aw-ri´ga). The Waggoner or The Charioteer.          
Taurus (tau´rus). The Bull.            
Lepus (lep´us). The Hare.                
Orion (ō-ri´on). Giant and Hunter.              
Gemini (jem´i-ni). The Twins.            
Canis Major (´nis mā´jor). The Great Dog.                
Canis Minor (´nis mī´nor). The Little Dog.              
Cancer (kan´ser). The Crab.              
Hydra (´dra). The Snake.              
Leo (´ō). The Lion.            
Coma Berenices (´ma ber-e-nī´sēz). Hair of Berenice.            
Canes Venatici (ka´nēz vē-nā´ti-si). The Hunter’s Dogs.            
Virgo (ver´). The Virgin.              
Corvus (kor´vus). The crow.                
Libra (li´bra). Balance.                
Scorpio (skor´pi-ō). The Scorpion.                  



Everyone knows the Milky Way. It is one of the most striking sights of a clear night, for only on clear, moonless nights can we see its cloudy track of light across the heavens. More than any other celestial object it affects us with a sense of mystery and of unknown destiny as, indeed, it has affected men at all times and in all countries. To the American Indian it was the “path of souls.” In ancient mythology it had various meanings: thus, it was the highway of the gods to Olympus; or it sprang from the ears of corn dropped by Isis as she fled from her pursuer; or it marked the original course of the sun, which he later abandoned. In mediæval times it became associated by pilgrims with their own journeys.

It stretches like a vast ragged semicircle over the sky. Indeed, it traces a rough circle, for this line is continued over the southern hemisphere also. The circle is, however, very far from being smooth or even; the path is full of irregularities. It varies in width to an extent of about thirty degrees, and varies also considerably in brightness. Its total area has been estimated to cover rather less than one-fourth of the whole northern hemisphere of the sky, and to cover about one-third of the southern hemisphere. Its track lies through the constellations Cassiopeia and Auriga; it passes between the feet of Gemini and the horns of Taurus, through Orion just above the giant’s club, and through the neck and shoulder of Monoceros. It passes above Sirius into Argo, here entering the southern hemisphere, and through Argo and the Southern Cross into the Centaur. In the Centaur the Milky Way divides into two streams, in a manner which suggests the divided course of a river around an island, a dark rift between the two luminous streams representing the island.

It is a very long island, however, for the double conformation of the Milky Way extends over one-third of its entire course—that is to say, one hundred and twenty degrees of the circle. The divergent branches reunite in the northern hemisphere in the constellation Cygnus. The brighter stream passes through Norma, Ara, Scorpio and Sagittarius; along the bow of Sagittarius into Antinous, here entering the northern hemisphere again; then through Aquila, Sagitta, and Vulpecula it arrives at Cygnus and reunion with the branch which left it in Centaur. From Cygnus the stream, now single, passes through Lacerta and the head of Cepheus to the point whence we started, in Cassiopeia.

As we follow the Milky Way throughout its course, we find it continually sending out streaming appendages of nebulous appearance towards clusters, nebulæ, or groups of stars. In Norma it sends out a complicated series of nebulous streaks and patches, covering the Scorpion’s tail, spreading faintly over the leg of Ophiuchus, and extending beyond, as if to meet a corresponding branch sent off from the region of Cygnus in the northern hemisphere. The latter is a very bright and remarkable streak, running south through Cygnus and Aquila, to become lost in a dim and sparsely starred region. From Cassiopeia a vivid branch proceeds to the chief star of Perseus, and faint streaks appear to continue the “feeler” towards the Hyades and the Pleiades. There are many other “feelers” of the same kind, and they are all of great interest, because they seem to show some sort of influence exercised by the Milky Way upon the whole starry universe.

Ancient and Modern Conceptions of the Nature of the Milky Way. Strange theories as to the nature of the Milky Way have been put forward at various times. Anaxagoras thought it might be due to the shadow of our globe; Aristotle, that it was some kind of mist due to the exhalation of vapors from the earth.

But a grander and truer conception of its nature and situation, removed far from the earth and independent of any terrestrial cause, had early come to several minds. Pythagoras and Democritus both formed the conjecture that its shimmer might be due to innumerable stars, and Galileo’s telescope confirmed their theory.

As we have seen, the Milky Way is by no means a simple stream of stars; with careful observation, even the naked eye can perceive something of its irregular detail, when the atmosphere is unusually clear, and there is no moon. Viewed under these conditions through a good telescope, the effect of the Milky Way, when made to pass progressively before the vision, is one of unexampled grandeur and sublimity.




These two drawings show the two semi-circles of the Milky Way as they extend from the regions of the Polar Star to the region of the Southern Cross on each side of the apparent sphere of the heavens. It will be noticed that the bright stars congregate near its region, and that there is a characteristic harmony in the way in which the wisps appear to project into space, suggesting some common cause for this appearance throughout the whole galaxy.

Large illustration (235 kB)


The general effect has been well likened to that of an old, gnarled tree-trunk, marked with knots and curving lines, and riddled with dark holes and passages, linked together by shimmering wisps or arches. This general effect is practically lost as the detail becomes clear in a telescopic view. The detail is extremely various. At one point it may consist of separate stars scattered irregularly upon a background of darkness; at another, of star-clusters, sometimes following one upon another in long, processional line; at another, the stars seem to collect in small, soft clouds, presenting the appearance, as the telescope sweeps over them, of drifting foam.

The Strange, Dark Rifts in the Skyscape Where No Stars Appear. At yet another point the track may be involved in nebulosity in which many stars appear to be imbedded. Perhaps the most characteristic features are several which have already been remarked as conspicuous in star-clusters or nebulæ, such as lines of stars, dark lanes or rifts, and dark holes. The lines of stars, which are evidently connected by some actual physical relation, are either straight, curved, radiated, or in parallels. In Sagittarius is a very striking collection of about thirty stars resembling in form a forked twig with a curved hook at the unforked end. The dark rifts in the Milky Way show the same features as those in star-clusters. Sometimes they are parallel; sometimes they radiate like branches from a common center; sometimes they are lines with bright stars; sometimes they are quite black, as if utterly void; sometimes slightly luminous, as if powdered with small stars.

It can be by no accident or chance that in the vast edifice of the heavens objects of certain classes should crowd into the belt of the Milky Way, and other classes avoid it; it points to the whole forming a single growth, an essential unity. For there is but one belt in the heavens, like the Milky Way, a belt in which small stars, new stars, and planetary nebulæ find their favorite home; and that belt encircles the entire heavens; and similarly that belt is the only region from which the white nebulæ appear to be repelled. The Milky Way forms the foundation, the strong and buttressed wall of the celestial building; the white nebulæ close in the roof of its dome.


It has already been observed that a number of stars are arranged in clusters of groups, while others, like our own sun, are at vast distances from their nearest neighbors. Some of these clusters, of which the Pleiades afford the best example to the naked eye, can be resolved by a keen eye into separate stars; some, like Præsepe in Cancer, which only show to the naked eye as a hazy spot of light, break up in a good field-glass into clusters of stars; but the majority of stellar clusters require a powerful telescope for their resolution.

It was long ago noticed that, the more powerful a telescope was, the greater was the number of these hazy spots of light which it would resolve into clusters of stars. Consequently the opinion was formed that all the hazy little clouds or nebulæ which are so prevalent throughout a large part of the sky were simply clusters of stars, so far away that their light merged into a single impression on the eye. A great number of these nebulæ were only resolved by large telescopes; many were found to be irresolvable by any telescope. It was simply concluded from this that they were still more distant than the clusters which had yielded to the resolving powers of the telescope; and it was further supposed that each of these clusters of stars might be a separate universe or galaxy, comparable in extent and importance with our own universe, bounded by the vast girdle of the Milky Way.

The Nebular Hypothesis. This grand conception of innumerable universes scattered throughout space was speedily destroyed by the spectroscope, which distinguishes with entire certainty between the light sent to us from a solid star and that emitted by a gas. When it was turned upon the nebulæ which had been supposed in reality to be star-clusters so distant that no telescope could resolve them, it showed unmistakably that these nebulæ were not star-groups, but simply masses of incandescent gas.


Besides, nebulæ vary greatly in form and appearance; some are clearly clusters of stars, others are perfectly hazy. A round or oval form is sometimes exhibited, with a gradual condensation towards the center, and a number of stars standing in the center of a nebulous haze can be observed. Such observations on nebulæ caused Kant and Laplace to suggest a theory—now known as the nebular theory—as to the formation of worlds. They considered that the solar system, for example, originally existed as uncondensed nebulous matter. This gradually condensed towards the center, forming the nucleus of the sun, and later the outer parts separated into distinct parts, each part condensing into a planet. The different forms of nebulæ observed in the heavens are then supposed to be systems in different stages of development.


Many of the stars shine with colored light, as red, blue, green, or yellow.

These colors are exhibited in striking contrast in many of the double stars. Combinations of blue and yellow, or green and yellow, are not uncommon; while in fewer cases we find one star white and the other purple, or one white and the other red. In several instances each star has a rosy light.

The following are a few of the most interesting colored double stars:

Name of Star Color of
Larger One
Color of
Smaller One
γ Andromedæ Orange Sea-Green.
α Piscium Pale Green Blue.
β Cygni Yellow Sapphire Blue.
η Cassiopeiæ Yellow Purple.
σ Cassiopeiæ Greenish Bright Blue.
ζ Coronæ White Light Purple.
ι Cancri Orange Blue.
α Herculis Orange Emerald Green.

Single stars of a fiery red or deep orange color are common enough. Of the first color may be mentioned Aldebaran, Antares and Betelgeuse. Arcturus is a good example of an orange star. Isolated stars of a deep blue or green color are very rarely found; among the conspicuous stars, β Libræ appears to be the only instance.

It is now a well-established fact that the stars change their color. Sirius was described as a fiery red star by the ancients, is now decided green color.


Meaning Constellation in
Which Found
Achernar The End of The River α Eridani.
Alcor The Near One 80 Ursæ Majoris.
Alcyone Daughter of Atlas and Pleione η Tauri.
Aldebaran The Follower α Tauri.
Algenib The Side γ Pegasi.
Algol The Demon Star β Persei.
Alioth The Tail (of the Sheep) ε Ursæ Majoris.
Altair The Soaring Eagle α Aquilæ.
Antares The Rival of Mars α Scorpii.
Arcturus The Watcher of the Bear α Boötis.
Bellatrix The Woman Warrior γ Orionis.
Betelgeux The Shoulder of the Giant α Orionis.
Canopus The Pilot of Menelaus α Argûs.
Capella The Goat α Aurigæ.
Caph The Hand β Cassiopeiæ.
Castor Son of Zeus and Leda α Geminorum.
Cor Caroli Charles’ Heart α Canum Ven.
Deneb The Tail α Cygni.
Denebola The Lion’s Tail β Leonis.
Dubhe The Bear α Ursæ Majoris.
Fomalhaut The Fish’s Mouth α Piscis Australis.
Markab The Saddle α Pegasi.
Mira Ceti The Wonderful Star of Cetus ο Ceti.
Mizar The Girdle ζ Ursæ Majoris.
Polaris The Pole Star α Ursæ Minoris.
Pollux Son of Zeus and Leda β Geminorum.
Procyon Before the Dog α Canis Minoris.
Regulus The Little King α Leonis.
Rigel The Foot β Orionis.
Sirius Chief α Canis Majoris.
Spica The Ear of Corn α Virginis.
Vega The Swooping Eagle α Lyræ.


When the earth is between the moon and the sun in a line, the moon lies in the shadow of the earth, and so suffers temporary obscuration; a lunar eclipse then takes place. When the moon passes between the earth and the sun, the latter is at certain places on the earth obscured by the dark body of the moon, and a solar eclipse takes place.

Lunar Eclipses. The shadow cast by the earth is conical, and may be shown to extend about one million miles from its surface. At a distance of a quarter of a million miles away the width of this shadow is about six thousand miles; and if the moon passes into it at that approximate distance from the earth, its disc of two thousand miles diameter may be partially or totally obscured. The moon and sun may be on opposite sides of the earth, and yet the former not in shadow. This is due to the fact that the moon’s orbit round the earth is not exactly in the same plane as that of the earth’s orbit round the sun. If it were so, we should have total eclipses at every full moon; but since the two planes are inclined to each other at an angle of 5° 9′, eclipses will occur when the moon is at or near its nodes or positions of coincidence with the plane of the ecliptic. Partial eclipses are produced when only a portion of the moon passes into shadow; annular eclipses such as are sometimes observed in the case of the sun cannot occur with the moon.






On its way through space the moon passes sometimes between the sun and the earth, shutting off the sunlight from the earth, as shown in the top picture. The drawing in the middle shows us that the moon does not hide the sunlight from the whole of the earth, but only from a part of it. But in the part from which the sun is hid the moon’s shadow makes day so dark that we can see the stars. We call this an eclipse of the sun. Sometimes, too, the earth passes between the moon and the sun so as to cut off all sunlight from the moon, as shown in the bottom picture. We call this an eclipse of the moon.


Solar Eclipses. The shadow cast by the moon is also conical, and extends over a slightly varying distance of about a quarter of a million miles from the moon’s surface. This being the approximate distance of the moon from the earth, it is seen that when the moon is between the earth and the sun the shadow may reach the earth. The extreme limit of the shadow may range from twenty-three thousand miles short of the earth, in which case an entire eclipse of the sun is impossible, to fifteen thousand miles beyond the earth. In the latter case a circular shadow will be projected on the surface of the globe, travelling onwards slowly in the direction of the motion of the moon. Within this shadow or umbra the body of the sun cannot be observed, and a total eclipse prevails. A circular region exists round this shadow, in which only part of the sun is visible; this region is therefore partly in shadow, and is called the penumbra. Outside the penumbra the whole sun may be viewed; the moon’s shadow is not nearly large enough to render a solar eclipse co-existent over all parts of the earth’s face towards the sun.


To the Greeks the starry heavens were an illustrated mythological poem. Every constellation was a picture, connected with some old fable of gods or heroes.

The two Bears have one story. Callisto was a nymph beloved by Jupiter, who changed her into a she-bear to save her from the jealous wrath of Juno. But Juno learned the truth, and induced Diana to kill the bear in the chase. Jupiter then placed her among the stars as Ursa Major, and her son Arcas afterwards became Ursa Minor. Juno, indignant at the honor thus shown the objects of her hatred, persuaded Tethys and Oceanus to forbid the Bears to descend, like the other stars, into the sea.

According to Ovid, Juno changed Callisto into a bear; and when Arcas, in hunting, was about to kill his mother, Jupiter placed both among the stars.

Ursa Minor was also called Phœnice, because the Phœnicians made it their guide in navigation, while the Greeks preferred the Great Bear for that purpose. It was also known as Cynosura (dog’s tail) from its resemblance to the upturned curl of a dog’s tail. The Great Bear was sometimes called Helice (winding), either from its shape or its curved path.

Boötes (the Herdsman) was also called Arctophylax and Arcturus, both of which names mean the guard or keeper of the bear. According to some of the stories, Boötes was Arcas; according to others, he was Icarus, the unfortunate son of Dædalus. The name Arcturus was afterwards given to the chief star of the constellation.

Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, and Pegasus are a group of star-pictures illustrating a single story.

Cepheus and Cassiopeia were the king and queen of Ethiopia, and had a very beautiful daughter, Andromeda. Her mother boasted that the maiden was fairer than the Nereids, who in their anger persuaded Neptune to send a sea-monster to ravage the shores of Ethiopia. To appease the offended deities Andromeda, by the command of an oracle, was exposed to this monster. The hero Perseus rescued her and married her.

Pegasus, the winged horse, sprang from the blood of the frightful Gorgon, Medusa, whom Perseus had slain not long before he rescued Andromeda from the sea-monster. According to the most ancient account, Pegasus became the horse of Jupiter, for whom he carried the thunder and lightning; but he afterward came to be considered the horse of Aurora, and finally of the Muses. Modern poets rarely speak of him except as connected with the Muses.

The Dragon, according to some of the poets, was the one that guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides; according to others, the monster sacred to Mars which Cadmus killed in Bœotia.

The Lyre is said to be the one which Apollo gave to Orpheus. After the death of Orpheus, Jupiter placed it among the stars at the intercession of Apollo and the Muses.

The Crown was the bridal gift of Bacchus to Ariadne, transferred to the heavens after her death.

Aquila is probably the eagle into which Merops was changed. It was placed among the stars by Juno. Some, however, make it the Eagle of Jupiter.

Cygnus or Cycnus, according to Ovid, was a relative of Phaëthon. While lamenting the unhappy fate of his kinsman on the banks of the Eridanus, he was changed by Apollo into a swan, and placed among the stars.

Sagittarius was said by the Greeks to be the Centaur Cheiron, the instructor of Peleus, Achilles [37] and Diomed. It is pretty certain, however, that all the zodiacal constellations are of Egyptian origin, and represent twelve Egyptian deities who presided over the months of the year. Thus Aries was Jupiter Ammon; Taurus, the bull Apis; Gemini, the inseparable gods Horus and Harpocrates; and so on. The Greeks adopted the figures, and invented stories of their own to explain them.

Scorpio, in the Egyptian zodiac, represented the monster Typhon. Originally this constellation extended also over the space now filled by Libra.

Ophiuchus represents Æsculpius, the god of medicine. Serpents were sacred to him, probably because they were a symbol of prudence and renovation, and were believed to have the power of discovering herbs of wondrous powers.

Aquarius, in Greek fable, was Ganymede, the Phrygian boy who became the cup-bearer of the gods in place of Hebe.

Taurus, as has been stated above, was the Egyptian Apis. The Greeks made it the bull which carried off Europa. The Pleiades are usually called the daughters of Atlas, whence their name Atlantides. Milton speaks of them as “the seven Atlantic Sisters.”

According to one legend the seventh was Sterope, who became invisible because she had loved a mortal; according to another, her name was Electra, and she left her place that she might not witness the downfall of Troy, which was founded by her son, Dardanus.

The Hyades, according to one of several stories, were sisters of the Pleiades. The name probably means “the Rainy,” since their rising announced wet weather.

Cetus is said by most writers to be the sea-monster from which Perseus rescued Andromeda.

Orion was a famous giant and hunter, who loved the daughter of Oinopion, King of Chios. As her father was slow to consent to her marriage, Orion attempted to carry off the maiden; whereupon Oinopion, with the help of Bacchus, put out his eyes. But the hero, in obedience to an oracle, exposed his eye-balls to the rays of the rising sun, and thus regained his sight. The accounts of his subsequent life, and of his death, are various and conflicting. According to some, Aurora loved him and carried him off; but, as the gods were angry at this, Diana killed him with an arrow. Others say that Diana loved him, and that Apollo, indignant at his sister’s affection for the hero, once pointed out a distant object on the surface of the sea, and challenged her to hit it. It was the head of Orion swimming, and the unerring shot of the goddess pierced it with a fatal wound. Another fable asserts that Orion boasted that he would conquer every animal; but the earth sent forth a scorpion which destroyed him.

Canis Major and Minor are the dogs of Orion, and are pursuing the Hare.

The Twins, Castor and Pollux, the sons of Jupiter and Leda, are the theme of many a fable. They were especially worshipped as the protectors of those who sailed the seas, for Neptune had rewarded their brotherly love by giving them power over winds and waves, that they might assist the shipwrecked.

Leo, according to the Greek story, was the famous Nemean lion slain by Hercules. Jupiter placed it in the heavens in honor of the exploit.

The Hydra also commemorates one of the twelve labors of Hercules—the destruction of the hundred-headed monster of the Lernæan lake.

Virgo represents Astræa, the goddess of innocence and purity, or, as some say, of justice. She was the last of the gods to withdraw from earth at the close of “the golden age.”

Libra, or the Balance, is the emblem of justice, and is usually associated with the fable of Astræa.

Argo Navis is the famous ship in which Jason and his companions sailed to find the Golden Fleece.

This slight sketch of the leading fables connected with the constellations will serve to show how completely the Greeks “nationalized the heavens.”


Astronomy (as-tron´om-i). The science which treats of the heavenly bodies, explaining the motions, times and causes of the motions, distances, magnitudes, gravities, light, etc., of the sun, moon, and stars, the nature and causes of the eclipses of the sun and moon, the conjunction and apposition of the planets, and any other of their mutual aspects, with the times when they did or will happen.

Aberration (ab-er-ā´shun). A small apparent motion of the fixed stars, occasioned by the progressive motion of light and the earth’s annual motion in its orbit. By this they sometimes appear twenty seconds distant from their true situation.

Amplitude (am´pli-tud). An arc of the horizon intercepted between the true east and west points and the center of the sun, or a star at its rising or setting.

Anomaly (an-om´al-i). The angular distance of a planet from its perihelion, as seen from the sun; either true, mean, or eccentric.

Aphelion (af-ēl´yun). That point of a planet’s orbit which is most distant from the sun.

Apogee (ap´o-jē). That point in the orbit of the moon which is at the greatest distance from the earth.

Apparition (ap-par-ish´un). The first appearance of a star or other luminary after having been obscured.

Ap´pulse. The approach of a planet towards a conjunction with the sun or any of the fixed stars.

Apsis (ap´sis). The two points of a planet’s orbit in which it is at its greatest and least distance from the sun.

Aquarius (a-kwā´ri-us). The eleventh sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of January.

Asteroids (as´ter-oids). The small planets that circulate between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Ax´is (ax´is). The imaginary line passing through the center and poles of the earth, on which it performs its diurnal revolutions from west to east.

Azimuth (az´im-uth). An arc of the horizon intercepted between the meridian of the place and the vertical circle passing through the center of a celestial object.

Can´cer. The fourth sign of the zodiac, being that of the summer solstice, which the sun enters about the 21st of June.

Capricorn (kap´ri-korn). The tenth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of December, at the winter solstice.


Colure (kol´ur). Two great circles, supposed to intersect each other at right angles in the poles of the world, one of them passing through the solstitial and the other through the equinoctial points of the ecliptic, viz., Cancer and Capricorn, Aries and Libra, dividing the ecliptic into four equal parts.

Coma (´ma). A dense, nebulous covering, which surround the nucleus or body of a comet.

Com´et. A member of the solar system, commonly consisting of three parts: the nucleus, the envelope or coma, and the tail; but one or more of these parts is frequently wanting.

Conjunc´tion. The meeting of two heavenly bodies in the same point or place in the heavens.

Constella´tion. A number of stars which appear as if situated near each other in the heavens, and are considered as forming a particular division.

Cynosure (sin´o-shōōr or ´). A name of the constellation Ursa Minor, or the Lesser Bear, which contains, in the tail, the pole star by which mariners are guided.

Declination (dek-lin-a´shun). Distance of any object from the celestial equator, either northward or southward.

Disk. The face or visible projection of a celestial body, usually predicated of the sun, moon, or planets; but the stars have also apparent disks.

Eclipse´. An obscuration or interception of the light of the sun, moon, or other luminous body.

Eclip´tic. The great circle of the heavens which the sun appears to describe in his annual revolution.

Equa´tor. The great circle of the sphere, equally distant from the two poles of the world, or having the same poles as the world.

Equinox (ē´kwi-noks). The precise time when the sun enters one of the equinoctial points, making the day and night of equal length.

Faculae (fa´ku-lē). Certain spots sometimes seen on the sun’s disk, which appear brighter than the rest of his surface.

Fixed Stars. Those which retain the same or very nearly the same position with respect to each other.

Gal´axy. The Milky-Way.

Gemini (jem´i-nī). The third sign or constellation in the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 21st of May.

Geocentric (jē-o-sen´trik) Par´allax. The apparent change of a body’s place that would arise from a change of the spectator’s station from the surface to the center of the earth.

Ha´lo. A luminous circle, usually prismatically colored round the sun or moon, and supposed to be caused by the refraction of light through crystals of ice in the atmosphere.

Heliocentric (hē-li-o-sen´trik) Par´allax. The arc of the great circle of the celestial sphere, drawn from the heliocentric to the geocentric place of a body.

Heliometer (hē-li-om´e-ter). An instrument for measuring with exactness the apparent diameter of the sun, moon, planets, etc.

Hori´zon. A circle touching the earth at the place of the spectator, and bounded by the line in which the earth and skies seem to meet.

Le´o (Lat., the Lion). The fifth sign of the zodiac which the sun enters about the 22d of July.

Libra (´bra), the Balance. The seventh sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters at the autumnal equinox, in September.

Luna´tion. The period of a revolution of the moon round the earth, or the time from one new moon to the next.

Maculae (mak´u-lē). Dark spots on the surfaces of sun and moon, and on some of the planets.

Moon. A secondary planet or satellite of the earth, whose light, borrowed from the sun, serves to dispel the darkness of night.

Nadir (´dir). The point of the heavens or lower hemisphere directly opposite the zenith.

Neb´ulae (neb´u-lē). Misty appearances among the stars, usually, but not always, resolved by telescope into myriads of small stars.

Nodes (nōdes). The two points in which the orbit of a planet intersects the ecliptic.

Nuta´tion. A vibratory motion of the earth’s axis, arising from periodical fluctuations in the obliquity of the ecliptic.

Occulta´tion. The hiding of a heavenly body from our sight by the intervention of some other of the heavenly bodies.

Or´bit. The path described by a heavenly body in its periodical revolution.

Par´allax. The change of place in a heavenly body in consequence of being viewed from different points.

Penum´bra. A partial shadow or obscurity on the margin of the perfect shadow in an eclipse, or between the perfect shadow, where the light is entirely intercepted, and the full light.

Perigee (per´i-jē). That point in the orbit of the sun or moon in which it is at the least distance from the earth.

Perihelion (per-i-hē´li-on). That part of the orbit of a planet or comet in which it is at its least distance from the sun.

Plan´et. The name given to a few bright and conspicuous stars which are constantly changing their apparent situations in the celestial sphere.

Precession (pre-sesh´un) of the Equinoxes. A continual shifting of the equinoctial points from east to west.

Radius Vector. An imaginary line joining the center of the sun and the center of a body revolving about it.

Retrocession (rē-tro-sesh´un) of the Equinoxes. The going backward of the equinoctial points.

Sagittarius (saj-i-tā´ri-us). One of the twelve signs of the zodiac, which the sun enters about November 22.

Sat´ellite. A small planet revolving round another planet.

Scor´pio. The eighth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about October 23.

Selenography (sel-en-og´raf-i). The description of the surface of the moon.

Sign. The twelfth part of the ecliptic.

Solstice (sol´stis). The time when the sun, in its annual revolution, arrives at that point in the ecliptic farthest north or south of the equator, or reaches its greatest northern or southern declination.

Star. An apparently small, luminous body in the heavens, that shines in the night, or when its light is not obscured by clouds or lost in the brighter effulgence of the sun.

Sun. The central body of our system, about which all the planets and comets revolve, and by which their motions are regulated and controlled.

Taurus (taw´rus). The second sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters about the 20th of April.

Virgo (ver´go). The sixth sign of the zodiac, which the sun enters in August.

Ze´nith. The point in the heavens directly overhead.




ITS STRUCTURE: Interior, Crust, Rocks, Fossils, Heat


SURFACE OF THE EARTH: Land Forms: Continents, Islands, Mountains, Plains; Water Forms: Springs, Rivers, Lakes, Oceans



NATURAL WONDERS AND FORCES: Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Geysers, Caverns, Waterfalls, Whirlpools, Tides, Deserts, Ocean Depths, Clouds, Seasons, Glaciers, Icebergs, Snow, Rain, Hail, Dew, Coral Islands and Reefs







Life Ages of the Earth Pictorial Diagram Showing the Corresponding Forms of Animal and Plant Life, and Rock Strata in the Earth’s Crust. Rocks and Strata to which they belong
Cenozoic, or Recent Life. Age of Mammals. Alluvium, Gravel, Mud, Sand, Clay, Marl, Limestone. Ceno-
Mesozoic, or Middle Life. Age of Reptiles. Chalk, Gault, Green Sand, Oolite, Clays and Limestone, China Clay, Shales, Cement, Sandstone, Pervian. Meso-
Paleozoic, or Old Life. Age of Invertebrates. Age of Fishes. Age of Acrogens. Coal Massives, Upper and Lower. Millstone, Grit, Mountain, Limestone, Old Red Sand Stone, Iron Ore, Gypsum, Gas, Lead, Zinc, Phosphate, Marble, Sandstone, Shales, Copper. Paleo-
Proterozoic, or Earlier Life. Earliest Forms of Life. Copper, Silver, Lake Superior Iron Ores, and many Metals. Granite, Schists. Emery, Gems, and Building Stone. Protero-
1. Sivatherium, (siv-a-thē´-ri-um). 2. Mastodon, (mas´tō-don). 3. Elephas, (el´e-fas). 4. Palæotherium, (pā-lē-ō-thē´-ri-um). 5. Pterodactyl, (ter-ō-dak´tīl). 6. Ammonites, (am´mo-nitz). 7. Plesiosaurus, (plē-zi-ō-saw´rus). 8. Ichthyosaurus, (ik-thi-ō-saw´rus). 9. Carboniferous, (kär’bŏn-ĭf´ēr-ŭs) fern. 10. Lepidodendron, (lep-ī-dō-den´dron). 11. Calamites, (kal´a-mits or kal´a-mī´tēz). 12. Labyrinthodon, (lab-i-rin´thō-don). 13. Acanthodus, (a-kan-thō´dus). 14. Diplacanthus, (dip-la-kan´thus). 15. Lepidosteus, (lep-i-dos´te-us). 16. Climatius, (clī-măi´tē-us). 17. Zosterites, (zos-ter-i´tēz). 18. Goniatites, (gō-ni-a-tī´tēz). 19. Strophomena, (strō-phŏm´ĕ-na).

Large illustration (465 kB)



Science tells us that the Earth was once a shining star, a globe of liquid fire. As it cooled down, a crust formed over its surface, composed chiefly of rocks and metals. This crust was rent by the force of the gases shut up within, and thus the mountains, valleys, gorges, and volcanoes were formed. The Earth, indeed, is still upheaving and subsiding, but so slowly that we rarely feel it. Through these agencies the distribution of land and water on the surface of the earth has undergone great changes. The shape of the Earth is that of a sphere somewhat flattened at the poles, and it has a diameter of about 8,000 miles. The solid crust is called the lithosphere—which is surrounded by an envelope of air—the atmosphere—and in part by an envelope of water—the hydrosphere.


Beneath the rocky crust of the earth, thirty-five miles in thickness, there is a broad belt of heavier material to a depth of nine hundred miles. Within this shell lies the great metallic core.


Our first glimpse of the earth as a planet shows it as a nebulous star, still intensely hot, and with no solid nucleus, rotating on its own axis, and at the same time revolving around the sun in a nearly circular orbit.


At first it seems hardly possible that the earth could have been a star. But, if we go down beneath the surface of the earth, we find that at a depth of forty or fifty feet there is very slight variation in temperature. When we go yet deeper, as in mines, we find that the earth grows hotter as we descend. The temperature increases on an average about one degree Fahrenheit for every sixty-four feet descent. But this amount is variable according to the locality, geological [42] formation, and dip of strata. In the Calumet and Hecla Mine, observations show an increase of one degree in about every one hundred and twenty-five feet. At Paris, the water from a depth of 1794 feet has a temperature of eighty-two degrees; at Salzwerth, in Germany, from a depth of 2144 feet, a temperature of ninety-one degrees. Natural hot springs, rising from unknown depths, are sometimes scalding hot. One in Arkansas has a temperature of one hundred and eighty degrees.

At a depth of twenty miles, with this continual increase of temperature, the ground must be fully red-hot; and not very much farther down the heat must be sufficient to melt every known substance. The solid earth, then, is merely a thin crust, covering a sea of liquid fire below. The streams of lava poured forth from volcanoes are a proof of the existence of this molten mass beneath our feet.


If we examine the solid crust of the earth we shall not long be at a loss in regard to the origin of this internal heat. We are all familiar with the burning of coal. Now coal is mainly a substance called carbon, and when it burns it unites with oxygen, one of the gases in the air. Many rarer substances, such as silicon, and the metals magnesium, calcium, and sodium, are even more inflammable than carbon, and in burning give rise to solid products. Now the rocks in the earth are found to be made up almost wholly of these very inflammable substances combined with oxygen. The solid portions of the earth, then, are nothing but the ashes and cinders of a great conflagration. Even the waters are made up of hydrogen, one of the most inflammable substances, united with this same oxygen, and, strange as it may seem, they too, are the products of combustion. When, therefore, the materials of which the earth is formed were burning, our planet must have been a fiery star, and the great heat must have reduced all the products of the conflagration to a liquid state.


When the fire went out for lack of fuel the mass began to cool at the surface, and a solid crust was finally formed, which with the lapse of time became thicker and thicker. This crust shut in the steam and gases generated in the fiery ocean underneath; and these, acting upon the crust with enormous pressure, heaved it into ridges. At times the strain caused the crust to crack, and forced the melted mass up through it, and in this way hills and mountains were formed. The thicker the crust the greater the strain it would bear before it gave way, and the greater the amount of molten matter driven out through the rent. The highest mountains, then, are the last that were uplifted. In some cases the openings thus made in the crust were never completely closed, and thus volcanoes were formed. These act like safety-valves, and prevent the forces within from accumulating sufficiently to cause fresh rents. But notwithstanding the relief thus given to the pent-up forces, they still manifest themselves in earthquakes.


Like all other planets, the earth is a solid sphere that has undergone a slight flattening at the opposite extremities or poles of the axis of revolution. More accurately, it is an oblate spheroid generated by the rotation of an ellipse about its minor axis. Such a figure would be assumed by a sphere of liquid rotating about a diameter, centrifugal force acting most vigorously at the equator, and tending to overcome the internal forces that keep the molecules together.


The smallest diameter of the earth is that measured from pole to pole along the axis of rotation; this is 7,899.6 miles, or about 500,000,000 inches. The greatest diameters are those measured between opposite points on the equator; these are 7,926.6 miles, and, therefore, show that the eccentricity of the earth, or the extent of its departure from the perfect sphere, is very slight.

The circumference of the earth, measured along the equator, is 24,899 miles; the area is 197,000,000 square miles; and the volume is 260,000,000,000 cubic miles. Experiments on the comparative attraction of the earth show [43] that its density is about five and one-half times that of pure water. Its mass is, therefore, approximately six thousand trillion tons.


The ordinary proofs of the sphericity of the earth are: (1) It can be circumnavigated; (2) the appearance of a vessel at sea always indicates a nearer convexity of the earth’s surface; (3) the sea-horizon is always depressed equally in all directions when viewed from an elevation; (4) the elevation of the pole star increases as we travel northwards from the equator; (5) the shadow of the earth on the moon during a lunar eclipse is spherical.


The earth rotates uniformly about its axis. The time taken to make a complete revolution of three hundred and sixty degrees is called a sidereal day, for it is the interval of time between consecutive transits of any distant star across any meridian of the earth. The time between consecutive transits of the sun across any meridian is called a solar day; the average of these throughout the whole year is called a mean solar day, and is the practical standard of time adopted by civilized nations. The ordinary proofs that the earth rotates are: (1) Bodies falling from a great height have an easterly deviation; (2) Foucault’s pendulum experiment; (3) a gyroscope delicately balanced so as to be free to change the direction of its axis in any way will, if rotated, exhibit an apparent deviation; (4) in northern hemispheres a projectile deviates to the right, in southern hemispheres to the left; (5) the trade winds; (6) Dove’s law of wind-change.

The speed of a body on the equator, due to the diurnal rotation, is about 1,000 miles an hour. The centrifugal force due to this speed diminishes the weight of bodies; if the earth rotated in an hour, they would be thrown off from the surface at the equator.

The axis of the earth is not perpendicular to the ecliptic, but at angle of 66° 32′ to it; the equator is, therefore, inclined to it at an angle of 23° 28′. This unsymmetrical placing of the bulging portions of the earth causes a slow wobbling, or precession of its axis, in the same sort of way as a spinning top will wobble when pushed over on one side. There is also a slight vibration or “nodding” motion of the earth’s axis, known as nutation. The period of each precession is about twenty-one thousand years; if the earth’s orbit occupied a constant position in its plane, the periods would be twenty-six thousand years each. These motions have considerable influence on climate, the modern theories of the Ice Age being connected with the known facts of precessional motion.


The great bulk of the earth consists of the lithosphere, or solid globe of rocks, with which geology properly deals. It is on the part of this lithosphere, composing a little more than a quarter of the earth’s whole area—55,500,000 square miles—which rises above the seas and is called land, that mankind lives.

The central core is a globe of about 7600 miles in diameter, which is composed of iron and other elements, probably not forming compounds, in the gaseous state, but exposed to such tremendous pressure that it behaves as a solid and extremely rigid body. Outside this core is a shell of liquid matter which consists of all the rocks which we know at the surface in a state of fusion, perhaps one hundred miles in thickness. Upon this magma floats the solid crust, thirty or forty miles thick, which is composed of various rocks, breaking down at the surface into soil. Three-fourths of the surface of this crust are covered by the water of the oceans, the hydrosphere, the rest being dry land. Outside all comes the atmospheric mantle, chiefly composed of air, which supports life, acts as a blanket to keep the earth warm, and as a shield against the blows of meteorites.


An examination of the Earth’s crust shows us that it is constructed of numerous strata of rocks, some of limestone, some of sandstone, and some of clay; and some are very hard, others soft and crumbling, and readily worn away by the action of running streams or the waves of the ocean. To these several substances which form the materials of the earth’s crust we give the name rock. [44] Hence we see that while in ordinary language the word rock denotes a great mass of hard stone, in geology a rock is any mass of natural substance forming part of the earth’s crust. In this sense, loose sand, gravel, and soft clay are as much rocks as hard limestone and granite.





Rocks are formed of various materials called minerals. If we take a piece of sandstone rock, or a piece of granite, we shall probably be able to notice that the rock is made up of different substances.

On looking at a piece of sandstone, for example, especially if we use a magnifying glass, we see that it is composed of little rounded grains of a glassy-looking substance cemented together. In some specimens these grains are larger than in others. This cementing material is not the same in all sandstones, but in our specimen it is formed of calcium carbonate, for when we drop a little diluted hydrochloric acid on the rock there is an effervescence. The cementing material is dissolved, but the little rounded grains, which consist of quartz, are not affected by the acid. The sandstone, then, consists of quartz grains cemented together by calcium carbonate. It is called a calcareous sandstone.

Now take a piece of granite, and break it with a hammer to get a clean-cut face. [45] On looking at this face we see that the rock is made up of three different substances.

One of these has a glassy appearance like the grains in the sandstone, and is so hard that we cannot scratch it with a knife. This is quartz. Another of the substances is of a dull white or pinkish color. It lies in long, smooth-faced crystalline patches, which easily break along a number of smooth parallel surfaces having a pearly lustre. It can be scratched with difficulty by the point of a knife. This substance is called felspar. The third substance consists of bright glistening plates, sometimes of a dark color, which can be easily scratched, and which readily split into transparent leaves. This is mica. Notice that these substances do not occur in any definite order, but are scattered about through the stone irregularly, the felspar occurring in some specimens in larger crystals than in others.


Hence we see that granite consists of a mixture of three substances, called quartz, felspar, and mica, the felspar being in greatest quantity. Each of these substances possesses properties more or less peculiar to itself, such as hardness, solubility in acids, specific gravity, crystalline form, way of splitting, etc. Hence, each of these substances has a definite chemical composition and constant physical properties which define them as minerals.

This definition may be understood to include such substances as coal and chalk, which are the mineralized remains of plants and animals respectively. Even water and gases of the atmosphere may be said to belong to the mineral kingdom of nature, as plants and their parts are said to belong to the vegetable kingdom, and animals and their parts to the animal kingdom.


The total number of rock-forming minerals is very large, but many of them are very rare, and form but a very small part of the earth’s crust.

The most abundant materials or earths of which rocks are composed are silica, lime and aluminum. Silica or flint is very universally diffused. It is found almost pure in quartz, opal, chalcedony, rock crystal, and the flinty sand of the sea-shore. Lime is also a very generally distributed earth, and is usually found in the form of carbonate. Under the several names of marl, limestone, oolite, and chalk it constitutes mountains, and even ranges of mountains. Aluminum is likewise very abundant, and of great importance to mankind. It enters largely into the clayey or argillaceous earths, and forms part of various kinds of rock which possess the property of not permitting water to pass through its substance—a property which renders it of inestimable value both for natural and artificial reservoirs of water.


The larger number of elements play so small a part in the constitution of the earth that they may be neglected by the geologist. The following list includes the elements of which ninety-nine per cent of the earth’s crust, as known to us, is composed, with their relative proportions, as indicated by Clarke’s laborious analyses of a very large number of typical rocks:

Element Chemical
Percentage of
Earth’s Crust
Which It
Oxygen O 47.02
Silicon Si 28.06
Aluminum Al 8.16
Iron Fe 4.64
Calcium Ca 3.50
Magnesium Mg 2.62
Sodium Na 2.63
Potassium K 2.32
Hydrogen H 0.17
Carbon C 0.12

The ten elements given above form 99.24 of the earth’s solid crust.


The beds or layers which form the crust of the earth are divided into three classes: (1) Sedimentary, or stratified; (2) Igneous, or unstratified; (3) Metamorphic, or transformed.


Sedimentary rocks are such as give evidence of having been formed by successive deposits of sediment in water. They include sandstones or freestones, limestones, clays, etc. The material for these must have been derived from some original source, and in many instances [46] this may be traced to the disintegration of older rocks. Thus gneiss appears to be formed by the disintegration of granite. The great class of sedimentary rocks may be divided into three smaller divisions. These divisions, with the chief rocks of each division, may be tabulated as follows:

(a) Mechanically formed rocks from detrital sediments: Conglomerates, sandstones, clay, and shale.

(b) Organically formed rocks from animal and plant remains: Limestones, chalk, coral, peat, and coal.

(c) Chemically formed rocks from material once in solution: Limestones, stalactites, gypsum, rock-salt and sinter.

Most of the stratified rocks contain fossils; and since each group contains certain kinds peculiar to itself, it is by means of these organic remains that their relative ages have been determined.

Although the lowest stratified rocks are more ancient than those which have been deposited above them, the layers or beds do not always retain a horizontal position. Were such the case, it could only be by deep cuttings that we should arrive at the older strata. We however find that, owing to some convulsion of nature, stratified rocks have been thrown out of their original position, and thus crop out to the surface. Not only is facility thus afforded us to become acquainted with the nature of the lower rocks, but many of the most valuable products of the earth are by this means rendered accessible to man.


A million years ago, a little stream trickled down a mountain-side, carrying with it grains of sand and stones which fell to the bottom of the sea. In the sea swam a great and wonderful creature called an ichthyosaurus. One day the great creature died, or probably it was killed in battle with another strange monster, and its body fell to the bottom of the sea among the shells and seaweed. Meanwhile, the stones and sand brought down by the stream continued to fall upon the bed of the sea until at last the great reptile’s body was buried, and the lower layers became pressed into hard rock by the weight on top. One day an elephant going to the river to drink broke off his tusk, and this was carried down by the river and sank in the sea. Another day a bird was drowned, and this, too, fell upon the ocean-bed. Dead fishes and shells also sank, and all were buried by the never-ceasing shower of mud and earth and sand and stones. Ages after the ichthyosaurus died, men began to live on the earth, and one day a man who had made a boat went out to fish. Trying to spear a big fish, the head of his harpoon broke off and fell to the bottom of the sea. In course of time this also was buried in the mud. The bottom of the sea crept higher and higher, till at last it became dry land. Then one day men began to dig, and the world’s wonderful story was revealed as we read it here. First the spear-head was found, then the tusk, the bird’s skeleton, the shells, the fish, and at last the skeleton of the great sea reptile, all turned to stone and become fossils, a word that means “something dug up.”


The greater number of these beds contain organic remains, i. e., the remains of animals and plants, which are termed fossils. Among these the most numerous are the remains of marine animals, and in some instances shells and corals occur in such abundance as to form the principal part of extensive beds. Every part of the earth exhibits similar, or nearly similar formations; and not only are marine fossils met with in the interior of continents, and at great elevations above the sea, but a vast variety of plants, corals, shells, fish, reptiles, etc., are found, of species dissimilar to any at present on the land or in the waters. Besides rocks, we meet with earthy formations on the surface. These include such loose materials as are disintegrated or worn away from rocks, and form, when combined with decayed animal and vegetable matter, the soil of meadows and arable lands.

Igneous, or Unstratified Rocks are such as appear to be of igneous origin, or to have been formed by the action of fire or intense heat. They are called unstratified, because instead of having been deposited in successive layers, like the stratified rocks, they seem to have been formed by the fusion or melting of the materials of which they are composed, and the subsequent cooling and hardening of the melted matter into one great mass. Granite, basalt, lava, etc., are examples of this class of rocks, and represent respectively the sub-classes of plutonic, trap, and volcanic rocks. Plutonic rocks are those which have cooled under the pressure of overlying rocks; trap rocks, those which have cooled under that of deep water; and volcanic rocks, such as have cooled in the air.

Though granite is the most useful of the igneous rocks, basalt is probably the most interesting because of the wonderful formations it discloses. It is a dense basic lava of a dark color, that breaks with a conchoidal or shell-like fracture, and shows a finely grained or hemi-crystalline texture in a glassy base. The basalt rocks are found both as intrusive masses and as sheets that have been poured out on the surface. Many of these lava sheets of basalt in slowly cooling and solidifying acquired a columnar structure, the columns often having a more or less hexagonal shape, though the number of sides varies. Fine examples of these columnar basalts occur at Fingal’s cave in the island of Staffa, at the Giant’s Causeway in the north of Ireland, and on the shores of Lake Superior.

Metamorphic, or Transformed rocks, include altered rocks of either sedimentary or igneous origin, in which the acquired are more prominent than the original characteristics. Igneous rocks have, in many cases, forced their way up through stratified rocks. These igneous formations, while still in a molten state, in coming in contact with the aqueous or stratified rocks, have usually changed the character of those portions immediately near them. The chief changes of structure effected by metamorphic action are crystallization and foliation. Examples of metamorphic rocks are marble, quartzite, slate, gneiss, and the schists.


In some localities fissures in rocks are found to contain metallic substances. Such fissures are frequently found partially filled with calcareous spar which forms the matrix in which the metals are inclosed.

Metallic veins are supposed to be partially filled by mechanical means, the particles of metallic substances being conveyed into them by the action of water or some other power, and partly by chemical action, or by sublimation or fumes rising from below.

Some metallic deposits appear to occur in situations where igneous rocks have intruded themselves. Gold is supposed to be found almost invariably under such circumstances. Such appears to be the case in the rich deposits near the Ural mountains, and also in California and in Australia. In all these places it is met with in quartz. It is in pebbles or sand of the same rock that it occurs in the beds of rivers, and in some cases is found spread over a large extent of country.

Copper, though frequently met with in veins, is also found in extensive masses or beds, interposed between layers of rock. The same remark applies to tin, lead, and silver. Iron is also met with in beds, and also in nodules or rounded masses, which occur in great abundance among some kinds of rock. The last-named is the most universally diffused of all metals, and the most useful.



Giving the geological ages, rock systems, strata and the development of life, with their relative positions and order of succession, according to the latest scientific knowledge. Many attempts have been made to compute from geological, physical, and other data the length of the period during which the earth has been in a solid state.

Geologists, however, are disinclined to accept any period much less than 100,000,000 years as sufficient for the elaboration of the present structure of the earth. It is indisputable that many millions of years, probably thirty or forty, must have elapsed while the great sedimentary rocks were being deposited. With respect to the larger features of the earth’s surface, it is likely that two different kinds of movement are responsible. Where the contraction of the earth has caused a lessening of the support below the surface, there has been a subsidence of great areas. In the second place, where the rigid crust has been able to contract into a smaller space, great mountain ridges and folds have been formed. The subsidences which caused the ocean took place at different ages. The Atlantic Ocean probably dates from middle Cenozoic times; the Indian Ocean may be older; the Pacific suffered great modifications in comparatively recent times.

Life Ages of the Earth Rock Systems Series of Rock Strata Characteristic Rocks Forms of Life Chief Economic Products
Cenozoic (se´nō-zō´ik), or “Recent life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 3,000,000 years.
Quaternary (kwa-ter´na-ri) or “fourth.” Once supposed to be the fourth sedimentary system. Age of man. Recent, or Human. Alluvium, sand, gravel, mud, clay, marl, loess. Man predominant. Clay, peat, bog iron ore, marl, gold placers.
Pleistocene (plīs´tŏ-sēn), or “most recent.” Glacial Period. Drift, boulder clay, gravel, loess, silt, glacial deposits and other formations formed during glacial period. Mammoth, mastodon, bear, bison, reindeer, musk-ox. Possibly man was living but that is uncertain. Clay, gravel, gold placers.
Pliocene (plī´ō-sēn), or “more recent.” In East and West, land deposits predominate. Marine sands, clays, marls on Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Igneous rocks in West. Plants and animals much as today, aside from human and domestic species. Gold (in part placers), coal, oil, gas.
Tertiary (ter´-shi-a-ri), or “third”. Once supposed to be the third sedimentary system, or Age of mammals. Miocene (´ō-sēn), or “less recent.” On Atlantic coast: sand, clay, shell marl, diatomaceous earth. In West: sandstone, shale, and diatomaceous material. Extensive volcanic formations in Rocky Mountains and Great Basin region. Land animals include elephants, camels, deer, oxen, horses, true apes, etc. Marine animals much like those today. Among plants, grasses become important; deciduous trees increase. Silver, gold, coal, oil, gas, phosphate rock, diatomaceous earth.
Oligocene (ŏl´ĕ-gō-sēn), or “a little more recent.” Limestone in Caribbean region, land deposits in West. Marine and fresh water beds on west coast. Many coal beds in Puget Sound. Ancient dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, camels, and horses were represented. Copper, silver.
Eocene (ē´-ō-sēn), or “dawn of recent.” In Eastern States: clays, sands, greensand marls. In West: conglomerate, sandstone, shale, diatomaceous shale and igneous formations are developed. Many coal beds in Puget Sound. Fresh water beds in western interior. Mammals flourished, including rodentia, carnivera, edentates, lemuroids, birds, reptiles, etc. Flora included figs, palms, bananas; willows, chestnuts, oaks, etc. Gold, zinc, lead, coal, oil, gas.
Mesozoic (mĕs-ō-zō´-ic), or “Middle life,”
Estimated Age of Period, 9,000,000 years.
Cretaceous (krē-ta´-she-us) or “bearing chalk.” -   Upper. In East: sand, clay, and greensand marl. In West: sandstone, shale, limestone, chalk, extensive coal beds, various igneous rocks. Reptiles predominate: turtles, lizards, crocodiles, flying reptiles, etc. Many waterbirds. Angiosperms predominate: larch, beech, walnut, tulip trees, etc. Coal, oil, gas, copper, gold, china clay, fire clay, cement building stone.
Lower. Clay, sand, gravel on Atlantic coast and Gulf. Sedimentary and igneous rocks on west coast. Some non-marine beds in Texas. Reptiles abound. Flora includes cycadeous, conifers, horsetails; angiosperms appear.
Jurassic (jȯȯ-ras´sik), or like the mass of the Jura Mountains. Age of Reptiles. -   Upper. Probably not represented in East. Sandstones, limestones and shales in West. Some “red beds” in western interior. Ammonites, belemites continue in great variety. Reptiles numerous and varied types. Flying reptiles and reptile-like birds appear. Oil, gold.
Triassic (trĭ-ăs´ĭk), or in a triple series. -   Upper. In East sediments formed in shallow troughs between recently formed mountains. Considerable bodies of igneous rock, traps, and other flows and dikes. “Red beds” in West with salt and gypsum. Some igneous rocks on west coast. Reptiles of enormous size dominate the land and sea. Mammals appear. Ammonites and belemites dominate invertebrate life. Salt, gypsum, a little coal in Virginia, copper, building stone.
Paleozoic (pāl-æ-ô-zō´ic), or “Old life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 24,000,000 years.
Carboniferous (kăr-bŏn-if´-er-us), or coal-bearing. Age of Amphibians. Permian (per´-mē-ăn), like those at Perm, Russia. In East fresh water sediments including coal; in West “red beds” probably of continental origin. Some marine sediments; salt and gypsum in red beds in Kansas. Reptiles become prominent in number and variety; inhabit fresh water, salt water and land. Salt and gypsum; some coal in Eastern States.
Pennsylvanian, like those of Pennsylvania. In Eastern States grits, sandstones, shales, limestone and coal. In Western States much limestone; no coal. Igneous rocks on west coast. Plants abound; Marked development of land animals, including insects, spiders and scorpions. Lizards become important. Amphibians reach climax. Coal, oil, gas, iron ore, fire clay, phosphate rock.
Mississippian, or Lower Carboniferous. Limestones predominate with sandstones near base and shales near top of series. Igneous rocks in California. Crinoids greatly developed. Amphibians appear. Plant life expands. Oil, gas, lead, zinc, building stone, cement rock.
Devonian (de-vō´ni-an) like those of Devonshire, England. Age of Fishes. -   Upper. Sedimentary rocks, limestones, sandstones, shales; igneous rocks in Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Rapid changes in animal kingdom; shifting habitat; extensive development of fishes; sharks flourish. Plants are mainly small leaf and reed types. Gas, oil, iron ore, phosphate rock.
Silurian (si-lū´ri-an), in the land of the Silures, England. Age of Invertebrates. -   Ontarian (on-tā´rē-ăn), place name. Sedimentary rocks predominate; conglomerates, sandstones, shales, limestones, salt, gypsum. Igneous rocks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine. Vertebrates appear; low forms of fishes. First reef building corals. Crinoids and brachiopods, important Cephalopods continue to dominate. Iron ore, gas, salt, gypsum, cement rock.
Champlainian (shăm-plān´ē-ăn), place name.
Ordovician (ŏr-dŏ-vīsh´ăn), a place name in Wales. -   Cincinnatian (sĭn-sĭn-năt´-ē-ăn), place name. Chiefly limestone with subordinate sandstone and shale. Rocks greatly folded in New York, in Taconic Mountain region. Much as in the Cambrian. Remains are more abundant. Species more numerous; insects were present. Vertebrates appear. Low forms of fishes. Trilobites reach climax. Oil, gas, lead, zinc, phosphate rock, manganese, marble.
Mohawkian (mō-hŏk´ē-ăn), place name.
Cambrian (kam´-bri-an), from Cambria, the old name for Wales. -   Saratogan (săr-ă-tō´găn), place name. Mainly sandstones with some shales, and in Western States considerable limestone. At some places rocks are changed by pressure, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. Upper Cambrian covered larger area than lower Cambrian. All great divisions of animal kingdom except vertebrates are represented; trilobites, brachiopods, sponges, graptolites, etc. Little evidence of vegetation, but it must have abounded as food for animals. Lead, zinc, barite, copper.
Acadian (ä-kād´ē-ăn), place name.
Georgian (jōr´gē-ăn), place name.
Proterozoic (prō-ter-ō-zō´ik) or “Former life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 18,000,000 years.
Algonkian (ăl-gŏn´kē-ăn), from district of Algonquin Indians, north of St. Lawrence. -   Keweenawan, (´wē-năh-wān), pertaining to Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. A great series of sandstones, limestones and shales, in middle portion of which are many enormous flows of lava. Fossils rare or wanting. Copper, silver.
Huronian (hu-rō´nē-ăn), rocks on borders of Lake Huron. Three great series of sedimentary rocks, sandstone, shale and limestone, and iron formation. Contains also many great igneous bodies, acidic and basic. Lower members much metamorphosed by pressure. Rocks contain clear evidence of low forms of life. Principal iron ores of Lake Superior region; also copper, nickel, silver, cobalt, gold. Building stone and ornamental stone.
Archaeozoic (ar´kē-o-zō´ic), “Without life.” Estimated Age of Period, 18,000,000 years. Archean (är-kē´-ăn), “oldest.” -   Laurentian (law-ren´shi-an), pertaining to rocks along the St. Lawrence River. Granitic rocks and gneisses that are believed to be granitic rocks metamorphosed by pressure. Formerly supposed to be older than Keewatin and regarded as the “original crust of the earth.” Since the rocks are of igneous origin, they contain no organic remains. Iron ores, precious metals, gems, apatite, rare earths, graphite, asbestos.
Keewatin (kē-wā´tĭn), rocks in a district of Manitoba, Canada. A great schist series made up of lava flows, tuffs, and volcanic ashes. With these are subordinate sedimentary rocks; sandstone, shale, limestone, and iron ore formations nearly everywhere greatly metamorphosed by pressure. Includes the oldest rocks known. No fossils found, but carbonaceous schists and limestones are believed to indicate the presence of life. Emery, building and ornamental stones.
Life Ages of the Earth Rock Systems Series of Rock Strata Characteristic Rocks Forms of Life Chief Economic Products
Cenozoic (se´nō-zō´ik), or “Recent life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 3,000,000 years.
Quaternary (kwa-ter´na-ri) or “fourth.” Once supposed to be the fourth sedimentary system. Age of man. Recent, or Human. Alluvium, sand, gravel, mud, clay, marl, loess. Man predominant. Clay, peat, bog iron ore, marl, gold placers.
    Pleistocene (plīs´tŏ-sēn), or “most recent.” Glacial Period. Drift, boulder clay, gravel, loess, silt, glacial deposits and other formations formed during glacial period. Mammoth, mastodon, bear, bison, reindeer, musk-ox. Possibly man was living but that is uncertain. Clay, gravel, gold placers.
    Pliocene (plī´ō-sēn), or “more recent.” In East and West, land deposits predominate. Marine sands, clays, marls on Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Igneous rocks in West. Plants and animals much as today, aside from human and domestic species. Gold (in part placers), coal, oil, gas.
  Tertiary (ter´-shi-a-ri), or “third”. Once supposed to be the third sedimentary system, or Age of mammals. Miocene (´ō-sēn), or “less recent.” On Atlantic coast: sand, clay, shell marl, diatomaceous earth. In West: sandstone, shale, and diatomaceous material. Extensive volcanic formations in Rocky Mountains and Great Basin region. Land animals include elephants, camels, deer, oxen, horses, true apes, etc. Marine animals much like those today. Among plants, grasses become important; deciduous trees increase. Silver, gold, coal, oil, gas, phosphate rock, diatomaceous earth.
    Oligocene (ōl´ĕ-gō-sēn), or “a little more recent.” Limestone in Caribbean region, land deposits in West. Marine and fresh water beds on west coast. Many coal beds in Puget Sound. Ancient dogs, cat, rabbits, squirrels, camels, and horses were represented. Copper, silver.
    Eocene (ē´-ō-sēn), or “dawn of recent.” In Eastern States: clays, sands, greensand marls. In West: conglomerate, sandstone, shale, diatomaceous shale and igneous formations are developed. Many coal beds in Puget Sound. Fresh water beds in western interior. Mammals flourished, including rodentia, carnivera, edentates, lemuroids, birds, reptiles, etc. Flora included figs, palms, bananas; willows, chestnuts, oaks, etc. Gold, zinc, lead, coal, oil, gas.
Mesozoic (mĕs-ō-zō´-ic), or “Middle Life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 5,000,000 years.
Cretaceous (krē-ta´-she-us) or “bearing chalk.” -   Upper. In East: sand, clay, and greensand marl. In West: sandstone, shale, limestone, chalk, extensive coal beds, various igneous rocks. Reptiles predominate: turtles, lizards, crocodiles, flying reptiles, etc. Many waterbirds. Angiosperms predominate: larch, beech, walnut, tulip trees, etc. Coal, oil, gas, copper, gold, china clay, fire clay, cement building stone.
Lower. Clay, sand, gravel on Atlantic coast and Gulf. Sedimentary and igneous rocks on west coast. Some non-marine beds in Texas. Reptiles abound. Flora includes cycadeous, conifers, horsetails; angiosperms appear.
  Jurassic (jȯȯ-ras´sik), or like the mass of the Jura Mountains. Age of Reptiles. -   Upper. Probably not represented in East. Sandstones, limestones and shales in West. Some “red beds” in western interior. Ammonites, belemites continue in great variety. Reptiles numerous and varied types. Flying reptiles and reptile-like birds appear. Oil, gold.
  Triassic (trĭ-ăs´ĭk), or in a triple series. -   Upper. In East sediments formed in shallow troughs between recently formed mountains. Considerable bodies of igneous rock, traps, and other flows and dikes. “Red beds” in West with salt and gypsum. Some igneous rocks on west coast. Reptiles of enormous size dominate the land and sea. Mammals appear. Ammonites and belemites dominate invertebrate life. Salt, gypsum, a little coal in Virginia, copper, building stone.
Paleozoic (pāl-æ-ô-zō´ic), or “Old Life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 24,000,000 years.
Carboniferous (kăr-bŏn-if´-er-us), or coal-bearing. Age of Amphibians. Permian (per´-mē-ăn), like those at Perm, Russia. In East fresh water sediments including coal; in West “red beds” probably of continental origin. Some marine sediments; salt and gypsum in red beds in Kansas. Reptiles become prominent in number and variety; inhabit fresh water, salt water and land. Salt and gypsum; some coal in Eastern States.
Pennsylvanian, like those of Pennsylvania. In Eastern States grits, sandstones, shales, limestone and coal. In Western States much limestone; no coal. Igneous rocks on west coast. Plants abound. Marked development of land animals, including insects, spiders and scorpions. Lizards become important. Amphibians reach climax. Coal, oil, gas, iron ore, fire clay, phosphate rock.
Mississippian, or Lower Carboniferous. Limestones predominate with sandstones near base and shales near top of series. Igneous rocks in California. Crinoids greatly developed. Amphibians appear. Plant life expands. Oil, gas, lead, zinc, building stone, cement rock.
  Devonian (de-vō´ni-an) like those of Devonshire, England. Age of Fishes. -   Upper. Sedimentary rocks, limestones, sandstones, shales; igneous rocks in Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Rapid changes in animal kingdom; shifting habitat; extensive development of fishes; sharks flourish. Plants are mainly small leaf and reed types. Gas, oil, iron ore, phosphate rock.
  Silurian (si-lū´ri-an), in the land of the Silures, England. Age of Invertebrates. -   Ontarian (on-tā´rē-ăn), place name. Sedimentary rocks predominate; conglomerates, sandstones, shales, limestones, salt, gypsum. Igneous rocks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine. Vertebrates appear; low forms of fishes. First reef building corals. Crinoids and brachiopods, important Cephalopods continue to dominate. Iron ore, gas, salt, gypsum, cement rock.
Champlainian (shăm-plān´ē-ăn), place name.
  Ordovician (ŏr-dŏ-vīsh´ăn), a place name in Wales. -   Cincinnatian (sĭn-sĭn-năt´-ē-ăn), place name. Chiefly limestone with subordinate sandstone and shale. Rocks greatly folded in New York, in Taconic Mountain region. Much as in the Cambrian. Remains are more abundant. Species more numerous; insects were present. Vertebrates appear. Low forms of fishes. Trilobites reach climax. Oil, gas, lead, zinc, phosphate rock, manganese, marble.
Mohawkian (mō-hŏk´ē-ăn), place name.
  Cambrian (kam´-bri-an), from Cambria, the old name for Wales. -   Saratogan (săr-ă-tō´găn), place name. Mainly sandstones with some shales, and in Western States considerable limestone. At some places rocks are changed by pressure, especially in the Appalachian Mountains. Upper Cambrian covered larger area than lower Cambrian. All great divisions of animal kingdom except vertebrates are represented; trilobites, brachiopods, sponges, graptolites, etc. Little evidence of vegetation, but it must have abounded as food for animals. Lead, zinc, barite, copper.
Acadian (ä-kād´ē-ăn), place name.
Georgian (jōr´gē-ăn), place name.
Proterozoic (prō-ter-ō-zō´ik) or “Former Life.”
Estimated Age of Period, 18,000,000 years.
Algonkian (ăl-gŏn´kē-ăn), from district of Algonquin Indians, north of St. Lawrence. -   Keweenawan, (´wē-năh-wān), pertaining to Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan A great series of sandstones, limestones and shales, in middle portion of which are many enormous flows of lava. Fossils rare or wanting. Copper, silver.
Huronian (hu-rō´nē-ăn), rocks on borders of Lake Huron. Three great series of sedimentary rocks, sandstone, shale and limestone, and iron formation. Contains also many great igneous bodies, acidic and basic. Lower members much metamorphosed by pressure. Rocks contain clear evidence of low forms of life. Principal iron ores of Lake Superior region; also copper, nickel, silver, cobalt, gold. Building stone and ornamental stone.
Archaeozoic (ar´kē-o-zō´ic), “Without Life.” Estimated Age of Period, 18,000,000 years. Archean (är-kē´-ăn), “oldest.” -   Laurentian (law-ren´shi-an), pertaining to rocks along the St. Lawrence River. Granitic rocks and gneisses that are believed to be granitic rocks metamorphosed by pressure. Formerly supposed to be older than Keewatin and regarded as the “original crust of the earth.” Since the rocks are of igneous origin, they contain no organic remains. Iron ores, precious metals, gems, apatite, rare earths, graphite, asbestos.
Keewatin (kē-wā´tĭn), rocks in a district of Manitoba, Canada. A great schist series made up of lava flows, tuffs, and volcanic ashes. With these are subordinate sedimentary rocks; sandstone, shale, limestone, and iron ore formations nearly everywhere greatly metamorphosed by pressure. Includes the oldest rocks known. No fossils found, but carbonaceous schists and limestones are believed to indicate the presence of life. Emery, building and ornamental stones.



Large illustration (310 kB)




Large illustration (222 kB)


The proportion of land to water upon the earth is as 27 to 72, or roughly one-fourth to three-fourths; the land covering fifty-three million square miles, the sea one hundred and forty-four million. The land consists of six great bodies called continents, and a multitude of small fragments called islands, which skirt the shores of the continents or dot the broad expanse of the sea.


By far the greatest proportion of land is in the northern hemisphere, and in temperate latitudes. Broadly speaking, the northern hemisphere is the hemisphere of land, and the southern hemisphere is the hemisphere of ocean. The earth could be bisected in such a way that one hemisphere contained almost no land, while the other was composed almost equally of land and water.


The greater part of the land on the earth’s surface is grouped into two great hemispheres, the Old and the New World. The former and far larger of these consists of Eurasia in the north, separated by ill-defined boundaries from Europe to the west and Asia to the east, and of Africa in the south, united to Eurasia by the narrow neck of the isthmus of Suez. The hemisphere of the New World is divided into North America and South America, united by the long, narrow isthmus of Central America. The island of Australia is also reckoned as a continent. It is believed that an island continent, Antarctica, surrounds the South Pole. Of islands not reckoned as continents, the largest is the polar island of Greenland.


In comparing the continents, we at once notice certain resemblances. The first is the tapering to the south, which is seen in Greenland, North and South America, Africa, and Australia (Tasmania). Another is the southward-running peninsulas which characterize Europe and Asia. We may notice, too, that the general lines of the Old World, broad in the north, tapering in the south, resemble those of the New World, especially if we include Australia (Tasmania), and compare its position with that of South America. There is also a certain uniformity in the distribution of relief. Notice the so-called Mid-World and Pacific Mountain systems, which may be traced in the mountains of Central Europe, North Africa, Central Asia, the islands of the Pacific from Japan to New Guinea, and the lofty mountains of North, Central, and South America.




Continent Asia Africa North
Europe Australia All Land
Area (million square miles) 16 .4 11 .1 7 .6 6 .8 3 .7 3 .0 55 .0
Average Height (feet) 3, 000 2, 500 1, 900 2, 000   940   800 2, 100
Highest Point (feet) 29, 000 18, 800 18, 200 22, 400 18, 500 7, 200 29, 000
Percentage at Various
Below Sea-Level 1 .4 0 .1 0 .05 0 .0 1 .8 0 .0 0 .6
0 to 600 feet 23 .3 12 .5 32 .25 40 .0 53 .8 29 .8 26 .7
600 to 1,500 feet 16 .0 34 .8 32 .1 26 .8 27 .0 64 .3 27 .8
1,500 to 3,000 feet 21 .7 27 .6 13 .3 16 .8 10 .0 4 .1 19 .3
3,000 to 6,000 feet 21 .8 21 .8 13 .2 7 .0 5 .5 1 .5 17 .0
6,000 to 12,000 feet 10 .0 2 .8 8 .4 5 .0 1 .7 0 .3 6 .0
Above 12,000 feet 5 .8 0 .4 0 .7 4 .4 0 .2 0 .0 2 .6



The coast line, or margin of sea and land, is an area rapidly wearing away under the ceaseless influence of the waves, and of the sand and rock, they are perpetually hurling to and fro. Coasts may be either flat or high, composed either of hard or soft rock, and either submerged or raised. A submerged coast is one where the land has sunk or the sea has risen, so that the low grounds and valleys are flooded. A raised coast is one where the land has risen or the sea has retired, and what was formerly the sea bottom is bared.

A flat coast is usually sandy, often bordered by sandhills and lagoons. It may be carved into cliffs, as in the clay cliffs of Norfolk, England. A raised coast is usually flat from the long-continued action of the waves during the period when it was submerged. Flat coasts have no good harbors.

A submerged coast differs according to the nature of the submerged region. If this was hilly or mountainous, with valleys running parallel to the shore, the coast will be ironbound and harbor-less unless the sea-level has risen sufficiently to give access to the valleys behind the first range of heights. If this happens, T-shaped gulfs are formed. Where the valleys open at right angles to the sea, they become bays, usually with excellent harbors. The hills between the valleys rise as peninsulas, or islands. If the land was flat before submerging took place, a flat coast is the result.

Where the land is composed of soft rocks, a more uniform coast-line results than where it is composed of harder rocks, or of hard and soft rocks mixed. The waves, in eating out the softer rocks, often form magnificent sea-caves, natural arches, and pinnacles.


Europe surpasses all the other continents in the magnitude of its indentations and projections. Three great peninsulas—the Balkan peninsula, Italy, and Spain, project into the Mediterranean; while Brittany, Denmark, and Scandinavia jut into the shores of the Atlantic. Even the British Isles are scarcely more than a projection of the continent.

Asia is a second in the relative extent of its peninsula. Asia Minor on the west, Arabia, India, and Indo-China on the south, and China, Manchuria with Corea and Kamchatka, advancing into the waters of the Pacific, form a wide border of projecting lands, containing the richest regions of the continent.

North America is considerably less indented. Florida, Nova Scotia and Labrador are more prominent on the Atlantic coast, and California Peninsula and Alaska on the Pacific.

The southern continents on the contrary, are nowhere deeply penetrated by the waters of the ocean. The Gulf of Arica in South America, the Gulf of Guinea in Africa, and the Great Australian Bight, are merely gentle bends in the coast line.


Plains occupy nearly one-half of the surface of the continents. They are most extensive and unbroken on the Arctic slopes of the Old World, and in the interior of the two Americas.

Treeless plains, whose vegetation consists of grasses and other herbaceous plants, or stunted shrubs, occur in every continent, and are designated by a variety of terms. Wherever treeless plains are subject to periodical rains, they lose their verdure in the season of drought, and assume the aspect of a desert; but they resume their freshness on the return of the rain, and many are adorned with a great variety of beautiful flowers.

Plains of the Old World. The great Siberian plain extends from the northeastern extremity of Asia to the Ural Mountains and Caspian Sea; and the European plain stretches from the Ural westward, through Russia and North Germany, to the lowlands of Holland.

The plains of the Caspian Sea and western Siberia are dreary steppes, covered with coarse grasses, often growing in tufts, alternating with patches of [54] heather, furze, dwarf birch, and other stunted shrubs; or old sea bottom, covered with salt efflorescence. Immense reaches of flat country, near the Arctic shores of Asia and Europe, consist of frozen marshes, called tundras, where mosses and lichens are almost the only vegetation. Those of eastern Europe and Asia are denominated steppes; while more limited treeless regions in western Europe are called landes and heaths.

On the alluvial plains of the Old World, civilization began and developed; and their inexhaustible fertility supplied the wants of the most populous nations of antiquity. The great centers of ancient civilization in Egypt, China, India and Babylonia, all had their growth in alluvial plains, built up and fertilized by the mighty rivers which traverse those countries.

Plains of the New World. In North America the great Central Plain extends, with but slight interruptions, from the Arctic shores to the Gulf of Mexico. The fertile, treeless plains are termed “prairies” (meadows), while the sterile ones, east of the Rocky Mountains, are known as “the plains.” There are vast cane fields and forests in the lower Mississippi Valley.

In South America the plains of the Orinoco basin, the Selvas of the Amazon, and the Pampas of the La Plata, form an uninterrupted series of lowlands which, continued by the plains of Patagonia to the southern extremity of the continent, extend over a distance of three thousand five hundred miles from north to south. The Spanish term “llano” (plain), and the Peruvian “pampa,” designate the treeless plains of the Orinoco and La Plata basins. The Llanos of the Orinoco, during one-half of the year are covered by the richest pasturage, bright with flowers, but during the other half are a parched waste. The Selvas of the Amazon, a luxuriant forest, cover more than a million square miles; and the treeless Pampas, with their tall grasses and thickets of clover and thistles, illustrate the endless richness and variety of nature.

Alluvial and marine plains generally have but a slight altitude, while the undulating plains are sometimes considerably elevated. The Mississippi Valley, at St. Louis, one thousand miles from the ocean, is hardly four hundred feet above the sea-level; and the Amazon, at an equal distance from the sea, does not reach two hundred and fifty feet. The marine plains adjacent to the Caspian and Aral seas are still lower, the larger portion being below the sea-level.


Plateaus are situated either between two lofty mountain chains, which form their margins, or descend by successive terraces to the nearest seas; or they pass, by gradations, from the base of high mountains to the low plains in the interior of the continents.

The Great American Basin, between the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the plateau of Tibet, between the Himalaya and Kuenlun mountains, are examples of the first position; and the table-land of Mexico, of the second. The third is seen in the high plains at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, which descend from an altitude of five thousand or six thousand feet, at the foot of the mountains, to the low plains of the Mississippi basin.

The plateaus most remarkable for their elevation are, Tibet, from ten thousand to eighteen thousand feet above the sea; and the elongated valley-like highlands, from ten thousand to thirteen thousand feet high, between the two chains of the Andes, in South America. East Turkestan and Mongolia, in central Asia; the plateau of Iran, in western Asia; Abyssinia, and the vast plateau which occupies all the southern part of Africa; and the broad table-land which fills the western half of North America with a continuous mass of high land, range in height from four thousand to eight thousand feet.

The great peninsulas of Deccan, Arabia, Asia-Minor and Spain, the central plateau of France, and those of Switzerland, Bavaria, and Transylvania, vary from one thousand to four thousand feet in elevation.


The nature of the soil and climate of great plateaus is in general such as to render them the least useful portions of the continents. Sahara, with an average altitude of 1,000 feet, and the higher [55] plateaus of Mongolia, Iran and parts of the American Basin, may serve as types.

Their surface consists of hardened sand and rock; of hillocks and plains of loose sand constantly shifting by the wind; and of immense tracts, as in Mongolia, covered with pebbles varying from the size of a walnut, or even less, to a foot in diameter: all indicating the original transporting, grinding and depositing of these materials by water.

Salt lakes without outlet occur in each, and salt efflorescence often covers the ground. A lack of rain to wash from the soil substances injurious to vegetation, and supply the water necessary for the growth of plants, leaves these plateaus generally sterile, and some of the most extensive are in part, if not wholly, deserts.


Mountains rise in long and comparatively narrow lines or ridges, the tops of which are often deeply indented, presenting to the eye the appearance of a series of peaks detached one from another. As each of these peaks or distinct elevations is called a mountain and often receives a separate name, the common designation chain or range of mountains is naturally applied to the whole.

The top of the ridge, from which the waters descend on opposite sides, is called the crest; and the notches between the peaks, from which transverse valleys often stretch like deep furrows down the slopes of the chain, are called passes.


Mountain chains are seldom isolated, but are usually combined into systems, consisting of several more or less parallel and connected chains, with their intervening valleys,—as the Appalachian system, the Alps, and the Andes.

Most mountain chains seem to have been produced by tremendous lateral pressure in portions of the Earth’s crust, causing either long folds, or deep fissures with upturned edges rising into high ridges, the broken strata forming ragged peaks.


Mountains by folding are generally of moderate elevation, while mountains by fracture include the highest chains of the globe. The Appalachian Mountains in North America, and the Jura in Europe, are examples of the first; the Rocky Mountains, Andes, Alps and Himalayas, of the second.

Folded mountains are curved into long arches, either entire or broken at the summit and forming a system of long, parallel ridges, of nearly equal height, separated by trough-like valleys. Here and there, however, deep gaps, or gorges, cut the chains allowing the rivers to escape from one valley to another.

In systems of mountains produced by fracture, there is usually one main central chain, with several subordinate ranges. They have, however, less regularity and similarity among themselves than the parallel chains of mountains by folding.

The crests are deeply indented, cut down one-third or one-half the height of the range, forming isolated peaks and passes which present to the eye the appearance of a saw, called in Spanish Sierra; in Portuguese, Serra. Such ranges are frequently distinguished by these terms, as the Sierra Nevada, in North America; and the Serra do Mar, in Brazil.


Valleys among mountains owe their existence primarily to folds or fissures in the Earth’s crust, produced in the upheaving of the ranges; but they are subsequently deepened, widened and otherwise changed in form and extent, by the action of rains and frosts, and the streams to which they furnish a pathway. Most of the Alpine lakes, celebrated for their picturesque beauty, occupy deep basins at the outlet of transverse valleys.

Valleys in plains and plateaus are mainly, if not entirely, the result of the erosion, or wear of the surface, by running water.

Little rills, formed by the rains or issuing from springs, set out on their course down the slope of the ground, each wearing its small furrow in the surface. Uniting they form a rivulet which wears a broader and deeper channel; and the rivulets in turn combining, form rivers which produce still greater effects.


The great basin of the Mississippi for example, is one grand central valley, cut by the main stream in the line of lowest level, towards which the valleys of the Missouri, the Arkansas, the Ohio, and a multitude of smaller streams, all converge.



1. Mount Everest, the loftiest mountain in the world, is situated in Nepal, India, and rises to an ascertained height of 29,000 feet—almost six miles. It was named for Sir George Everest, an English engineer, and outline Surveyor-General of India. Everest is only one of numerous gigantic peaks of the Himalayas—often called the “Roof of the World”—and is apparently guarded against all attempts at ascent by a rampart of lofty pinnacles. It is best viewed from a point near Darjeeling, India, one hundred and twenty miles distant. From this point travelers are enthralled with the glistening peak of mountain piles as nowhere else on earth. Though a thousand times described, the view is so surpassingly sublime that its full glory can never be depicted in words.

2. Mont Blanc (mòn-blon-g) is the highest mountain in Europe, and of the Alps. It is located between Great and Little St. Bernard passes, on the frontier of France, Switzerland and Italy; and is best seen and approached from the village of Chamounix (shä-mo-nē´), France. It was first ascended in 1786, but frequently since, and, in 1893, an observatory was built on its summit. The Mont Blanc chain is famous for glaciers. Many great poets have described the majesty of Mont Blanc, among them, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Coleridge.

3. The Matterhorn, or Mount Cervin, a splendid mountain obelisk, towers above Zermatt, Switzerland, on the Italian border. The eastern side seems almost vertical, and its ascent is very difficult; hence its name which is due to the formation of the rocky, horn-shaped peak. The loss of life attending its ascent has given the Matterhorn the grim name “Fatal Mountain.”

4. Monte Rosa (mŏn´te rō´sa), “rosy mountain,” is next to Mont Blanc, the highest Alpine peak. It is the border between Italy and Switzerland, sixty miles north of Turin, Switzerland. Unlike the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa is easy of ascent and is frequently climbed by ladies. Its name refers to the glaciers which abound and reflect beautiful colors.

5. Jungfrau (yung´frau), “virgin,” is one of the Bernese Alps, Switzerland, thirteen miles from Interlaken. It is so named from the pure whiteness of its snowclad peak. A wonderful mountain railway now reaches to the summit, most of the line being through tunnels. Jungfrau is 13,670 feet high.

6. Mount Elburz is one of the loftiest and most impressive of all the Caucasian mountains. It is an extinct volcano with two peaks, the western peak 18,470 feet above sea-level, and the other 18,347 feet. It is covered with glaciers, and constitutes a watershed which divides Asia from Europe. The Caucasus gave its name to that great branch of the human race that has ruled the world for many generations.

7. Mount Sinai (si´ or -nī), famous as the sacred mountain on which Moses received the Ten Commandments, is an individual peak in a vast rocky mass that almost fills the peninsula of Sinai between the Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Akaba. It is named from Sin, the Babylonian moon-god. At its foot, in a ravine, is the monastery of St. Catherine, founded by the Emperor Justinian; a short distance from it the Chapel of St. Elias (Elijah); while on its summit is a little pilgrim church. Its height is 8,593 feet.

8. Pike’s Peak. This famous mountain is six miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and may be ascended by a cog railway. It is one of the best-known summits of the Rocky Mountains, and rears its snowy crest to a height of 14,134 feet. On its top is one of the highest weather stations in the world. The view from the observatory is superb, embracing thousands of square miles of mountain and plain.

9. Mount St. Elias, on the Alaskan side of the Canadian frontier, was long considered the highest peak in North America. It is a volcanic mountain, stands in a wild, inaccessible region, and is clothed almost from base to summit with eternal snow. Besides, there are huge glaciers, impassable precipices and yawning chasms. Its height is 18,020 feet. It was ascended by the Duke of the Abruzzi in 1897.

10. Mount Assiniboine (as-sin´i-boin) is frequently called the “Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies”. It is 11,860 feet in height, and is located near the boundary of British Columbia and Alberta, about twenty miles south of Banff, in one of the most beautiful scenic regions in America. In the immediate vicinity there are geysers, caves, waterfalls, numerous lakes, natural bridges, and glaciers.

11. Mount Popocatepetl (pō-pō-kă-tā-pet´l) is one of the giant volcanic peaks standing guard over Mexico City. Its summit is perpetually covered with snow, but it may be ascended from Popo Park, the terminal of the railway which climbs its slope, to a height of 8,000 feet. The peak itself is 17,887 feet, at the apex of which is a huge crater sheathed with ice, from which clouds of vapor are continually ascending. No great eruption, however, has taken place since 1540. The most imposing spectacle of all from the summit is the remarkable formation of clouds below.

12. Mount Salcantay, one of the most beautiful peaks of the Andes, in Peru, is 21,000 feet in height. Its grandeur is enhanced by the presence of glaciers and the enveloping clouds. It rises to a sharp point with its sides covered with snow and ice, and lifts its head magnificently thousands of feet higher than the surrounding mountains. It has been recently explored by the Yale University expedition.

13. Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, reaches an elevation of 13,700 feet. It is on the border between Alberta and British Columbia, one of the remarkable “show places” of the Canadian Rockies. All around it is the finest of scenery—huge mountains, snow-crested peaks, rushing rivers that swirl and foam, mysterious canyons and earth-strewn boulders.

14. Mount Rainier (´ner) an isolated mountain of the Cascade Range, forty miles southeast of Tacoma, Washington, is an extinct volcano, 15,529 feet in height. There are still two craters at the summit which give off heat and sulphurous fumes. Thick forests cover the lower region of the mountain, while higher up there are fourteen glaciers. It is difficult of ascent, though frequently made. A bridle path leads to a point over 7,000 feet in elevation from which a magnificent view of several of the glaciers may be had.

Mount Ararat, famed as the mountain where Noah’s ark landed after the flood, as recorded in Genesis, is in the Turkish province of Armenia. Ararat is really a twin mountain, the two peaks of which are about seven miles apart, with an elevation of about 17,000 and 13,000 feet, respectively. They rise above a beautiful alluvial plain, and quite naturally the higher peak—Great Ararat—is the one made historically immortal as the motherland of the human race. From their isolation and bareness the two peaks are very impressive, and it is little wonder that Armenia regards these mountain tops as a crown of glory and all other lands as her daughters. Within her borders, too, she gives rise to the beautiful rivers Euphrates, Tigris, Pison, Araxes, and many others. The first modern ascent of the mountain was made in 1829, though often since.



Wonderful examples of valleys by erosion occur in the plateaus adjacent to the Rocky Mountains. The Grand Canon of the Colorado, three hundred miles long, has a depth of from three thousand to six thousand feet below the surrounding country. The sides of this tremendous gorge, which are nearly or quite precipitous, exhibit the successive geological strata down to the oldest rocks. A similar formation exists in the upper course of the Yellowstone, one of the main tributaries of the Missouri, and to a less extent in all the streams flowing through the high barren plateaus.

Valleys descending the slopes of mountains are formed in the same manner. The gathering drops make the rill, and the rill its little furrow; rills combine into rivulets, and rivulets make a gully down the hill-side; rivulets unite to form torrents, and these work with accumulating force, and excavate deep gorges in the declivities. Other torrents form in the same manner about the mountain ridge, and pursue the same work of erosion until the slopes are a series of valleys and ridges, and the summit a bold crest overlooking the eroding waters. The larger part of the valleys of the world are formed entirely by running water.



The multitude of small and apparently fragmentary bodies of land, called islands, form only about one-seventeenth part of the entire land surface of the globe.

Continental islands are situated in the immediate vicinity of the continents, and form properly a part of the continental structure. They have the same kinds of rocks and mountain forms, and the same varieties of plants and large animals, which are found on the neighboring coasts of the mainland.

The size of this class of islands varies extremely. Some are mere isolated rocks, while others occupy large areas, like the British Isles, Japan Islands and Madagascar; or, more extensive still, Papua and Borneo, each of which has an area exceeding two hundred thousand square miles.

The distinctive character of Oceanic islands is that they lie at a distance from the continents, in the midst of the ocean basins. They are always small, and, though sometimes forming lines, or bands, they more frequently occur in groups.

The rocks which make up the body of the continents and continental islands—sandstone, slate, granite, and the various metamorphic rocks—are entirely wanting in oceanic islands. The latter are composed either of volcanic substances, or of limestone. Hence they present much less variety in relief forms than the continental islands.


The islands of volcanic origin are more or less circular in outline; are usually considerably elevated, with rapid slopes; and are of moderate size. Sometimes two or more volcanoes, clustered together, form a single island of larger size and more irregular outline.

Occasional islands rise but little above the surface of the sea, their craters being filled by sea water. Many, however, rise to Alpine heights—like the peaks of Hawaii, in the Hawaiian Islands, nearly fourteen thousand feet in elevation; Pico de Teyde, in the Canaries, fourteen thousand feet; and Tahiti, in the Society Islands, over seven thousand feet above the level of the sea.


Coral islands are among the most striking phenomena of the tropical seas. Whitsunday Island in the midst of the Pacific is an excellent example. Rising but a few feet above the surface of the ocean, it forms a narrow, unbroken, nearly circular ring, surrounding a central lagoon of quiet water. When first seen, it presents the aspects of an angry surf breaking on a white beach of coral sand, in strong contrast with the deep blue color of the sea. Behind this a garland of luxuriant vegetation, whose tropical beauty, enhanced by the noble cocoa-palm encircles the quiet waters of the lagoon, while all around spreads the broad blue sea.




This greatest of nature’s gorges is more than twelve miles across, a mile deep, and extends over two hundred miles in length. This whole vast space has been sculptured by the wear of the river through countless centuries. Its unparalleled magnitude, its architectural forms and suggestions, and its wealth of color effects create a picture that is grand beyond description.


This vast reef of coral islands was built by a colony of coral insects, or polyps, as innumerable as the stars of the Milky Way. It rose from the floor of the ocean, builded out of myriads upon myriads of the dead skeletons of these marvellous insects.



A large number of volcanic islands in the Pacific are encircled by coral reefs, which, when near the shore, are called fringing reefs. When at a considerable distance, leaving a lagoon of quiet water between them and the volcanic island, they are termed barrier reefs.


Coral reefs are masses of limestone originally secreted, in the form of coral, by minute polyps which live in countless numbers in the tropical seas. The coral produced by a single community of polyps grows chiefly upward; but multitudes of distinct communities often live so near together that the small lateral growth of each brings them into contact.

Their separate, fragile structures, gradually broken up and compacted by various means, are in time transformed into a solid mass, forming walls of coral rock frequently of enormous extent. The great barrier reef near the northeastern shores of Australia, the longest known, is not less than one thousand two hundred and fifty miles in length.


The coral polyp is one of the master-builders of the world. It may be likened to a sea-anemone, but is inferior in muscular organism, and immensely superior in defensive organization.

Reef-building polyps do not live below the depth of one hundred or one hundred and twenty feet, and hence require a [61] foundation near the surface. This is supplied by submarine mountains and plateaus, or the slopes of those volcanic cones which form the high islands.

Growing vertically, the reefs repeat at the surface the outlines of their bases, which fact gives rise to the circular figure both of atolls and reefs in mid-ocean, and to the elongated, wall-like form of reefs adjacent to the continents, like those of Florida and of Australia.


Reef-building polyps are confined to the tropical seas, where the winter temperature is not below sixty-eight degrees. Coral formations are most extensive in the Pacific Ocean, especially south of the Equator, and in the two great archipelagoes of the East and West Indies; but a large number of coral islands also occur in the Indian Ocean. The Coral Sea, east of northern Australia, is particularly remarkable for the great extent of its coral reefs.


The usual form of coral islands is that of a broken ring, numerous channels affording entrance into the lagoon. Such a group of islands is called an atoll, a Malay term, which has been adopted to designate these singular structures. The central lagoon enclosed by an atoll, is invariably shallow, seldom exceeding a few scores, or at most hundreds, of feet in depth; while the outer sea reaches a depth of thousands of feet at a short distance from the shore, showing that the atoll rests upon a submarine mountain.

Atolls are often clustered together in large numbers, forming extensive archipelagoes. Paumotu, or Low Archipelago, numbers eighty coral islands, nearly all of which are atolls; the Caroline, Gilbert and Marshall islands together contain eighty-four atolls, while the Laccadive and Maldive islands form two long double series of atolls extending eight hundred miles from north to south.


(See next page for the Area, Population and Countries to which these islands belong).


Large illustration (404 kB)



Name and Sovereignty Area
Anticosti (to Britain) 2,600 500
Bahamas (to Britain) 4,404 58,000
Bermudas (to Britain) 20 20,000
Cape Breton (to Britain) 3,120 100,000
Cuba (Independent) 44,164 2,155,000
Dominica (to Britain) 291 35,000
Falkland (to Britain) 5,500 3,250
Feeji, or Feejee (to Britain) 7,435 155,000
Galapagos (to Ecuador) 2,400 400
Greenland (to Denmark) 46,740 15,000
Guadeloupe (to France) 688 182,000
Hawaiian See Sandwich.    
Isla de Pinos (Isle of Pines) (to Spain) 1,200 32,000
Jamaica (to Britain) 4,200 865,000
Long Island (to U. S.) 1,682 2,700,000
Martinique (to France) 378 180,000
New Foundland (to Britain) 42,734 218,000
Porto Rico (to U. S.) 3,604 1,120,000
Prince Edward (to Britain) 2,184 94,000
Santo Domingo (Independent) 28,250 2,700,000
Sandwich or Hawaiian (to U. S.) 6,449 192,000
Staten Island (to U. S.) 65 86,000
Tahiti (to France) 1,500 30,000
Tierra del Fuego (to Argentina) 18,500 1,700
Trinidad (to Britain) 1,750 350,000
Vancouver (to Britain) 15,937 55,000



Large illustration (323 kB)


Name and Sovereignty Area
Balearic Islands (to Spain) 1,935 326,000
Borneo (to Britain and Holland) 284,000 2,000,000
Canary Islands (to Spain) 2,807 420,000
Candia, or Crete (to Turkey) 3,365 243,000
Cape Verde Islands (to Portugal) 1,480 148,000
Celebes (to Holland) 71,470 2,000,000
Ceylon (to Britain) 25,332 3,595,000
Corsica (to France) 3,378 290,000
Cyprus (to Britain) 3,584 140,000
Elba (to Italy) 85 27,000
England (Independent) 88,729 40,835,000
Formosa (to Japan) 13,458 3,392,000
Gothland (to Sweden) 1,217 56,000
Hainan (to China) 16,000 2,000,000
Iceland (to Denmark) 39,756 86,000
Ireland (to Britain) 32,360 4,382,000
Japan -   Honshiu 87,485 37,415,000
Khiushiu 16,840 7,727,000
Skikoku 7,031 3,290,000
Hokkaido (Yezo) 36,299 1,140,000
Java (to Holland) 50,554 30,100,000
Madagascar (to France) 227,950 2,745,000
Madeira Islands (to Portugal) 314 150,600
Malta (to Britain) 117 229,000
New Guinea See Papua.    
New Zealand (to Britain) -   N. Island 44,468 564,000
S. Island 58,325 445,000
Papua, or New Guinea (to Britain, Germany and Holland) 313,183 710,000
Philippines (to U. S.) -   Luzon 40,969 3,800,000
Mindanao 36,292 500,000
Panay 4,611 744,000
Cebu 1,762 593,000
Leyte 2,722 358,000
St. Helena (to Britain) 47 3,520
Sakhalin (Japan and Russia) 29,000 30,000
Sardinia (to Italy) 9,306 854,000
Sicily (to Italy) 9,935 3,685,000
Spitzbergen (to Norway) 27,000 ...
Sumatra (to Holland) 165,000 3,200,000
Van Diemen, or Tasmania (to Britain) 26,215 197,000
Zanzibar (to Britain) 640 115,000


1. Midnight Sun Within the Arctic Circle. 2. The Geyser At Rest. 3. Picture Diagram of a Section through a Volcano like Vesuvius. 4. The Geyser in Action. 5. Section of the Earth’s Crust across France and Italy.

1. Precambrian or Archaean. 2. Cambrian and Ordovician. 3. Silurian. 4. Carboniferous Limestone. 5. Coal Measures. 6. Permian. 7. Trias. 8. Jurassic. 9. Chalk. 10. Tertiary. 11. Volcanic Rocks. 12. Glacial Deposits. 13. Granite. 14. Gneiss. 15. Schist. 16. Alluvium.

Large illustrations: Fig. 2 (left) (272 kB)
Fig. 3 (center) (416 kB)
Fig. 4 (right) (190 kB)
Fig. 5 (bottom) (133 kB)




In this little Bay of Santorin, enclosed by an island of the same name in the Grecian Archipelago, occurred probably the most remarkable volcanic exhibition known. During an eruption in 1866 flames issued from the sea rising sometimes to a height of twenty-five feet, and a dense column of white smoke mounted to an immense height. Within a few days a new island appeared which gradually became united to the present Santorin.


The primary cause of volcanoes, as of geysers, earthquakes and other similar phenomena of nature, is the intensely heated condition of the earth’s interior. It is the same force that has produced the irregular features of the earth’s surface—its mighty mountain chains, the sunken basins of the oceans, and its hills, valleys and gorges. Quite logically, volcanoes are most numerous and most intense along the deep mountain fissures which establish a ready communication between the interior and the surface of the earth. Consequently the significant facts about them are: (1) Nearly all volcanoes are either along the highest border of the continents, or in the great central zone of fracture; (2) most of the volcanic groups exhibit a linear arrangement; (3) the agent at work in these mighty engines is mainly vapor of water, or steam power.


The form of typical volcanic mountain is that of a cone, with a circular basin or depression, called a crater, at its summit. In the center of the crater is the mouth of a perpendicular shaft or chimney, which emits clouds of hot vapor and gases; and in periods of greater activity, ejects ashes, fragments of heated rock, and streams of fiery lava.

Volcanic ashes, when examined under a microscope, are found to be simply pulverized lava, frequently in minute crystals, and bear no resemblance to ashes in the ordinary sense of the term.

The lava stream, when flowing white hot from the crater, is not unlike a jet of melted iron escaping from a furnace, and moves at first with considerable rapidity. It soon cools on the surface, and becomes covered with a hard, black, porous crust, while the interior remains [64] melted and continues to flow. If the stream is thick, the lava may be found still warm after ten or even twenty years.

The amount of matter ejected by volcanoes is very great. The whole island of Hawaii, the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, seems to be only an accumulation of lava thrown out by its four craters. All high oceanic islands are of the same character. Iceland, with an area of forty thousand square miles, is a vast table-land from three thousand to five thousand feet in elevation, composed of volcanic rock similar to the lavas still ejected by its numerous volcanoes.


Nearly all active volcanoes have intervals of comparative repose, interrupted by periods of increased activity, which terminate in a violent ejection of matter from the interior, during which the volcano is said to be in a state of eruption.

The phenomena which characterize these differing phases of volcanic activity may be best made clear by describing them as actually observed in Vesuvius, one of the most carefully studied and most active volcanoes of modern times.

Vesuvius is a solitary mountain rising to the height of nearly 4,000 feet, from the midst of a highly cultivated plain which borders upon the shores of the Bay of Naples. Though the mountain has a regular conical form, two summits, very nearly equal in height, are visible from Naples—Monte Somma on the north, and Vesuvius proper on the south.

The Eruption begins generally with a tremendous explosion which seems to shake the mountain to its very foundations, and hurls into the air dense clouds of vapor and ashes. Other explosions succeed rapidly, and with increasing violence, each sending up a white, globular cloud of steam, or aqueous vapor. This long array of clouds, accompanied by dark ashes, volcanic sand, and fragments of red-hot lava of all sizes, soon forms a stupendous column.

Finally the boiling lava overflows the rim of the crater, and descends in fiery torrents down the slopes; or, bursting the mountain by its weight, finds a vent through some fissure far below the summit. After the expulsion of the lava the eruption is generally near its end, though it does not necessarily terminate at once. Alternate phases of outbursting steam, ashes, and lava may continue with more or less violence for weeks or even months.

The sudden condensation of the enormous accumulation of hot vapor thrown into the air by the eruption, gives rise to striking atmospheric phenomena. Vivid flashes of lightning start from all parts of the column, and play about the clouds above; and often a local thunderstorm, formed in the midst of a clear sky, pours a heavy rain of warm water and ashes upon the slopes of the mountain. The hot, destructive mud torrents, created by these rains, have often been mistaken for lava streams.

The majesty of the spectacle is still greater at night. Though flames of burning gases are of rare occurrence, the clouds and columns of vapor are strongly illuminated by the reflection of the white-hot lava within the crater; and fragments of this lava constantly thrown into the air give the column all the brilliancy of a gigantic piece of fire-work. The sky itself, far and wide, partakes of the same vivid coloring, and the whole scene resembles a vast conflagration.


In size they vary from mere mounds a few yards in diameter, such as the salses or mud-volcanoes near the Caspian, to Etna, 9,652 feet high, with a base thirty miles in diameter; Cotopaxi, in the Andes, 18,880 feet high; or Mauna Loa, in the Sandwich Isles, 13,600 feet high, with a base seventy miles in diameter and two craters, one of which, Kilauea, is the largest active crater in our earth, being seven miles in circuit.

Two great terrestrial zones include nearly all the known volcanoes of the globe, arranged in long bands or series, or in isolated groups.

First Zone. This includes the vast array of mountain chains, peninsulas, and bands of islands which encircle the Pacific Ocean with a belt of burning mountains. Within it occur, in the New World: (1) the Andes mountains, with three of the most remarkable series of volcanoes—those of Chili, Bolivia, and Ecuador—separated by hundreds of miles; (2) the volcanic group of Central America; (3) the series of Mexico; (4) the series of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains; (5) the group of Alaska; and (6) the long series of the Aleutian Islands.

In the Old World are: (1) the series of Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands; (2) the group of Japan; (3) the series south of Japan, including Formosa, the Philippine and the Molucca Islands; and (4) the Australian series, including New Guinea, New Britain, New Hebrides, and New Zealand. In this vast zone there are not less than four hundred volcanoes, one hundred and seventy of which are still active.

Second Zone. This contains the belt of broken lands and inland seas, which [65] extending round the globe, separates the northern from the southern continents, and intersects the first zone, in the equatorial regions, nearly at right angles.

In it are: (1) the volcanic regions of Central America and Mexico, and the series of the Lesser Antilles; (2) the groups of the Azores and Canary islands (3) the Mediterranean islands and peninsulas, including all the active volcanoes of Europe; (4) Asia Minor with numerous extinct volcanoes; (5) the shores of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, and the two Indias, rich in traces of volcanic action; (6) the East Indian Archipelago with hundreds of burning mountains; and (7) the Friendly Islands and other volcanic groups of the central Pacific.

In this zone there are no less than one hundred and sixty volcanoes, so that the two volcanic zones together contain five hundred and sixty, or five-sixths of all known.

Isolated Volcanoes. The volcanoes not included in these two great zones are isolated, in the midst of the oceans, or in the broken polar lands. The most noted are the Hawaiian Island group, in the Pacific; Bourbon and Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean; Cape Verde Islands, Ascension, St. Helena, and Tristan da Cunha, in the Atlantic; Iceland and Jan Mayen, in the Arctic Ocean; and Erebus and Terror, in Antarctic.


Name Location Height
Altar Ecuador 17,710
Antisana Ecuador 19,335
Asosan Japan 5,630
Cayambi Ecuador 19,255
Chimborazo Ecuador 21,424
Copiapo Chile 19,700
Cotocachi Ecuador 16,300
Cotopaxi Ecuador 18,880
Demavend Persia 18,500
Etna Sicily 9,652
Fujiyama Japan 12,390
Hecla Iceland 5,110
Hood, Mt. Oregon 11,225
Iztaccihuati Mexico 16,076
Kirishima-yama Japan 5,530
Llullaillac Chile 21,000
Maipo Chile 17,670
Mauna Kea Hawaii 13,953
Mauna Loa Hawaii 13,600
Misti Peru 20,015
Nevado de Colima Mexico 14,210
Orizaba Mexico 18,310
Pelée Martinique, W. I. 4,300
Pichincha Ecuador 15,918
Pico, Peak of Azores 7,013
Popocatepetl Mexico 17,748
Ruiz Colombia 17,388
Sahama Peru 23,000
Sangai Ecuador 17,459
San Jose Chile 20,020
St. Elias, Mt. Alaska 18,024
St. Helena, Mt. United States 10,000
Stromboli Lipari Islands 3,090
Tahiti, Peak of Friendly Islands 7,400
Teneriffe Canary Islands 12,000
Tolima Columbia 18,069
Toluco Mexico 14,950
Tunguragua Ecuador 16,690
Vesuvius Italy 4,260

Earthquakes are movements of the earth’s crust, varying in intensity from a slight tremor or shaking of the ground to the most violent convulsions causing enormous destruction over wide areas.


The wave-like or undulatory motion is most common and least destructive. It appears to be the normal one, and it is possible that the others may be simply the result of various systems of waves intersecting one another. The waves either advance in one direction, like waves of the sea, or spread from a central point, like ripples produced by dropping a pebble into still water.

The earthquakes of the Andes are chiefly linear, being propagated along the mountains, with the undulations perpendicular to the direction of the ranges. The destructive earthquake at Lisbon, was a central one, the concentric waves gradually diminishing in intensity with increasing distance from the place of origin.

The vertical motion acts from beneath like the explosion of a mine, and when violent nothing can resist its force. The earthquake at Calcutta, in September, 1828, owed its great destructiveness to the fact that the main shock was vertical; and one in Murcia, Spain, in 1829, destroyed or injured more than three thousand five hundred houses.

The rotary or whirling motion is the most dangerous, but happily the rarest of all. In the great earthquake of Jamaica, in 1692, the surface of the ground was so disturbed that fields changed places, or were found twisted into each other.


Probably no part of the earth’s surface is entirely free from vibration, but, fortunately, destructive earthquakes are confined to comparatively limited regions. [66] In most cases each shock lasts only a few seconds, but the tremblings that follow may be continued for days, weeks, or even months. Noises of sundry kinds usually precede, accompany, or succeed an earthquake. Some earthquakes, however, are not attended by any subterranean sounds. This has been the case with some of the most destructive South American disturbances. Thus at the time of the terrible shock which destroyed Riobamba in Ecuador in 1797, a complete silence reigned. On the other hand, subterranean sounds may be heard without any earth-tremor being perceived.

The sound which accompanies many earthquakes is due to the transmission to the air of vibrations in the soil. To produce sound-waves in the air, the ground must vibrate like a drumhead. Hence no sound will be heard when the oscillations are horizontal.

The velocity of propagation of an earthquake is very variable. Thus in the case of the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, it seems to have considerably exceeded one thousand feet per second, while in the Lisbon earthquake of 1761 the rate was three times greater. At Tokio, in 1881, the velocity, as estimated by Professor Milne, varied between four thousand feet and nine thousand feet per second.

Depth of Earthquakes. Various attempts have been made to estimate the depth at which earthquakes originate. Mallet was of opinion that the centrum of the Neapolitan earthquake of 1857 was probably five and one-half miles from the surface. The same eminent physicist thought that an earthquake centrum probably never exceeded a depth of thirty geographical miles. According to Professor Milne, the angles of emergence of the earth-waves obtained during the Yokohama earthquake of 1880 showed that the depth of origin of that earthquake might be between one and one-half and five miles; and he gives a table, compiled from the writings of various observers, which exhibits the mean depths at which certain earthquakes have originated. These estimated depths range from 17,260 feet to 127,309 feet.

The area disturbed by an earthquake is generally proportionate to the intensity of the shock. The great earthquake of Lisbon disturbed an area four times as great as the whole of Europe. In the form of tremors and pulsations, Mr. Milne remarks, it may have shaken the whole globe.

In a violent submarine earthquake the ordinary earth-wave and sound-wave are accompanied by sea-waves. These waves may be twenty, sixty or even eighty feet higher than the highest tide, and are usually more dreaded than the earthquake shock itself in such regions as the maritime districts of South America. The greatest sea-wave on record is that which in 1737, is said to have broken near Cape Lopatka, at the south end of Kamchatka, two hundred and ten feet in height.


79. One accompanied by the eruption of Vesuvius; the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum buried.

742. Awful one in Syria, Palestine, and Asia; more than 500 towns were destroyed and the loss of life surpassed all calculations.

936. Constantinople overturned; all Greece shaken.

1137. Catania, in Sicily, overturned, and 15,000 persons buried in the ruins.

1186. At Calabria; one of its cities and all its inhabitants overwhelmed in the Adriatic Sea.

1456. At Naples, 40,000 persons perished.

1537. At Lisbon; 1,500 houses and 30,000 persons buried in the ruins; several neighboring towns ingulfed with their inhabitants.

1596. In Japan; several cities made ruins, and thousands perished.

1662. One in China, when 300,000 persons were buried in Pekin alone.

1693. One in Sicily, which overturned fifty-four cities and towns, and 300 villages. Of Catania and its 18,000 inhabitants not a trace remained; more than 100,000 lives were lost.

1726. Palermo nearly destroyed; 6,000 lives lost.

1731. Again in China; and 100,000 people swallowed up at Pekin.

1746. Lima and Callao demolished; 18,000 persons buried in the ruins.

1754. At Grand Cairo; half of the houses and 40,000 persons swallowed up.

1755. Quito destroyed.

1755. Great earthquake at Lisbon. In about eight minutes most of the houses and upward of 50,000 inhabitants were swallowed up, and whole streets buried. The cities of Coimbra, Oporto, and Braga suffered dreadfully, and St. Ubes was wholly overturned. In Spain, a large part of Malaga became ruins. One-half of Fez, in Morocco, was destroyed, and more than 12,000 Arabs perished there. About half of the Island of Madeira became waste; and 2,000 houses in the Island of Mytilene, in the Archipelago, were overthrown. This awful earthquake extended 5,000 miles; even to Scotland.

1759. In Syria, extended over 10,000 square miles; Baalbec destroyed.

1783. Messina and other towns in Italy and Sicily overthrown; 40,000 persons perished.

1797. The whole country between Santa Fe and Panama destroyed, including Cusco and Quito, 40,000 people buried.

1840. Awful and destructive earthquake at Mount Ararat, in one of the districts of Armenia; 3,137 houses were overthrown, and several hundred persons perished.

1842. At Cape Haytien, St. Domingo, which destroyed nearly two-thirds of the town; between 4,000 and 5,000 lives were lost.

1851. In South Italy; Melfi almost laid in ruins; 14,000 lives lost.

1852. At Philippine Isles; Manila nearly destroyed.

1853. Thebes, in Greece, nearly destroyed.

1854. St. Salvador, South America, destroyed.


1854. Amasca, in Japan, and Simoda, in Nippon, destroyed; Jeddo much injured.

1855. Broussa, in Turkey, nearly destroyed.

1857. In Calabria, Montemurro and many other towns destroyed, and about 22,000 lives lost in a few seconds.

1858. Corinth nearly destroyed.

1859. At Quito; about 5,000 persons killed, and an immense amount of property destroyed.

1868. Cities of Arequipa, Iquique, Tacna, and Chincha, and many small towns in Peru and Ecuador destroyed; about 25,000 perished.

1883. Krakatoa island, between Sumatra and Java, East Indies, was the scene of a series of volcanic discharges in May to August, 1883, constituting the most tremendous eruption known to history. A cubic mile of rock material was hurled into the air, and the explosions were heard 150 miles away. Violent atmospheric disturbances and gigantic sea-waves, the latter causing great loss of life, estimated at more than 30,000. As a result of the explosion, the north part of the island, including its highest peak, altogether disappeared.

1886. Shocks throughout eastern United States; at Charleston, S. C, 41 lives and $5,000,000 worth of property lost.

1893. Islands of Zante and Stromboli, the former west of Greece, the latter one of the Lipari group, west of Calabria, Italy, severely shaken. Great loss of lives and property at Zante.

1906. Severe shocks in California wrecked San Francisco and adjacent towns, and caused the greatest fire in history, lasting two days. Great loss of life, and $300,000,000 of property destroyed; over 300,000 homeless. Stanford University buildings were damaged to the extent of $2,800,000, including the fine Memorial Church.

1906. At Valparaiso, Chile, causing great destruction of life and property.

1907. Large part of Kingston, Jamaica, destroyed.

1909. In Sicily and southern Italy, Messina and many towns and villages desolated. Appalling loss of life; thousands buried alive; the survivors homeless; one of the greatest earthquakes of modern times if not of all time.


Geysers are eruptive hot springs found chiefly in volcanic districts, but particularly in the Yellowstone Park, Iceland, New Zealand, Tibet and the Azores. At intervals these fountains of hot water and steam sometimes rise to a height of two hundred feet. The eruptions occur at intervals varying from every hour to once a day.

All the geyser waters hold in solution a considerable quantity of silica. The highly heated water decomposes the felspar and other volcanic rocks, and becoming slightly alkaline with the soda or potash these contain, it is enabled to form a silicious solution. The silica taken up is deposited again round the mouth of the orifice. Minute plants termed algæ are known to live in the hot water, and to aid in throwing down the silica from solution to form the sinter deposits.

The cause of the periodical eruptions is probably to be found in the gradual increase of heat with the depth of the tube. In the middle and lower parts the temperature is far above the boiling-point (212° F.) at the ordinary pressure. But at last the lower portion rises to a position where the temperature is above the boiling-point at the pressure it there sustains, and then, flashing into steam, it hurls the column above into the air. After playing for a few minutes the water falls back into the basin, and remains quiet for a time.


The geysers of the Yellowstone region are probably the most picturesque and wonderful in the world. On the Firehole River alone there are probably fifty geysers, throwing columns of water to a height of from fifty to two hundred feet, while smaller jets rise occasionally to two hundred and fifty feet. The “Old Faithful” geyser, in this region, throws up a column of water six feet in diameter to a height of one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet, at intervals of about an hour. Near the north entrance to the National Park, also, are the hot springs of the Gardiner River; here the “White Mountain,” built up of terraces of white calcareous deposits, rises to a considerable height, with a diameter of one hundred and fifty yards at the top.

The geysers of Iceland are situated within sight of Mount Hekla and are the hottest springs in Europe. The principal geysers of this region are known as the “Great Geyser” or “Roarer,” and the “Stroker” or “Churn.”

The geysers of New Zealand attained celebrity chiefly on account of the beautiful terraces associated with them. Unfortunately, volcanic activity manifested itself throughout the region in 1886, resulting in the destruction of the terraces. The basins connected with these geysers, catching the overflow of water, are, like those of Yellowstone region, largely used by bathers, and are much resorted to by invalids.

The three localities mentioned are where geysers attain their highest development; but they also exist in many volcanic regions notably in Japan, South America, and the Malay Archipelago.



The circulation of the waters of the earth is just as marvellous as that of the blood in the human body. First, it is drawn up from the sea by the sun and rises as vapor; the cool air condenses it first into cloud and then rain or snow; it runs together, forming springs and waterfalls and rivers; and finally it finds its way to the sea, where again the never-ending journey begins.




The underground lake in its magnificent setting of dazzling stone columns and stalactites in the Cheddar Caves, England. All these wonderful natural halls, chasms and snowy incrustations were formed by the age-long action of the water on the limestone rocks through which it filtered.

Water is found in Nature in three states or conditions—as ice, vapor or steam, and as simple water. These three forms have the same chemical composition—the substance being a compound of oxygen and hydrogen, represented by the formula H2O; but the physical condition depends entirely on its temperature. Under ordinary atmospheric conditions water is a solid below 32 degrees Fahrenheit; a gas above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and a liquid between these temperatures.

The purest form of water which exists in nature is rain water, though this always contains a little oxygen and carbon dioxide dissolved from the air. To obtain pure water artificially, any ordinary water is distilled, when all the solids dissolved in it are left behind. River water and spring water always contain a small quantity of solid matter, the amount and nature of the dissolved solids depending on the nature of the rocks over which the water has flowed.

Geographically it may be considered under the four heads of springs, rivers, lakes, and the ocean, which taken together forms the hydrosphere of the earth.


Springs, or the natural fountains of water, take their rise from reservoirs stored under ground. Water maintains a level, and hence the height to which a spring will rise depends on that of the level from which it is supplied. If the internal reservoir be on a hill, and the spring should gush out in a valley, the water may rise to a considerable height and form a natural fountain; but, on the other hand, if the reservoir be at some depth below the surface, the water may never reach the surface, and mechanical aid may be required to obtain it.

These internal reservoirs are in a great measure supplied by moisture derived from rain, snow, mist, and dew. The atmospheric water enters the earth through porous rocks, or by means of fissures, and continues to sink until arrested in its progress by rocks, such as clay, which will not permit the water to pass, or by faults which check it [70] from spreading. The waters will then gush forth as a spring, of greater or less size, according to the supplies it may have received.


All springs contain a certain portion of air and gas, and also some solid matter, usually in the form of salts. When these salts are abundant, mineral springs are the result, which may be classified according to the character of their several properties, as acidulous, chalybeate, sulphurous, saline, calcareous, and silicious.

Acidulous or acid springs are those surcharged with carbonic acid gas.

Chalybeate springs are those in which iron, in the form of carbonate or sulphate, is held in solution.

Sulphur, in the form of sulphureted hydrogen or sulphate of lime, is the distinguishing ingredient in Sulphurous springs.

Saline springs are of two kinds—brine and medicinal; brine when containing a greater or less amount of chloride of sodium or common salt, and medicinal when containing other salts, as sulphate of soda, etc.

Calcareous springs are those highly charged with the salts of lime, and which have the property of petrifying substances placed within their reach, and also of depositing their contents, forming the stalactites and stalagmites of caverns, etc.

Silicious springs are so called from holding silica or flint in solution. The last-named are all hot or thermal as well as mineral springs, deriving their heat either from the natural heat of the earth at great depths, or from volcanic action. When occurring near volcanoes, they are frequently charged with bitumen, petroleum, naptha, asphaltum, etc.


An important class of artificial springs or wells is known as Artesian Wells. Where bent pervious beds of rock lie between two bent impervious beds, so as to make a basin-shaped depression, lower in the middle than at the edges, the rain which sinks into the pervious rock where it reaches the surface will begin to gather in the central part of the porous rock as in a reservoir.

If a hole be now bored in the hollow of the upper impervious bed till it reaches the water-bearing stratum, the water will flow out at the top. The water thus obtained may have fallen a distance of many miles several months previously, and if the gathering-ground be high the issue at the well may be forced by the pressure of the water behind to a considerable height.


Rivers have their sources from springs or from the melting of accumulations of snow. They do not, however, receive their largest supplies from the actual summits of mountains, for copious springs are rarely met with in such situations, nor are glaciers formed on the highest points of mountains, but more usually on slopes of the upper mountain valleys. It is, accordingly, in the latter localities that many of the largest rivers take their rise.

Watershed. It not unfrequently happens that several rivers take their rise in one mountain ridge, some flowing in one direction, and others taking an opposite course. Such a ridge is termed a watershed. Thus the Rhine, the Rhone, and the Danube all take their rise in the Alps, the first discharging itself into the North Sea, the second into the Mediterranean Sea, and the last into the Black Sea.

Basin. The portion of country drained by a river and its tributary streams is called its basin, from its catching the rains which fall within its circuit, and which the river carries to the sea. The largest river-basin in Europe is that of the Volga, in Asia, that of the Ganges, in Africa that of the Nile, in North America that of the Mississippi, and in South America that of the Amazon.


RIVER Length
Emptying Into Area of Drainage
in Square Miles,
Mississippi-Missouri (United States) 4,330 Gulf of Mexico 1,245,000
Nile (Egypt) 3,500 Mediterranean 1,050,000
Amazon (Brazil): the only large river with direct latitudinal course 3,300 At Ocean on the Equator 2,700,000
Yangtze-Kiang (China) 3,000 Yellow Sea 548,000
Congo (Central Africa) 2,900 Atlantic Ocean 1,430,000
Lena (Russia in Asia) 2,800 Arctic Ocean 856,000
Amur (Russia in Asia) 2,800 Gulf of Saghalin 772,000
Mekong (Indo-China)[71] 2,800 China Sea Nav. 200 miles
Yenisei (Russia in Asia) 2,700 Bay of Yenisei 1,000,000
Niger (West Africa) 2,600 Atlantic Ocean 808,000
Hoangho (China) 2,500 Gulf of Pe-Chi-Li 376,400
Obi (Russia in Asia) 2,300 Gulf of Obi 1,125,000
Plata-Parana (Argentina and Brazil) 2,300 Atlantic Ocean 2,300,000
Mackenzie (Canada) 2,300 Arctic Ocean 676,000
Volga (Russia in Europe) 2,200 Caspian Sea 560,000
St. Lawrence (United States and Canada) 2,200 Gulf of St. Lawrence 500,000
Yukon (Alaska) 2,200 Behring Sea 500,000
Indus (India) 2,000 Arabian Sea 373,000
Sao Francisco (Brazil) 1,800 Atlantic Ocean 249,000
Sir Daria (Turkestan) 1,800 Sea of Aral 175,000
Brahmaputra or Burrampooter (India) 1,800 Bay of Bengal Nav. 800 miles
Rio Grande del Norte (U. S. and Mexico) 1,800 Gulf of Mexico 240,000
Danube (Austria-Hungary) 1,780 Black Sea 311,000
Saskatchewan-Nelson (Canada) 1,732 Hudson Bay 730,000
Euphrates (Turkey in Asia) 1,700 Persian Gulf 260,000
Zambesi (East Africa) 1,600 Indian Ocean 800,000
Ural (Russia in Europe) 1,500 Caspian Sea 85,000
Arkansas (United States) 1,500 Mississippi River 181,000
Orinoco (Colombia and Venezuela) 1,500 Atlantic Ocean 364,000
Ganges (India) 1,500 Bay of Bengal 409,000
Amu (Turkestan) 1,400 Sea of Aral 174,000
Columbia (United States) 1,400 Pacific Ocean 260,000
Dnieper (Russia in Europe) 1,400 Black Sea 203,000
Murray (Australia) 1,400 Indian Ocean 351,000
Don (Russia in Europe) 1,300 Sea of Azov 166,000
Orange (S. W. Africa) 1,200 Atlantic Ocean 370,000
Irawaddy (East India) 1,200 Indian Ocean Nav. 800 miles
Colorado (United States) 1,100 Gulf of California 250,000
Senegal (West Africa) 1,100 Atlantic Ocean 270,000
Tigris (Turkey in Asia) 1,000 Euphrates and Persian Gulf Nav. generally for small boats
Ohio (United States) 970 Mississippi River 201,000
Churchill (Canada) 900 Hudson Bay Nav. by canoes
Magdalena (Colombia) 840 Caribbean Sea Nav. 600 miles
Rhine (Germany) 800 North Sea 76,000
Cambia (West Africa) 750 Atlantic Ocean Nav. 300 miles
Elbe (Germany) 720 North Sea 57,000
Fraser (British Columbia) 650 Gulf of Georgia Nav. generally for small boats
Vistula (Germany, Poland) 600 Baltic Sea 120,000
Sacramento (United States) 600 Pacific Ocean Nav. 300 miles
Tagus (Portugal) 570 Atlantic Ocean 32,000
Paranahiba (Brazil) 530 Atlantic Ocean Nav. 400 miles
Guadiana (Spain) 510 Mediterranean Sea 32,000
Rhone (France) 500 Gulf of Lyons 38,000
Seine (France) 480 English Channel 30,000
Ebro (Spain) 470 Mediterranean Sea 32,000
Susquehanna (United States) 450 Chesapeake Bay Not navigable
Potomac (United States) 450 Chesapeake Bay Nav. to Washington, D. C.
Oder (Germany) 440 Baltic Sea 43,000
Po (Italy) 420 Adriatic Sea 29,000
Garonne (France) 380 Bay of Biscay 33,000
Hudson (United States) 350 New York Bay Nav. to Troy; 150 miles
Loire (France) 200 Bay of Biscay 25,000
Thames (England) 200 North Sea 5,250

Deltas and Estuaries. Owing to local peculiarities at the mouths of rivers, accumulations of sedimentary matter take place in the middle of the stream, dividing it into two or more branches. By these depositions deltas (so called from the Greek letter (Δ) delta) are formed—many of them, as those of the Mississippi and Orinoco and of the Rhine and the Ganges, being of great extent. Some rivers fall into the ocean through estuaries or wide channels, and are subject to a great swell or sudden rise of the waters when the tide enters.



FIRST: Showing the comparative length of the rivers; where and how they take their rise; where and how they empty; their chief branches and connected lakes; and the principal cities located on their banks.

SECOND: Comparative height of mountains, arranged in groups by continents, showing the relative height of both mountains and continents. See next page for LOCATION and HEIGHT IN FEET of the various mountain peaks.

Large illustrations:
Rivers (left-hand side) (480 kB)
Rivers (right-hand side) (137 kB)
Moutains (left-hand side) (187 kB)
Moutains (right-hand side) (554 kB)


Most rivers are subject to an occasional, and in some instances to a periodical increase of volume. These seasons of flood are by no means regular, being partly dependent on the melting of the snows, and partly on occasional heavy falls of rain; and hence depend on the climatic variations of the country in which rivers originate.


Note: The numbers refer back to the Picture Diagrams on the preceding page.

  Name and Location Height
A. * Mount McKinley, Coast Range, Alaska 20,300
1.   Orizaba, Cordillera, Mexico 18,310
2.   Mount St. Elias, Coast Range, Alaska 18,024
3.   Popocatapetl, Cordillera, Mexico 17,748
4.   Mount Brown, Rocky Mountains, Canada 15,990
5.   Mount Hooker, Rocky Mountains, Canada 15,700
6.   Mount Fairweather, Coast Range, Alaska 14,750
7. * Mount Rainier, Coast Range, Washington 14,408
8. * Mount Whitney, Coast Range, California 14,501
9.   Mount Elbert, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 14,402
10.   Pike’s Peak, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 14,108
11. * Gannett Peak, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming 13,785
12.   Fremont’s Peak, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming 13,570
13. * Kings Peak, Utah 13,498
14. * N. Truchas Peak, Rocky Mountains, New Mexico 13,306
15. * E. Peak, White Mountains, Nevada 13,145
16. * Granite Peak, Rocky Mountains, Montana 12,850
17. * San Francisco Peak, Arizona 12,611
18.   Mount Assiniboine, Rocky Mts., Canada 11,860
19. * Mount Hood, Coast Range, Oregon 11,225
20. * El Capitan, Texas 9,020
21.   Mount Potrillo, Cuba 9,000
22.   Cibao Mountains, Hayti, West Indies 8,970
23. * Harvey Peak, South Dakota 7,242
24.   Sierra del Cobre, Cuba 7,200
25. * Mount Mitchell, Allegheny Mts., N. C. 6,711
26. * Mount Guyot, Allegheny Mts., Tennessee 6,636
27.   Black Mountain, Allegheny Mts., N. C. 6,476
28. * Mount Washington, White Mts., N. H. 6,293
29.   Roan Mountain, Allegheny Mts., N. C. 6,038
30.   Mount Adams, White Mts., N. H. 5,963
31.   Mount Jefferson, White Mts., N. H. 5,725
32. * Mount Rogers, Blue Ridge, Virginia 5,719
33.   Mount Monroe, White Mts., N. H. 5,390
34. * Banner Peak, Nebraska 5,350
35. * Mount Marcy, Adirondacks, New York 5,344
36. * Mount Katahdin, Maine 5,273
37.   Mount McIntyre, Adirondacks, New York 5,112
38.   Mount Hecla, Iceland 5,110
39.   Mount Franklin, White Mts., N. H. 5,050
40.   Skylight, Adirondacks, New York 4,920
41.   Haystack, Adirondacks, New York 4,918
42.   Morne Garon, St. Vincent, West Indies 4,800
43. * Spruce Knob, West Virginia 4,860
44. * Brasstown Bald, Georgia 4,768
45. * Cimarron Peak, Oklahoma 4,750
46.   Mount Lafayette, White Mts., N. H. 4,723
47.   Mount Morris, Adirondacks, New York 4,576
48.   Mount Pelée, Martinique 4,300
49. * Mount Mansfield, Green Mts., Vermont 4,364
50.   Otter Peak, Allegheny Mountains, Virginia 4,260
51. * Highlands (West Boundary), Kansas 4,135
52. * Big Black Mountain, Kentucky 4,100
53.   Killington, Green Mountains, Vermont 4,100
54.   Mount Seward, Adirondacks, New York 4,000
55.   Table Mountain, Allegheny Mts., Virginia 4,000
56. * Bald Mountain, Allegheny Mts., Virginia 4,000
57.   Mount Parnassus, Spitzbergen 3,951
58.   Round Top, Catskills, New York 3,804
59.   High Peak, Catskills, New York 3,718
60.   Mount Misery, St. Christopher, West Indies 3,712
61.   Sierra de Luquillo, Porto Rico 3,678
62.   Mount Greylock, Taconic Mts., Mass. 3,505
63. * Monadnock, White Mts., New Hampshire 3,450
64. * Bowman Summit 3,500
65.   Backbone Mountain, Maryland 3,340
66. * Blue Knob, Allegheny Mts., Pennsylvania 3,136
67.   Central Peak, Nevis, West Indies 3,000
68. * Blue Mountain, Arkansas 2,800
69.   Kearsarge, White Mts., New Hampshire 2,460
70. * Cheaha Mountain, Alabama 2,407
71. * Bear Mountain, Connecticut 2,355
72. * Rib Hill, Wisconsin 1,940
73. * Mesabi Range Minnesota 1,920
74.   High Point, New Jersey 1,809
75.   Pringhar, Iowa 1,800
76.   Taun Sauk Mountain, Ozarks, Missouri 1,750
77. * Logan Summit, Ohio 1,550
78.   West Point, Highlands, New York 1,500
79.   Storm King, Highlands, New York 1,389
80. * Charles Mound, Illinois 1,241
81.   Carlos Summit, Indiana 1,210
82.   Mount Tom, Massachusetts 1,200
83.   Berkshire Hills, Massachusetts 1,200
84.   Anthony’s Nose, Highlands, New York 1,048
85.   Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts 830
86.   Palisades of Hudson, New York and N. J. 500
87.   Mount Hope, Rhode Island 300
88.   Bunker Hill, Massachusetts 62
* Greatest altitude in the state or territory.
1.   Monte Blanc, France 15,782
2.   Monte Rosa, Italy 15,217
3.   Weisshorn, Switzerland 14,808
4.   Matterhorn, or Cervin, Switzerland 14,780
5.   Finsteraarhorn, Switzerland 14,026
6.   Breithorn, Switzerland 13,685
7.   Jungfrau, Switzerland 13,671
8.   Mönch, Switzerland 13,465
9.   Pic des Ecrins, France 13,462
10.   Shreckhorn, Switzerland 13,385
11.   Mount Paradis, France 13,300
12.   Otherspitze, Austria 12,800
13.   Gross Glockner, Austria 12,776
14.   Aiguille du Midi, France 12,743
15.   Monte Viso, France 12,582
16.   The Gallonstock, Switzerland 12,481
17.   Aiguille de Sassire, Sardinia 12,346
18.   Wetterhorn, Switzerland 12,150
19.   Mont Genevre, Sardinia 11,785
20.   Monto Gavio, Austria 11,754
21.   Cerro de Mulhacen, Spain 11,605
22.   Simplon, Switzerland 11,541
23.   Wisbach Horn, Austria 11,518
24.   La Mormelata, Austria 11,508
25.   Mont Cenis, France 11,457
26.   Mont Nethou, Spain 11,427
27.   Pic Blanc, France 11,190
28.   Great St. Bernard, Switzerland 11,080
29.   Vignemale, France and Spain 10,980
30.   St. Gothard, Switzerland 10,595
31.   Mount Calm, France and Spain 10,500
32.   Pic Blanc, France and Spain 10,205
33.   Splugen, Switzerland and Austria 9,981
34.   Peak of Oo, France and Spain 9,730
35.   Pic du Midi, France 9,650
36.   Mount Etna, Island of Sicily 9,652
37.   The Thorstein, Austria 9,630
38.   Little St. Bernard, France 9,591
39.   Monte Corno, Italy 9,523
40.   Canigon, France 9,137
41.   Monte Rotondo, Island of Corsica 9,065
42.   Guiona, Greece 8,620
43.   Lomnitzer Spitze, Austria 8,779
44.   Rilo Dagh, Bulgaria 8,300
45.   Mount Parnassus, Greece 8,000
46.   Mount St. Elias, Greece 7,946
47.   Mount Ida, Crete 7,674
48.   Col de Ferret, Switzerland 7,641
49.   Mount Dinara, Austria-Hungary 7,458
50.   Monte Cimone, Italy 7,083
51.   Mount Kleck, Austria-Hungary[75] 6,926
52.   Pisanino, Italy 6,723
53.   Pizzo di Casi, Sicily 6,509
54.   Oraefa Yokul, Iceland 6,420
55.   Kissovo, Bulgaria 6,407
56.   Genargentu Peak, Sardinia Island 6,290
57.   Mount D’or, France 6,188
58.   Mount Pierus, Bulgaria 6,161
59.   P. de Cantal, France 6,093
60.   Sulitelma, Sweden and Norway 5,956
61.   Monte Amiata, Tuscany 5,792
62.   Recullet de Toiry, Switzerland 5,643
63.   La Dole, Switzerland 5,509
64.   Black Mountain, Island of Cephalonia, Greece 5,356
65.   Zagora, Bulgaria 5,310
66.   St. Angelo, Lipari Island, Sicily 5,260
67.   Schneekoppe, Germany 5,253
68.   Feugari, Samothraki Island, Turkey 5,248
69.   Feldberg, Black Forest, Germany 4,900
70.   Puy de Dome, France 4,846
71.   Ballon de Alsace, France 4,688
72.   Monte Alto, Italy 4,380
73.   Hohenstein, Austria 4,284
74.   Brokfeld, Norway 4,188
75.   Mount Delphi, Island of Negropont, Greece 4,156
76.   Kielburg, Erz Gebirge, Germany 4,074
77.   Montserrat, Spain 4,054
78.   Vesuvius, Italy 4,260
79.   Brocken, Harz Mountains, Germany 3,740
80.   Ispario, Thasos Island, Greece 3,428
81.   Great Beerberg, Thuringerwald, Germany 3,265
82.   Summit, Norway 3,200
83.   Great Feldsberg, Germany 2,886
84.   Stromboli, Lipari Island, Sicily 3,090
85.   Mount Delphi, Skopela Island, Greece 2,295
86.   Tonnere, France 2,225
87.   Mount St. Oreste, Italy 2,140
88.   Peak, Island of Corfu, Greece 1,900
89.   Kastri, Island of Thasos, Greece 1,565
90.   Gibraltar, Spain 1,437
91.   Valdai Hills, Russia 1,200
92.   North Cape, Island of Mageroe, Norway 1,161
93.   Himmelsberg, Plateau of Denmark, Denmark 928
94.   Montmartre, Paris, France 400
95.   Observatory, Paris, France 240
96.   Heligoland Island, North Sea, Germany 230
1.   Greenwich Observatory, Kent, England 214
2.   Holyhead, Island of Anglesea, Wales 709
3.   Carraton, Cornwall, England 1,208
4.   Penmaen Maur, Wales 1,540
5.   Axedge, Derby, England 1,750
6.   Pendlehill, Lancashire, England 1,803
7.   Holmernoss, Derby, England 1,859
8.   Ingleborough, Yorkshire, England 2,361
9.   Whernside, Yorkshire, England 2,384
10.   Plinlimmon, Cardiganshire, Wales 2,463
11.   Cradle Mountain, Brecknockshire, Wales 2,545
12.   Coniston Fell, Westmoreland, England 2,577
13.   Caermarthen Vau, Caermarthenshire, Wales 2,596
14.   Cheviot, Northumberland, England 2,684
15.   Grassmere Fell, Cumberland, England 2,756
16.   Cross Fell, Cumberland, England 2,909
17.   Bow Fell, Cumberland, England 2,911
18.   Cader Idris, Merionethshire, Wales 2,914
19.   Arran Mowdwy, Merionethshire, Wales 2,955
20.   Skiddaw, Cumberland, England 3,022
21.   Helvellyn, Cumberland, England 3,313
22.   Carnedd Llewellyn, Caernarvon, Wales 3,471
23.   Snowdon, Caernarvon, Wales 3,571
24.   Cairn Gorm, Invernesshire, Scotland 4,095
25.   Ben Macdui, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 4,305
26.   Ben Nevis, Inverness, Scotland 4,368
27.   Cairntoul, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 4,245
28.   Ben Lawers, Perthshire, Scotland 3,945
29.   Ben More, Perthshire, Scotland 2,944
30.   Ben Gloe, Perthshire, Scotland 3,690
31.   Ben Cruachan, Argyleshire, Scotland 3,669
32.   Ben Deirg, Perthshire, Scotland 3,550
33.   Schehallien, Perthshire, Scotland 3,514
34.   Macgillicuddy Reeks, Kerry, Ireland 3,404
35.   Scarscoch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 3,402
36.   Ben Gurdy, Perthshire, Scotland 3,364
37.   Ben More, Sutherlandshire, Scotland 3,231
38.   Ben Lomond, Stirlingshire, Scotland 3,180
39.   Ben Voirlich, Perthshire, Scotland 3,055
40.   Lunaquilla, Wicklow, Ireland 3,039
41.   Galtee Mountains, Tipperary, Ireland 3,008
42.   Slatterwind, Stromoe, Faroe Islands 2,998
43.   Black Larg, Ayrshire, Scotland 2,890
44.   Goat Fell, Island of Arran, Scotland 2,865
45.   Ben Ledi, Perthshire, Scotland 2,863
46.   The Cobbler, Argyleshire, Scotland 2,863
47.   Slievedonard, Ulster, Ireland 2,796
48.   Broad Law, Peeblesshire, Scotland 2,741
49.   Ben Wyvis, Rosshire, Scotland 2,720
50.   Hart Fell, Dunfriesshire, Scotland 2,635
51.   Mount Battock, Kincardineshire, Scotland 2,600
52.   Lowther Hill, Lanarkshire, Scotland 2,522
53.   Kippure, Leinster, Ireland 2,473
54.   Paps of Jura, Argyleshire, Scotland 2,470
55.   Slievenaman, Tipperary, Ireland 2,362
56.   The Paps, Kerry, Ireland 2,280
57.   Snaefell, Isle of Man, Great Britain 2,004
58.   Campsie Hills, Stirlingshire, Scotland 1,850
59.   Achil Head, Mayo, Ireland 1,800
60.   Pentland Hills, Scotland 1,700
61.   Peak, Hoy Island, Orkney Group 1,569
62.   Eildon Hills, Roxburgshire, Scotland 1,364
63.   Ailsa Craig, Firth of Clyde, Scotland 1,139
64.   Dunnose, Isle of Wight, England 792
65.   Salisbury Craigs, Mid Lothian, Scotland 550
66.   Hill of Howth, Dublin, Ireland 549
67.   Edinburg Castle, Mid Lothian, Scotland 434
68.   Bass Rock, Firth of Forth, Scotland 400
69.   St. Paul’s, London, England 404
A.   Mount Everest, India-China 29,002
1.   Godwin-Austin, India-China 28,278
2.   Dapsang, Tibet 28,273
3.   Kanchanjanga, India-China 28,156
4.   Nanga-Parbat, India 26,629
5.   Dhawalaghiri, India 26,286
6.   Nanda-Devi, India 25,661
7.   Bride Peak, India 25,100
8.   Chumolhari, India 23,933
9.   Kaufmann, Turkestan 23,000
10.   Cantas, India-China 22,500
11.   St. Patrick, India-China 22,385
12.   St. George, India-China 22,240
13.   Gemini, India-China 21,600
14.   Bunderpooch, India-China 21,155
15.   Pyramid, India-China 20,966
16.   Peak, Hindu Kush, Afghanistan 20,230
17.   Bunderpooch 2d, India 20,122
18.   Mount Elburz, Russian Empire 18,526
19.   Mount Ararat, Asia Minor 17,160
20.   Mount Kasbeck, Russian Empire 16,592
21.   Kliontsheoskoi, Kamtschatka 16,512
22.   Kassoumba, Sumatra, Malaysia 15,000
23.   Australian Alps, Australia 15,000
24.   Demavend, Persia 18,500
25.   Mouna Kea, Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands 13,953
26.   Mount Ophir, Sumatra, Malaysia 13,842
27.   Mouna Loa, Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands 13,600
28.   Arjish Dagh, Asia Minor 13,100
29.   Sevellan, Persia 13,000
30.   Gunong Dempu, Sumatra, Malaysia 12,465
A.   Mount Erebus, Victoria Land, Antarctic Continent 12,400
31.   Peak, Formosa, Japan 12,000
B.   Mount Terror, Victoria Land, Antarctic Continent 11,500
32.   Koriatskaia, Kamtschatka 11,215
33.   Mount Lebanon, Syria 11,050
34.   Mount Bielucha, Russian Empire 11,063
35.   Peak, Otaheite, Polynesia 10,895
36.   Italitskui, Russian Empire 10,735
37.   Kriontskaia, Kamtschatka 10,625
38.   Shivelutsh, Kamtschatka 10,591
39.   Haleakala, Maui, Hawaiian Islands 10,200
40.   Murtchurti Bet, India 10,070
41.   Mount Olympus, Asia Minor 9,100
42.   Mount Egmont, New Zealand 8,839
43.   Arvatskaa, Kamtschatka 8,760
44.   Dodabetta, India 8,760
45.   Mount St. Catherine, Arabia 8,593
46.   Mount Sinai, Arabia 8,300
47.   Pedro-talla-galla, Ceylon[76] 8,326
48.   Melin, China 8,200
49.   Kirrigal Pota, Ceylon 7,810
50.   Totta Rella, Ceylon 7,720
51.   Peak of Yeddo, Japan 7,680
52.   Adams’ Peak, Ceylon 7,420
53.   Mount Serbal, Arabia 6,760
54.   Quelpaert, Quelpaert Island 6,400
55.   Sea View Hill, Australia 6,300
56.   Taddiamdamala, India 6,055
57.   Subramain, India 5,560
58.   Jebel, Akral, Arabia 5,318
59.   Abu, India 5,100
60.   Mount Ida, Asia Minor 4,960
61.   Peak of Teneriffe, Tasmania 4,500
62.   Mount Williams, Australia 4,500
63.   Corean Mountains, Japan 4,480
64.   Baskirian Urals, Russian Empire 4,400
65.   Ben Lomond, Tasmania 4,200
66.   Mount Wellington, Tasmania 3,795
67.   Forest Hill Peak, Australia 3,776
68.   Quamby’s Bluff, Tasmania 3,500
69.   Karnalighur, India 3,203
70.   Mount York, Australia 3,192
71.   Mount Exmouth, Australia 3,000
72.   Mount Cole, Australia 3,000
73.   Mount Field, Tasmania 3,000
74.   Peak, St. Paul’s Island, Indian Ocean 2,760
75.   Sugar Loaf, Peak, Australia 2,527
76.   St. Paul’s Dome, Tasmania 2,500
77.   Mount Carmel, Palestine, Syria 2,250
78.   Mount Tabor, Palestine, Syria 2,053
79.   Bathurst Heights, Australia 1,970
1.   Kilimanjaro, East Africa 19,780
2.   Kibo Peak, German East Africa 19,320
3.   Mount Kenia, British Africa 17,200
4.   Mount Stanley, Central Africa 16,800
5.   Abba Yared, Abyssinia 15,200
6.   Bushad, Abyssinia, Central Africa 14,364
7.   Mongo-ma-Lobah, Central Africa 13,760
8.   Peak of Teneriffe, Canary Islands 12,000
9.   Mount Miltsen, North Africa 11,400
10.   Clarence Peak, Fernando Po Island, Gulf of Guinea 10,655
11.   Pic Nieges, Bourbon Island, Indian Ocean 10,355
12.   Spitz-Kop, South Africa 10,240
13.   Mount Alantika, Central Africa 9,000
14.   Tarami, Abyssinia 8,643
15.   Peak, Tristan de’Acunha Island, Atlantic Ocean 8,236
16.   Peak of Pico, Azores, Atlantic Ocean 7,013
17.   Volcano Fogo, Cape de Verd Islands, Atlantic Ocean 7,884
18.   El Cumbre, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean 6,648
19.   Jebel Akhal, East Africa 6,500
20.   Pico Ruivo, Madeira Island, Atlantic Ocean 6,056
21.   Mount Dogen, Central Africa 5,000
22.   Table Mountain, South Africa 3,582
23.   Devil’s Peak, South Africa 3,315
24.   Green Mountain, Ascension Island, Atlantic Ocean 2,868
25.   Mount Tekut, North Africa 2,800
26.   Diana’s Peak, St. Helena, Atlantic Ocean 2,692
27.   Lion’s Head, South Africa 2,166
28.   Cape, Cape Colony, South Africa 1,000
29.   Pyramid of Cheops, Egypt 479
30.   Pyramid of Chephren, Egypt 456
1.   Aconcagua, Chile 23,080
2.   Sorata or Illampu, Bolivia 23,000
3.   Mercedario, Argentina 22,312
4.   Illimani, Bolivia 22,200
5.   Tupungato, Chile 21,550
6.   Condor, Argentina 21,128
7.   Famatina, Argentina 20,680
8.   Salcantay, Peru 20,540
9.   Chimborazo, Ecuador 20,475
10.   Antisana, Ecuador 19,184
11.   Santa Morta, Colombia 19,030
12.   Tacora, Bolivia 19,000
13.   Cotopaxi, Ecuador 18,880
14.   Arequipa, Peru 18,370
15.   Tolima, Colombia 18,069
16.   Maispo, Chile 17,670
17.   Peak of Cuzco, Peru 17,525
18.   Sangai, Ecuador 17,460
19.   Ruiz, Colombia 17,388
20.   Tunguraqua, Ecuador 16,690
21.   Cotocachi, Ecuador 16,300
22.   Cerro de Potosi, Bolivia 16,037
23.   Pichincha, Ecuador 15,918
24.   Roraima, Venezuela 8,740
25.   Silla de Caracas, Venezuela 8,632
26.   Duida, Venezuela 8,467
27.   Corcorada, Argentina 7,510
28.   Minchinmadiva, Argentina 7,046
29.   Mount Sarmiento, Tierra del Fuego 7,000
30.   Mount Darwin, Tierra del Fuego 6,800
31.   Guadarrama, Colombia 6,400
32.   Itambe, Brazil 5,960
33.   Piedade, Brazil 5,820
34.   Itacolumi, Brazil 5,750
35.   Morro dos Canudos, Brazil 4,476
36.   Macarapan, Guayana 3,500
37.   Cape Horn, Argentina 1,870

Lakes are of different kinds. Some are mere tanks which receive the first outpourings of springs, others consist of basins or reservoirs which occur in the line of a river’s course; some consist of basins or cavities, into which rivers flow, but which, on account of their depression or their mountainous cincture have no outlets; lakes are also formed in the craters of extinct volcanoes; and some lakes are periodic, or subject to have their basins alternately empty and full of water.

Mountain Lakes, which are valleys or chasms filled by streams, are long and narrow, rarely of extensive area, but often of great depth. Examples of this class are found in Lakes Champlain and George, among the Appalachian Mountains; Lakes Constance and Geneva, on the northern side of the Alps; and Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, on the south side; all of which are renowned for the loveliness of their shores, or the grandeur of the surrounding mountain scenery.

Lake Maggiore, which is hardly three miles wide, is, according to Italian engineers, 2,623 feet deep—more than double the depth of Lake Superior—its basin reaching 1,936 feet below the sea level.

The forms of mountain lakes are very irregular, for the water often covers several contiguous and connected valleys. This is the case in Lake Como, which has two long arms; and Lakes Lucerne [77] and Lugano, each of which fills four distinct valleys, meeting one another nearly at right angles.

Lakes in Plains. The lake basins in plains and plateaus are, usually, simple depressions in a comparatively uniform surface. The lakes are, therefore, often of great size, broad in proportion to their length, but of little depth compared with their area.

The largest lakes of the globe—the Caspian and Aral seas, and the great North American and African lakes—and the largest in Europe and South America, all belong to this class. Their vast expanse, together with the tameness of their shores, deprives them of the picturesque beauty of mountain lakes.

Characteristics of Salt Lakes. Numerous lakes in the interior of the continents, though receiving affluents, have no outlet. Their waters are chiefly lost by evaporation, though some portion may be absorbed by the sandy soil.

The surfaces of the continents having been the beds of the primeval oceans, the presence of salt in the soil is a natural consequence.

Famous Salt Lakes. The Great Salt Lake of Utah, in the Great American Basin, is one of the finest examples of its class. The Caspian and Aral seas, at the bottom of the vast depression between Europe and Asia, are the most extensive salt lakes. The former has about four times the area of Lake Superior; and the latter is a little larger than Lake Michigan.

The Caspian, though receiving the Volga, the largest river of Europe, evaporates so much water that its surface is about 83 feet lower than that of the Mediterranean, varying with the seasons. Many lakes in its neighborhood disappear entirely in the heat and drought of summer, leaving their beds covered with a crust of pure white crystalline salt.

The Remarkable Dead Sea, in Syria, is a lake in which the salt has accumulated until the water is converted into a heavy brine. It may be the remnant of an ancient sea of much greater extent, which has been gradually reduced in size by the excess of evaporation over the supply of water in its basin.

This celebrated body of water lies in the deepest part of a long chasm or valley, which is sunk not less than 4,000 feet below the level of the surrounding country. The surface of the lake is 1,286 feet, and its bottom 2,500 feet, below the level of the Mediterranean.

Its feeder, the river Jordan, flows almost throughout its entire course below the level of the sea, the only known instance of the kind. The beautiful lake of Tiberias, the scene of so many of the miracles of Jesus, which is but an expansion of the Jordan in its upper course, is about 650 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean.


Lakes are most numerous in the central and northern portions of Asia, Europe and North America. The southern continents, except Africa, have comparatively few.

Asia is pre-eminently the continent of salt lakes. They occur in countless numbers, both in the steppes north of the Caspian and Aral, and in all the interior plateaus. Lakes of fresh water are also found among the Altai Mountains and adjacent chains. Lake Baikal, one of these, is the largest mountain lake known, being nearly 500 miles long.

Europe. The most characteristic and celebrated lakes are those which adorn the Alps of Switzerland and Scandinavia, and the less lofty mountain chains of the British Isles. But the largest lakes are found in the low lands and slight swells which surround the Baltic Sea, in western Russia and Sweden. Lakes Ladoga and Onega in Russia, and Wener and Wetter in Sweden, are the largest in Europe.

North America is peculiarly rich in great lakes. No continent presents a more remarkable series than that which stretches from northwest to southeast, through the central plains, along the line of contact of the oldest geological formations of the continent. This series includes Great Bear and Great Slave lakes, Athabasca and Winnipeg, and the five great lakes of the St. Lawrence, with many of less area.

Innumerable small lakes are scattered throughout the middle portions of the central plain, and the northern and less regular part of the Appalachian mountain region; but south of the parallel of Lake Erie there is an almost entire absence of lakes, whether large or small.


Relative Size of Lakes of the Western Hemisphere

Large illustration (397 kB)


NAME Location Area in
Mean Elevation
in Feet
Black Sea Asia and Europe 170,000 Sea-level
Caspian Sea Asia 170,000 90 below sea-level
Sea of Aral Asia 26,160 157 above sea-level
Balkash Asia 7,135 779 above sea-level
Maracaibo South America 6,315 0 above sea-level
Eyre Australia 3,600 70 above sea-level
Titicaca (slightly saline) South America 3,200 12,506 above sea-level
Issik-kul Asia 2,250 5,300 above sea-level
Great Salt Lake North America 2,177 4,218 above sea-level
Koko-nor Asia 2,040 9,970 above sea-level
Urumiah Asia 1,795 4,100 above sea-level
Van Asia 1,400 5,200 above sea-level
Dead Sea Asia 444 1,290 below sea-level
Ngami (nearly dried up) Africa 297 2,919 above sea-level


Relative Size of Lakes of the Eastern Hemisphere

Large illustration (371 kB)


NAME Location Area in
Mean Elevation
in Feet
Superior North America 31,200   601 above sea-level
Victoria Nyanza Africa 26,500   3,300 above sea-level
Huron North America 23,800   581 above sea-level
Michigan North America 22,450   581 above sea-level
Baikal Asia 13,200   1,542 above sea-level
Tanganyika Africa 12,000   2,756 above sea-level
Great Bear North America 11,200   391 above sea-level
Nyassa Africa 10,230   1,706 above sea-level
Great Slave North America 10,200   520 above sea-level
Erie North America 9,960   573 above sea-level
Winnipeg North America 9,400   710 above sea-level
Lake of the Woods North America 7,650   1,060 above sea-level
Ontario North America 7,240   247 above sea-level
Ladoga Europe 6,998   49 above sea-level
Tchad Africa 6,000 to 40,000   1,150 above sea-level
Athabasca North America 4,400   690 above sea-level
Onega Europe 3,760   237 above sea-level
Nicaragua Central America 2,972   131 above sea-level
Wener Europe 2,400   147 above sea-level
Albert Nyanza Africa 1,730   2,230 above sea-level
Dembea Africa 1,000   6,100 above sea-level
Wetter Europe 936   288 above sea-level
Champlain North America 750   96 above sea-level
Managua North America 560   154 above sea-level
Bangweolo[80] Africa 400 to 5,800   3,690 above sea-level
St. Clair North America 396   576 above sea-level
Balaton (Platten See) Europe 266   426 above sea-level
Geneva (or Leman) Europe 214   1,220 above sea-level
Constance (or Boden See) Europe 208   1,308 above sea-level
Garda Europe 136   213 above sea-level
Neuchatel Europe 90   1,424 above sea-level
Maggiore Europe 78   646 above sea-level
Cayuga North America 76   381 above sea-level
George North America 61   323 above sea-level
Como Europe 56   649 above sea-level
Lucerne Europe 40   1,435 above sea-level
Zurich Europe 37 12 1,340 above sea-level

Africa. The great plateau lakes are typical of the continent. The Victoria Nyanza and Albert Nyanza, feeding the White Nile; Tanganyika, whose outlet is unknown; Tzana, at the head of the Blue Nile; and Lake Nyassa, in the Zambezi basin, all rest on the high plateaus of Central Africa. Lake Tchad alone, among large African lakes, is surrounded by low plains.

Waterfalls and Rapids. The variations in the slope of a river-bed, arising from unequal erosion, or from the original irregularities in the surface, give rise to rapids and falls.

The first occur where an increased slope causes the stream to flow with more than its average velocity. The second are caused by nearly perpendicular rocky walls, down which the foaming water descends in picturesque cascades, or imposing cataracts.

The famous “Cataracts of the Nile” are merely rapids which impede but do not entirely obstruct, the navigation as cataracts must. The so-called Falls of St. Anthony, in the upper Mississippi, and the rapids of the St. Lawrence, above Montreal, are among the finest rapids in American rivers.

The highest falls are in the upper course of rivers, in mountainous regions; the greatest and most imposing, in their middle course.

The Niagara Falls exhibit a most important industrial utilization of water power. The Falls of St. Anthony in the Mississippi, the Falls of Foyers in Scotland, the Rhine falls, the Rhone falls of Bellegarde, and the innumerable waterfalls of Scandinavia, Switzerland, and similar mountainous lands, are all utilized in this way. It has been proposed to convey power generated at the Victoria falls of the Zambezi to the Rand goldfield of the Transvaal, and a scheme for this is now being prepared.


Name Location Height
Bridal Veil California 900
Foyers Great Britain 205
Gastein Falls Austria 469
Gavarnie Pyrenees 1,400
Genesee New York 95
Grand Falls Labrador 2,000
Great Falls Montana 500
Hay River Alaska 200
Kaieteur Falls Guiana 740
Krimmler Falls Austria 1,300
Kukenam Fall Guiana 1,500
Maanelvan Norway 940
Minnehaha Minnesota 50
Missouri Montana 90
Montmorenci Quebec 265
Multnomah Oregon 850
Murchison Africa 120
Nevada Falls California 600
Niagara New York 165
Oroco Falls Monte Rosa 2,400
Rjukanfos Norway 804
Roraima Fall Guiana 2,000
Rukaufos Norway 513
St. Anthony Minnesota 80
Schaffhausen Switzerland 100
Seven Falls Colorado 266
Shoshone Idaho 210
Skykjefos Norway 700
Snoqualmie Washington 268
Staubbach Switzerland 1,000
Stirling New Zealand 500
Sutherland New Zealand 1,904
Takkakaw British Columbia 1,200
Tequendama Colombia 475
Tessa Falls Austria 541
Twin Idaho 180
Velino Falls Italy 591
Vermafos Norway 984
Vettisfos Norway 950
Victoria Falls Zambezi 400
Voringsfos Norway 600
Yellowstone (upper) Montana 110
Yellowstone (lower) Montana 310
Yguazu or Iguazu Brazil 210
Yosemite (upper) California 1,436
Yosemite (middle) California 626
Yosemite (lower) California 400



Niagara in winter presents a picture of frozen grandeur equaled nowhere else in the world.

The Rhine at Schaffhausen, Switzerland, rushes over rugged rocks on its way down from the highlands into the lovely and historic valley it has carved for itself on its way to the sea.




1. The Niagara Falls and rapids form one of the most impressive spectacles in the world. The Niagara River, which is the sole outlet of the great lakes, pours itself in two vast sheets over a precipice about 160 feet high. Goat Island, which is situated on the lip of the falls, divides the cataract into two sections—the Horseshoe, or Canadian fall, which is by far the more majestic, and the America fall. It has a descent of 158 feet and the American fall of 167 feet. The volume of water which sweeps over this immense chasm is about 15,000,000 cubic feet per minute. The limestone edge of both falls is wearing away in the center, the Canadian fall now being V-shaped, and the American fall showing the same tendency, although its process of recession has begun more recently. For some distance below the falls there is smooth current, the mass of water which pours over the precipice sinking and only coming to the surface two miles below, where the rapids, more magnificent and wilder than those above the falls, begin, and culminate in the rapids of the Upper Whirlpool. Lower down the river is the whirlpool itself, where a sharp turn sends the waters hurling against the Canadian side; they then sweep round in a gigantic circle before they find a vent at right angle with their former course. The sight of the falls is equally awe-inspiring from the bridge on the lip of the fall, from the boat which plies from shore to shore below the cataract, or from the Cave of the Winds, reached from Goat Island. Although in summer the magnificence of the sight is extraordinary, it is in winter, when the wizardry of the frost is upon it, that it is superlatively beautiful. The falls were first discovered by Father Hennepin in 1678.

2. The Falls of Juanacatlan (hoo-ă-nă-kwt-lăn), Mexico, are located near the island city of Guadalajara (guă-dă-lă-hă´ră) on the Rio Grande de Santiago. Though only 70 feet in height they are more than 600 feet wide, and as known as the “Niagara” of Mexico.

3. The Cataracts of Iguazu (e-gwă´soo) on the frontiers of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. These falls, situated in a remote wilderness, far from civilization, are a veritable fortress in protecting the peace-loving peoples on their borders. They constitute a series of falls extending over three miles, and more than 200 feet in height, and of magnificent scenic beauty. Their energy is estimated to be about 14,000,000 horse-power, or almost three times that of Niagara.

4. The Yosemite (yo-sem´i-tee) Falls of California, are highest and probably the most remarkable of their class. They descend on almost perpendicular ledge of rocks 2,600 feet high to the bottom of the Yosemite valley, forming three separate cataracts. The first fall is 1,600 feet sheer descent. Then comes a series of cascades, partly hidden, 600 feet downward, and a final leap of 400 feet. Seen from afar, the Yosemite Falls seem insignificant; but they are, in fact, 35 feet wide, and the shock of their descent is observed a mile away.

5. The Staubbach (stoub´băk) Falls, in the Swiss Alps near Lauterbrunnen, descends a precipice of 980 feet, and is reduced to spray like a misty veil before reaching the bottom. It is the highest unbroken fall in Switzerland, and the most noted.

6. The Great Falls of the Yellowstone, though not so high, vie with the Yosemite in striking beauty. These famous falls plunge from a height of 360 feet into the abyss of a mighty chasm. At the point of descent, the waters of the Yellowstone suddenly contract from a width of 250 feet to 75 feet.

7. The Bridal Veil Falls of California, belong to the famous Yosemite Valley. Its waters, over 30 feet wide, leap from the granite rocks on the south wall of the Yosemite in two vertical descents aggregating over 900 feet. The first fall covers a distance of 600 feet, then the waters rushing over a sloping pile of jagged rocks drops a perpendicular distance of 300 feet more. From the chief points of view it seems to make but one plunge, in an unbroken descent similar to the Staubbach, but carrying a much greater volume of water. Frequently the wind swings the great plume of water from the face of the cliff and waves it like a scarf or veil. At sunset rainbows with an indescribable radiance bejewel its foam and the glistening leaves surrounding it.

8. The Reichenbach (ri´ken-băk) Falls near Meiningen, Switzerland, comprise five fine cascades in the Reichenbach River. The most gorgeous of these, known as the Upper Fall, makes a huge leap of 300 feet into a deep rocky basin, which then continues in several foaming and plunging cascades in general aspect not unlike the Niagara gorge.




The Oceans consist of one great fluid mass, and in extent covers three times the area of the dry land. There is also about three times as much land to the north of the equator as there is to the south of it. Though the waters of the ocean surround the land on every side, yet they are broken up into certain areas by the arrangement of the land portions, and to these various parts we give particular names.

The Atlantic Ocean, lying between the western shores of Europe and Africa and the east coast of America.

The Pacific Ocean, lying between the west coast of America and the east coast of Asia.

The Indian Ocean, lying between the south of Asia and the Antarctic circle.

The Arctic Ocean, lying within the Arctic circle.

The Antarctic Ocean, lying within the Antarctic circle.


The Atlantic is the most branching of the oceans, and is especially distinguished by the number and great size of its inland seas. Two of these, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, lie in the warm regions; and two, Hudson Bay and the Baltic Sea, in colder latitudes.

The broader seas are represented by the Caribbean Sea, within the tropics and the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the North Sea in temperate latitudes. The Gulf of Guinea, and the Bay of Biscay, are examples of the more shallow coast waters.

The Pacific is particularly rich in vast border seas, a continuous series of which lines the Asiatic and Australian coasts. Among these are the Behring Sea, enclosed by the peninsula of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands; Okhotsk Sea, enclosed by Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands; the Sea of Japan, and the North and South China seas; and the Arafura, Coral, and New Zealand seas, on the Australian Coast.

Only two inland seas of considerable size—the Gulf of California in North America, and the Yellow Sea in Asia—mark this entire basin.

The Indian Ocean is characterized by gulfs, two of which form the entire extension of the basin; namely, the Gulf of Bengal, and the Arabian Sea. It has also two inland seas of considerable extent, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, isolating the peninsula of Arabia from the adjacent continents; but border seas are wholly wanting in the Indian Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is a partially enclosed sea, which a comparatively inconsiderable rise of the sea-bottom would convert into a true Mediterranean. Three openings connect it with the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, namely, Behring Straight (narrow and shallow), Davis Straight, and the broad expanse of water lying between Norway and Greenland. Of these, the last is by far the most important, for through it the warm waters of the Gulf Stream find access to the Polar basin, and keep the sea free from ice throughout the year. This current is supposed to flow feebly along the coast of Siberia, until, deflected by the land, it becomes merged in the cold counter-currents which, passing along the eastern coasts of Greenland and Labrador, carry immense masses of ice into the Atlantic.


Map Section

Ridges, mountains, plateaus, which may represent submerged continents of the past, and many an abyss that exceeds in depth the height of the highest mountains, are shown above. The shallow coasts, marked by the lightest shade, are part of the present Continental Shelf, and do not exceed six hundred feet in depth. Beyond this shelf, as a rule, the oceans rapidly attain great depths. Our knowledge of the ocean bed has been obtained from the extensive soundings.

Large images: Map (624 kB)
Section (191 kB)


The Antarctic Ocean is situated about or within the antarctic circle. The great Southern Ocean is that part of the ocean which surrounds the world between the latitude of 40 degrees south and the antarctic circle. The northern portions of this band are often called the South Atlantic, South Indian and South Pacific, while the southern portions are usually called the Antarctic Ocean. The average depth of the continuous ocean which surrounds south polar land is about two miles; it gradually shoals toward antarctic land, which in some places is met with a short distance within the antarctic circle. Life is abundant in the surface waters, and at the bottom of the ocean.


As a rule the sea is shallowest near the land, though in a few cases there is a sudden descent to a great depth at a very short distance from the coast. Lowlands have usually shallow seas near the coast, and highlands deep water.

Along the American shores, in the latitude of New York, the depth, for a distance of more than 100 miles, is less than 600 feet; then suddenly the bed descends, by a steep slope, to the depth of 6,000 or 9,000 feet. After a comparatively narrow interval, a second terrace descends to the main basin, from 15,000 to 18,000 feet deep.

The bottom of the trough of the ocean, in general, is equally varied with that of the land surface of the globe, forming mountains, hills, valleys, tablelands, etc. In many parts these marine mountains reach above the surface and form islands. On the table land extending across the Atlantic between Newfoundland and Ireland is laid the submarine-telegraph cable which connects the two hemispheres.

The Depth of the Oceans. The average depth of the Pacific Ocean has been estimated at between 15,000 and 18,000 feet, which is slightly greater than that of the Atlantic. The deeper portions may be learned on reference to the map. The western portion of the North Pacific in particular shows some very deep depressions. To the east of Japan lies a long deep trough which in one part has furnished the sounding of nearly five and one-half miles. This abyss is often called the Tuscarora Deep. South of the Ladrone Islands, in the Caroline Archipelago, there is also a deep abyss where an English ship, the Challenger, obtained a sounding of nearly 27,000 feet. In the Pacific soundings of over 30,000 feet have been made.

The Indian Ocean has an average depth of about 12,000 feet, and the deepest soundings have been taken on the eastern side. It is interesting to observe that the deepest sounding, about five and three-quarter miles, in the South Pacific somewhat exceeds the height of the highest mountain. Mount Everest has a height of 29,000 feet above the sea level. And it must also be noted that the mean height of the land, 1,000 feet, is only about one-twelfth the mean depth of the whole ocean, 12,000 feet. (See colored map showing comparative surfaces of land areas and ocean depths.)

Inland and Border Waters. These enclosed basins belong to the structure of the continents, rather than to the oceans. All are shallow in comparison with the great basins with which they are connected, as is apparent from the depths given below.

The Gulf of Mexico is from 5,000 to 7,000 feet in depth. The deepest part of the Caribbean Sea, on a line connecting Porto Rico and Costa Rica, averages 7,000 feet, and near the latter it reaches a depth of 14,000; but the ocean, immediately outside of the Lesser Antilles, is more than 18,000 feet deep.

The Mediterranean is divided into two basins, by a rocky isthmus, from 50 to 500 feet below the surface, lying between Sicily and Cape Bon, in Africa. The western basin is over 9,000 feet in depth, and comparatively uniform; while the eastern is more irregular, varying from 6,000 near the center, to 13,000 feet, south of the Ionian Islands. The Red Sea has an irregular bottom, [86] with an average depth of 3,000 feet, but in some places it reaches 6,000.

The Baltic Sea, being a simple depression in the great European plain, is but a few hundred feet deep. In the North Sea, the depth averages 300 feet, and rarely exceeds 600. The continent is here prolonged in the form of a submarine plain, whose highest portions form the British Isles.

The Border Seas of Asia, lying within the chain of continental islands, are only a few hundred feet in depth, while immediately without those islands, abrupt slopes descend to the great depths of the Pacific basin.

Smaller inlets are also of frequent occurrence, especially in districts where mountain ranges approach the borders of the ocean. Such are the lochs of Scotland, the voes of the Shetland Islands, and the fiords of Norway and Greenland. The term lagoon is usually applied to lake-like inlets.

Salt and Other Ingredients of Sea-water. The waters of the ocean are salt, holding in solution various saline matters. The saline ingredients amount to rather more than thirty-five grains in a thousand grains of sea-water. The most abundant of these is chloride of sodium or common salt, which in general forms about a third of the whole. Besides this, sea-water contains some magnesia, lime, potash, and traces of iodine and bromine.

The following table exhibits the exact percentage composition of sea-water.

One hundred parts by weight of sea-water contain:

Water 96.470
Sodium Chloride 2.700
Magnesium Chloride .360
Potassium Chloride .070
Magnesium Sulphate .230
Calcium Sulphate .140
Calcium Carbonate .003
Magnesium Bromide .002
Traces of Iodides, Silica, etc., estimated .025

How the Sea gets its Color. The color of sea-water is due to the character of the skies and clouds above, and to vegetable and animal objects growing and living in it. The luminosity or phosphorescence of the ocean is due to the decay of animal and vegetable substances, but in some cases it arises from the presence of myriads of living animals, which, like the glow-worm and fire-fly of the land and air, have the power of emitting light.

Ocean Temperature. The water of the ocean appears generally to agree with that of the climate in which it is situated. In warm latitudes the temperature of the deep sea diminishes with the depth below the surface until a certain depth is reached, below which it appears to retain an equable temperature, this being about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Polar Seas, where the temperature of the surface is lower than 40 degrees the heat increases downward until it reaches that point. In latitude 70° the temperature of the ocean is considered to be the same at all depths.


The moon pulls the waters of the earth into a great double wave heaping it up on the side nearest to the moon and on the opposite side. As the earth rotates, this double wave moves round the earth, and the crests and troughs alternately produce high and low tide. Thus there are two high and two low tides daily, at intervals of about twelve hours, or half a Sun or day.


The waters of the ocean are retained in their bed by the attraction of gravitation. This power is great in proportion to the mass; and as the earth is of much greater mass than the particles of water on its surface, it attracts them and keeps them in their assigned places. But the sun and moon also possess this power of attraction, and notwithstanding their distance, attract and draw them [87] up to a certain elevation. The vast mass of the waters being drawn up by the moon into a mountain or curve of water forms what is called the “great primary or tidal wave.”


This remarkable cavern, on the shore of the island of Capri, at the entrance of the Bay of Naples, is entered from the sea, and is one hundred and eighteen feet long and forty feet high, with a breadth of ninety-eight feet at its widest part. It derives its name from the wonderful blue reflection of the sun’s rays through the water, which gives the interior its marvelous beauty and majesty. The cavern has been created by the ceaseless action of the tide.

Ebb-tide and Flood-tide. This drawing up of the waters of mid-ocean causes a recession from the shores, thus giving rise to ebb-tide, or low water. But when the temporary attraction ceases the waters flow back to their natural level, returning to shore and forming flood-tide, or high water. This culmination or rising of the waters in the great tidal wave takes place twice in twenty-four hours and fifty minutes. The combined influence of the sun and moon at new and full moon augments the size of this wave, and causes the “spring-tides” at those periods.

Height of Tides. High water at the various points along the coast is dependent on the return of this great wave, though some variations are caused by local peculiarities; and the height of the tide also varies greatly in different parts of the earth.

On the eastern coast of North America, the average rise of the tide is from nine to twelve feet. At the entrance to the Bay of Fundy, however, it rises eighteen feet, while at the head of that bay it reaches sixty, and in the highest spring tides, even seventy feet. At Bristol, in England, the spring tides rise to forty feet; and at St. Malo, on the south coast of the English Channel, they reach fifty feet.


Differences in level, produced by high tides, cause currents which vary in force and direction with the condition of the tide, producing, in some cases, dangerous whirlpools. The famous Maelstrom, off the coast of Norway, is but a tidal current, which rushes with great violence between two of the Lofoden Islands, causing a whirling motion in the water which is reversed at each ebb and flow of the tide.

Such is, also, the famous whirlpool of Charybdis, in the Straight of Messina, and many others of less note. The powerful currents of Hell Gate, in the [88] passage from Long Island Sound to New York Bay, are due to a similar cause, high water occurring at different hours in the bay and in the west end of the sound.


The waves of the ocean, which are caused by the action of the wind, and which are called secondary or wind waves are of a totally different character from the tidal wave. The influence of the wind is supposed not to extend to a greater depth than forty or fifty feet, the deep sea, though raised in a great mass by the grand tidal movement, being free from agitation. Wind waves at a distance from the shore are comparatively low and long, but in shoal water they assume a greater curvature, and fall on the beach either in gentle ripples or in mighty breakers, according to the depth of the water and the force of the wind. The heavy swell which occasionally takes place, called the “ground sea,” is supposed to originate in distant storms of wind.


Currents in the ocean arise from various causes. They may be produced by long-continued gales of wind, by the melting of polar ice, or by any cause that may give rise to onward movements of limited portions of the great mass of waters. Other currents, and of these only is it necessary to speak in this connection, are permanent. The most remarkable of these are the polar currents and the equatorial currents.

Polar Currents are produced by the perpetual movement of the waters from the poles to the equator. In accordance with the laws of mechanics, an accumulation of the waters takes place on that part of the globe which has the greatest velocity of motion; and as the earth in turning on its axis moves with far greater velocity at the equator, the waters continually flow toward that line from the poles.

Equatorial Currents. This accumulation of the waters at the equator tends to produce the equatorial currents, which consist of the continuous progression of the tropical seas in a westerly direction. When the wave brought by the polar currents arrives—coming as it does from regions where it naturally has less velocity—it does not at once acquire the velocity of the earth’s motion at the equator; and since the rotation of the earth is from west to east, this portion of the water lagging behind forms a stream or current which has an apparent motion from east to west, that is to say, apparent as regards the earth, but real in relation to the adjacent land and water. The trade winds, which in this zone blow constantly in the same direction, lend their aid in maintaining the equatorial current.


An extensive system of currents appears to arise in the Antarctic Ocean. A current of cold water flowing northward joins the equatorial current in the Pacific. Entering the Indian Ocean, it maintains its westerly course until it approaches the shores of Africa; then bending southward it rushes through the Mozambique Channel, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope travels northward until it arrives at the Bight of Benin. This current then joins the equatorial current, and crossing the Atlantic from the coast of Guinea to that of Brazil, it is divided into two branches by the projecting headland of Cape San Roque, one flowing southward and the other northward.

The Gulf Stream. After passing the Island of Trinidad, this great oceanic current enters the Gulf of Mexico, and there acquires a high temperature, and sweeping round that sea it again pours forth into the Atlantic, forming the most powerful of known currents, called the Gulf Stream. Issuing from the Gulf of Mexico, this current of warm water rushes with considerable force through the Bahama Channel; then taking a northerly course it travels along the eastern shores of North America, and at Newfoundland is turned to the eastward by an opposing cold current which sets in from Baffin’s Bay. It now maintains an easterly direction, and crossing the Atlantic arrives at the Azores in about twenty-eight days, and divides its waters on the coast of France and Spain: one portion goes southward and at length joins the grand current which sets from the coast of Guinea; and another portion travels northward and skirts the western coasts of Europe. These currents are seldom more than 500 feet deep.



The atmosphere is the vast ocean of air that envelops the earth and makes life possible on our globe. It absorbs the heat and vapors caused by the action of the sun upon the surface of both land and water, and is the medium through which the ever-changing phenomena of climate and weather are produced. The two great forces of nature acting in connection with it are gravitation and heat, or solar radiation; and the results of their ceaseless action may be summed up as follows: (1) Temperature, or heat, which we soon learn to know by our senses, and to measure by the thermometer. (2) Evaporation, which changes the weight of the air by carrying invisible moisture through it. This change of weight is indicated by the barometer. (3) Condensation, producing fog, dew, rain, hail, and snow; all estimated accurately by the rain gauge or pluviometer. (4) Motions, as in the winds, varying from the gentle breeze to the awful cyclone, the force and velocity of which are indicated by the anemometer. (5) Electricity, producing lightning, thunder, magnetic and chemical changes in the atmosphere. (6) Optical Phenomena, such as rainbows, haloes, coronas, mirage, and the auroras.


The Earth is enveloped in its own atmosphere, which like a transparent covering surrounds it, and revolves with it. This atmosphere does not extend to more than forty or fifty miles above the earth’s surface, and is higher at the equator than at the poles.

Section through atmosphere

Large illustration (278 kB)


The atmosphere is an elastic fluid consisting of a mixture (not a compound) of oxygen and nitrogen, in the proportions of about twenty-one of the first to seventy-nine parts of the last named. It also contains a small quantity of carbonic acid gas, and a yet smaller quantity of ammonia; and water in the form of invisible vapor is always present in it, though the quantity is subject to great variations. All these substances move freely among each other, and are continually changing places: the oxygen being ever ready to perform the office assigned to it of sustaining life and combustion; the carbonic acid to promote the growth of vegetation; the nitrogen to perfect the fruits of the earth, and the vapor to descend to the thirsty ground, in the form of showers and dew.

The atmosphere is elastic, and therefore capable of expansion and compression; and is also a ponderable body. The consequence of these properties is, that it is much lighter and thinner in the upper regions than nearer the earth’s surface; for at the sea-level its whole weight presses on its lower strata and gives it greater density. Ascending from the earth’s surface it becomes gradually lighter and thinner, and at great elevations is so rarefied as to be unsusceptible of sustaining life.


The weight of the atmosphere at the level of the sea is equal to about fourteen and one-half pounds on every square inch of surface. This weight is balanced by a column of mercury thirty inches in height; but at an elevation of 18,000 feet it would be balanced by a column of only fifteen inches in height, and at 36,000 by one only seven and one-half [90] inches in height. It is on this principle that the mercurial barometer has been constructed; and since the mercury in the barometer stands at the same point at all places at the sea-level, and falls in a regular ratio on ascending therefrom, this instrument forms a most useful standard for measuring altitudes.

As we ascend from the sea the atmosphere becomes colder; but, as with the density, the temperature does not appear to pass through regular gradations of change. From experiment, however, it has been assumed that the atmosphere loses one degree of heat by Fahrenheit’s thermometer for every 350 feet of ascent; and hence even in the hotter regions very lofty mountains are covered with perpetual ice and snow.


The amount of heat produced by the sun upon the Earth’s surface, is greatest near the Equator, and diminishes gradually towards the Poles. Three general causes, each referable to the spherical form of the Earth, combine to produce the gradual diminution of temperature from the Equator to the Poles.

1. The angle at which the Sun’s rays strike the surface. In the Equatorial regions they are perpendicular to the surface of the sphere, and there produce their maximum effect; but, on account of the curved outline of the globe, they fall more and more obliquely with increasing latitude, and the intensity of action diminishes proportionately. At the Poles their effect is practically nothing.

2. The area on which a given amount of heating power is expended, is least at the Equator, consequently the resulting heat is greatest. The area covered increases, and the effect diminishes, with the increasing obliquity of the Sun’s rays in higher latitudes, which, as we have seen above, results from the spherical form of the Earth.

3. The absorption of heat by the atmosphere, as the Sun’s rays pass through it, is least where they fall perpendicularly,—that is, in the Equatorial regions,—and increases, with their increasing obliquity, towards the Poles.


The Earth revolves constantly around the Sun, and at the same time rotates upon an axis inclined twenty-three and one-half degrees towards the plane of its orbit. In consequence of the inclination of the axis, the declination of the Sun, or its angular distance from the Equator, varies with the advance of the Earth in its orbit, causing periodical variations in the length of day and night, and, consequently, in temperature.

Vernal Equinox. On the twentieth of March, at mid-day, the Sun is vertical at the Equator. Rising directly in the east it ascends the heavens to the zenith, and, descending, sets directly in the west.

The illuminated hemisphere extends from pole to pole, and embraces half of every parallel of latitude; hence every point on the Earth’s surface is under the rays of the Sun during half of the diurnal rotation; the days and nights are equal all over the globe; and the heating power of the Sun is the same in both the northern and the southern hemisphere.

Summer Solstice. As the Earth advances in its orbit the vertical Sun declines northward; and on the twenty-first of June, at the Summer Solstice, it is over the northern Tropic, twenty-three and one-half degrees from the Equator.

The illuminated hemisphere, extending ninety degrees on each side of the parallel of the vertical Sun, reaches twenty-three and one-half degrees beyond the North Pole; but, at the south, it barely touches the Antarctic circle. It embraces more than half of each parallel north of the Equator, hence throughout the northern hemisphere the day is longer than the night, the difference in their duration increasing with the latitude; and all points within the Arctic circle are in the light during the entire rotation.

In the southern hemisphere, less than half of each parallel being illuminated, the night is longer than the day, and within the Antarctic circle there is constant night. The heating power of the Sun is now at the maximum in the northern hemisphere, while in the southern it is at the minimum.

Autumnal Equinox. On the twenty-second of September, the distribution of light and heat upon the two hemispheres is the same as at the Vernal, and at the Winter Solstice, on the twenty-second of December, it is the reverse of that at the Summer Solstice.




The change of seasons is caused by the revolution of the earth around the sun, and the inclinations of the planes of the equator and ecliptic. These causes also account for the difference in the length of the days and nights and the difference in the height of the midday sun. The exact duration of the seasons we get by observing the dates of equinoxes and solstices.


The revolution of the earth gives us the length of the year; its rotation on its axis, the length of the day and night, by causing the risings and settings and daily apparent motion of the sun and stars.



The inequality in the length of the days in different parts of the year, occasioned by the inclination of the Earth’s axis, is of itself sufficient to produce a marked variation in temperature.

During the day the Earth receives from the Sun more heat than it radiates into space; while during the night it radiates more than it receives. Hence a succession of long days and short nights results in an accumulation of heat, raising the average temperature and producing summer; while long nights and short days result in a temperature below the average, producing winter.

Again, the heating power of the Sun in each hemisphere is greatest at the period of the longest days, because of its greater altitude in the heavens; and least at the period of shortest days. Thus long days and a high sun operate together to produce the high temperature of summer; while long nights and a low sun cause the low temperature of winter.

The following table gives the length of the longest day, excluding the time of twilight, and of the shortest night, in the different latitudes, with the difference of duration in hours and minutes, thus exhibiting more clearly the above law.


Equator 12 .0 hours 12 .0 hours 00 .0 hours
10° 12 .7 11 .3 1 .4
20° 13 .3 10 .7 2 .6
Tropics 13 .5 10 .5 3 .0
30° 14 .0 10 .0 4 .0
35° 14 .5 9 .5 5 .0
40° 15 .0 9 .0 6 .0
45° 15 .6 8 .4 7 .2
50° 16 .3 7 .7 8 .6
55° 17 .3 6 .7 10 .6
60° 18 .7 5 .3 13 .4
Polar Circles 24 .0 0 .0 24 .0
6712° 1 month 0 .0 ...
6912° 2 months 0 .0 ...
73.3° 3 0 .0 ...
78.3° 4 0 .0 ...
84° 5 0 .0 ...
North Pole 6 0 .0 ...

The inequality of day and night increases slowly in the tropical regions, but more and more rapidly towards the polar circles. Beyond these circles the Sun, in the hemisphere in which it is vertical, makes the entire circuit of the heavens, without sinking below the horizon, for a period varying from twenty-four hours to six months; while in the opposite hemisphere there is a corresponding period of continuous night.


In the tropical regions, where the days and nights vary little in length, the temperature is nearly uniform throughout the year; while the increasing inequality of day and night towards the Poles, causes an increasing difference between the summer and the winter temperature.

Again, the length of the day, in the summer of high latitudes, compensates for the diminished intensity of the Sun’s influence; so that the temperature, in the hottest part of the day, may equal, or even exceed, that within the tropics. A summer day in Labrador or Petrograd may be as warm as one under the Equator; but in the former latitudes there are only a few days of extreme heat in the year, while with increasing nearness to the Equator the number of warm days constantly increases.


The high latitudes have short, hot summers, and long, severe winters. The transition seasons, spring and autumn, on account of the very rapid change in the length of the days, are short and scarcely perceptible.

In the middle latitudes the summer and winter are more nearly equal in length, with less difference in the extreme temperatures; and the transition seasons are distinctly marked. Farther towards the Equator the summer increases in length, and the winter diminishes, while the tropical latitudes have constant summer.


The winds appear to be caused by partial changes in the density of the atmosphere in a great measure arising from a diverse distribution of heat. When air is warmed it becomes less dense, or, in other words, it occupies a greater space. If an adjacent stratum of air be cooler, it will on coming in [93] contact with the warmer air expand and pour into space occupied by the latter, thus forming a current. The greater the difference between the temperature of the one or other portion, the greater will be the force which the cold portion will rush into the space occupied by the warm portion, or, in other terms, the more violent will be the wind. In temperate climates the winds are variable; but in some parts of the world they blow with great regularity, and in others are subject to periodical changes.


The most remarkable of the regular winds are the trade-winds. The atmosphere at the surface between the tropics is much warmer than in the higher latitudes; and since air expands when heated, the light warm air of intertropical regions perpetually rises, and its place is as perpetually supplied by the colder air from the north and the south. If it were not for the Earth’s rotation, these would be merely north and south winds; but like the equinoctial water-currents, these cool currents of air coming from regions which have not an equal velocity of rotation with the air at the equator, pause and hang back, and thus these aerial currents acquire a westerly direction, forming north-easterly constant winds in the northern hemisphere, and south-easterly in the southern hemisphere.


The monsoons or periodical winds of the Indian Ocean owe their origin to the same cause which gives rise to the trade-winds, though they acquire a different character in consequence of the proximity of the land. In the southern portions of the ocean which are remote from this cause of disturbance, the trade-wind blows with its wonted regularity; but in the seas occupying the region between the eastern coast of Africa on the one side, and the Malay peninsula and the island of Sumatra on the other, the course of the trade-wind is reversed for half the year. This change occurs from April to October; the sun at that period being vertical north of the equator, and the land in the adjacent regions acquiring in consequence a high temperature, and the air over the sea being cooler than that over the land, a south-west wind prevails. This wind, called the “south-west monsoon,” commences at about three degrees south of the equator, and passing over the ocean arrives charged with moisture, and accordingly usually deposits copious supplies of rain in India and some of the adjoining territories. In the remaining half of the year, or from October to April, the wind assumes the ordinary north-easterly direction of the trade-wind.

Sea-breezes, which occur in regions bordering on the ocean in hot climates, are produced by causes similar to those which give rise to the south-west monsoon, but on a more limited scale of action, and changing their direction daily.


Hurricanes are storms of wind which sweep or whirl round a regular course, and are at the same time carried onward along the surface of the Earth. In the northern hemisphere the whirling motion follows the course of east, north, west, and south to east again, and in the southern hemisphere it takes the opposite course. In the Atlantic Ocean, the principal region of hurricanes lies to the eastward of the West India Islands. They are also frequent in the Indian Ocean, at no great distance from the island of Madagascar. The “typhoons” of the China seas, and the “ox-eye” of the Cape of Good Hope, are also revolving storms.


The tornadoes of the western coast of Africa, the pamperos of South America, and the northers of North America appear to be of a different character, and not to possess a revolving motion. The sirocco of Italy and Sicily, and the solano of Spain, as also the simoon of Arabia, and the harmattan of western Africa, are all winds which owe their origin to the heated surfaces of Africa and Arabia. The principal difference between these winds appears to be, that the sirocco and the solano acquire some moisture in their passage across the Mediterranean, and therefore do not possess that extreme degree of aridity which forms the distinguishing character of the simoon and the harmattan.



Clouds are continually varying in their form and appearance, but may be classed under the four principal heads of the cirrus, the cumulus, the stratus, and the nimbus.

The cirrus is a light, fleecy cloud resembling a lock of hair or a feather.

The cumulus or summer cloud is generally massive and of a round form; sometimes of small size, and sometimes covering nearly the whole sky, and occasionally appearing in the horizon like mountains capped with snow.

The stratus is a horizontal, misty cloud sometimes observed on fine summer evenings comparatively near the ground, and often crossing the middle regions of mountainous or hilly districts.

The nimbus or rain cloud has a uniform gray tint; it is fringed at the edges when these are displayed, but usually covers the whole sky. The region of clouds is a zone extending in the atmosphere from about one to four miles above the Earth. The most elevated clouds, which are light and fleecy, are those comprehended under the name of cirrus, and the lowest are those which are called stratus.

The cirro-cumulus, cirro-stratus, and cumulo-stratus are only modifications and combinations of the above-named principal classes.


Warm air is capable of holding suspended a larger quantity of moisture than cold air, and therefore the amount of vapor present in the atmosphere is subject to great variations.


These facts also account for the formation of dew, which is caused by the reduction of the temperature and the deposition of the moisture which the warmer atmosphere of the day had held in suspension. Dews will hence be usually most abundant when cool nights succeed warm days, and on a clear night than when the skies are obscured by clouds, because a cloudless sky is usually much colder than a beclouded one. It is also essential for the copious formation of dew, that the ground or other substance on which it is deposited should be much cooler than the superincumbent air; for if the ground be warm it will impart its temperature to the air near its surface and dew will not be formed.


When the ground or water is warmer than the air, mists and fogs are frequently formed; and since water and marshy surfaces cool less rapidly than dry land, mists and fogs are of more common occurrence in low, damp situations than in dry, elevated districts. They are formed by the condensation of the vapor, or, in other terms, its transformation into the minute globules of water, which instead of descending to the earth in the form of dew, remain suspended above the land or the water.


Clouds are formed by the condensation of vapor at considerable but various elevations in the atmosphere. Vapor is always invisible, clouds, therefore, are not vapor but water, and consist of a fine watery powder, the size of each particle being exceedingly minute; and consequently they are so light that clouds formed of an accumulation of such particles are readily borne forward by the winds. Clouds are sometimes suddenly formed and as suddenly disappear, probably owing to sudden and partial changes of temperature. When a considerable difference of temperature prevails in the aerial currents which may come in contact with the local atmosphere, a further condensation takes place, and the particles of this fine watery powder unite into drops, and, becoming heavier, fall to the earth in the form of rain, hail or snow.


Vapor condensed in air having a temperature below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit freezes, or passes to a crystalline form, producing snow. Snowflakes occur in a great variety of forms, which usually present the outline of either a regular hexagon or a six-pointed star.

Their size depends upon the temperature and the relative humidity of the air through which they fall, for, like raindrops, they increase by successive additions from the vapors with which they come in contact in descending. Thus in mild weather they are much larger than in very cold weather.




1. Cirrus (sir´rus).—Small curl-like clouds, usually high in the heavens. 2. Cirro-stratus (sir-ro-strā´tus).—Intermediate between the cirrus and stratus. 3. Cirro-cumulus (sir-ro-kū´mu-lŭs).—Resembling the scales of mackerel. 4. Alto-cumulus (al´tō-kū´mu-lus).—High cumulus clouds. 5. Alto-stratus (ăltō-strā´tūs).—High stratus clouds. 6. Strato-cumulus (strā´to-kū´mu-lŭs).—Forms of cumulus and stratus combined. 7. Nimbus (nim´būs).—A rain cloud. 8. Cumulus (´mū-lus).—A conical heap of clouds. 9. Cumulo-stratus (´mu-lo-stra´tŭs).—Intermediate between the cumulus and the stratus. 10. Stratus (strā´tŭs).—Arranged in a horizontal band or layer. 11. Fracto-stratus (frăk´tō-strā´tŭs).—Broken forms of stratus. 12. Fracto-cumulus (frăk´to-kū´mu-lus).—Broken forms of cumulus.



1-3. Six-rayed stars. 4-13, 18-25. Combinations of six-rayed stars with decorated flat surfaces. 14, 16, 17. Combinations of stars and columns. 15. A true pyramid.

When the lower air is warm enough partially to melt the crystals, they form minute balls. When raindrops, formed in the upper air, fall through a cold current, they are often frozen, producing sleet instead of snow.


Though the winter snows upon the plains, and the slopes of mountains of medium height, disappear during the warm season; yet, in all latitudes, the tops of high mountains are covered with a layer of permanent snow, which the summer heat of these great altitudes is not sufficient to melt.

The lower limit of perpetual snow, called the snow line, is found, within the tropics, about three miles above the level of the sea. In temperate latitudes it occurs at the height of a little less than two miles; and at the northern limit of the continents, it is about half a mile above the level of the sea, or, perhaps, even less than this.

On the Arctic Islands, vast fields of snow remain permanently, at a few hundred feet above the sea level.

The winter snows, falling into the icy waters of the polar oceans, are but partially dissolved; and, remaining upon [97] the freezing surface, they help to form those vast ice floes which encumber the polar seas at all times.

The following table gives the observed height of the snow line in the different latitudes:—


Lat. N. New World Feet
75° North Greenland 2,300
54° Unalaska 3,500
48° Mt. Baker, Oregon, about 8,000
43° Rocky Mountains 12,500
39° Rocky Mountains 14,500
38° Sierra Nevada 11,000
19° Popocatepetl, Mexico 14,900
Tolima, Columbia 15,300
Lat. S. 1° Andes of Ecuador 15,800
17° Andes of Bolivia, west side 18,500
17° Andes of Bolivia, east side 15,700
33° Andes of central Chili 14,700
42° Andes of Patagonia 6,000
54° Andes of Straits of Magellan 3,700
75° Bear Island 600
71° Mageroe, Cape North 2,300
67° Sulitelma, Lapland 3,800
61° Scandinavian Alps 5,300
50° Altai Mountains 7,000
46° Alps, north side 8,800
46° Alps, south side 9,200
43° Caucasus 11,000
35° Hindu Kush 13,000
31° Himalaya, south side 16,200
31° Himalaya, north side 17,400
12° Abyssinian Mountains 14,000
Lat. S. 3° Kilimanjaro 16,000
44° New Zealand Alps 7,500

Glaciers (from the French glace, ice) are vast streams of ice which descend from the lower edge of the perpetual snows, like long icicles from a snow-covered roof. They follow the windings of the Alpine valleys, and terminate abruptly in a massive wall of ice, from beneath which the waters of the melting glacier escape, through a large icy vault.


The mountain systems in the middle latitudes, with abundant snows and alternate warm and cold seasons, are most favorable to the formation of glaciers. The best known, and probably the most remarkable glaciers are those of the high Alps, in the heart of which are Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Bernese Alps. Late explorers have found large glaciers in the Caucasus and in the Himalayas, the last being of the grandest proportions. In the Scandinavia are many which descend, in the deep western fiords, nearly to the sea level.

In the New World glaciers are less frequent. On Mount Shasta and Mount Rainier fine examples are in evidence.

By far the most extensive glaciers however, are found on the snow-covered islands of the polar oceans.

Vast masses of ice, broken from the ends of these glaciers, form the enormous icebergs (mountains of ice) which are so numerous in the polar seas, and are transported by the currents even to middle latitudes.


The term climate is used to express the combination of temperature and moisture which prevails at any particular place, or, in more familiar terms, the prevailing weather.

The most prominent causes of diversity of climate are the heat of the sun, the respective position of land and water, and the elevation of land above the level of the sea. To these may be added, as producing considerable though less marked effects, the nature of the soil, the prevailing winds, the position of mountain ranges, and the currents of the ocean.


The sun is the grand agent in diffusing heat over the earth’s surface. While the sun is above the horizon of any place, that place is receiving heat; and when the sun is below the horizon, it is parting with it by the process called “radiation.” Whenever therefore the sun remains more than twelve hours out of the twenty-four above the horizon of any place, and consequently less than twelve hours below, the general temperature of that place will be above average; and when the reverse occurs, it will be below average. If the temperature depended solely on the heat of the sun, then indeed a tolerably accurate view of the respective climates of the zones of the globe might easily be assumed; but it is so greatly modified by other circumstances, that considerable differences prevail in countries situated in the same parallels of latitude.


The relative position of the land and water is an essential cause of this diversity. The waters of the ocean are of very equal temperature, and have a tendency to moderate both heat and cold, wherever their influence extends. Thus when a cold wind passes over the sea, it becomes warmed, while a hot wind becomes cooled; and thus islands generally experience milder winters and more temperate summers than continents. Such countries are said to possess an insular climate. But when any region experiences great severity of cold in winter and a high degree of heat in summer, it is said to possess an extreme or excessive climate. The most striking instances of an extreme climate are drawn from places like Yakutsk, situated in the depths of Siberia, where the difference between the average temperature of winter and summer amounts to the astonishing sum of 101 degrees Fahrenheit.



The sun is the great life-giver of our earth. Its waves of light and heat and electricity come to the earth through a measureless ocean of ether and make it a living rather than a dead world. The above illustration shows how these waves are constantly bombarding the earth, and not only giving it life but contributing to it the glory of the seasons, the wonders of color, and the brilliant effects of light which we see in the skies and call Auroras, or Northern and Southern Lights.

Large illustration (347 kB)



A gradual decrease in temperature takes place in the ascent from the sea to the line of perpetual snow. This line, which is called the snow-line, varies in different latitudes, and sometimes, owing to local causes, differs on the same latitude; as a general rule, however, a gradual decrease in elevation of the snow-line takes place as we recede from the equator north and south. The height of this line within the tropics varies from 16,000 to 17,000 feet above the level of the sea, and in the northern hemisphere meets the level at about the eightieth parallel.


Countries where the prevailing winds sweep across a wide expanse of ocean are not subject to extremes of heat and cold. Thus the climate of oceanic islands is always moderate, and the climates of all coasts are more equable than in the interior of continents.

Climate is also modified greatly by the position of mountain ranges, especially when ridges extend east and west, screening it from the north or leaving it exposed unsheltered in that direction.

Thus the Carpathians screen Hungary from the cold blasts of the north; while Poland, to the north of that range, and therefore unprotected from those piercing winds, suffers from a very cold and humid atmosphere.

The currents of the ocean are likewise potent agents in the formation of climates, and render places which would otherwise be uninhabitable, fit for man’s habitation. Thus the Polar currents coming to the equatorial regions cool, and the Gulf Stream making its way to Polar regions warms, otherwise extreme temperatures.


In some parts of the Earth extensive tracts exist where rain is never known to fall, and if at all only at intervals, and then in small quantities. The rainless districts of the New World include the flat territories of northern Chili and Peru, some parts of Mexico, and some parts of California. In the Old World an extensive rainless band extends from the western shores of Africa to the central regions of Asia, including the Great Sahara Desert, Egypt, part of Arabia, and the Desert of Gobi. Countries so circumstanced, unless like Egypt rendered fertile by the irrigation of a great river, constitute the most arid and desolate regions of the earth.

The quantity of rain which falls in any region depends greatly on local causes, such as the variations of the surface, the prevailing winds or the proximity of the ocean. Rain is usually more copiously deposited in mountains and well-wooded islands than in any other description of surface.

In tropical regions the rains follow the sun, i. e., when the sun is north of the equator, the rains prevail in the northern tropic, and when south of that line in the southern tropic. This forms the rainy and dry seasons to which countries so situated are subject. This does not, however, apply to the whole intertropical regions, for in a zone extending from the fifth to the tenth parallels on each side of the equator there are two rainy and two dry seasons.

In the narrow belt called the variables, between the regions of the north and south trade-winds, rain is almost incessant, accompanied by thunder and lightning. In many parts of the intertropical regions during the rainy season the rain pours down in such torrents that a larger quantity falls in a few hours than in a whole month in temperate North America.



The dreaded Simoon of the desert is a whirlwind of terrific force that raises great gyrating clouds of sand, and sweeps forward with suffocating effect upon both man and beasts. It frequently darkens the sky at midday, and sometimes lightning accompanies it caused by the friction of the sand and air, though no rain falls. The Simoon seldom lasts more than twenty minutes.



Electricity produces an infinity of changes in the natural world. It may be artificially elicited or called forth by friction; or by contact of certain substances and the action attendant on this contact. In the one case it is termed ordinary, and in the other case voltaic or galvanic electricity.

All substances are supposed to contain a certain portion of electricity, and if by friction or other means any substance acquires more electrical action than it would naturally possess, it is said to be positively electrified; and if less, it is said to be negatively electrified. Substances when positively electrified attract or draw toward them other substances which are in a state of negative electricity, or even those which are in a natural state, but will repel or force from them substances which are positively electrified. The sudden contact of bodies in an opposite state of electricity is attended with vivid light called the “electric spark,” and accompanied by explosion and shock.


The earth is always in a state of positive electricity, and the air when pure in a state of negative electricity. Atmospheric air, however, is subject to incessant variations, and hence its “electrical equilibrium” or natural electrical state is subject to be disturbed. This equilibrium will be restored when an explosion has taken place, and thus it is that in peculiar states of the atmosphere thunder storms act a beneficial part in restoring the air to a normal condition. The intensity of electrical action is greater during the day than at night and also in summer than in winter; and diminishes from the equator to the poles.

Electricity is perpetually effecting great changes in the earth’s crust, and in very many instances acts on the principal of voltaic electricity, the action in such cases being produced by long-continued currents.


Lightning is the dazzling light produced by an electrical discharge passing between clouds which are oppositely electrified, or between the clouds and the earth. Lightning flashes have been distinguished as zigzag or chain lightning, sheet and globular lightning.

The first has the aspect of a sharply defined chain of fire, and moves at the rate of 250,000 miles per second. Its zigzag course is attributed to the resistance of the air, condensed in the passage of the electrical discharge, which is sufficient to turn it aside frequently in the direction of less resistance.

Sheet lightning includes the expanded flashes which occur during a storm, and the heat lightning, seen on summer evenings, when no clouds are visible, which is supposed to be the reflection of a storm taking place below the horizon.

Globular lightning is seen on rare occasions, when the electrical discharge takes the form of a ball of fire, and descending with less rapidity, is visible for several seconds. In certain conditions of the atmosphere, globes or spires of electrical light, called St. Elmo’s fire, are seen tipping the extremities of bodies in contact with the earth, like church spires, or masts of ships.

All the conditions which give rise to electrical excitement in the atmosphere are much more intense in warm than in cold latitudes; hence the thunder storms of the tropical regions greatly exceed, both in frequency and in violence, those of temperate and cold climates.


This phenomenon is frequently observed in the northern heavens. It occurs in many forms, but the most common is that of a luminous arch whose summit is in the magnetic meridian of the place of observation, and from which vivid flashes of light dart towards the zenith. A like phenomenon in the southern heavens is denominated the Aurora Australis. Auroras are most frequent and brilliant in the polar regions, and diminish in intensity towards the equator.


Rainbows are arches of prismatic colors, formed by the reflection of rays of light from within drops of water. The rays, which are refracted in entering the drops, are reflected from their posterior surfaces, and again refracted as they re-enter the air, the colors being separated by their unequal refrangibility.


Halos and coronas are circles of prismatic colors which, in certain states of the atmosphere, surround the Sun and the Moon.

Halos are supposed to be occasioned by the presence, in the atmosphere, of small ice crystals which act as minute prisms, decomposing and refracting the light which passes through them.

Coronas are seen when a light mist is floating in the air, and are supposed to be formed by reflection from the external surface of the globules of vapor.


The azure tint of the cloudless sky is due to the decomposition and refraction of light, as it passes through layers of air successively increasing in density. The blue and violet, being more refrangible than other colors of the solar spectrum, are diffused through the atmosphere; and being reflected from its particles, they impart to it their own color.

The clouds, floating in the atmosphere, absorb the more refrangible rays, and reflect the less. At sunrise and sunset, when the light traverses the greatest depth of atmosphere, all the colors are absorbed except the red and the yellow; and these, being deflected from the particles of vapor, produce the brilliant coloring of sunrise and sunset.


The mirage is an optical phenomenon in which images of distant objects are seen, reflected beneath, or suspended in the heavens above. Occasionally, also, objects are seen double, being repeated laterally instead of vertically.

The mirage is caused by the refraction and reflection of light as it passes from denser to rarer strata of air. It is most frequent in arid plains, where the soil, exposed to the burning rays of the sun, becomes intensely heated, and, in consequence, the strata of air near the ground are less dense than those above.

In this case rays of light passing from any distant object, as a tree, to the ground, are refracted more and more towards the horizontal, until finally they are reflected from a horizontal layer of the heated air, and reach the eye from beneath. Then an image of the object is seen as if mirrored in the tranquil waters of a lake.





Minerals can be identified and distinguished by various physical properties and by ascertaining their chemical composition. The chief distinguishing physical properties are crystalline form, cleavage, hardness, and specific gravity.

Each mineral or special class of minerals has its own definite geometrical shape or crystalline form. The crystals of each mineral have also a tendency to break or cleave most readily in a particular direction. The term hardness, as applied to minerals and other solid bodies, is used to indicate resistance to being scratched or the power to scratch. The harder of two bodies is the one which will scratch the other, and which resists being scratched by that other.


There are three general classes of crystals—calcareous, silicious and gypsum—but by far the most important are the silicious crystals because of their great hardness. These include quartz or rock crystal—which is quite common—and the so-called precious stones, among which are the diamond, rubies, sapphires, etc., a description of which will be found in the Dictionary of Minerals.

To find the relative hardness of substances, a scale has been arranged, beginning with the softest mineral (talc) and ending with the hardest (diamond). The minerals of the scale, therefore, are so arranged that each will scratch any other mineral of lower number in the scale, or be scratched by any of higher number.

Scale of Hardness

  Mineral   Chemical Name
1. Talc.   - Can be scratched by the finger-nail -   1. Magnesium silicate.
2. Gypsum (or rocksalt). 2. Calcium sulphate or Sodium chloride.
3. Calc-spar.   - Can be scratched by knife or file -   3. Calcium carbonate.
4. Fluor-spar. 4. Calcium fluoride.
5. Apatite. 5. Calcium phosphate.
6. Felspar. 6. Potassium and aluminum silicates.
7. Quartz (rock-crystal).   - Cannot be scratched by knife or file -   7. Silica.
8. Topaz. 8. Aluminum fluosilicate.
9. Corundum (sapphire, ruby). 9. These gems are crystallized alumina.
10. Diamond. 10. Crystallized carbon.

As a first inquiry into the chemical composition of a mineral, dilute hydrochloric or sulphuric acid is tried. All carbonates effervesce when placed in acid or when acid is dropped upon them, while quartz and all the silicates show no effervescense when so treated.

The table on pages 104-7 contains a brief description of the distinctive physical features of a number of the very common or important minerals.


Aluminum, a metal which does not occur in nature in the free state, but for the most part in combination with silica, as a silicate of aluminum, in clay and many minerals. As extracted from clay by a series of very difficult chemical operations, it forms a white metal, very ductile and malleable, and susceptible of a high polish. On account of its lightness, aluminum is highly valued; it forms excellent alloys.

Bauxite (aluminum hydrate) is the only ore. It is mined in France, Ireland, Austria, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, and is refined by electric processes. It is used largely as an addition to iron and steel, preventing bubbles and waste in castings; in electrical work, and for purposes where a light, strong metal is necessary, as in certain machinery, hulls for small boats, etc. Refineries are located in Switzerland, France, Great Britain and United States.

Cryolite (fluoride of aluminum and sodium), a mineral mined only in Greenland, was formerly used as an ore but is now utilized in the manufacture of alum and soda.

Alum (a sulphate) is made from cryolite or clays.

Corundum (aluminum oxide) is, next to the diamond, the hardest natural mineral. Canada, North Carolina, Alabama and India have mines of corundum. Emery is produced chiefly in Greece and Asia Minor. Corundum and emery are powdered for use as abrasives in wheels, sharpening stones, polishing powder and cloth.

Emery is an impure form of corundum.

Feldspar is a silicate of aluminum with other metals. It is mined in Canada, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Maine and Norway, and ground up for use in pottery making.

Clay is chiefly silicate of aluminum and other metals. Kaolin is its purest form. The properties of clay vary with its composition, as china clay, fire clay, pipe clay, brick clay. Clays are found in all parts of the world as a result of the decomposition of other rocks.

The location of manufacturing centers of pottery of all kinds and of bricks, is dependent on clay deposits. In pottery making, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lead the United States. Abroad, fine china is made in France, Germany, Austria, England, Japan, and China.



Name of Mineral Common Name Composition Hardness Lustre Color Streak Cleavage or Fracture Crystallization and Occurrence Tenacity etc. Diaphaneity Varieties Remarks
... Silicate of magnesium, calcium, aluminum, iron, etc. 5-6 Glassy to dull. Black or light to dark green. White. Perfect in two directions at angle of 124°. Prismatic crystals with hexagonal cross-section, common; also cleavable masses. Brittle to tough. Opaque to transparent. Actinolite (green, transparent). Asbestos (fibrous, dull). Hornblende (black). Common constituent of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Valueless.
Mispickel. Sulphide and arsenide of iron. 6 Metallic. Silver, yellowish, or light grayish white. Black. Good in two directions at an angle of 112°. Not evident on fine grained material. Crystals resemble a double-edged axe. Occurs also coarse to fine granular. Brittle. Opaque. ... Principal ore of arsenic and sometimes carries gold. Gives sparks and garlic odor when struck with a hammer. Yellow tarnish.
Barytes. Heavy spur. Sulphate of barium. 3 Glassy to stony. White, yellow, blue or brown. White. Perfect in one direction; two other good cleavages at right angles to the first and at 101° with each other. Diamond shaped or rectangular tabular, or prismatic crystals and platy masses. Brittle. Transparent to translucent. ... Used to adulterate white lead and give weight to paper. Often associated with lead ores. Very heavy.
Black Mica. Hydrous silicate of aluminum, potassium, magnesium and iron. 212-3 Glassy to almost metallic. Black or dark brown. White. Very perfect in one direction, yielding thin sheets. Six-sided tabular crystals, and as scales, plates, or scaly masses. Flexible and elastic. Opaque to transparent. ... Common constituent of igneous rocks. May be brittle when altered. Valueless.
Lime. Calespar. Carbonate of Calcium. 3 Glassy to earthy. Colorless or white when pure, all colors when impure. White. Perfect in three directions at angles of about 105° or 75°. Prismatic or tabular six-sided crystals; also granular, cleavable, or earthy masses. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Marble (granular). Limestone (dull, compact). Chalk (soft, white, earthy). Mexican Onyx (compact, banded). Effervesces vigorously in hydrochloric acid of any strength and temperature. Used as flux, building or ornamental stone, to make lime, etc.
Copper Glance. Sulphide of copper. 3 Metallic; dull when impure or tarnished. Dark gray. Tarnishes black or green. Lead-gray. No cleavage, smooth conchoidal fracture. Usually very compact masses; six-sided, tabular crystals rare. Slightly sectile. Opaque. ... An important ore of copper. Cuts easily, yielding a highly polished surface.
Copper Pyrites. Fools gold. Sulphide of copper and iron. 4 Metallic. Bright brass-yellow. Often tarnished iridescent. Greenish black. No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Occurs massive or in scattered particles. Crystals usually have four triangular faces. Brittle. Opaque. ... One of the most important ores of copper and often carries silver and gold. Is often mistaken for the latter.
Copper. ... Native metallic copper. 212-3 Metallic. Copper-red. Tarnishes green to black. Copper-red. No cleavage. Hackly fracture. Masses, plates, scales, branching aggregates and octahedral crystals, usually distorted. Malleable sectile. Opaque. ... The value and uses of copper are well known. Often carries some silver.
... Oxide of aluminum. 9 Glassy. All colors; usually gray or brown when massive. White. Often parts readily into almost rectangular pieces whose faces are cross-hatched. Prismatic or tabular six-sided crystals; also granular and pseudo-cleavable masses. Brittle to tough. Translucent to transparent. Ruby (red). Sapphire (blue, etc.). Adamantine. Spar (massive). Emery (granular, impure). A very valuable gem mineral and a fine abrasive. See plate I, figures 10, 11 and 13.
... Basic silicate of calcium, aluminum and iron. 6-7 Glassy to dull. Dark green or greenish brown (crystals) to light yellowish green. White. Perfect in one direction. Slender, deeply grooved prismatic crystals and cleavable to fine granular masses. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... Common constituent of metamorphic rocks. Rarely cut as a gem.
Fluor Spar. Fluorine. Calcium fluoride. 4 Glassy. All colors; green, violet, purple, colorless and white, the commoner. White. Cleaves easily into octahedrons, i. e., in four directions, at angles of 109° or 71°. In groups of crystals, usually cubical; also in cleavable masses. Sometimes granular. Brittle. Transparent to translucent. Rock fluorite (finely granular and usually very impure and hard). Used as a flux in smelting ores, and in several arts and trades.
Galena. Lead. Sulphide of lead. 3 Metallic. Bluish lead, gray. Tarnishes black. Lead-gray. Perfect cubical, i. e., in three directions at angle of 90°. Cubical crystals, often with triangular faces on the corners; also, cleavable to granular masses. Very Brittle. Opaque. Steel galena (very fine grained masses). Often rich in silver. Most important lead and silver ore. Often contains the latter metal with sometimes gold and other elements.
Garnet. ... Silicate of various elements: calcium, aluminum and iron are commonest. 612-712 Glassy to resinous. Commonly some shade of red; also brown, yellow, white, black, green. White. No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Complex, rounded crystals, glassy masses and granular. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... An important abrasive and a beautiful gem. Found in metamorphic rocks. See plate I, figures 8 and 15.
Gold. ... Native metallic gold with a little silver, copper, etc. 212-3 Metallic. Golden yellow to nearly silver-white. Yellow to nearly white. No cleavage. Hackly fracture. Nuggets, plates, scales, wires; branching aggregates and distorted crystals, usually octahedral. Malleable sectile. Opaque. Based upon and named after any impurities that may be present. The value and uses of gold are well known.
Black Lead. Plumbago. Carbon. 1-2 Metallic to dull. Dark gray to black. Dark gray. Perfect in one direction. Cleavage faces are apt to be curved. Not shown if finely granular. Imbedded scales and foliated, granular or compact masses. Rarely in six-sided, tabular crystals. Sectile Flexible. Opaque. ... Used in the manufacture of lubricants, infusible crucibles, and “lead” pencils.
... Hydrous sulphate of calcium. 112-2 Pearly, silky, vitreous, dull. White, gray, red, yellow or other tints due to impurities. White. Very perfect in one direction; two others show as cracks at angle of 114°, on the perfect cleavage faces. Diamond shaped crystals, and cleavable, fibrous, granular, foliated or compact masses. Sectile, Thin flakes, flexible. Translucent to transparent. Selenite (cleavable, transparent). Satin spar (white, fibrous, silky). Alabaster, (white, fine grained). Is carved into vases, statues, etc., and forms plaster of paris when calcined and ground. Is a precipitate rock.
Rock salt. Chloride of sodium. 212 Glassy. Colorless or white when pure. Yellow, brown, red, etc., when impure. White. Perfect cubic i. e., in three directions at angle of 90°. Cubical or octahedral crystals; also cleavable, granular or compact masses. Brittle. Translucent to transparent. ... Tastes salty. Enormous quantities are used to season food, in various arts and trades, and as a source of sodium and its salts. A precipitate rock.
Red oxide of iron. Oxide of iron. 512-612 Metallic to earthy. Black when metallic; reddish black when dull, red when earthy. Red. No cleavage; may have a parting in one direction producing a platy structure. Uneven fracture. Complex, tabular or rounded crystals; also platy, oolitic, earthy, micaceous, and kidney shaped masses. Brittle. Opaque. Specular iron (mirror-like plates or crystals). Red Ochre or Ruddle (red, earthy). The most important ore of iron, and is also used to make cheap paint, polishing powder, etc.
Yellow oxide of iron. Hydrous oxide of iron. 5-512 Dull, silky, varnish-like. Yellow, brown or nearly black. Yellow or yellowish brown. No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Botryoidal or stalactitic forms with a radiating fibrous structure and a varnish-like surface, also earthy masses and concretions. Brittle. Opaque. Bog iron ore (porous, earthy, often encloses vegetation). Yellow ochre or umber (earthy with clay, etc.). Commonest, but most impure ore of iron, and is also used to make cheap yellow and brown paint.
Magnetic iron ore. Oxide of iron. 512-612 Metallic to dull. Iron-black. Black. No cleavage. Sometimes parts in four directions at angles of 109° and 71°. Uneven to subconchoidal fracture. Octahedral crystals, and coarse to fine granular, laminated, or compact masses. Brittle. Opaque. Lodestone (a natural magnet). The only black, brittle, magnetic mineral, and a very pure and valuable ore of iron.
... Hydrous carbonate of copper. 312-4 Silky to dull. Green, often nearly black on exposed surfaces. Green. Paler than the color. No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Massive, as botryoidal crusts with a radiating structure and silky lustre, and as slender crystals forming velvety surfaces. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. ... Is an ore of copper and is used as an ornamental stone and in jewelry. Azur-malachite is malachite mixed with blue azurite. See plate I, figure 4.
Mica, isinglass. White Mica. Hydrous silicate of potassium and aluminum. 2-212 Glassy. Pearly on cleavage faces. White or light tints of other colors, particularly gray, brown or green. White. Very perfect in one direction, yielding thin sheets. Six-sided, tabular crystals, and as scales, plates, or scaly masses. Flexible and elastic. Transparent to translucent. ... Used in stove doors, as insulation in electrical apparatus, and for spangling or frosting paper and fabric.
Feldspar. Potash. Silicate of potassium and aluminum. 6 Glassy to stony. Flesh-red, gray, yellow, white or colorless. White. In two directions at angle of 90°, one direction slightly less perfect than the other. Thick-set square or six-sided crystals, or cleavable masses or grains. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Sanadine (transparent crystals or grains imbedded in igneous rocks). Associated with quartz and mica in many rocks. Used in making glass and porcelain. Next to quartz in frequency of occurrence.
Pyrites. White iron. Fools gold. Sulphide of iron. 6-612 Metallic. Pale to deep brass-yellow. Tarnishes brown or iridescent. Black. No cleavage. Conchoidal to uneven fracture. Cubical, octahedral, or complexly rounded crystals, coarse to fine granular, and massive. Brittle. Opaque. ... Used in making sulphuric acid and often contains so much gold, silver and copper as to make it an ore of these metals.
... Oxide of manganese. 1-212 Metallic to dull. Black to dark steel-gray. Sooty black. May appear to have good cleavage in one direction but usually shows none. Occurs as radiating prismatic layers, velvety crust and granular to compact masses. Soils the fingers. Brittle. Opaque. ... Has many uses and is valuable. Usually associated with a very fine grained, hard, black mineral that is often botryoidal.
... Silicate of magnesium, calcium, aluminum and iron. 5-6 Glassy to dull. Black or light to dark green. White to greenish. Poor in two directions at angle of nearly 90°. May have a fine platy parting. Prismatic crystals with square or octagonal cross-section; also foliated and massive. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Diopside (light green, glassy). Diallage (light green, dull, foliated). Auagite (black). A common constituent of igneous rocks. Diopside is sometimes used as a gem.
Quartz. (Pheno-
... Oxide of silicon. 7 Glassy. White or colorless when pure. All colors when impure. White or light tints. No cleavage. Single crystal has conchoidal fracture, otherwise the fracture is uneven. Six-sided prism terminated by a six-sided pyramid; also massive, coarse to fine granular, and as sand. Brittle. Transparent. Rock crystal (colorless, transparent). Amethyst (purple). Rose (pink). False topaz or Citrine (yellow). Smoky quartz or Topaz (brown or gray). Milky (white). Ferruginous (iron stained). The commonest of all minerals. A constituent of most rock. Great quantities are used as a flux in smelting, as abrasives, and in the manufacture of glass and porcelain. The transparent varieties of pleasing tints are used as gems. Water-clear spheres are very valuable.
Quartz. (Crypto-
... ... ... Dull to earthy. ... ... No cleavage. Conchoidal fracture. Very fine grained massive, botryoidal, nodular, or filling or lining cavities in rocks. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. Chalcedony (drab). Carnelian (red, translucent). Jasper (red, brown, yellow, opaque). Heliotrope or Bloodstone (dark green with red spots). Flint (dark gray concretions). Agate (banded or particolored). Onyx (agate with flat layers). Petrified wood (wood replaced by quartz). ...
... Hydrous silicate of magnesium and iron. 4+ Wax-like, silky, earthy. Light to dark green, yellow, brownish red, variegated. White. No cleavage. Conchoidal fracture when massive. Compact, massive or coarse to fine fibrous. The two habits are often in parallel layers. Tough. Fibres are flexible. Translucent to opaque. Precious or noble (massive, translucent). Chrysolite (silky, fibres). Verde antique (massive with calcite). Chrysolite is the best commercial asbestos. Other varieties are used as ornamental stone and occasionally in jewelry.
... Carbonate of iron. 312-4 Glassy to earthy. Light to dark brown or gray. Tarnishes reddish brown or brownish black. White to yellowish. Very perfect in three directions at angle of 107° and 73°. Not evident when fine grained. Cleavable masses, coarse to fine, granular and at warped crystals that resemble distorted cubes. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. Sphaerosidirite or Clay-ironstone (concretions of fine grained siderite mixed with clay). The most valuable ore of iron, but is rather uncommon. The impure clay-ironstone is fairly common in sediments.
Blende, Jack Rosin zinc, zinc, etc. Sulphide of zinc. 312-4 Resinous to nearly metallic. Commonly yellow, brown, black or red; sometimes green or white. White, yellow or brown. Very perfect in six directions at angles of 60°, 90° and 120°. Complexly rounded or modified cubical crystals; also cleavable, coarse to fine granular masses, and botryoidal, etc. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... The commonest zinc ore and an impure variety furnishes most of the cadmium of commerce. Associated with galenite and silver minerals.
... Sulphide of antimony. 2 Metallic. Light gray. Cleavage faces appear silver white when reflecting light. Lead-gray. Perfect in one direction, yielding blade-like strips which are bent or hatched perpendicular to their length. Sharp, vertically grooved, prismatic crystals and in cleavable masses with a bladed structure. Very brittle. Opaque. ... The chief source of antimony and its salts. Sometimes carries gold and silver.
Talcum. Hydrous silicate of magnesium. 1-112 Waxy to dull. Pearly on cleavage faces. White, light green, gray; other colors when impure. White to greenish. Perfect in one direction, yielding thin flexible plates. Not shown on the fine grained soapstone. Foliated, coarse to fine granular, or compact masses. Feels greasy to soapy. Tough sectile. Transparent to translucent. Steatite or soapstone (granular, impure, hardness up to 212). French chalk (white, fine grained soft). Used in making porcelain, polishing powder, lubricants, gas jets, tinted plasters, paper, soap, leather dressing, talcum powder, slate pencils, and in other ways.
Gray copper. Sulph-antimonite of copper. 3-412 Metallic. Gray. Gray, brown, or reddish. No cleavage. Uneven, granular fracture. Crystals have four triangular faces. Occurs usually granular massives. Brittle. Opaque. ... Often contains enough silver to make it a valuable ore of this metal as well as copper.
Schorl. Silicate of boron and various other bases varying with the variety. 7-712 Glassy to resinous. All colors. Interior and exterior or opposite ends of a crystal may differ in color. White. No cleavage. Uneven to poor conchoidal fracture. Vertically lined, prismatic crystals with spherical triangular cross-sections. Also columnar or compact massive. Very brittle. Transparent to opaque. Schorl (black). Rubellite (pink). Indicolite (blue). Achroite (white). A popular semi-precious gem. When heated (not above 212° F.), will usually pick up bits of paper. Opposite ends of crystals have different forms.
... Silica, alumina, lime, peroxide of iron, water. 6 Pearly. White, gray, yellow, brown. Uncolored. Parallel cleavage; sometimes fibrous. Occurs in tri-metric crystals; also massive. Brittle. Transparent, translucent. ... Often a constituent of metamorphic rocks.
Name of Mineral Common Name Composition Hardness Lustre Color Streak
... Silicate of magnesium, calcium, aluminum, iron, etc. 5-6 Glassy to dull. Black or light to dark green. White
Mispickel. Sulphide and arsenide of iron. 6 Metallic. Silver, yellowish, or light grayish white. Black.
Barytes. Heavy spur. Sulphate of barium. 3 Glassy to stony. White, yellow, blue or brown. White.
Black Mica. Hydrous silicate of aluminum, potassium, magnesium and iron. 212-3 Glassy to almost metallic. Black or dark brown. White.
Lime. Calespar. Carbonate of Calcium. 3 Glassy to earthy. Colorless or white when pure, all colors when impure. White.
Copper Glance. Sulphide of copper. 3 Metallic; dull when impure or tarnished. Dark gray. Tarnishes black or green. Lead-gray.
Copper Pyrites. Fools gold. Sulphide of copper and iron. 4 Metallic. Bright brass-yellow. Often tarnished iridescent. Greenish black.
Copper. ... Native metallic copper. 212-3 Metallic. Copper-red. Tarnishes green to black. Copper-red.
... Oxide of aluminum. 9 Glassy. All colors; usually gray or brown when massive. White.
... Basic silicate of calcium, aluminum and iron. 6-7 Glassy to dull. Dark green or greenish brown (crystals) to light yellowish green. White.
Fluor Spar. Fluorine. Calcium fluoride. 4 Glassy. All colors; green, violet, purple, colorless and white, the commoner. White.
Galena. Lead. Sulphide of lead. 3 Metallic. Bluish lead, gray. Tarnishes black. Lead-gray.
Garnet. ... Silicate of various elements: calcium, aluminum and iron are commonest. 612-712 Glassy to resinous. Commonly some shade of red; also brown, yellow, white, black, green. White.
Gold. ... Native metallic gold with a little silver, copper, etc. 212-3 Metallic. Golden yellow to nearly silver-white. Yellow to nearly white.
Black Lead. Plumbago. Carbon. 1-2 Metallic to dull. Dark gray to black. Dark gray.
... Hydrous sulphate of calcium. 112-2 Pearly, silky, vitreous, dull. White, gray, red, yellow or other tints due to impurities. White.
Rock salt. Chloride of sodium. 212 Glassy. Colorless or white when pure. Yellow, brown, red, etc., when impure. White.
Red oxide of iron. Oxide of iron. 512-612 Metallic to earthy. Black when metallic; reddish black when dull, red when earthy. Red.
Yellow oxide of iron. Hydrous oxide of iron 5-512 Dull, silky, varnish-like. Yellow, brown or nearly black. Yellow or yellowish brown.
Magnetic iron ore. Oxide of iron. 512-612 Metallic to dull. Iron-black. Black.
... Hydrous carbonate of copper. 312-4 Silky to dull. Green, often nearly black on exposed surfaces. Green. Paler than the color.
Mica, isinglass. White Mica. Hydrous silicate of potassium and aluminum. 2-212 Glassy. Pearly on cleavage faces. White or light tints of other colors, particularly gray, brown or green. White.
Feldspar. Potash. Silicate of potassium and aluminum. 6 Glassy to stony. Flesh-red, gray, yellow, white or colorless. White.
Pyrites. White iron. Fools gold. Sulphide of iron. 6-612 Metallic. Pale to deep brass-yellow. Tarnishes brown or iridescent. Black.
... Oxide of manganese. 1-212 Metallic to dull. Black to dark steel-gray. Sooty black.
... Silicate of magnesium, calcium, aluminum and iron. 5-6 Glassy to dull. Black or light to dark green. White to greenish.
Quartz. (Pheno-
... Oxide of silicon. 7 Glassy. White or colorless when pure. All colors when impure. White or light tints.
Quartz. (Crypto-
... ... ... Dull to earthy. ... ...
... Hydrous silicate of magnesium and iron. 4+ Wax-like, silky, earthy. Light to dark green, yellow, brownish red, variegated. White.
... Carbonate of iron. 312-4 Glassy to earthy. Light to dark brown or gray. Tarnishes reddish brown or brownish black. White to yellowish.
Blende, Jack Rosin zinc, zinc, etc. Sulphide of zinc. 312-4 Resinous to nearly metallic. Commonly yellow, brown, black or red; sometimes green or white. White, yellow or brown.
... Sulphide of antimony. 2 Metallic. Light gray. Cleavage faces appear silver white when reflecting light. Lead-gray.
Talcum. Hydrous silicate of magnesium. 1-112 Waxy to dull. Pearly on cleavage faces. White, light green, gray; other colors when impure. White to greenish.
Gray copper. Sulph-antimonite of copper. 3-412 Metallic. Gray. Gray, brown, or reddish.
Schorl. Silicate of boron and various other bases varying with the variety. 7-712 Glassy to resinous. All colors. Interior and exterior or opposite ends of a crystal may differ in color. White.
... Silica, alumina, lime, peroxide of iron, water. 6 Pearly. White, gray, yellow, brown. Uncolored.
Name of Mineral Cleavage or Fracture Crystallization and Occurrence Tenacity etc. Diaphaneity Varieties Remarks
Perfect in two directions at angle of 124°. Prismatic crystals with hexagonal cross-section, common; also cleavable masses. Brittle to tough. Opaque to transparent. Actinolite (green, transparent). Asbestos (fibrous, dull). Hornblende (black). Common constituent of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Valueless.
Good in two directions at an angle of 112°. Not evident on fine grained material. Crystals resemble a double-edged axe. Occurs also coarse to fine granular. Brittle. Opaque. ... Principal ore of arsenic and sometimes carries gold. Gives sparks and garlic odor when struck with a hammer. Yellow tarnish.
Perfect in one direction; two other good cleavages at right angles to the first and at 101° with each other. Diamond shaped or rectangular tabular, or prismatic crystals and platy masses. Brittle. Transparent to translucent. ... Used to adulterate white lead and give weight to paper. Often associated with lead ores. Very heavy.
Very perfect in one direction, yielding thin sheets. Six-sided tabular crystals, and as scales, plates, or scaly masses. Flexible. and elastic. Opaque to transparent. ... Common constituent of igneous rocks. May be brittle when altered. Valueless.
Perfect in three directions at angles of about 105° or 75°. Prismatic or tabular six-sided crystals; also granular, cleavable, or earthy masses. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Marble (granular). Limestone (dull, compact). Chalk (soft, white, earthy). Mexican Onyx (compact, banded). Effervesces vigorously in hydrochloric acid of any strength and temperature. Used as flux, building or ornamental stone, to make lime, etc.
No cleavage, smooth conchoidal fracture. Usually very compact masses; six-sided, tabular crystals rare. Slightly sectile. Opaque. ... An important ore of copper. Cuts easily, yielding a highly polished surface.
No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Occurs massive or in scattered particles. Crystals usually have four triangular faces. Brittle. Opaque. ... One of the most important ores of copper and often carries silver and gold. Is often mistaken for the latter.
Copper. No cleavage. Hackly fracture. Masses, plates, scales, branching aggregates and octahedral crystals, usually distorted. Malleable sectile. Opaque. ... The value and uses of copper are well known. Often carries some silver.
Often parts readily into almost rectangular pieces whose faces are cross-hatched. Prismatic or tabular six-sided crystals; also granular and pseudo-cleavable masses. Brittle to tough. Translucent to transparent. Ruby (red). Sapphire (blue, etc.). Adamantine. Spar (massive). Emery (granular, impure). A very valuable gem mineral and a fine abrasive. See plate I, figures 10, 11 and 13.
Perfect in one direction. Slender, deeply grooved prismatic crystals and cleavable to fine granular masses. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... Common constituent of metamorphic rocks. Rarely cut as a gem.
Cleaves easily into octahedrons, i. e., in four directions, at angles of 109° or 71°. In groups of crystals, usually cubical; also in cleavable masses. Sometimes granular. Brittle. Transparent to translucent. Rock fluorite (finely granular and usually very impure and hard). Used as a flux in smelting ores, and in several arts and trades.
Perfect cubical, i. e., in three directions at angle of 90°. Cubical crystals, often with triangular faces on the corners; also, cleavable to granular masses. Very Brittle. Opaque. Steel with galena (very fine grained masses). Often rich in silver. Most important lead and silver ore. Often contains the latter metal with sometimes gold and other elements.
Garnet. No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Complex, rounded crystals, glassy masses and granular. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... An important abrasive and a beautiful gem. Found in metamorphic rocks. See plate I, figures 8 and 15.
Gold. No cleavage. Hackly fracture. Nuggets, plates, scales, wires; branching aggregates and distorted crystals, usually octahedral. Malleable sectile. Opaque. Based upon and named after any impurities that may be present. The value and uses of gold are well known.
Perfect in one direction. Cleavage faces are apt to be curved. Not shown if finely granular. Imbedded scales and foliated, granular or compact masses. Rarely in six-sided, tabular crystals. Sectile Flexible. Opaque. ... Used in the manufacture of lubricants, infusible crucibles, and “lead” pencils.
Very perfect in one direction; two others show as cracks at angle of 114°, on the perfect cleavage faces. Diamond shaped crystals, and cleavable, fibrous, granular, foliated or compact masses. Sectile, Thin flakes, flexible. Translucent to transparent. Selenite (cleavable, transparent). Satin spar (white, fibrous, silky). Alabaster, (white, fine grained). Is carved into vases, statues, etc., and forms plaster of paris when calcined and ground. Is a precipitate rock.
Perfect cubic i. e., in three directions at angle of 90°. Cubical or octahedral crystals; also cleavable, granular or compact masses. Brittle. Translucent to transparent. ... Tastes salty. Enormous quantities are used to season food, in various arts and trades, and as a source of sodium and its salts. A precipitate rock.
No cleavage; may have a parting in one direction producing a platy structure. Uneven fracture. Complex, tabular or rounded crystals; also platy, oolitic, earthy, micaceous, and kidney shaped masses. Brittle. Opaque. Specular iron (mirror-like plates or crystals). Red Ochre or Ruddle (red, earthy). The most important ore of iron, and is also used to make cheap paint, polishing powder, etc.
No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Botryoidal or stalactitic forms with a radiating fibrous structure and a varnish-like surface, also earthy masses and concretions. Brittle. Opaque. Bog iron ore (porous, earthy, often encloses vegetation). Yellow ochre or umber (earthy with clay, etc.) Commonest, but most impure ore of iron, and is also used to make cheap yellow and brown paint.
No cleavage. Sometimes parts in four directions at angles of 109° and 71°. Uneven to subconchoidal fracture. Octahedral crystals, and coarse to fine granular, laminated, or compact masses. Brittle. Opaque. Lodestone (a natural magnet). The only black, brittle, magnetic mineral, and a very pure and valuable ore of iron.
No cleavage. Uneven fracture. Massive, as botryoidal crusts with a radiating structure and silky lustre, and as slender crystals forming velvety surfaces. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. ... Is an ore of copper and is used as an ornamental stone and in jewelry. Azur-malachite is malachite mixed with blue azurite. See plate I, figure 4.
Very perfect in one direction, yielding thin sheets. Six-sided, tabular crystals, and as scales, plates, or scaly masses. Flexible and elastic. Transparent to translucent. ... Used in stove doors, as insulation in electrical apparatus, and for spangling or frosting paper and fabric.
In two directions at angle of 90°, one direction slightly less perfect than the other. Thick-set square or six-sided crystals, or cleavable masses or grains. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Sanadine (transparent crystals or grains imbedded in igneous rocks). Associated with quartz and mica in many rocks. Used in making glass and porcelain. Next to quartz in frequency of occurrence.
No cleavage. Conchoidal to uneven fracture. Cubical, octahedral, or complexly rounded crystals, coarse to fine granular, and massive. Brittle. Opaque. ... Used in making sulphuric acid and often contains so much gold, silver and copper as to make it an ore of these metals.
May appear to have good cleavage in one direction but usually shows none. Occurs as radiating prismatic layers, velvety crust and granular to compact masses. Soils the fingers. Brittle. Opaque. ... Has many uses and is valuable. Usually associated with a very fine grained, hard, black mineral that is often botryoidal.
Poor in two directions at angle of nearly 90°. May have a fine platy parting. Prismatic crystals with square or octagonal cross-section; also foliated and massive. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. Diopside (light green, glassy). Diallage (light green, dull, foliated). Auagite (black). A common constituent of igneous rocks. Diopside is sometimes used as a gem.
Quartz. (Pheno-
No cleavage. Single crystal has conchoidal fracture, otherwise the fracture is uneven. Six-sided prism terminated by a six-sided pyramid; also massive, coarse to fine granular, and as sand. Brittle. Transparent. Rock crystal (colorless, transparent). Amethyst (purple). Rose (pink). False topaz or Citrine (yellow). Smoky quartz or Topaz (brown or gray). Milky (white). Ferruginous (iron stained). The commonest of all minerals. A constituent of most rock. Great quantities are used as a flux in smelting, as abrasives, and in the manufacture of glass and porcelain. The transparent varieties of pleasing tints are used as gems. Water-clear spheres are very valuable.
Quartz. (Crypto-
No cleavage. Conchoidal fracture. Very fine grained massive, botryoidal, nodular, or filling or lining cavities in rocks. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. Chalcedony (drab). Carnelian (red, translucent). Jasper (red, brown, yellow, opaque). Heliotrope or Bloodstone (dark green with red spots). Flint (dark gray concretions). Agate (banded or particolored). Onyx (agate with flat layers). Petrified wood (wood replaced by quartz). ...
No cleavage. Conchoidal fracture when massive. Compact, massive or coarse to fine fibrous. The two habits are often in parallel layers. Tough. Fibres are flexible. Translucent to opaque. Precious or noble (massive, translucent). Chrysolite (silky, fibres). Verde antique (massive with calcite). Chrysolite is the best commercial asbestos. Other varieties are used as ornamental stone and occasionally in jewelry.
Very perfect in three directions at angle of 107° and 73°. Not evident when fine grained. Cleavable masses, coarse to fine, granular and at warped crystals that resemble distorted cubes. Brittle. Translucent to opaque. Sphaerosidirite or Clay-ironstone (concretions of fine grained siderite mixed with clay). The most valuable ore of iron, but is rather uncommon. The impure clay-ironstone is fairly common in sediments.
Very perfect in six directions at angles of 60°, 90° and 120°. Complexly rounded or modified cubical crystals; also cleavable, coarse to fine granular masses, and botryoidal, etc. Brittle. Transparent to opaque. ... The commonest zinc ore and an impure variety furnishes most of the cadmium of commerce. Associated with galenite and silver minerals.
Perfect in one direction, yielding blade-like strips which are bent or hatched perpendicular to their length. Sharp, vertically grooved, prismatic crystals and in cleavable masses with a bladed structure. Very brittle. Opaque. ... The chief source of antimony and its salts. Sometimes carries gold and silver.
Perfect in one direction, yielding thin flexible plates. Not shown on the fine grained soapstone. Foliated, coarse to fine granular, or compact masses. Feels greasy to soapy. Tough sectile. Transparent to translucent. Steatite or soapstone (granular, impure, hardness up to 212). French chalk (white, fine grained soft). Used in making porcelain, polishing powder, lubricants, gas jets, tinted plasters, paper, soap, leather dressing, talcum powder, slate pencils, and in other ways.
No cleavage. Uneven, granular fracture. Crystals have four triangular faces. Occurs usually granular massives. Brittle. Opaque. ... Often contains enough silver to make it a valuable ore of this metal as well as copper.
No cleavage. Uneven to poor conchoidal fracture. Vertically lined, prismatic crystals with spherical triangular cross-sections. Also columnar or compact massive. Very brittle. Transparent to opaque. Schorl (black). Rubellite (pink). Indicolite (blue). Achroite (white). A popular semi-precious gem. When heated (not above 212° F.), will usually pick up bits of paper. Opposite ends of crystals have different forms.
Parallel cleavage; sometimes fibrous. Occurs in tri-metric crystals; also massive. Brittle. Transparent, translucent. ... Often a constituent of metamorphic rocks.


Antimony and Bismuth. Antimony is produced in Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, United States, Japan and other countries.

Bismuth comes mainly from Bolivia and Australia. Some is produced in Saxony and England.

Stibnite (antimony sulphide) is the chief ore of antimony. Bismuth occurs in small amounts in a pure state and also combined with sulphur.

These metals form many alloys such as type metal, anti-friction metals, white metal, babbitt metal, fusible metals.

Tartar emetic and other antimony compounds are used in medicine and dyeing.

Amber is a fossil resin found chiefly along the shores of the Baltic. It is used in making mouthpieces for pipes, cigar holders, beads and other articles.

Arsenic. Germany, England, Canada, the United States and Spain produce the ores. Chemical laboratories transform them into the useful compounds.

Arsenopyrite (arsenic and iron sulphide), orpiment and realgar (sulphides of arsenic) and the sources of arsenic.

Arsenic (white arsenic, arsenious acid or oxide of arsenic), paris green and other compounds and salts are prepared.

Sheep dip, rat poison, insecticides, embalming fluid, pigments and dyes are prepared with arsenic compounds. Arsenic salts are used in preparing certain coal-tar colors.

Asphaltum (or mineral pitch) is a bituminous mineral substance found more or less pure, in some localities. The pitch lake of Trinidad and the Bermudez lake at the mouth of the Orinoco in Venezuela, are the largest known deposits of moderately pure asphalt. Smaller deposits of high grade occur in Utah, Cuba and the Barbadoes.

Rock asphalt consists of sandstone or limestone impregnated with asphalt. Much asphalt is produced in refining certain grades of petroleum—such as those obtained in California and Texas.

Rock asphalts are mined in France, Switzerland, Sicily, California, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

For paving rock asphalts are much used in Europe. Trinidad and Venezuelan asphalts are exported in large quantities to the United States and Europe. For paving, these lake asphalts are mixed with broken stone, sand and petroleum residuum.

Pure varieties (gilsonite, marjak, glance pitch) are made into black varnish, used for insulating, etc.

Barium is mined in the United States and Germany.

Barytes or barite is a heavy, white mineral (barium sulphate). It is used as a substitute or adulterant for white lead in paints, and in making oxygen.

Bismuth. See antimony.

Building Stones are quarried for local use in all parts of the world.

Granite, syenite, gneiss, basalt and other hard or durable rocks.

Only stone of exceptional beauty is shipped to a great distance. Scotland, Norway, Massachusetts, Maine and other localities produce fine stones.

Calcium has no commercial use in the metallic state. Its compounds, both natural and artificial, are of great economic importance.

Limestone (calcium carbonate) is a very common rock used for building. It may be of almost any color and coarse or fine in texture. It is found and utilized in all parts of the world. In the United States, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, New York and Missouri are the chief producers.

Lime is used in chemical industries and mortar.

Marble is a name applied to limestones suitable for polishing or ornamental work. Mexican onyx is translucent. Fine marbles are quarried in Italy, Egypt, France, Spain and Greece. Vermont, Georgia, Tennessee and New York supply the greater part of the marble used in the United States. Handsome marbles are imported from Carrara, Italy, and other parts of Europe. Mexican onyx is also imported.

Chalk comes mainly from the south of England. We export some Portland cement and import a little from Europe.

Chalk is of peculiar soft texture; whiting is prepared chalk used to make putty and paints; precipitated chalk is similar.

Lime is made by burning (calcining) common limestones. Portland and hydraulic cements are prepared by calcining siliceous limestones or a mixture of limestone and clay. They are of enormous commercial importance, being used in concrete construction work. Europe and the United States produce large quantities. Pennsylvania is the leading state in this industry.

Buildings (both commercial and residences) are now being extensively constructed of cement—in the former case being re-enforced by iron rods.

Chloride of lime (or bleaching powder), acetate of lime, calcium carbide and many other compounds are of industrial value.

Gypsum (hydrous calcium sulphate) is used in fertilizers. Plaster is prepared by calcining (burning) gypsum. Plaster of paris is its purest form. Alabaster is compact white gypsum. It is a common mineral mined in many parts of the world. Michigan, Kansas, New York, Ohio and other states produce it. Fertilizers and plaster use up large quantities of this mineral. Plaster of paris is used for casts, decorative plaster work, cement, etc.

Fluorite (calcium fluoride) is a less common mineral. Mined in England, Kentucky and Illinois. It is used in chemical manufacture and as a flux for ores.

Phosphate rock (chiefly calcium phosphate) is important in the preparation of fertilizers, and chemicals containing phosphorus. It is found in deposits of organic origin in South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, the West Indies, Canada, Spain, France, Germany and England.

The natural phosphates are treated with sulphuric acid as a first step in the manufacture of phosphatic fertilizers. Exported in large amount to Germany, England and other countries.

Carborundum, or carbide of silicon, is harder than any known substance but the diamond. [109] Much is manufactured at Niagara Falls, by electrically heating a mixture of coke, sand and salt. It is used for making polishing powder, in grinding wheels, sharpening stones, abrasive cloth, etc.

Cerium. See rare metals.

Chrome is mined in Asia Minor, Greece, Canada, New Caledonia and California. Its salts are prepared in chemical laboratories.

Chromite (oxide of chromium and iron) is the only ore.

Bichromate of potash is the most important compound. It, together with chromic acid, is used in tanning soft leather. A small percentage added to steel makes it very hard and suitable for burglar-proof safes, tools, etc. Salts of chrome are used for dyes and pigments, such as chrome yellow, chrome green, etc.

Coal is one of the most important of all rocks and first among fuels. It consists chiefly of carbon, and is universally regarded as of vegetable origin.

Several theories as to the origin of coal have been put forth from time to time. The one now generally accepted is that the rank and luxuriant vegetation which prevailed during the carboniferous age grew and decayed upon land but slightly raised above the sea; that by slow subsidence this thick layer of vegetable matter sank below the water, and became gradually covered with sand, mud, and other mineral sediment; that then, by some slight upheaval or gradual silting up of the sea bottom, a land surface was once more formed, and covered with a dense mass of plants, which in course of time decayed, sank, and became overlaid with silt and sand as before. At length, thick masses of stratified matter would accumulate, producing great pressure, and this, acting along with chemical changes, would gradually mineralize the vegetable layers into coal.

In passing from wood or peat to coal, the proportion of carbon increases, while that of oxygen and hydrogen decreases, these substances being given off in the form of marsh-gas and carbonic acid gas in the process of decay.

Deposits occur in almost all parts of the world, but many are almost entirely undeveloped; as, for example, the coal fields of China. The largest production is in the United States, Wales, England, Germany, Austria, Russia and Australia. Mines are worked in India, Japan, Mexico, South America, South Africa, China and the Philippines. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and many other states mine coal in great amount. Pennsylvania produces nearly all of the anthracite and a large quantity of bituminous coal.

Bituminous coal, coking coal, non-coking coal, cannel coal, cherry coal, splint coal, gas coal, steam coal, etc., are all varieties of soft coal and contain a considerable percentage of volatile matter.

Bituminous coal is the fuel which runs the factories, railways and steamships of the world. The distillation of coal tar and the utilization of its numerous by-products, is one of the best examples of modern economy which turns waste material into useful products and large profits. Much coke is made without saving the by-products.

By distillation, bituminous coal yields gas, ammonia, coal tar and coke. Coal tar products are numbered by the thousand. Among them are naphtha, benzine, oil of mirbane, perfumes, flavors, drugs, saccharine, aniline and other dyes, phenol, carbolic acid, salicylic acid, naphthaline, photographic developers, creosote, oils, tar and pitch.

Anthracite coal is almost pure carbon.

Cobalt is a metal the ores of which are sparingly distributed. It generally occurs as Speiss-cobalt, cobalt-glance (or cobaltite), wad, cobalt-bloom, linnæite and skutterudite. Its minerals are found chiefly in the Erzgebirge Mountains, Sweden, Norway, Chile, in silver ores near Coleman township, Ontario, in Oregon (as garnierite), and in New Caledonia. The metal itself is of a gray color with a reddish tinge, brittle, hard, and very magnetic.

Many of its compounds are valued on account of the brilliance and permanence of their colors. The protoxide of cobalt, is employed in the form of smalt in the production of the blue colors in porcelain, pottery, glass, encaustic tiles, fresco-painting, etc., and forms the principal ingredient in Old Sevres Blue, Thenard’s Blue, etc. The chlorid of cobalt, dissolved in much water, may be employed as a sympathetic ink. In dilute solutions, it is of a faint pink color, which is not observable upon paper; but when heated before the fire, it loses water, and becomes blue, and the writing is then capable of being read.

Copper is, next to iron, the most important metal in use. Its greatest production is in the United States, in Arizona, Montana, Michigan, and Utah. Spain, Japan, Chili, Australia and Germany produce smaller amounts. The metal is purified by smelting, and refined, often by electrolytic methods. There are many ores.

Chalcopyrite and bornite (sulphides of copper and iron) are widely distributed.

Chalcocite (copper sulphide) is mined in Montana, malachite and azurite (carbonates of copper) in Arizona and metallic copper in Michigan.

Copper matte is the crude metal as it comes from the smelter.

Brass and bronze are alloys of copper with zinc, tin, aluminum, etc.

Copper sulphate (blue vitriol) is the most important chemical compound of copper.

The value of copper has increased within recent years, due to its enormous use in electrical work. Aside from this, copper is employed in large amount in the various alloys into which it enters, and in coins, utensils, printing plates, etc. Copper sulphate is extensively used in electrical apparatus dyes, chemical work and as an antiseptic. Large amounts of manufactured copper are exported to Europe. Smaller quantities of ores, matte and regulus are imported from Mexico, South America and other countries. Copper wire is extensively used by telephone and telegraph companies.

Diamond. See gems.

Gems, or Precious Stones are those which, because of their beauty, hardness, and rarity, are prized for use in ornamentation, especially [110] in jewelry. The diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald are the only stones which are, strictly speaking, entitled to be called “precious” in this sense; but the opal, on account of its beauty, is often classed with the precious stones; as is also the pearl, which is really not a stone, but a secretion of a shellfish.

Alexandrite.—A variety of chrysoberyl found in the mica slate of the Ural mountains. It is of a rich garnet color by artificial light, by daylight of a dark moss green. It is the only stone that so changes. The finest specimens of alexandrite are nearly as valuable as diamonds.

Amethyst.—A variety of crystallized quartz of a purple or bluish-violet color, of different shades. It is much used as a jeweler’s stone. The lighter colored ones come from Brazil, the deep purple ones from Siberia. In value they are about the same as the garnet.

Beryl.—A very hard mineral of much beauty when transparent. It occurs in hexagonal prisms, commonly of a green or bluish-green color, but also yellow, pink and white. It is a silicate of aluminum and glucinum. Beryls are very rich in colors.

Bloodstone.—A green siliceous stone sprinkled with red jasper, whence the name.

Cameo.—A figure cut in stone or shell that is composed of different colored layers. The value depends on the artistic merit of the engraved figure.

Carbuncle.—A beautiful gem of a deep red color (with a mixture of scarlet), found in the East Indies. When held up to the sun it loses its deep tinge, and becomes of the color of a burning coal.

Carnelian.—A variety of chalcedony, of a clear, deep red, flesh-red, or reddish-white color. It is moderately hard, capable of a good polish, and often used for seals. It is now used but little.

Cat’s-eye.—A variety of quartz or chalcedony exhibiting opalescent reflections from within, like the eye of a cat. The name is given to other gems affording like effects, especially the chrysoberyl.

Chalcedony.—A translucent variety of quartz, having usually a whitish color, and a luster nearly like wax.

Dendrite.—A stone or mineral in which are branching figures, resembling shrubs or trees, produced by a foreign mineral, usually by an oxide of manganese, and the moss agate.

Diamond.—A precious stone or gem excelling in brilliancy, beauty of prismatic colors, and remarkable for extreme hardness. It is found in many hues—green, rose, straw, yellow, etc.—but the straw-colored ones are the most common. The diamond is a native carbon, occurring in isometric crystals, often octahedrons, with rounded edges. It is the hardest substance known. Diamonds are said to be of the first water when very transparent, and of the second and third water as the transparency decreases.

Diopside.—A crystallized variety of pyroxene (a silicate of lime and magnesia), of a clear, grayish-green color; also called mussite.

Emerald.—A precious stone of a rich green color; it is the most valuable variety of beryl. (See beryl.)

Epidote.—A mineral, commonly of a yellowish-green color, occurring granular, massive, columnar, and in crystals. It is a silicate of alumina, lime, and oxide of iron, or manganese.

Fluorite.—Calcium fluoride, a mineral of many different colors, white, yellow, purple, red, etc., often very beautiful. When crystallized it is commonly in cubes with perfect octahedral cleavage. Some varieties are used for ornamental vessels. Also called fluor spar, or simply fluor. The colored varieties are often called false ruby, false emerald, false topaz, false sapphire, and false amethyst.

Flint.—A massive, somewhat impure variety of quartz, in color usually of a gray to brown or nearly black. (See quartz.)

Garnet.—A mineral having many varieties, differing in color and in their constituents, but with the same general chemical formula. The commonest color is red; the luster is vitreous, or glassy; and the hardness is greater than that of quartz, about half as hard as the diamond. Besides the red varieties there are also white, green, yellow, brown and black ones.

The garnet is a silicate with various bases. The transparent red varieties are used as gems. The garnet was the carbuncle of the ancients. Garnet is a very common mineral in gneiss and mica slate.

The finest specimens of red garnets come from Arizona and a single carat stone is worth about two dollars. A green variety that comes from Russia is worth about half as much as the diamond.

Heliotrope or bloodstone.—A green siliceous stone sprinkled with jasper, as if with blood, whence the name.

Hyacinth.—A red variety of zircon, sometimes used as a gem. It resembles closely a dark Spanish topaz, and is worth a little more than the garnet.

Indicolite.—A variety of tourmaline of an indigo-blue color.

Iolite.—A silicate of alumina, iron, and magnesia, having a bright blue color and a vitreous or glassy luster. It is remarkable for its dichroism, and is also called dichroite.

Jacinth.—Same as hyacinth.

Jade.—A stone commonly of a pale to dark green color, but sometimes whitish. It is hard and very tough, capable of a fine polish, and is used for ornamental purposes and for implements, especially in eastern countries and among many primitive peoples.

Jasper.—An opaque, impure variety of quartz, of red, yellow, and other dull colors, breaking with a smooth surface. (See quartz.)

Labradorite.—A kind of feldspar, commonly showing a beautiful play of bluish-gray colors, and, hence, much used for ornamental purposes. The finest specimens come from Labrador.

Lapis-lazuli or lazuli.—A mineral of a fine azure-blue color, usually occurring in small rounded masses. It is essentially a silicate of alumina, lime, and soda, with some sodium sulphide. It is often marked by yellow spots or veins of sulphide of iron, and is much valued for ornamental work.

Moonstone.—A nearly pellucid variety of feldspar, showing pearly or opaline reflections from within.

The best specimens come from Ceylon. Their value is not much more than the expense of cutting.

Obsidian.—A kind of glass produced by volcanoes. It is usually of a black color and opaque, except in thin splinters.

Onyx.—Chalcedony in parallel layers of different shades of color. It is used for making cameos, the figure being cut in one layer with the next layer as a background (see cameo). It is stained black and used to make mourning jewelry.

Opal.—A mineral consisting, like quartz, of silica, but inferior to quartz in hardness and specific gravity. The precious opal shows a peculiar play of colors of delicate tints and it is highly esteemed as a gem. One kind, with a varied play of colors in a reddish ground, is called harlequin opal. The fire opal (which comes from Mexico) has colors like the red and yellow of flame. This is not the cheap variety commonly called Mexican opal.



Name and Possessor Carats
1. Great Mogul Indian Moguls 280   ... 17th Cent.
2-11. Pitt or Regent King of Prussia 136 78 410   1702
3-5. Florentine Emperor of Austria 139 12 ... ...
4-12. Star of the South Brazilian Government 127   254   1853
6. Sancy Czar of Russia 53 12 83   15th Cent.
7. Green Diamond[112] Dresden Museum 40   ... ...
8-10. Koh-i-noor Crown of England -   280 (Old) ... B. C. 56
106 916 (New)
9. Hope Mrs. E. B. McLean, Washington, D. C. 44 12 ... ...
Cullinan I King Edward VII -   561 12   - 3,025 34 1905
Cullinan II 309 34
Braganza King of Portugal Never Cut 1,680   1741
Rajah of Mattan Rajah of Mattan (Borneo) 367 .9 787 12 1756
Orloff Czar of Russia (scepter) 194 34 ... ...
Tavernier Stolen in 1792 ... 242 12 1668
King of Portugal   138 12 150   1775
Light Yellow Stewart (diamond) ... 288 58 ...
Shah Czar of Russia 86   ... ...
Nassac Lord (Marquis of) Westminster 78 58 89 58 ...
Porter Rhodes Found in South America ... 150   1872
Blue   67 12 112   ...
Pigott Bought by Messrs. Rundell and Bridge 49   ... ...
Dudley Earl of Dudley 49 12 88 12 ...
Star of South Africa   46 12 83 12 1867
Pasha of Egypt Khedive of Egypt 40   ... ...
Charles the Bold   28   ... ...

Pearl.—A shelly concretion, usually rounded, having a brilliant luster, with varying tints, formed in the mantle, or between the mantle and shell, of certain bivalve mollusks (especially in the pearl oysters and river mussels) and sometimes in certain univalves. Its substance is the same as nacre or mother-of-pearl. Pearls which are round, or nearly round, and of fine luster, are highly prized as jewels. They are sold by carat grains instead of carats.

Rhodonite.—Manganese spar, or silicate of manganese, a mineral occurring crystallized and in rose-red masses. It is almost entirely used for ornamental purposes, in slabs, blocks, etc.

Rock crystal or mountain crystal.—Any transparent crystal of quartz, particularly of limpid or colorless quartz. A sphere of rock crystal of absolutely perfect clearness, about five inches in diameter, is worth at least twenty thousand dollars.

Rose quartz.—A variety of quartz which is pinkish red.

Rubellite.—A variety of tourmaline varying in color from a pale rose-red to a deep ruby, and containing lithium. It is a little more valuable than the garnet.

Ruby.—A precious stone of a carmine-red color, sometimes verging to violet, or intermediate between carmine and hyacinth red. It is a crystallized variety of corundum. The ruby from Siam is of a dark color and is called oxblood ruby. It has about the same value as the diamond. The ruby from Burmah, called the pigeon-blood ruby, is of a lighter color and several times more valuable than the oxblood ruby.

Sapphire.—A variety of native corundum or aluminium sesquioxide. As the name of a gem the term is restricted to the transparent varieties of blue, pink, yellow, and other colors. The best specimens of the blue variety are nearly as valuable as the diamond. The sapphire is next to the diamond in hardness.

Sard.—A variety of carnelian, of a reddish-yellow or brownish color.

Sardonyx.—A variety of onyx consisting of sard and white chalcedony in alternate layers. (See onyx.)

Spinel.—A mineral occurring in octahedrons of great hardness and various colors, as red, green, blue, brown, and black, the red variety being the gem spinel ruby. It consists essentially of aluminum magnesium, but commonly contains iron and sometimes also chromium. The fine specimens of spinel ruby are worth rather more than half as much as the diamond.

Topaz.—A mineral occurring in rhombic prisms, generally yellowish and pellucid, also colorless, and of greenish, bluish, or brownish shades. It sometimes occurs massive and opaque.

Tourmaline.—A mineral occurring in three-sided prisms. Black tourmaline is the most common variety, but there are also other varieties, as the blue (indicolite), red (rubellite); also green, brown, and white. The red and green varieties, when transparent, are valued as jewels. The finest ones come from Maine, and are worth four or five times as much as garnets.

Turquoise.—A hydrous phosphate of alumina containing a little copper. It has a blue, or bluish-green color, and usually occurs in kidney-shaped masses with a nodular surface like that of a bunch of grapes. The finest specimens are worth nearly half as much as diamonds.

Verd antique.—A mottled-green, serpentine marble, also a green porphyry, which is called oriental verd antique.

Zircon.—A mineral usually of a brown or gray color. It consists of silicon and zirconium, and is harder than the garnet. The transparent varieties are used as gems. The red variety is called Hyacinth; a colorless, pale yellow, or smoky-brown variety from Ceylon is called jargon.

Gold, a metal valued on account of its scarcity, color, luster, and power of resisting oxidation. It is found in nearly all parts of the world. South Africa and the United States are the leading producers. Australia, South America and parts of Europe possess important gold fields.

Gold is separated from gravel (placer mines) by washing with water. The particles of metal, being heavy, sink and can be collected. Rock containing gold is crushed to fine powder and the gold combined with mercury (amalgamation). Low-grade ores are treated with a solution of cyanide of potassium which dissolves the gold and the metal is later separated.

Chloride of gold, used in photographic work, is its only important compound. Pure gold is called twenty-four carats fine. A smaller figure indicates that the metal is alloyed to harden it.

Gold is used for money, jewelry, gold leaf (gilding) and in dentistry. It is almost always alloyed with copper and silver. Gold is the world’s accepted standard of value. Shipments of gold go from one country to another chiefly to balance international business dealings. Government treasuries and bank vaults [113] are the chief storehouses for gold, either as bullion or coin.

Graphite is almost pure carbon. It is produced in Bohemia, Ceylon, Italy, Germany, Mexico and the United States. The deposits in Ceylon are the largest in the world. Much of that mined in New York and Alabama is of very high grade.

Plumbago or black lead is used in making crucibles, lead pencils, lubricants for heavy machinery, stove polish, foundry facings, paint, etc.

Artificial graphite is made from coal or coke by an electric process.

Powdered graphite is mixed with fine clay in greater or less proportion and then molded and baked to form such articles as crucibles and lead for pencils. Graphite is imported from Ceylon to the United States, and lead pencils from Europe.

Iron is the most useful of all metals. The United States, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and France are the greatest producers of iron. Its ores occur in almost all parts of the world. Hematite is mined in Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama and other parts of the United States and in Germany, England, France, Spain, Russia, etc. Limonite is also widely distributed. Pig iron is made by smelting iron ore in a blast furnace. The ore, mixed with limestone, is melted by burning coke, coal or charcoal.

Pyrite (iron pyrites, or fool’s gold) is found in Spain and many other parts of the world and is valuable in the preparation of sulphuric acid (oil of vitriol), but useless as an iron ore.

Hematite (sesquioxide of iron) is the ore which supplies three-fourths of the iron of commerce.

Limonite brown (hematite) is a hydrous oxide and furnishes nearly one-fourth of the world’s supply of the metal. Magnetite and siderite are less common ores.

Pig iron is the crude form of the refined metal and is transformed into cast iron, wrought iron and steel in their multitudinous forms.

These three forms of iron differ in hardness, strength, elasticity, malleability, etc., according to the amounts of carbon, sulphur, phosphorus, manganese and other elements.

Ochers and metallic paints are iron oxides. Prussian blue and copperas are iron compounds.

The United States manufactures more iron and steel than any other country. Almost half of the production is in Pennsylvania. Cast iron appears in many articles but is weaker than other forms of iron. Wrought iron contains less impurity and is used for bars, plates, wire, structural material and parts of machinery. Steel (Bessemer, Siemens-Martin, open hearth, etc.) contains more carbon than wrought iron, possesses both strength and hardness, and is used for rails, structural material, machinery, tools, wire rope, sheet steel, etc. Its hardness may be increased by tempering. The United States imports iron ore from Cuba and Spain, pig iron from Great Britain and a little manufactured iron and steel from Europe. We export large quantities of manufactured iron and steel.

Lanthanum. See rare metals.

Lead is the softest, heaviest, most malleable and most easily melted of the common metals. Its ores are found in many countries but the main supply is from the United States, Spain, Germany and Mexico. The chief lead mines of the United States are in Missouri, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Kansas. Much lead bullion is from smelters where silver ores are reduced.

Galena (lead sulphide) is the only important ore; it often carries a considerable percentage of silver. Carbonates and sulphates of lead are less common. Solder and type metal are alloys of lead with tin and antimony. White lead is a carbonate, red lead and litharge are oxides. Chrome yellow and orange mineral are lead compounds used as pigments.

The chief use of metallic lead is in piping, sheet lead, shot and alloys. Large amounts of ore are transformed not into metallic lead but into white lead for use in paints. Lead ores and lead bullion are imported from Mexico. England is the greatest importer of lead and lead ores.

Lithium is the metallic base of the Alkali lithia. The metal is of a white, silvery appearance, and is much harder than sodium or potassium, but softer than lead. It is the lightest of all known solids, its specific gravity being little more than half that of water. It comes principally from South Dakota, California and Sweden.

In chemical laboratories it is converted into lithium carbonate for medicinal tablets and mineral waters.

Magnesium is a metal widely distributed over the globe, and chiefly mined in Austria, Germany and Greece. The metal is used in flash powders for photographic use, and in chemical manufacture, in fireproofing and lining furnaces.

Magnesite (magnesium carbonate) is used in making carbon dioxide gas and epsom salts and for preparing magnesia (calcined magnesia).

Dolomite (magnesium calcium carbonate) is common limestone, used for building. Found in many parts of the world. Calcined dolomite is used for lining iron furnaces.

Talc (hydrous magnesium silicate), soapstone or steatite, is a soft mineral. Mined in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, etc., and in Europe. It is made into laundry tubs, firebrick, hearthstones, griddles, slate and tailor’s pencils, gas tips, etc. Imported in small amount from France and Italy.

Meerschaum or sepiolite (magnesium silicate), comes from Asia Minor and New Mexico. It is easily carved and made into pipes and cigar holders. Austria and France use large quantities. It is largely imitated.

Asbestos is a fibrous variety of serpentine (a magnesium silicate). Mineral wool is an artificial fibrous mineral. It is mined in Quebec, Canada. Another variety of asbestos comes from Italy. Mines have been recently discovered in Wyoming. It is used as a fireproofing material. This mineral fiber is spun and woven into fireproof fabrics for theater curtains or made into felt building paper, pipe covering, etc.

Mercury (or quicksilver) is a heavy metal which is liquid at ordinary temperatures. It is produced in Spain, the United States, [114] Austria, Italy and Russia. California supplies most of this country’s quota. It is obtained by distillation of the ore.

Cinnabar (sulphide of mercury) is the source of the metal, although a little is found in nature in the pure state.

Vermilion (artificially prepared cinnabar) is used in paints.

Calomel and corrosive sublimate are used in medicine and fulminates of mercury in explosives.

It is used principally in the extraction of gold and silver from their ores by amalgamation. Employed in thermometers and barometers, silvering mirrors, and in making amalgams for dental work.

Mica is a common mineral found in rocks in many parts of the world. It is mined in India, Canada, North Carolina and South Dakota. Several varieties occur (muscovite, biotite, etc.)—valuable only when found in large sheets which can be split smoothly. Transparent sheets are used for lamp chimneys and stove doors. It is also employed in electrical work, and lubricating. Some is imported from India.

Molybdenum. See rare metals.

Nickel is found in the ores pyrrhotite and garnierites, mined in largest amount in New Caledonia and Canada. Norway produces other ores.

Garnierite (a silicate of nickel and magnesium) is the common ore. Magnetic iron pyrite (pyrrhotite) often carries several per cent of nickel. Sulphides and other compounds occur. German silver contains nickel, copper and zinc. It enters into other alloys.

France and Germany refine nickel from imported ore, chiefly from New Caledonia. Nickel steel, being especially hard and tough is used for armor plate, special machinery and wire rope. Nickel is extensively used for cheap electro plating.

Nickel and nickel oxide are exported to Holland and England from the United States and ores and matte are imported from Canada.

Petroleum (or coal oil) is obtained from wells in the United States, Russia, Dutch East Indies, Galicia, Roumania and other countries. More than half of the world’s output is from the United States, the leading districts being (1) Kansas and Oklahoma, (2) California, (3) Illinois, (4) Pennsylvania and (5) Texas. Crude oil is transported from the wells for hundreds of miles through pipe lines to the refineries.

In its crude state, petroleum is a dark colored liquid. It yields by distillation, first: light oils, gasoline, naphtha, benzine; second: illuminating oils, kerosene, headlight oil, etc.; third: lubricating oils, engine oil, cylinder oil, machine oil; fourth: petroleum residuum (for asphalt paving) and coke. Petrolatum, vaseline and paraffin wax are by-products in petroleum refining.

American kerosene oil is exported to all parts of the globe. Crude oil is also exported as well as other petroleum products.

Platinum is a rare metal found with gold, iridium and other rare metals in placer mines. It comes chiefly from Russia. Smaller amounts from Colombia, California, Canada and Australia.

It is used in the terminals of incandescent electric lamps, and also employed by chemists, jewelers and dentists.

Potash (or potassium) is an alkaline metal. Chlorides, sulphates, etc., are found in Germany. Wood ashes and sugar beet refuse furnish much of the world’s potash. Stassfurt, Germany, possesses the only known large deposit of natural potash salts. These salts are the source of potash in many chemical industries and in fertilizers. It is exported in large amount from Germany to England, France and America.

Quartz (silica) is of many varieties, crystalline to amorphous.

Rock flint is mined in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and also comes from the chalk cliffs of England and France.

Sandstones are quarried and used for building in almost all parts of the world. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York supply the greatest quantities in the United States. Honestones and whetstones are mostly sandstone, and in this country are largely quarried in Arkansas, Michigan and New Hampshire.

Rock crystal is employed for lenses. Many semiprecious stones are varieties of quartz, as agate, moss agate, onyx, sard, chalcedony, chrysoprase, jasper, etc.

Rock flint and quartz sand are used in making glass and pottery.

Outside of building stones, quartz is used in greatest amount in making glass and pottery. For glass it is melted with alkali (soda ash) and either lime or lead oxide. Glass is either blown or molded. Belgium, Austria, Germany, France, Great Britain and the United States manufacture glassware. Pennsylvania, Indiana and New Jersey are the leading states.

Radium is the most characteristic of those substances which possess the property of radio-activity—i.e. have the power of producing photographic or electric effects by a process identical with or analogous to radiation. The property was first observed in uranium by Becquerel in 1896—hence the name “Becquerel rays.” In 1898 Schmidt and Madame Curie discovered almost simultaneously that the compounds of thorium had the same radio-active property; and further elaborate investigations led to the discovery of polonium, radium, and actinium, as new substances with radio-active properties. Polonium was the name given by M. and Mme. Curie to the radio-active component of bismuth separated from pitchblende. Its activity is transient. In the new field of research thus opened up important work has been done by Rutherford, Crooks, Ramsay, Soddy, Huggins, and others.

Radium is derived from pitchblende, in which it exists in very small quantities. After a long-continued process of fractional crystallization it has been prepared in the form of a tolerably pure salt. The process of obtaining the element is very tedious. One to two kilograms of impure radium bromide can be procured from a ton of pitchblende residue only after processes extending over months. For the remarkable chemical properties of radium, see further under Radio-activity.


Rare Metals. These include chiefly the following: Tungsten, molybdenum, vanadium and uranium. They are found in Colorado, Arizona, Germany, England and Sweden. The ores of these metals are unusual minerals, and the metals themselves are used in making special high grades of steel. Their salts are used in dyeing.

Thorium, cerium, lanthanum and yttrium, found in North Carolina, Norway, Brazil and Ceylon, are also to be classified under this head. Monazite, samarskite, thorite and other rare minerals contain these elements. They are used in preparing the mantles for incandescent gas lights.

Silver, the more common precious metal, is produced in greatest amount in the Rocky Mountains and the Andes. The United States, Mexico, Australia, Bolivia, Chili, Peru and Germany contribute nearly the entire supply. Montana, Colorado, Nevada and Utah lead in silver production in the United States. The ores are usually smelted and refined to purify the metal.

Argentiferous galena (lead ore) is the commonest ore of silver. The amount of silver per ton varies greatly. Zinc and copper ores often carry silver. Many sulphides of silver (argentite, pyrargyrite, etc.) are found, as well as chlorides and bromides (cerargyrite and bromyrite). Chloride and nitrate of silver are used in photography.

Silver is manufactured into innumerable articles for household use and personal adornment. The cheapest articles are not solid (sterling) but are electrically plated with a very thin coating of silver. Silver coins form the bulk of the currency of the world, although in most countries gold is the standard.

Sodium is the most important alkaline metal, and has a wide use.

Salt (rock salt, sea salt, lake salt, halite or sodium chloride) is the commonest natural compound of sodium. Important for food and in chemical manufacture.

Rock salt is mined in Germany, Austria, Spain, England, Louisiana, Kansas, India and other parts of the world. Obtained by evaporating salt water from wells in England, Michigan, New York, Ohio and China, or by evaporating salt water in the West Indies, Great Salt Lake, etc.

Besides its use for meat packing, curing fish, domestic purposes, etc., it is employed in silver refining, and the preparation of hydrochloric acid, soda ash, carbonate of soda and other chemical products.

Soda niter (nitrate of sodium) is a very easily soluble mineral. It is found in quantity only in the deserts of northern Chili, and is exported in large amounts to Europe and America for fertilizer and the manufacture of nitric acid and other chemicals.

Borax (hydrous sodium borate) occurs in nature in an impure form and is prepared also from calcium borates. Borates are found in Tuscany, Central Asia, California and Nevada, and in South America.

Borax and boracic acid are used in pottery manufacture, for the preservation of meat, in dyeing and in medicine.

Strontium is found in Germany, Scotland, Texas and New York. Strontianite (strontium carbonate) and celestite (strontium sulphate) contain this element. Strontium salts are used in sugar refining and making red fire.

Sulphur or brimstone is found in a pure state in volcanic regions or associated with gypsum and limestone. Pyrite (sulphide of iron) is also a source of sulphur compounds.

Sicily, Italy, Japan, Louisiana and Utah have mines of native sulphur, which is used in manufacturing sulphuric acid, gunpowder, matches, as a disinfectant, for bleaching and vulcanizing rubber.

Blue vitriol, green vitriol and alum are sulphates. Sulphur is imported from Sicily and Italy.

Thorium. See rare metals.

Tin is less abundant than most of the common metals. The Malay peninsula and nearby islands (Banca and Billiton) produce over half the tin ore of the world. The remainder is mined in Bolivia, Australia, Tasmania and Cornwall, England. Small deposits occur in the United States.

Tin melts at a low temperature and is easily refined.

Cassiterite (tin oxide) is the only important ore. This mineral is commonly found as pebbles (stream tin) in gravel.

Tinplate and alloys containing tin are of enormous importance in the arts. Of these, bronze is chief. Gun metal, pewter, solder, type metal and britannia metal are other alloys. Salts of tin are used in dyeing, glass making, etc.

Tinplate, used for tin cans, roofing and kitchen utensils, is made by dipping sheet iron or steel in a bath of melted tin, thus covering it with a thin layer of tin. Tinplate is manufactured in the United States and imported from England. Tin metal is imported from England and Straits Settlements.

Tungsten. See rare metals.

Uranium. See rare metals.

Vanadium. See rare metals.

Zinc is one of the most useful metals. Germany, United States and Belgium supply most of the zinc. In this country, Missouri and Kansas lead in zinc production.

Sphalerite or blend (zinc sulphide) is the chief ore. Carbonates, silicates and oxides of zinc are found. Crude zinc (spelter) is distilled from roasted ore.

Brass, German silver and other alloys contain zinc. Galvanized iron consists of a coating of zinc on sheet iron. Zinc oxide (zinc white) resembles white lead and is used in paints.

Used in electric batteries, making hydrogen, zinc etchings, etc. The greatest amount of zinc is used in alloys and zinc compounds. Zinc and zinc ores are both imported and exported by the United States, the imports exceeding the exports. Zinc oxide is exported in larger amount than any other form.




The United States produces one-fourth of the entire output of the world. Salt was one of the first two great articles of international commerce in the history of the world trade.


The most wonderful salt mines in the world are those of Galicia, in Austria. In this region there is a mass of salt estimated to measure 500 miles in length, 20 miles in breadth, and 1,200 feet in thickness.



Acanthodus (a-kan-thō´dus).—Fossil fish, having thorn-like fins.

Aërodynamics (ā-ẽr-ō-di-nam´iks).—The science which treats of the air and other gaseous bodies under the action of force, and of their mechanical effects.

Aërognosy (ā-ẽr-ŏg´nô-sy̆).—The science which treats of the properties of the air, and of the part it plays in nature.

Aërolite (ā´ẽr-ô-līt).—A stone, or metallic mass, which has fallen to the earth from distant space; a meteorite; a meteoric stone.

Aërology (ā-ẽr-ŏl´ôjy̆).—That department of physics which treats of the atmosphere.

Aerometer (ā´ẽr-ŏm´ê-tẽr).—An instrument for ascertaining the weight or density of air and gases.

Ammonites (am´mo-nitz).—Fossil mollusks of spiral form, found in all strata from the palæozoic to the chalk; very numerous, varying greatly in size; all now extinct; sometimes called snakestones.

Anemology (ăn-ĕ-mŏl´ô-jy̆).—The science of the wind.

Anemometer (ăn-ĕ-mŏm´ẽ-tẽr).—An instrument for measuring the force and velocity of the wind; a wind gauge.

Attrition (ăt-trĭsh´ŭn).—The act of rubbing together; friction; the act of wearing by friction, or by rubbing substances together; abrasion.

Aurora (aw-rō´).—The rising light of the morning; the dawn of day; the redness of the sky just before the sun rises.

Aurora Borealis (´rẽ-ā´lĭs), i. e., northern daybreak; popularly called northern lights. A luminous meteoric phenomenon, visible only at night, and supposed to be of electrical origin. This species of light usually appears in streams, ascending toward the zenith from a dusky line or bank, a few degrees above the northern horizon. Occasionally the aurora appears as an arch of light across the heavens from east to west. Sometimes it assumes a wavy appearance. They assume a variety of colors, from a pale red or yellow to a deep red or blood color.

The Aurora Australis (aws-trā´lĭs) is a corresponding phenomenon in the southern hemisphere, the streams of light ascending in the same manner from near the southern horizon.

Barometer (bȧ-rŏm´ẽ-tẽr).—An instrument for determining the weight or pressure of the atmosphere, and hence for judging of the probable changes of weather, or for ascertaining the height of any ascent.

Calamites (kal´a-mīts or kal´a-mī´tēz).—Reed-like plants, found in coal.

Carboniferous (kär´bŏn-ĭf´ẽr-ŭs).—Producing or containing carbon or coal.

Conglomerate (kŏn-glŏm´ẽr-ât).—Pudding stone, composed of gravel and pebbles cemented together.

Corona (kô-rō´).—A circle, usually colored, seen in peculiar states of the atmosphere around and close to a luminous body as the sun or moon.

Cosmogony (kŏs-mŏg´o-ny̆).—The creation of the world or universe; a theory or account of such creation.

Cosmology (kŏz-mŏl´ô-jy̆).—The science of the world or universe; or a treatise relating to the structure and parts of the system of creation, the elements of bodies, the modifications of material things, the laws of motion, and the order and course of nature.

Crystallography (krĭs´tal-lŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—The science of crystallization, teaching the system of forms among crystals, their structure, and their methods of formation.

Cyclone (´klōn).—A violent storm, often of vast extent, characterized by high winds rotating about a calm center of low atmospheric pressure. This center moves onward, often with a velocity of twenty or thirty miles an hour.

Denudation (dĕn´û-dā´shŭn or ´nū-).—The laying bare of rocks by the washing away of the overlying earth, etc.; or the excavation and removal of them by the action of running water.

Deposit.—A body of ore distinct from a ledge; pocket of gravel or pay dirt.

Diplacanthus (dip-lä-kăn´thus).—A fish, belonging to Acanthodii, known only by fossil remains in Old Red Sandstone.

Drifts.—Tunnels leading off from the main shaft, or from other tunnels or levels, through and along the vein.

Drift Matter.—Earth, pebbles and bowlders that have been drifted by water, and deposited over a country while submerged.

Druse (drṳs).—A cavity in a rock, having its interior surface studded with crystals and sometimes filled with water.

Elephas (el´e-fas).—The Latin name for Elephant. The primitive elephant was what is known as the Mammoth.

Fata Morgana (´tȧ môr-gä´).—A kind of mirage by which distant objects appear inverted, distorted, displaced, or multiplied. It is noticed particularly at the Straits of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily, Italy.

Fire-damp.—An explosive carburetted hydrogen of coal mines.

Fissures.—Seams or crevices in rocks formed by volcanic or earthquake action, and when filled subsequently by metal or metallic ores they become fissure veins.

Fog.—Watery vapor condensed in the lower part of the atmosphere and disturbing its transparency. It differs from cloud only in being near the ground, and from mist in not approaching so nearly to fine rain.

Geography (je-ŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—The science which treats of the world and its inhabitants; a description of the earth, or a portion of the earth, including its structure, features, products, political divisions, and the people by whom it is inhabited.

Astronomical, or Mathematical Geography treats of the earth as a planet, of its shape, its size, its lines of latitude and longitude, its zones and the phenomena due to the earth’s diurnal and annual motions.

Physical Geography or Physiography treats of the conformation of the earth’s surface, of the distribution of land and water, of minerals, plants, animals, etc., and applies the principles of physics to the explanation of the diversities of climate, productions, etc.

Political Geography treats of the different countries into which the earth is divided with regard to political and social institutions and conditions.

Geology (jē-ŏl´o-jy̆).—The science which treats: (a) Of the structure and mineral constitution of the globe; structural geology. (b) Of its history as regards rocks, minerals, rivers, valleys, mountains, climates, life, etc.; historical geology. (c) Of the causes and methods by which its structure, features, changes, and conditions have been produced; dynamical geology.

Goniatites (gō-ni-a-tī´tēz).—Fossil remains of Ammonites, many species of which are found in Devonian and Carboniferous Limestone.

Hail (hāl).—Frozen rain, or particles of ice precipitated from the clouds, where they are formed by the congelation of vapor. The separate particles are called hailstones.

Harmattan (här-măt´tan).—A dry, hot wind, prevailing on the Atlantic coast of Africa, in December, January, and February, blowing from the interior or Sahara. It is usually accompanied by a haze which obscures the sun.

Hoarfrost (hōr´frŏst).—The white particles formed by the congelation of dew; white frost.


Hydrography (hī-drŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—The art of measuring and describing the sea, lakes, rivers, and other waters, with their phenomena.

Hygrometer (hī-grŏm´ê-tẽr).—An instrument for measuring the degree of moisture of the atmosphere.

Ignis fatuus (ĭg´-nĭs făt´ûŭs).—A phosphorescent light that appears, in the night, over marshy grounds, supposed to be occasioned by the decomposition of animal or vegetable substances, or by some inflammable gas,—popularly called also Will-with-the-wisp, or Will-o’-the-wisp, and Jack-with-a-lantern, or Jack-o’-lantern.

Ichthyosaurus (ĭk-thē-ō-saw´rus).—A large marine reptile, known only by fossil vertebræ and other bones, found in oolite rocks.

Labyrinthodon (lab-i-rin´thō-don), or Mastodon. A large animal, belonging to Amphibia, remains of which are found in Upper Trias rocks and strata.

Lepidodendron (lep-i-dō-den´dron).—Coal-plants, belonging to the Lycopods, of which very many remains are found in coal.

Lepidosteus (lep-i-dŏs´te-us).—Bony-pike fish, the fossil remains of which are found in rocks and earth strata.

Lightning (līt´nĭng).—A discharge of atmospheric electricity, accompanied by a vivid flash of light, commonly from one cloud to another, sometimes from a cloud to the earth. The sound produced by the electricity in passing rapidly through the atmosphere constitutes thunder.

Lithology (li-thŏl´ō-jy̆).—The science which treats of rocks, as regards their mineral constitution and classification, and their mode of occurrence in nature.

Lode (lōd).—A metallic vein; a longitudinal fissure or chasm filled with ore-bearing matter and having well-defined side walls; lode, lead, vein and ledge are synonymous; a mineral vein in the rock.

Mastodon (mas´tō-don).—An extinct elephant-like mammal of America, whose teeth have a nipple-like surface.

Metallurgy (mĕt´al-ler-jy̆).—The art of working metals, comprehending the whole process of separating them from other matters in the ore, smelting, refining and parting them; sometimes, in a narrower sense, only the process of extracting metals from their ores.

Meteorology (mĕ-tē-er-ŏl´o-jy̆).—The science which treats of the atmosphere and its phenomena, particularly of its variations of heat and moisture, of its winds, storms, etc.

Min´er-al´o-gy (mĭn-er-ăl´ō-jy).—The science which treats of minerals, and teaches how to describe, distinguish, and classify them.

Mist (mĭst).—Visible watery vapor suspended in the atmosphere, at or near the surface of the earth; fog.

Monsoon (mŏn-sōōn´).—A wind blowing part of the year from one direction, alternating with a wind from the opposite direction—a term applied particularly to periodical winds of the Indian Ocean, which blow from the southwest from the latter part of May to the middle of September, and from the northeast from about the middle of October to the middle of December.

Oceanography (ō´shan-ŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—A description of the ocean.

Oceanology (ō´shan-ŏl´ô-jy̆).—That branch of science which relates to the ocean.

Oreography (ō-rē-ŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—The science of mountains; orography.

Palæotherium (pā-lē-ō-thē´ri-um).—A tapir-like mammal, having canine teeth, known only by fossil remains found in Tertiary rocks.

Pampero (pȧm-pâ´).—A violent wind from the west or southwest, which sweeps over the pampas of South America and the adjacent seas, often doing great damage.

Parhelion (pär-hēl´yŭn or ´lĭ-ŏn).—A mock sun appearing in the form of a bright light, sometimes near the sun, and tinged with colors like the rainbow, and sometimes opposite to the sun. The latter is usually called an anthelion. Often several mock suns appear at the same time.

Petrology (pē-trŏl´ô-jy̆).—The science which is concerned with the mineralogical and chemical composition of rocks, and with their classification; lithology.

Physiography (fiz-e-ŏg´rȧ-fy̆).—The science which treats of the earth’s exterior physical features, climate, life, etc., and of the physical movements or changes on the earth’s surface, as the currents of the atmosphere and ocean, the secular variations in heat, moisture, magnetism, etc.; physical geography.

Plesiosaurus (plē-zi-ō-saw´rus).—An oolithic reptile with crocodile-like head, known by fossil remains, chiefly vertebræ, found in lias and oolitic rocks, named from its fossil remains being found near those of the ichthyosaurus.

Pneumatics (nû-măt´ĭks).—That branch of science which treats of the mechanical properties of air and other elastic fluids, as of their weight, pressure, elasticity, etc.

Pterodactyl (ter-ō-dak´tīl).—Winged lizard: extinct reptile; fossil remains found in Kentish chalk.

Pyroscope (pĭr´ô-skōp).—An instrument for measuring the intensity of heat radiating from a fire, or the cooling influence of bodies. It is a differential thermometer, having one bulb coated with gold or silver leaf.

Rainbow.—A bow or arch exhibiting, in concentric bands, the several colors of the spectrum, and formed in the part of the hemisphere opposite to the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of falling rain. Besides the ordinary bow, called also primary rainbow, which is formed by two refractions and one reflection, there is also another often seen exterior to it, called the secondary rainbow, concentric with the first, and separated from it by a small interval. It is formed by two refractions and two reflections, is much fainter than the primary bow, and has its colors arranged in the reverse order from those of the latter.

Seismology (sīs-mŏl´ô-jy̆).—The science of earthquakes.

Seismometer (sīs-mŏm´e-tẽr).—An instrument for measuring the direction, duration, and force of earthquakes and like concussions.

Simoon (sĭ-mōōn´).—A hot, dry, suffocating, dust-laden wind, that blows occasionally in Arabia, Syria, and the neighboring countries, generated by the extreme heat of the parched deserts or sandy plains.

Sirocco (sĭ-rŏk´).—An oppressive, relaxing wind from the Libyan deserts, chiefly experienced in Italy, Malta, and Sicily.

Sivatherium (siv-a-thē´ri-um).—A large four-horned antelope, known by fossil remains found in Pliocene rocks of Hindustan.

Strophomena (strō-fŏm´ĕ-nä).—A genus of shell-like animals similar to the nautilus, found in numerous fossil forms in Lower Silurian and the carboniferous strata.

Tornado (tor-nā´).—A violent whirling wind; specifically a tempest distinguished by a rapid whirling and slow progressive motion, usually accompanied with severe thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain, and commonly of short duration and small breadth; a small cyclone.

Typhoon (tï-fōōn´).—A violent whirlwind; specifically, a violent whirlwind occurring in the Chinese seas.

Wind.—Air naturally in motion with any degree of velocity; a current of air.

Zosterites (zos-ter-ī´tez).—Sear-wracks: marine plants, resembling sea-weeds, with small naked flowers, found at the bottom of the sea.





(1) Cereals, Grasses and Forage Plants

(2) Kitchen Vegetables

(3) The Fruit Trees

(4) Fruit-bearing Shrubs and Plants

(5) Flowers and Other Ornamental Plants

(6) Wild Flowers and Flowerless Plants

(7) Trees of the Forest

(8) Fiber and Commercial Plants

(9) Poisonous Plants

(10) Some Wonders of Plant Life






Large map (400 kB)




Life in the world is represented by the Vegetable and Animal kingdoms. Plants and animals, unlike minerals, grow from germs, and develop into individuals with definite forms and organs. After a limited existence they die, their species being perpetuated by seed or offspring. The functions of plants and animals in nature are, however, entirely unlike. Plants are rooted in the soil; animals are free to move over the land, through the water or air. The plant, moreover, transforms the lifeless, inorganic elements (earth and air) into organic matter and thus prepares food for the animal. In its quiet, steady growth it gathers a store of force which the animal uses up in action. Thus the distribution of vegetation regulates that of animal life. Besides, vegetation clothes the surface of the land with that rich mantle of verdure and flowers which is its greatest ornament.

All living things are termed organisms, and the science which takes account of them with special regard to their common characteristics is termed Biology, or Life-lore. The classification and life-history of plants are the objects of that part of biology known as Botany. That part similarly occupied with the study of animals is known as Zoology.

Throughout the entire realm of nature, in the animal world as well as in the vegetable, the development of life increases in energy, and in the variety and perfection of the types, with the increasing intensity of light and heat, from the poles to the equator.


Within the tropics, under the stimulating rays of a vertical Sun, grow the most dense and varied forests, the most expanded foliage, and the largest and the most brilliant flowers. Here, also, are found the most delicious fruits, the most powerful aromatics, the greatest variety of plants capable of affording sustenance to man, and the largest number of those which contribute to the luxuries of civilized life.

In the tropical regions, also, are found the greatest variety of land animals; with the highest types, the greatest stature, the most intense activity, and the keenest intelligence exhibited in the brute creation.


This zone is the home of the gigantic elephant and giraffe; of the lion and the tiger, the most powerful of all the beasts of prey; and of the gorilla, chimpanzee, and ourang-outang, of all animals most resembling men.

Here, also, are the ostrich, the largest and most powerful of birds; the condor, surpassing in size all other birds of flight; and the humming-birds of South America, the smallest of the feathered tribes, unsurpassed in brilliancy of coloring, rapidity of motion, and grace of form.

In the same zone are those enormous reptiles, the crocodile and the boa-constrictor, with the hooded snakes and other serpents of most deadly venom; and insects of all sizes in indescribable profusion.


In the Warm-Temperate Zone, though the Sun never reaches the zenith, yet during the long summer his rays are almost vertical; while the winter is so mild that snow and ice are of rare occurrence.

Here the vegetable world is less prodigal in species, and less luxuriant in growth, than in the tropical regions; still, verdure is continuous throughout the year, and fruits and flowers succeed each other almost without interruption.

The animal world shows a similar, though less marked, decrease in the exuberance of life. The higher orders are less numerous, the individuals less gigantic and powerful; yet the antelopes, among the most graceful of animals, and the camel, one of the most useful, especially characterize this zone.


In the Temperate Zone, farther from the tropics, and receiving the Sun’s rays with greater obliquity, all the forms of vegetable growth are more modest than in the preceding. The forests are less dense and varied, the foliage is less luxuriant, and flowers of brilliant hues [122] are confined to shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Though useful plants are numerous, yet scarce a species is of value in its spontaneous growth; and, above all, the long dormant season, when the trees and shrubs are bare and apparently lifeless, stamps the vegetation of this zone with an aspect of inferiority.

The animal world still shows a large number of noble species; yet there are some orders which, like the plants, are dormant during the winter; while many of the birds migrate to warmer climes. Associated with deciduous forests, boundless fertile prairies, and arid steppes—are the bear, the wolf, the lynx, the bison, and many species of elk and deer.


Here is the home of the horse, the ass, and many varieties of oxen, sheep, and goats,—those animals which, domesticated by man, have accompanied him to all climes, adapting themselves to all circumstances. The American turkey, the European pheasant, and the Asiatic parents of many of our domestic fowls, also belong to the temperate zone; together with a multitude of song birds, whose sober plumage, contrasting so gloomily with the brilliant colors of their neighbors of the tropics, is compensated by the sweetness of their notes. Here, also, is the home of the honey-bee, and of the silk-worm, almost the only insects directly useful to man.


In these regions, where the sun is always low, and in winter is above the horizon but a small part of the time, all nature becomes increasingly monotonous. The conifers, with their stiff forms and sombre hues, impart a dreary aspect even to the summer landscape; and, during the long winter, all life seems suspended.

The animal world, however, is more rich and varied than the vegetable.

Here we meet the great moose and the brown bear, the beaver and other rodents, in large numbers; the sable, the mink, the ermine, and a host of other animals whose fine, soft furs form one of the main resources of this inhospitable clime.

In the Arctic Zone—where the forests give place to dwarf trees, stunted or creeping shrubs, mosses, and lichens—the reindeer, the musk-ox, and the white bear are the only representatives of the larger land animals, though the smaller furry tribes are still numerous.

The sea, however, more genial in its temperature than the land, swarms with living creatures of innumerable species, among which are the largest representatives of the animal kingdom. The whale, the walrus, and the seal, inhabit the Arctic seas; with every grade of marine life, down to the animalculæ, which are so numerous as to give their color to great areas of sea-water; and water-fowl, without number, and of many varieties, enlivens the icy shores.


The great divisions of the science of plant life, or botany, are: Structural Botany which treats of the gross anatomy of plants; Plant Histology, of their minute anatomy; Plant Morphology, of the forms of plants and their organs; Plant Physiology, of the functions of these organs; Systematic Botany, of the relationship and classification of plants; Geographical Botany, of the distribution of plants over the surface of the globe; Paleobotany, of the vegetable life of past ages and the successive appearance in the world of the great classes of plants, as traced in their fossil remains; and Economic Botany, which deals with the products of plants and their uses.

It is in the last division of the subject that our greatest practical interest lies, and, consequently, it is best to reverse the general order of treatment pursued by many botanists. Foremost in importance are those plants grown for food, which form the great products of agriculture, gardening and horticulture. Scarcely less important are those which yield fibers used for industrial purposes, such as cotton, flax, jute and hemp; nor must we forget those producing vegetable oils, rubber, and the large number of drugs so valuable to the science of medicine in the alleviation of suffering.

(See page 176 for scientific classification of the Vegetable or Plant Kingdom.)




Among all the plants in the world, the first place must be given to the food-producing cereals upon which our very existence depends. The most important among these are undoubtedly wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, Indian corn or maize, millets, sorghum and others less widely used. More than one-half the whole population of the world subsists to a great extent on rice, and the vital importance of wheat needs no demonstration. For our present purposes the use of the word “cereal” is extended to include buckwheat and other starch-yielding plants, but these are not true cereals.


The cereals are members of a great family of the grasses which have been cultivated by man from time immemorial. Originally, no doubt, they were wild plants which attracted attention owing to the comparatively large quantities of foodstuffs they yielded, the ease with which they could be collected, and their edible qualities. Now, in the majority of cases, the original wild forms are no longer known, and as is common with plants cultivated in many lands and during long periods, innumerable species and varieties have been evolved as the result of selection by man of the forms which appeared desirable for one or other of their qualities.


Their very name—cereals or cerealia—indicates the great value attached to them in early historic times. These are so named after the goddess Ceres, as the Romans called her—Demeter of the Greeks—the patroness of agriculture and all the fruits of the earth.


In the temperate regions of the world wheat is the principal cereal grown, and there are many different varieties suited to varying conditions. As we go farther north, barley, oats and rye increase in importance, and although they are grown for special purposes along with wheat, it is important to note that they will [124] thrive in countries and under conditions not suited to wheat. Starting again from the temperate zones and traveling north or south, as the case may be, we enter the warmer countries where wheat cultivation is often associated with that of rice, corn, sorghum, etc. In the tropics, however, wheat will not thrive at low elevations, but rice, corn, sorghum and various millets form the great cereal crops, their relative importance varying in different countries.

The grasses proper grow upon our meadows, pastures, fields and in the woods and are only used as food for cattle.


The roots of most kinds of grasses are persistent; the stems are hollow and knotty, and the leaves consist of sheaths and discs. Their flowers are arranged either in spikes or panicles, and are essentially the same in form as those of the herbs. In the interior there is an ovary, from which project two pistils with feathery styles. Close to the ovary are three stamens, with very long filaments and large anthers. These internal organs are generally surrounded by two tender bracts called the paleæ, and two harder outer bracts forming the glumes. In the grasses also self-fertilization does not take place, the wind here taking the place of the insects. Consequently the anthers are suspended from long filaments, and contain a quantity of pollen. As the grasses do not need to attract insects, their flowers are small with little color, and have no scent; nor do they secrete honey. The fruit is enclosed in a husk.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a cultivated hay and pasture plant, yielding per annum, without reseeding, three to six or more cuttings of hay, averaging a ton each and often much more, for an indefinite period. It is the richest forage plant known, and while old in history is comparatively new to the agriculture of North America.

Alfalfa thrives on all soils except those too wet or having too much acidity. The former calls for drainage and the latter demands lime. Besides its abundance of rich forage, the leaves of which approximate the value of wheat bran in animal rations, it is highly prized as a soil improver, as it restores and enriches the land in which it grows, and improves extraordinarily the physical character of the soil. Its roots reaching to great depths, make it drought-resistant; they also gather much nitrogen from the air, and it yields assuredly whether the season be wet or dry. It has been demonstrated the greatest fertilizing and soil renovating plant known to agriculture.

For hay it is cut whenever the first blossoms appear or when sprouts for a new growth from the root crowns are discovered, which in some regions is every month in the year. It is relished by all live stock, and is particularly valuable in dairy husbandry, affording at lowest cost important ingredients of the well balanced feeding ration. As pasturage it is excellent for hogs and horses, but ruminants, such as cattle and sheep are not safely grazed upon it, owing to its liability to cause bloat, which if not promptly treated may bring speedy death.

Alfalfa requires a carefully prepared seedbed, with a thoroughly fine, smooth surface, as the seeds are small. From fifteen to twenty pounds of seed per acre are generally sown, although often much more, or less, either with drills or broadcast, preferably in early fall and without a nurse crop. Where the winters are long or severe from two to ten tons of hay per acre in a season, and from two to seven bushels of seed.

Blue-Grass (Poa pratensis), frequently designated Kentucky Blue Grass, is a perennial, and the most highly prized pasture grass, but is not a profitable hay plant. Its growth has a wider range than timothy. It is sown in autumn or spring, the former being preferable, as it can endure cold better than heat, and thrives rather best when partially shaded. One approved way is to sow the seed on snow, where the ground is free from weeds. It is broadcasted at the rate of about one bushel of seed in the chaff to the acre. Blue-grass is an extremely aggressive and persistent plant voluntarily spreading among and displacing others where it has not been sown. Its taking possession of and thriving on land that has not been cultivated is not uncommon. The seed weighs fourteen pounds to the bushel.

English Blue-Grass or Meadow Fescue (Fescuta elatior) is a valuable and hardy grass either for mowing or pasture. It thrives on soils not too dry, and being long lived, is especially valuable for permanent pastures. It is sown either in the spring or fall, by drilling or broadcasting from one to three pecks per acre if for seed, and three pecks to an acre if for pasture. It is harvested and handled much the same as wheat. Kansas produces nearly seventy-five per cent of the seed raised in America and ninety per cent of the total for the United States is exported, Germany being the largest taker. This grass is very nutritious and grazing animals are fond of it. A bushel of seed weighs twenty-two pounds, and the yield of seed per acre is from five to fifteen bushels.

Brome-grass (Bromus inermis) is a vigorous, hardy perennial pasture and hay plant, with strong, creeping rootstocks, and is valuable for dry regions. It is not adapted to a rotation, as its sod becomes too matted and tough for comfortable cultivation. Owing to this tendency, after three or four years of hay cropping its better use is for pasture. It yields luxuriantly, is rich in flesh-forming elements, and much relished by farm animals. It is sown broadcast, in spring or fall, eighteen to twenty pounds of seed to the acre. The seed is chaffy and weighs but fourteen pounds per bushel.

Barley is grown chiefly in the states of Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, in the order named, these states raising seventy-five per cent of the output grown in the United States. It is used as food for live stock, and as an article of commerce is in demand principally for the making of malt in brewing beer, but in California and other western states, where Indian corn does not flourish, barley is used as a substitute grain for horses and mules. About two bushels to the acre are sown in the spring, with [125] a drill or a broadcast seeder. It is admirably adapted as a nurse crop, as it stands up well and does not shade the ground so much as many other plants.

Barley for malting should be cut before fully ripe and put in well-capped shocks to cure; the price paid is largely governed by the color acquired in curing, which should be bright. A bushel weighs forty-eight pounds, and the yield is from twenty-five to forty bushels per acre.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a grain of minor importance, its flour being used as human food, mostly in the form of griddle cakes. The plant is esteemed for plowing under in summer, to supply humus, and its blossoms for the honey bee. Most of it is grown in New York and Pennsylvania, and it does well in soils too poor for most other crops. It is sensitive to frost, and used as a sort of catch crop, sown generally about the beginning of July, broadcast. Forty bushels, weighing forty-eight pounds per bushel, is a maximum yield.

Clover (Trifolium pratense). In the states east of the Missouri river red clover is highly esteemed. It has much the same qualities as alfalfa, except it is a biennial, enduring but two years without re-seeding and at best gives two cuttings of hay per year, aggregating two to three tons. It is from the second cutting that seed is usually saved. Four quarts of seed is a common quantity to sow per acre. Red clover makes excellent hay, except for horses. Its seed, like that of alfalfa, weighs sixty pounds per bushel, and its yield is from one to five bushels per acre.

White Clover (Trifolium repens) is a very useful pasture and honey plant, but is not used for hay. It spreads rapidly, and is widely used for sowing with other pasture grasses.

Alsike Clover (Trifolium hybridum) is largely sown on lands not well adapted to red clover, where land is either too wet or too dry for the latter, and it does not require so sweet a soil.


The champion ten ears of corn shown in the illustration average ten and one-half inches in length and seven and three-quarters in circumference, each ear carrying twenty rows of kernels, the depth of the kernels being three fourths of an inch, and the average weight of each ear was twenty ounces. They were sold at the rate of $2,345 per bushel or $335 for the ten ears. The champion single ear of corn was sold at the Omaha National Corn Show for $85.

Corn (Zea mays). Indian corn, or maize is a product native to America, an annual, and is the most important member of the grass family. It is America’s foremost cereal, with a wider adaptability than any other, and is grown in every state and territory. The temperate climate of the Central States is most favorable to it, and Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio are the leading states in its planting. The bulk of the world’s production of maize is grown in this country, although it is an important crop in Hungary, Italy, Egypt, South Africa, and other parts of the world.

Economic Uses.—Corn is of primary importance as a food for live stock, enormous quantities being used to fatten cattle and swine.

The manufacture of starch and other products from corn is an industry of increasing magnitude. The chief starch derivatives are dextrine and glucose or grape sugar (used in brewing beer and as a substitute for true sugar).

Corn oil may be called a by-product in starch manufacture, yet the annual value of corn oil is greater than that of cornstarch produced in the United States. It is used in soap and paints. Vulcanized by heating with sulphur, it forms a widely used adulterant and substitute for rubber.

Among the dozens of useful products made from corn are corn meal, corn grits, hominy, breakfast foods, beer, whisky, alcohol, cologne spirits, cornstarch, dextrine, glucose, grape sugar, corn sirup, corn oil, soap, rubber substitute and cattle foods.

A special variety of corn is raised to make cob pipes. Compressed corn pith is packed between the double hulls of warships. Corn husks are used in mattresses and paper is made in very limited amount from the leaves and stalks. Large amounts of popcorn, plain and candied, are eaten in the United States.

Methods of Cultivation.—Owing to its widespread growing, the methods of corn culture vary greatly, and no rigid rules can be laid down for all conditions. For maximum results the cornfield must be rich in humus, its soil finely pulverized, mellow and well drained. Many successful growers in the so-called corn states find these conditions best assured by plowing deeply in the fall, turning under liberal quantities of organic matter such as stable and barnyard manure and leaving the subsoil upturned to benefit from the action of the elements during winter, following with the disk harrow or other like implement in the spring. Planting is done when the soil is thoroughly warmed and when danger of frost is past.

There are two methods of planting commonly practiced, one by drilling or dropping the seed [126] (three or four grains) in hills with a machine drawn by horses and completing two rows at once. The other is planting with an implement known as a lister, dropping and covering one grain in a place in the bottom of a furrow, at intervals of eight to twelve inches. The latter method is quite extensively followed in the more western of the corn states, such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The lister is a plow and planter combined, with moldboards at once turning the soil to the right and left, opening a furrow, dropping and covering the seed at the same time, economizing labor, time and expense. Corn is planted about two inches deep, and if in hills or rows generally three and one-half feet apart each way. A bushel of fifty-six pounds of seed suffices for planting nearly eight acres. For soiling, forage or ensiling it is planted more thickly.

Cultivation, with horse-drawn cultivators, cleaning one row at a time, and by some implements two rows, repeated three or four times in a season, is given to kill weeds, aid in the retention of moisture, and aerate the soil. This begins in many instances before the plants appear, and often in the earlier stages is done with a harrow and later by using the cultivator, upon which the operator usually rides.

Harvesting, done after the grains have become hardened is by cutting the stalks from the hills where grown, by hand or machinery, and standing them in large shocks to be husked later, or, husking the ears directly from the stalks without cutting or shocking. No machine equal to human hands has yet been invented for husking corn. The yield ranges from twenty-five to one hundred bushels of sixty pounds, shelled, or seventy pounds unshelled, per acre. The stalks and husks, whether harvested or not are used as food for live stock, and somewhat in manufactures.

Emmer. See Spelt.

Johnson Grass (Sorghum halapense) is a coarse perennial, most extensively grown in the South or the Gulf States, for hay. It spreads so persistently and is so difficult to eradicate that its growing is frowned upon by most of the best authorities. One bushel of seed, or thirty-five pounds per acre is about the quantity sown. It is propagated by roots also. Never plant Johnson grass with the expectation of destroying it.

Millet (Panicum miliaceum) is a native of the East Indies, and is about three feet high; each panicle contains five to six hundred grains. Hungarian grass is one of the most common grown for hay and grain. In the United States they are principally grown for forage. It is a general rule to sow after corn planting has been done but they may be safely sown considerably later, as a catch crop when the regular hay crop is short or a probable failure. Millets are excellent for ensilage, and a succession of cuttings for that purpose or for soiling can be easily secured by sowing at intervals of two or three weeks from early May to late July. The seed is sown broadcast or with grain drills, mostly broadcast, at the rate of two to three pecks per acre, for hay and somewhat less for seed. The hay is harvested and handled after the manner of other hay crops, and the seed crop as that of other small grains. Well drained, rich, warm, loam soils are preferable for millet, and it does not prosper on thin or poor land. A crop of millet leaves the soil where it grew in a delightful condition of tilth. Its yield of seed is from twenty to forty bushels per acre.

Oats (Avena sativa) have a broad panicle; the individual ears are two-rowed, with and without beards. Another much-cultivated species are the bearded oats (A. orientalis). The greater portion of the oats crop of the United States is grown in the north central states, more than one-half in the six states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Ohio, ranking in order named. Russia is also a large producer and it is cultivated throughout the temperate parts of the civilized world. The yield per acre ranges from twenty-five to one hundred bushels, weighing thirty-two pounds. Oats thrives best in cool weather with abundant moisture, and in the principal oats territory should be sown as early as possible in the spring—earlier than any other spring grain. The ground for oats should be plowed, but it is not uncommon to merely disk harrow the land before sowing. If the latter, about four bushels is sown to the acre, broadcast or drilled, but on well prepared ground ten to twelve pecks of clean, graded seed is sufficient. In the main the oats crop is harvested, stacked and threshed as other small grains.

Oats is used chiefly for horse feed, and in lesser amounts for making oatmeal and breakfast foods.

The manufacture of oatmeal is of relatively small importance since the more nourishing products of wheat are increasingly used.

Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata) is a hardy, nutritious perennial, growing two to five feet high, that does well in either shade or sunshine. It flourishes in nearly every state between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and is profitably grown in all the states east of the Mississippi River lying between thirty-five degrees and forty-seven degrees north latitude, but is partial to a rich soil. Two to three bushels of seed are sown to the acre, from about the middle of March to the middle of April. It provides either hay or pasturage, and is prized for the latter, as “it comes early and stays late.”

Rape (Brassica napus) is a valuable farm crop, supplies an abundance of succulent green food in a short time, for soiling or pasture, especially for sheep and swine, being ready to use ordinarily six weeks after sowing, and is prized chiefly as a catch crop. Three pounds of seed per acre sown in rows thirty inches apart is customary, and the favorite is the Dwarf Essex.

Redtop, or Herd’s Grass (Agrostis alba) is a meadow grass and also one of the best pasture plants. It prospers on land where blue-grass, timothy and clover are not thrifty. It is most at home in a moist soil, flourishing in swampy places unfit for almost any other useful grass, and it also has ability to withstand severe drought. On thin soil it makes excellent pasture, but yields lightly of hay. It may be sown in the fall or spring, alone, or with a nurse crop. For meadow, it is best sown alone, using one bushel of seed in the chaff, or half as much if winnowed. A bushel of recleaned seed weighs thirty-five pounds.

Rice (Oryza sativa) is grown in nearly all the warmer countries of the earth, and forms the daily food of many millions of people. It is estimated that one-third of the people of the world live principally on rice.

There are two general varieties—the mountain rice and the marsh rice, the latter being the most cultivated. It is usually grown in swampy land or else on irrigated fields. In most countries rice is grown in the most primitive fashion. Immense irrigating plants and modern agricultural machinery make possible the large production in parts of the United States.

It is the chief crop in southeastern Asia, from India through Indo-China, a great part of China, southern Japan and many islands of the Pacific. Rice of excellent quality is raised in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina, and an amount about equal to the production of this country is imported from eastern Asia.

Economic Uses.—Rough rice or paddy (rice in the hull) is first hulled by machinery and then the grains are polished or whitened. The rice [127] polish, which consists of the powdered outer coats, is a very nourishing cattle food. Saké, the national drink of Japan, is a weak alcoholic liquor brewed from rice. Rice straw is of enormous use in Asia, being employed for hundreds of purposes, some of them as unexpected as the making of bags, ropes and sandals. Rough rice and clean rice are the common commercial articles.

Rye (Secale cereale) is cultivated in all northern countries. The stalk grows up to six feet, and the ears are double-rowed with a long beard. The grain is dark green and very mealy, and furnishes a good bread. It is cultivated in the cold climates of northern Europe, especially in Russia. Only small amounts are grown in the United States.

The leading rye states, in order of yields, are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York and Minnesota, which together raised nearly two-thirds of the crop.

It is usually sown at the same time as winter wheat, or earlier, one and a half to two bushels of seed per acre, and its habits and treatment are essentially the same. Its yield per acre is from twenty to fifty bushels, weighing fifty-six pounds. It is noted for its ability to thrive and yield fairly on soils too poor for the more important cereals. Rye is used for breadmaking, live stock food, and in the manufacture of malt and alcoholic beverages. It is the chief breadstuff in parts of Russia, Scandinavia and Germany. It also furnishes valuable pasturage late in the fall and early spring, for which it is extensively sown where early tame grasses do not prosper. Its straw is in considerable demand for various uses, such as the making of paper, filling horse collars, for packing and otherwise.

Sugar-Cane (Saccharum officinarium), a tree-like grass, grows nine to fifteen feet high, and contains in its pith a sweet sap, from which our raw sugar is obtained. The sugar-cane is a native of the East Indies, but it is now grown in India, Cuba, Hawaii, Java, Brazil, Mauritius, Louisiana and other parts of the tropics and subtropics. India’s large production is consumed locally and enters little into export trade. Louisiana produces all made in the United States, except ten thousand to fifteen thousand tons, annually, from Texas. Cane for molasses and sirup is grown more or less in all of the Gulf Coast states.

Method of Cultivation.—It requires a fertile soil, rich in humus. Sandy and clay loams are both good, but alluvial soils are best. In preparing for sugar cane the soil is thrown up by plows in beds six to seven feet wide. In planting, furrows are opened, and in these the cane stalks, one, two or three are laid side by side, covering by plows. It is cultivated largely after the manner of corn, care being taken to leave the rows well ridged up by the last cultivation, to facilitate drainage. The quantity of cane required for planting an acre ranges from four to six tons. Two and sometimes three crops or cuttings are had from one planting. Yields of forty to forty-five tons of stripped cane per acre are not uncommon, although half those quantities are considered creditable averages for large plantations.

Manufacture.—After harvesting, sugar cane is carried (usually by rail) promptly to the mill, where the juice is pressed out. Modern mills have nine rollers, arranged in three sets. The trash, or bagasse, is almost dry when it leaves the last rollers and is used as fuel to run the mill. The juice is boiled down, generally in vacuum pans heated by steam, and the sugar crystals which form are separated from the molasses in centrifugals.

Products.—Raw cane sugar, brown to yellowish in color, produced by evaporation of the juice in open pans (muscovados), and crystals from vacuum pans are both important commercially. White sugar, granulated, loaf and pulverized, as commonly sold, is more nearly chemically pure than most other articles of commerce. Molasses, from cane juice boiled in open pans, is palatable for human food, and, like all cane molasses, is fermented and distilled to make rum.

Sorghum is a cultivated grass of many varieties (Panicum, Setaria, Andropogon, etc.) Guinea corn, kaffir corn, broom corn and other names are employed to distinguish the different kinds. They may, however, be divided into two classes: the saccharine or sweet sorghums and the non-saccharine. The sweet sorghums are grown for making sirup, but principally for forage and hay, and yield heavily, from five to fifteen tons per acre. The seed being somewhat bitter is not entirely relished by animals, but it finds a ready market for seeding purposes. For hay about a bushel of seed is sown to the acre, and for fodder and seed about ten pounds per acre is planted in rows and cultivated.

Kaffir Corn is by far the most valuable of the non-saccharine sorghums. Its grain, of which it yields from thirty to sixty bushels per acre, has a feeding value approximating that of Indian corn, and its forage after the seed heads have been removed is valuable feed for live stock.

Milo is one of the non-saccharine sorghums especially adapted to dry regions, and the most successful summer grain crop for the southern half of the plains country. It does not rank with the sweet sorghums and Kaffir corn as forage, being principally valued for its seed, which makes a satisfactory substitute for Indian corn.

Jerusalem Corn is also a non-saccharine sorghum. It is cultivated mostly in the cooler climates of the dry regions. It will mature in a short season, and is quite productive of seed, but its fodder yield is light.

Broom-Corn, a non-saccharine sorghum, is grown only for its brush for making brooms. It is a hardy plant, withstanding dry weather well, and is grown chiefly in Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas. There are two varieties—the Standard and Dwarf, the former growing taller and producing the longer brush.

In adaptability sorghums cover about as wide a range of soils and climate as corn, and are noted for their drought-resisting powers. Kaffir corn is especially adapted to hot, dry and semi-arid portions of the West, where corn is uncertain, and there it is regarded with increasing appreciation.

In some places the juice of sorghum is boiled down to make sirup or sugar. Common brooms are made of the tops of the Broom-corn.

Spelt (Triticum Spelta) is chiefly cultivated in south Germany, but is also grown in a small way in some of our northwestern states. It is sown in both fall and spring, dealt with the same as other wheats, and some authorities recommend it as a very hardy drought-resistant grain for semi-arid regions. About seven pecks of seed are sown to the acre, and the yield is from twenty-five to sixty bushels per acre. The small ears are arranged on a brittle stalk, and consist of three or four blooms, of which, as a rule, only two are fruitful. Spelt is, generally, not bearded. The corn furnishes a white bread. When unripe, it is manufactured into a soup, which is highly esteemed.

Timothy (Phleum pratense) is a popular and most widely used hay plant in America, and also extensively seeded with other grasses for pasture, prospering best in moist loams. It yields the year following its sowing, grows from one and a half to four feet high, and twelve to fifteen pounds of seed are sown per acre. The chief timothy region is the northern half of the United [128] States, east of the 100th meridian, where it is usually sown in the fall with winter wheat, or in the spring with oats. Forty-five pounds of seed make a bushel.

Wheat (Triticum vulgare), does not grow as high as the rye, but has a thicker stalk and thicker ears, which are composed of several small ears. In each little ear there are generally four seeds. There are, as a rule, no beards; but, on the other hand, there is often a short spur at the top of the ears. It grows in temperate climates, the largest crops being raised in United States (especially in Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Kansas); Central Europe (Russia, France, Austria-Hungary and Italy); India, Argentina, Canada and Australia. The area of wheat production is steadily increasing and wheat raising has become an important industry in newly developed countries, such as parts of British America, West Australia and Manchuria.

Cultivation.—The soil conditions in the Middle West are most favorable for giving quality. Its rich prairies contain large amounts of decaying vegetable matter, and because of the lime and alkaline substances in these soils, the elements of plant food are readily available, particularly the nitrogen in the soil, that contributes so largely to the glutinous character of the wheat.

Wheat is more than ordinarily adapted to machine farming and the invention of the successful reaper was largely responsible for the rapid increase of wheat acreage in America. In many parts of the wheat region immense plows drawn by traction engines and turning six to twelve and more furrows are employed. In other portions where operations are large many fields are plowed only once in two or three years. For various reasons, among which may be mentioned the control of weeds and the conserving of moisture in the soil, early plowing for winter wheat is preferable, and where the rainfall is scant very satisfactory conditions are obtained by stirring the surface soil with disc harrows only.

The average quantity of seed sown per acre is between four and five pecks, varying with the quality, the locality, method and time of seeding and the whim of the sower. The yield ranges from ten to sixty bushels per acre, the bushel weighing sixty pounds.

Wheat is mostly sown with drills, the old method of sowing broadcast having been mostly abandoned. By drilling a more even distribution and covering of the seed, and a better stand and yield of grain may be confidently expected.

In harvesting small areas the self-binding reaping machine is popular. This cuts the standing grain and binds it in sheaves of convenient size which are stood in shocks of three or four dozen bundles each, whence it is either threshed direct or put in stacks for threshing at a more convenient season. On larger areas and especially where the wheat is quite ripe, the header is commonly and widely used. This clips off the heads of grain, and elevates them into large receptacles called barges, set on wagons, leaving the straw standing. Usually when headed the grain is put directly into stacks, and threshed at convenience.

Economic Products.—Its commercial varieties, hard, soft, red, white, etc., differ in percentage of starch and gluten.

The whole grain is ground into graham flour, made into breakfast foods and used in brewing.

From parts of the grain are prepared whole wheat flour, white flour, middlings, bran, wheat grits, wheat starch, macaroni, spaghetti, etc.

Wheatflour may be said to be the standard foodstuff of modern civilized man.

Macaroni is made from special varieties of hard, glutinous wheat.

Wheat straw is plaited into braids (Leghorn, etc.) for hat making, and is used like the straw from other grains for packing material and as bedding for animals.

Straw braids come largely from Italy, China and Japan.

The principal countries exporting wheat are United States, Russia, Argentina, Canada, Roumania, India and Australia.


Among the commercial products of the world, vegetables are a most important item, and their value as foodstuffs needs no emphasizing. The inhabitants of the world could subsist without animal-flesh, could scarcely subsist entirely on cereals, but they most certainly could not subsist without vegetables. Practically every nation, savage and civilized alike, cultivates a few plants for use as vegetables. The vegetables we know and prize most are one and all the result of long cultivation, the origin of most being lost in antiquity. The world has been ransacked, and for the vegetables cultivated in America nearly every country under the sun has been laid under contribution.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis). The common Asparagus is a native of Great Britain, Russia and Poland. It is one of the oldest as well as one of the most delicious of our garden vegetables. It was cultivated in the time of Cato the Elder, 200 B. C.; and Pliny mentions a sort that grew in his time near Ravenna, of which three heads would weigh a pound. As many of our best gardeners contend, adaptation of soil, together with thorough cultivation, alone explains the difference in this vegetable, as offered in our markets or seen in our gardens.

Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is cultivated in many countries for the sake of its seed and husks. By cultivation many varieties have been produced, of which the following are the best known: Broad Bean, an important article of food in Europe and western Asia, and valuable forage plant, grown in gardens and as a field crop. All species of the bean have a very high food value; are relatively cheap in price, but much less easily digested than cereals. Lima Bean, widely cultivated in tropical Africa, sparingly in temperate regions. Production in the United States most extensive in California. Navy or Kidney Bean, extensively grown in the United States, over one hundred and fifty varieties of which are in cultivation as a garden vegetable, “string beans,” fodder and for food. The closely related “frijole” is universally grown in Mexico and Spanish American countries where it ranks next to maize as a staple food. Soy Bean, the common bean of China and Japan is grown in immense quantities. Various preparations form a part of the daily food. It is now grown in Europe and southern and southwestern United States as forage and soiling crop.



UDO—This fine salad vegetable comes from Japan, is similar to asparagus, and much easier to grow. It has a fresh taste like lettuce with an agreeable flavor. There are numerous ways of serving it, but it is possibly best simply boiled and seasoned like asparagus. It will grow in any soil suitable for asparagus. THE CHAYOTE, or Vegetable Pear, is large, green and pear-shaped, with a texture somewhat like a squash, and a flavor more delicate than a cucumber. It is grown on lowlands near the coast, in a moderately warm climate. Its keeping qualities are remarkable, making it an excellent winter vegetable. Both roots and stalks are also edible.
THE BUR ARTICHOKE, long imported from France, may now be successfully grown in this country. It is used like the cauliflower in many ways but commands a higher price. The scalelike leaves make a delicious salad when pulled apart after boiling, and may be served on lettuce with either mayonnaise or French dressing. THE PETSAI, or Odorless Cabbage, is much superior to the ordinary cabbage, and is wholly without disagreeable odor. It does not closely resemble cabbage in appearance; it is rather tall than squatty, and the leaves cluster around the stalk compactly. It requires cultivation similar to cabbage but is not transplanted. It is served after the fashion of cabbage.


Brussels Sprouts, or Bud-bearing Cabbage (B. oleracea bullata minor) originated in Belgium, and has been cultivated around Brussels from time immemorial, although it is only within the last fifty years that it has become generally known in this country. It is so named on account of its peculiar habit, producing a bud-like cluster of leaves in the axil of each leaf from the base to the top of the stem. These buds or sprouts are the parts of the plant that are eaten, and are highly esteemed for their delicate flavor and wholesome quality. Brussels sprouts is one of the hardiest of green winter vegetables. As a rule, the shorter-stemmed strains have the largest and most compact sprouts, and are consequently the most favored. As regards cultivation, the plant, like all of the cabbage tribe, requires deep, rich soil to bring it to fullest perfection.

Cabbage (Brassica oleraceæ) is found in a wild state in various parts of Europe and in southern England, always on maritime cliffs. It is a biennial, with fleshy lobed leaves covered with a glaucous bloom; altogether so different in form and appearance from the cabbage of our gardens that few would believe it could possibly have been the parent of so varied a progeny as are comprised in the Savoy, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli and other numerous varieties. Over one hundred fifty varieties are enumerated. The common or cultivated cabbage is well known, and from a very early period has been a favorite culinary vegetable in almost daily use throughout the civilized world.

Carrot (Daucus) of which there are about twenty species are mostly natives of the Mediterranean countries. The common carrot is a biennial plant and is universally cultivated for the sake of its root. In all varieties of the wild plant this is slender, woody and of a very strong flavor; and that of the cultivated variety is much thicker and more fleshy, much milder in its flavor and qualities. Its color is generally red, but sometimes orange or yellowish white.

Cauliflower (B. oleracea botrytis cauliflora) is of great antiquity, but its origin is unknown, although it is usually ascribed to Italy. To the English and Dutch gardeners we are chiefly indebted for the perfection it has attained. Heads of immense size are now grown for the market. It is by no means uncommon to see a head perfectly sound and smooth, fully ten inches in diameter, and, contrary to the usual rule, size is not obtained at the expense of quality, the larger, if differing at all, being more tender and delicious. The varieties of the Cauliflower are numerous.

Celery (Apium graveolens). The plant is hardy, and is largely cultivated in the United States, Canada and Europe. In cultivation, however, abundant nutrition has greatly mollified its properties, and two principal forms have arisen. The first sort is the common celery, where the familiar long blanched succulent stalks are produced by transplanting the seedlings into richly manured trenches, which are filled up as the plants grow, and finally raised into ridges over which little more than the tops of the leaves appear; and a supply is thus insured throughout the whole winter. The other form is the turnip-rooted celery, or celeriac.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus). The common cucumber is distinguished by heart-shaped leaves, which are rough with hairs approaching to bristles, and oblong fruit. It is a native of the middle and south of Asia, and has been cultivated from the earliest times. Its fruit forms an important article of food in its native regions, the south of Europe, etc., and an esteemed delicacy in colder countries, where it is produced by the aid of artificial heat. Many varieties are in cultivation, with fruit from four inches to two feet long, rough, smooth, etc.

Vegetable Marrow (Cucurbita ovifera) is closely allied to the cucumber, and is supposed to have been originally brought from Persia. Like the cucumber it is a tender annual, but succeeds out of doors in summer in this country.

Many other members of the cucumber family are cultivated as esculents, notably in the warmer parts of the world. Of these the chief are Pumpkins, Melon Pumpkin, Water Melon, Chocho, Bottle Gourd, Squash.

Egg-plant (Solanum melongena). The egg-like fruit known as egg-apple, etc., is a favorite article of food in the East Indies, and has thence been introduced to most warm countries. It varies in size from that of a hen’s egg to that of a swan’s egg, in color from white or yellow to violet. Egg-plants are much grown in the United States, where “Jew’s-apple” is one of the names for the fruit.

Kale, or Borecole (B. oleracea acephala) is distinguished by its leaves being beautifully cut and curled, of a green or purple color, or variegated with red, green, and yellow, never closing so as to form a heart, nor producing edible flower heads like a Cauliflower. Its leaves and tender shoots are not only edible but form one of the most useful green vegetables.

Lentils (Ervum Lens), a slender plant supposed to be native of Western Asia, Greece and Italy. The Lentil was introduced into Egypt as a cultivated plant at an early date, and from this center spread east and west. It is a weak, straggling plant, rarely exceeding eighteen inches high, often much more dwarfed, having pinnate leaves terminating in tendrils. The flowers are white, lilac, or pale blue, small and formed like those of a pea. There are three varieties of lentil recognized in the countries in which it is cultivated: the small brown, which is the lightest flavored and the best esteemed for soups and haricots; the yellow variety, which is slightly larger; and the lentil of Provence, France, which has seeds as large as a small pea, but is better appreciated as fodder for cattle than for food for man.

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa). The garden lettuce is supposed to be a native of the East Indies, but is not known to exist anywhere in a wild state, and from remote antiquity has been cultivated as an esculent and particularly as a salad. It has a leafy stem, oblong leaves, a spreading, flat-topped panicle, with yellow flowers, and a fruit without margin. It is now generally cultivated in all parts of the world where the climate admits of it.

Melon (Cucumis melo), a plant of the same genus with the cucumber, much cultivated for its fruit. The melon is an annual, with trailing or climbing stems, lateral tendrils, rounded, angular leaves, small, yellow flowers and large round or somewhat ovate fruit. The varieties in cultivation are very numerous, some of them distinguished by a thick and warty rind, some by a rind cracked in a net-like manner, some by ribs and furrows, some by a perfectly smooth and thin rind; they differ also in the color of the flesh of the fruit, which is green, red, yellow, etc.; and in the size of the fruit, which varies from three or four inches to a foot or more in diameter. They are widely cultivated in the United States, ranking fifth in acreage among vegetables. New Jersey leads in production, growing about one-seventh of entire crop. Cultivation under irrigation is highly developed in Colorado. They are often called cantaloupe in the markets.

Mushroom. See Cryptogams.

Okra or Gumbo (Hibiscus esculentus) is a generally used food plant most commonly employed in soups in the East and West Indies and also in the southern United States. It was anciently grown in tropical Africa and Egypt, and is now [131] diffused in tropical countries and in the southern United States.

Onion (Allium Cepa) is extensively cultivated throughout the world, and is grown in every state in the United States, New York and Ohio leading in production. Bermuda and Spanish varieties are now grown in California. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians; also by the Greeks and Romans. Many other important vegetables are allied to the onion, viz.: Leek, Shallot, Onion, Chives and Garlic. All of these are highly esteemed in cookery.

Parsnip (Pastinaca), an annual, biennial, or perennial herb, with carrot-like, often fleshy root and pinnate leaves. The parsnip has long been cultivated for the sake of its root, which in cultivation has greatly increased in size and become more fleshy. The flavor is disliked by some, as well as the too great sweetness, but highly relished by others; and the root of the parsnip is more nutritious than that of the carrot. The crop is also on many soils of larger quantity; and although the parsnip delights in a very open, rich soil, it will succeed in clayey soils far too stiff for the carrot.

Pea (Pisum sativum) has been cultivated from very remote times. The pea plant is covered with a delicate, glaucous bloom, and its white or pale violet flowers are familiar to all. The pods are pendulous, smooth, deep green and variable in size and may contain any number up to thirteen (rarely more) peas. The peas when ripe are also variable, some being white and round, others blue and wrinkled, and a few large, irregular, and dull green. They are cultivated in Europe, Asia and the United States. Chiefly used as green vegetable, but also for fodder. Ranks seventh in acreage among minor vegetables in the United States.

Peppers or Capsicums or Chillies (Capsicum annum and C. frutescens) are widely cultivated in the warmer parts of both hemispheres. The fruits vary considerably in shape and size, and when green are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the greatest of vegetable gifts to man. Its cabbage-like stalks have a height of from eighteen to twenty inches; its leaves are solitary and pennate; its large pentagonal blossoms are white, reddish or violet; its fruit is a green berry. Attached to its underground runners are those bulbs which serve as food to many millions of people, and from which starch, sago, sugar of grapes and brandy are prepared.

The potato stands second only to corn as the most important contribution of America to the food plants of the world. Preëminently the most important vegetable grown in Europe and America. The world crop is enormous, exceeding five billion bushels; in bulk surpassing by about one-half the world crop of wheat, corn or oats. Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, the United States and Great Britain are the chief producers in order named. Germany grows one-third of the world crop, Russia one-fifth. In the United States they are grown in every state and territory; also in Hawaii and Alaska.

Their cultivation was even ancient in Peru. It was widely diffused from Chile to Colombia at time of Spanish discovery, but there were no evidences of culture in Mexico or by North American Indians. It was introduced into what is now North Carolina and Virginia late in the sixteenth century; taken to Europe first by the Spaniards early in the sixteenth century and to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585. Sweet Potatoes are the thickened roots of Ipomoea Batatas, a climbing plant. This plant is extensively cultivated in most tropical countries, although not known in a wild state. The root contains much starch and saccharine matter. They are second only to the potato in the United States, being widely grown in the South—Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee producing over half of the total crop, which in acreage and value is about one-fifth that of the potato.

Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a well-known plant, the root of which is a valuable salad; it has been cultivated from a remote period. It is now possible to have a supply the whole year round. Crisp, tender radishes with delicate flavor are only obtained by quick growth on rich, moist soil. The earliest crops are grown in frames on hotbeds, the crop being ready about five weeks from sowing. The earliest sowing outdoors can be made from December to February in sheltered sunny positions, the beds being covered with a thick layer of litter. There are round, oval and long-rooted varieties.

Tomato or Love-apple (Lycopersicum esculentum). The fruit of this plant is fleshy, usually red or yellow, divided into two, three or more cells containing numerous seeds imbedded in pulp. The tomato is one of a genus of several species, all natives of South America, chiefly on the Peruvian side. In the warmer countries of the United States, Europe and other countries in which the summer is warm and prolonged, it has long been cultivated for the excellent qualities of the fruit as an article of diet. The tomato is extensively grown as a field crop for canneries in the United States, and in the North is one of the chief winter-forcing crops. It is exceeded in acreage only by the watermelon and sweet corn among the minor vegetables. In the United States the crop exceeds thirty million bushels, nearly half of which is grown in Maryland and New Jersey.

Turnip (Brassica rapa). Although the turnip is of great value for feeding stock, it is not very nutritious, no less than nine to ninety-six parts of its weight actually consisting of water. One of the best early varieties is purple top strap leaf. Early flat Dutch is also good. The Swedish turnip, or ruta baga, which was introduced into cultivation from the north of Europe more recently than the common turnip, and has proved of very great value to the farmer, is regarded by some botanists as a variety of the same species, and by some as a variety of B. napus, but more generally as a variety of B. campestris, a species common in cornfields and sides of ditches in Britain and the north of Europe.

Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris). The most popular melon in cultivation, is extensively grown in warm climates throughout the world, but most abundantly in southern Russia and the southern United States. It leads all minor vegetables in acreage, being surpassed only by the major vegetables, potato and sweet potato. Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri are the chief growers in the order named. Very anciently it was cultivated by Egyptians.

Yam (Dioscorea alata). Yams, the tubers of various species of Dioscorea, are cultivated in nearly all tropical countries. Yam tubers abound in farinaceous matter and often reach a large size. They resemble but are inferior to the sweet potato.



Time given is for latitude of New York. Each one hundred miles north or south will make a difference of from five to seven days in the season. The distances given here indicate the distance apart the plants should stand after thinning. The seed should be sown much nearer together. Class A. These plants may be started early (in the greenhouse or hotbed, in early spring, or outdoors in the seedbed later), and afterwards transplanted to their permanent location. Class B. These crops usually occupy the ground for the entire season. Class C. These are quick maturing crops which, for a constant supply, should be planted at several different times in “succession”—a week or two weeks apart. Class D. These are crops which often may be cleared off in time to permit planting another quickly maturing crop, usually of some early variety. Class E. These crops are supplementary to those in Class D and may be used to obtain a second crop out of the ground from which early crops have been cleared.

Name and Variety Time to Plant Class How to Plant and Care for
Asparagus (Plant). April. B Plant 4 inches deep, at distance of 1 foot; in rows 3 feet apart; heavily manured, spreading the roots out evenly. Do not cut for use until second spring. Keep bed clean; cut off tops in the fall. Transplant third spring.
Asparagus (Seed). April-May. B Seed 2 to 4 inches apart, in rows 15 inches apart; 1 inch deep.
Beans, Bush Lima.
Burpee Improved.
March 15, under glass.
May 1, outside.
B Tender. Set out in May. Plant 2 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart.
Beans, Pole Lima.
King of Garden.
May 15, outside.
Ready in 10 weeks.
B Tender. Plant 2 inches deep in hills 4 feet apart. Pinch off at 6 feet high. 1 pint of seed to 50 hills.
Beans, String.
Hodson Wax.
Hodson Wax.
Hodson Wax.
April 15, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 15, outside.
June 1, outside.
June 15, outside.
July 1, outside.
July 15, outside.
Ready in 6 weeks.
C Tender. Plant 2 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart, 6 inches apart in row. 1 pint of seed to 75-foot row.
Crimson Globe.
March 1, under glass.
April 15, outside.
May 15, outside.
June 15, outside.
July 15, outside.
Ready in 9 weeks.
Transplant outside in April. Hardy. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 6 inches apart in row. Soak seed over night. 1 ounce of seed to 50 feet. Winter in sand or pits.
Brussels Sprouts.
L. I. Half Dwarf.
March 15, under glass.
May 1, under glass.
Ready in 20 weeks.
A-E Plant 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. 1 ounce of seed to 1500 plants. Hang in cellar for winter.
Copenhagen Market.
Drumhead Savoy.
March 1, under glass.
March 1, under glass.
May 1, under glass.
Transplant to garden.
Ready in 18 weeks.
A-C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 3 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. Manure well. 1 ounce of seed to 2500 plants. Winter in pits upside down.
Half-long Danvers.
April 1, outside.
June 1, outside.
Ready in 15 weeks.
C-B Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 6 inches apart in row. 1 ounce of seed to 100 feet. Winter in sand or pits.
Dwarf Erfurt.
March 1, under glass.
April 1, under glass.
May 1, under glass.
Transplant to garden.
A-C-E Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 3 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. 1 ounce seed to 2500 plants. Manure well.
April 15, outside.
Ready in 8 weeks.
... Hardy. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. 1 ounce of seed to 50 feet.
Golden Self-blanching.
Fin de Siecle.
March 1, under glass.
April 15, under glass.
Ready in 18 weeks.
A-E Hardy. Set out in May. Barely cover. Rows 3 feet apart, 12 feet apart in row. Rich, moist soil. Transplant twice. 1 ounce of seed to 3000 plants. In August bank up to blanch. Winter in pits.
Golden Bantam.
Country Gentleman.
Country Gentleman.
April 1, under glass.
April 15, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 15, outside.
June 1, outside.
June 1, outside.
June 15, outside.
July 15, outside.
Ready: Early 9 weeks.
Ready: Late 11 weeks.
B-E Tender. Set out in May. Plant 2 inches deep in rows 4 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. Manure and remove suckers. 1 quart of seed to 200 hills.
Cool and Crisp.
March 15, under glass.
May 1, outside.
June 1, outside.
July 1, outside.
Ready in 9 weeks.
A-B Tender. Set out in May. Plant 1 inch deep, 4 feet apart. 1 ounce of seed to 50 hills.
Green Curled.
July 1.
Ready in 8 weeks.
A-E Hardy. Plant in rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. 1 ounce of seed to 100-foot row. Transplant to dark cellar to blanch for winter.
Black Beauty.
March 1, under glass,
with good heat.
Transplant to garden.
Ready in 15 weeks.
A-B Very tender. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 3 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. Rich and moist soil. 1 ounce of seed to 1000 plants. Store dry for late fall use.
Dwarf Scotch.
May 15, under glass.
Transplant to garden
like cabbage.
July 1, outside.
Ready in 20 weeks.
E Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. 1 ounce of seed to 200 feet. Mulch for winter.
May King.
March 1, under glass.
March 15, under glass.
Outside every 2 weeks
to Sept. 1.
Ready in 6 weeks.
C Hardy. Plant 14 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. Rich soil. 1 ounce of seed to 3000 plants. Shade and water in summer.
Emerald Gem.
Early Hackensack.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
Ready in 6 weeks.
A-B Plant 1 inch deep in hills four feet apart. Pinch off ends of shoots. Make special soil of sand and manure. 1 ounce of seed to 50 hills.
Cole’s Early.
Halbert Honey.
Cole’s Early.
Halbert Honey.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
B Tender. Plant 1 inch deep in hills 6 feet apart. Make special soil of sand and manure. Pinch off ends of shoots. 1 ounce of seed to 30 hills.
Yellow Danvers.
April 1, plant sets.
Seeds April 15, outside.
Seeds April 15, outside.
Ready in 18 weeks from
A-B Hardy. Plant seeds 12 inch deep; sets 2 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart. 1 ounce of seed to 150 feet. Dig and dry for winter. 1 quart sets to 100 feet.
Triple Curled.
April 15, outside.
Ready in 8 weeks.
B Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 6 inches apart in row. Soak seeds over night. Seeds are slow to start. 1 ounce of seed to 150-foot row.
Hollow Crown.
April 15, outside.
Ready in 15 weeks.
B Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. Seeds start slowly. 1 ounce seed to 200 feet. Winter in place or in pits. Improved by frost.
Thomas Laxton.
April 15, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 15, outside.
June 1, outside.
June 15, outside.
July 1, outside.
July 15, outside.
Ready in 8 weeks.
B-E Hardy. Plant early varieties 4 inches deep and late varieties 3 inches deep. Early in double rows and late in rows 3 feet apart. Moist soil. 1 quart of seed to 150 feet.
Chinese Giant.
March 1, under glass.
Set out in May.
Ready in 20 weeks.
A Very tender. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart. Start in good heat. Hang in cellar for winter.
Noroton Beauty.
Gold Coin.
April 1 (early).
May 1 (early).
May 15 (main crop).
Ready in 12 weeks.
B Plant early varieties 2 inches deep, and late varieties 5 inches deep in rows 3 feet apart. 1 peck to 100-foot row. 8 or 10 bushels to acre. Sprout before planting.
Winter Luxury.
May 15, outside.
Ready in 15 weeks.
B Tender. Plant 6 feet apart. Manure. 1 ounce of seed to 50 hills. Winter warm and dry.
French Breakfast.
March 7, under glass
and every 2 weeks.
Ready in 4 weeks.
C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep. 1 ounce of seed to 100 feet. Soil light and rich.
Rhubarb (Plant). April. B Set out root-clumps at distance of 2 to 3 feet, in rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Give them dressing of bone meal and soda in the spring.
Mammoth Sandwich
April 15, outside.
Ready in 18 weeks.
B Hardy. Plant 14 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart. 1 ounce of seed to 100 feet. Winter in place or in pits.
New Zealand.
April 1, outside.
April 15, outside.
May 1, outside.
May 1, outside.
June 1, outside.
Sept. 1, outside.
Ready in 5 weeks.
A-B-E Hardy. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. 1 ounce of seed to 200 feet. Very rich soil. Winter under straw cover.
Early Golden Custard.
March 15, under glass.
May 15, outside.
May 15, outside.
May 15, outside.
Ready in 7 weeks.
May 15, outside.
Ready in 15 weeks.
B Tender. Plant 1 inch deep, 4 feet apart. Hubbard 6 feet apart. Winter warm and dry. 1 ounce of seed for 25 hills. For Hubbard make special soil of sand and manure.
Crimson Cushion.
March 1, under glass.
April 1, under glass.
Set out in May.
Ready in 18 weeks.
B-A Tender. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 3 feet apart, 3 feet apart in row. Keep hotbed cool. Pinch off side shoots. 1 ounce of seed to 2000 plants. Hang in cellar for early winter.
Early Milan White.
April 17, outside.
June 15, outside.
Ready in 9 weeks.
C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. 1 ounce of seed to 200 feet. Winter in pits.

Especially Adapted to Southern United States

Name and Variety Time to Plant Class How to Plant and Care for
March 1, outside.
Ready in 6 to 8 months.
... Hardy Perennial. Plant tubers 6 inches deep in rows 5 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. Light soil and sun. 2 quarts of tubers to 100 feet. Fine for soup or boiled and creamed, or salad or pickles.
December, outside.
Ready in February or
B Hardy. Plant 2-year roots 8 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. Rich and moist mulch with manure all summer, salt well.
Valentine or
Refugee or
Golden Wax.
Cold-frames or green-
September 1 and
every two weeks there-
Ready in 6 weeks.
B-C Tender. Plant seeds 2 inches deep in rows 112 feet apart, 4 inches apart in row. Not too rich soil. 1 quart for 150 feet.
Eclipse or
Crimson Globe.
Sept. 1, outside.
Oct. 1, outside.
Ready in 9 weeks.
Hardy. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. Thin to 4 inches apart. Deep soil, no fresh manure. 1 ounce to 50 feet. Soak seed over night.
Sept. 15, cold-frame. ... Almost hardy. Grow like beets. Use outside leaves, leaving crown to grow. Use for greens, or leaf stalks like asparagus.
Brussels Sprouts. Seed-bed August 1.
Transplant outside
September 15.
Ready in 4 months.
A-E Hardy. Plant seeds 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 112 feet apart in row. Cultivate like cabbage. 1 packet of seed enough.
Wakefield or
Savoy or
Seed-bed August 15.
Transplant outside
Ready in 4 months.
A-C-E Hardy. Plant seeds 12 inch deep. Plant rows 3 feet apart; 112 feet apart in rows. Moist, manure and cultivate well. 1 packet of seed enough. Set plants deep.
Half Long or
Long Orange.
Aug. 15, outside.
Oct. 1, outside.
Ready 12 to 15 weeks.
C-B Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 4 inches apart in row. 1 ounce for 200 feet. Seed slow to start.
Early Snowball or
Dwarf Erfurt.
Seed-bed September 1.
Transplant to cold-
frames October 1.
Ready in 4 months.
A-C-E Almost hardy. Plant seed 12 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart, 112 feet apart in row. Moist, rich and manure. 1 packet of seed enough. Blanch heads by tying up.
Collards. Cultivate like cabbage. ... A non-heading cabbage not equal to it in quality.
English Telegraph.
Sept. 15, greenhouse.
Oct. 15, greenhouse.
Nov. 15, greenhouse.
Dec. 15, greenhouse.
Day heat, 85°.
Night heat, 65°.
Ready in 6 to 8 weeks.
A-B Tender. Plant 1 inch deep, 5 feet apart. 1 ounce for 50 hills. Moist, rich soil. Pinch out main stem when 2 feet long. Pinch outside branches at 6 or 8 feet. Leave only 3 side branches to a plant and only half the fruit. Do not fertilize blossoms.
Cress, Water. Outside in water.
September 1.
Ready in 3 months.
... Hardy. Sow in quiet pool near running water. Start seed on mud, then flood 3 inches deep. 1 packet of seed enough.
Green curled or
Sept. 1, outside.
Nov. 1, outside or in
Ready in 3 months.
A-E Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. Thin to 10 inches apart in row. Light, rich soil, deep. 1 ounce for 100 feet. Can transplant like lettuce. Tie up heads for blanching 2 weeks before use.
Round Purple.
Aug. 15, greenhouse.
Dry heat, day, 90°.
Dry heat, night, 65°.
Ready in 4 or 5 months.
A-B Very tender. Plant 12 inch deep, 2 feet apart. Rich and moist soil. 1 packet enough. Blossoms should be fertilized by hand.
Dwarf Scotch or
Tall Scotch.
Aug. 15, seed-bed.
Sept. 15, set outside.
Sept. 15, start some.
October, set outside.
Ready in 3 or 4 months.
E Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. Deep sand and mold. 1 ounce to 200 feet. When top is cut off for use, side shoots will start.
Early Vienna.
October 1, outside.
Ready in 2 to 3 months.
C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 6 inches apart in row. 1 ounce for 150 feet. Grow and use like turnip.
May King or
California Butter or
Boston Market.
Seed-bed September 15
and every 2 weeks
Transplant into cold-
C Almost hardy. 14 inch deep, 6 inches apart each way. Light, rich soil. 1 ounce for 2000 plants.
English: Sutton’s Ar.
Sutton’s Emerald
August 15,
Dry heat, day 90°.
Dry heat, night, 70°.
Ready in 4 to 5 months.
Sets ready 2 months.
A-B Tender. Plant 1 inch deep in hills 5 feet apart. Manure. Light soil. 1 ounce for 50 hills. Blossoms to be fertilized by hand. Pinch off tip of vine when first blossoms come.
Prizetaker or
Multiplier or
July 1, outside, seed.
Sept. 1, outside, sets.
Ready in 4 to 5 months.
A-B Hardy. Plant seed 12 inch deep, sets 2 inches deep in rows 112 feet apart. Moist, rich soil and sun. 1 ounce of seed for 150 feet. 1 quart of sets for 100 feet.
Parsley. September 1, outside.
Soak seeds over night.
Ready in 2 months.
B Hardy. Plant 14 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart. 1 packet seed enough. Seeds slow to start.
Hollow Crown.
September 1,
B Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 3 inches apart in row. Seeds slow to start. Rich, deep soil. 1 ounce for 200 feet.
Virginia or Georgia.
April 1, outside. ... Plant 3 inches deep in hills 2 feet apart. Light, deep soil. Shell before planting.
Nott’s Excelsior.
Gradus or Tom Thumb.
Extra Early (smooth
Marrow Fat.
In cold-frames.
September 15 and every
2 weeks.
Ready in 2 to 3 months.
Outside same dates
(always an uncertain
Outside, December 1
(more hardy, less
B-E Almost hardy. Plant 4 inches deep in rows 2 feet apart. Moist, not too rich. Soak over night. 1 pint to 100 feet.
Sweet Spanish or
Sweet Mountain.
August 1, greenhouse.
Moist heat, day, 90°.
Moist heat, night, 70°.
Ready in 4 months.
B Tender. Plant seeds 12 inch deep, 2 feet apart. 1 packet of seed enough. Need not fertilize blossoms.
Irish Cobbler or other
August 1, outside.
For new potatoes all
Ready in 3 months.
B Hardy. Plant whole in rows 3 feet apart, 1 foot apart in row. Moist, light, rich soil. 8 bushels per acre.
Potato, Sweet.
Yellow Yam or
Georgia Yam.
Bed thickly in March.
Transplant the sprouts
outside May 1.
Ready in 6 months.
... Very deep sand. Rows 3 feet apart, 2 feet apart in row. 3 pounds to 100-foot row. Dig as wanted through the winter.
French Breakfast or
Scarlet Turnip.
Oct. 1, outside.
Oct. 15, outside.
Nov. 1, outside.
Cold-frames November
1 and every 10 days.
Ready in 6 weeks.
C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 8 inches apart. 1 ounce to 100-foot row.
Sandwich Island.
Outside, August 1 and
(A difficult crop in the
Ready in 5 months.
B Hardy. Plant 14 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 4 inches apart in row. Water freely.
New Zealand.
Sept. 1, outside.
Oct. 1, outside.
Nov. 1, outside.
(doubtful crop).
Sept. 1, cold-frame.
(A sure abundant
product all winter).
A-B-E Almost hardy. Plant 1 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 3 inches apart in row. 1 ounce for 150 feet.
Lady Thompson or
Hefflin or Hoffman.
Transplant every year
in October.
Ready in February
or March.
... Hardy. Rows 2 feet apart, 1 foot apart in rows. Rich, sandy loam. Mulch in summer. No stable manure. Confine to single crowns.
Beauty or Perfection.
Aug. 15, greenhouse.
Sept. 15, greenhouse.
Oct. 15, greenhouse.
Ready in 4 months.
B-A Tender. Plant 12 inch deep, 112 feet apart. 1 packet of seed enough. Pinch out tips at desired height. Pinch out all side shoots. Fertilize blossoms by hand.
Early Milan.
October 1, outside.
Ready in 2 to 3 months.
C Hardy. Plant 12 inch deep in rows 112 feet apart, 3 inches apart in row. 1 ounce for 200 feet. Moist and rich soil.


The fruit trees are cultivated for the sake of their fruit. They bear either kernel fruit, when their seed kernels are enclosed in cores of parchment-like formation; or stone fruit, when the seed kernel is enclosed in a hard shell, which is in its turn enclosed in some succulent pulp; or shell fruit, when the fleshy interior is enclosed in a hard shell.

Almond, a small tree belonging to the rose family, native to northwest Africa. The flowers are solitary and generally pink, and appear before the lance-shaped leaves. The fruit is egg-shaped, downy externally, with a tough, fibrous covering and a wrinkled stone. It has long been widely cultivated, and many varieties exist, differing in the hardness of the stone and in the flavor of the seed. Sweet Almonds include the large thin-shelled Jordan (from the French jardin), the Valencia almond, imported as a dessert fruit from Malaga, the smaller Barbary and Italian forms, and the California product. The Bitter Almond yields an essential oil, employed in confectionery, but dangerous from sometimes containing prussic acid.

Apple (Pyrus Malus), grows wild in forests, but it is found artificially improved everywhere in gardens and orchards. Its bark is generally smooth; its wood somewhat soft; its leaves oval-shaped and about double the length of their stalks; its blossoms are white with reddish margins. Fruit horticulture has produced many species of apples in the course of time, and they are now the most important fruit of the temperate zone, area of production, consumption, and variety of product being considered, ranking with the grape, olive, orange, lemon and banana, among the six leading fruits of the world. North America is preëminently the leading apple growing region. In the United States, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio produce about one-third of the total crop.

The cultivation of the apple is prehistoric. Abundantly used by Lake Dwellers of the Stone Age in Italy and Switzerland.


Each pod contains some sixty seeds, arranged in five or eight rows (mostly five); the seeds are white when they are fresh, but brown and covered with a fragile skin or shell when dried. These seeds, which are not unlike beans or almonds, are imbedded in a mass of mucilaginous pulp, of a sweet but acid taste. The seeds only require to be extracted, cured and dried, to become the cacao-beans of commerce.

Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca). The tree attains a height of thirteen to sixteen feet, and shows its blossoms in the months of March and April. Its smooth leaves are oval, doubly serrated; and its white blossoms have a tinge of red. Its globular, velvet-like, downy fruits are a favorite dish for dessert.

Apricots are extensively grown in north India, Persia, south Europe and Egypt. Although grown in New York, the crop is only commercially important in California and Oregon, whence large quantities of the fresh and dried fruit are shipped to the eastern states and abroad.



Small crops of beans are spread out on the ground, or on a tray, or on a piece of matting, and dried in the sun. In other cases, artificial heat is used in specially constructed and equipped drying-houses.

The beans are roasted, similar to coffee, in large iron drums to increase the aroma, make them more soluable in water, and improve their flavor. After being ground, and mixed with sugar, the product becomes chocolate—and is used in many ways.


Cultivation in China antedates 2000 B. C. It was introduced into Europe at the time of Alexander the Great, about 325 B. C.

Bread-fruit (Artocarpus incisa), grows upon the islands of the Pacific Ocean, and has also been transplanted to those parts of America which lie in the Torrid Zone. It attains a very great height, and bears fruits weighing from three to four pounds. The latter are cut into slices, and after being dried and roasted are used as food. These fruits, when pounded and mixed with milk of the cocoanut, form a dough, which is either consumed raw or baked into bread. All parts of this tree are useful; its yellow wood is used for the construction of houses, from its fibres articles of clothing are made, and its sap is used for making birdlime. Its large leaves serve as tablecloths and napkins, and its blossoms when dried are an excellent tinder. The bread-fruit tree is therefore much cultivated.

Butternut (Juglans cinerea), a North American species of walnut. Its dark yellow wood takes a fine polish, and is used in cabinet work; the bark yields a brown dye, and the brown-husked, rugged nuts contain oil, and are very pleasant in flavor.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao), a small tree, native to Mexico, Central America and the north of South America, is cultivated also in Brazil, Guiana, Trinidad and Grenada. It has large, oblong, pointed, entire leaves and clusters of flowers with rose-colored calyx and yellowish petals. The fruit is yellow, from six to ten inches long, and from three to five broad, oblong, blunt, with ten longitudinal ridges externally, and five chambers, containing ten or twenty seeds each, internally. The thick, tough rind is almost woody. The seeds are dried, roasted, bruised, and winnowed, so as to remove their testa from the cocoa-nibs or cotyledons. These contain more than fifty per cent of fat or cocoa-butter, part of which is generally removed in the process of “preparing” cocoa. It is used in making chocolate “creams.” Cocoa is also a valuable article of food; contains a gently stimulating alkaloid, theobromine, a fragrant essential oil and a red coloring matter. Sugar and vanilla or other flavoring are added in the preparation of chocolate.

Cherry (Prunus avium), is a stately tree of from twenty-five to forty-five feet in height. It has a pyramidal crown; its smooth bark splits crosswise; its leaves are elliptical, and covered with down on their lower sides; its blossoms are snowy white and its fruits sweet and of different colors. The latter furnish an agreeable nourishment, whether consumed raw, boiled, or preserved. Cherry-brandy is also made from them. The Cherry is cultivated in temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and the United States, and included among the fifteen leading fruits of the world. Ranks about eighth among fruits of the United States. Pennsylvania and California lead in production.

It was grown before the Christian Era in western Asia and southern Europe, and is mentioned in Vergil’s Georgics.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), is largely grown in Ceylon. The bark is stripped off two-year-old shoots in May and November and dried in the sun, undergoing a slight fermentation. It rolls up into quills, the thinnest being the best. Cinnamon contains a fragrant essential oil and has long been valued as a spice. It has also some medicinal value as a cordial and stomachic. It is also cultivated for bark in Brazil, West Indies, Egypt, and Java, but cultivation is now declining in favor of coffee.

Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), a small evergreen spice tree, native of the Moluccas. The fruits are imported as mother cloves, and the stalks are used to adulterate the spice when ground. The whole plant is aromatic from the presence of the essential oil of cloves, which occurs to the extent of sixteen to eighteen per cent in the flower-buds. The dried flower buds are the cloves of commerce. Cultivated on many tropical islands and coasts, chiefly in the Moluccas, Sumatra, Java, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Jamaica, and French Guiana. The oil of cloves is widely used in flavoring and perfumery and also in medicine.

Cocoa-nut (Cocos nucifera), a small genus of palms. The cocoa-nut palm is apparently a native of the Indian Archipelago, but has been dispersed throughout the tropics from early times, flourishing especially near the sea. It has a cylindric stem reaching two feet in diameter, and from sixty to one hundred feet in height; a crown of pinnate leaves, each eighteen to twenty feet long, with a sheathing and fibrous base, succeeded by bunches of from ten to twenty fruits. These are about a foot long, six or eight inches across, three-sided, with a stony shell and one seed filling its cavity. The seed contains a fleshy kernel and a milky liquid. No tree of the tropics has so many uses, every part of it being employed, and in southern India furnishing several of the chief necessaries of life. The wood of the outer part of the stem is used, under the name of Porcupine wood, for inlaying; the leaves for thatch, mats, hats, etc.; the fibrous part under the name of coir, for cordage, etc.; the shell for bottles, cups, spoons, and when properly burned, for excellent charcoal and lamp-black. The solid white kernel contains thirty-six per cent of oil known as copra oil, from which, by pressure, the solid stearine used for candles is separated from the liquid lamp-oil. The “milk,” when fresh, is an agreeable drink; and from the sap sugar is obtained, and, by fermentation, toddy, from which vinegar and by distillation, arrack are prepared. It is extensively cultivated on the coasts of India, the East and West India Islands, and Brazil, and recently in Florida.

Coffee Tree (Coffea Arabica), originally a native of Africa attains a height of twenty-five to thirty feet. It is generally, however, kept at a much inferior height, in order to facilitate the collection of the fruit. Its leaves are evergreen; its blossoms white and fragrant. The fruit is a red berry about the size of a cherry, which contains two kernels, lying closely side by side: the coffee beans. These coffee beans are used everywhere for the preparation of that coffee which has become an indispensable beverage for many millions of people. Commercially it is of great importance, being largely grown in Brazil, Mexico, Central America, West Indies, Arabia, Java, Sumatra, Ceylon, India, and Hawaii. Brazil leads with a production of over one-half of the world’s crop. In the United States the consumption greatly exceeds that of tea.

Beginning of its cultivation is uncertain, but not ancient. It was introduced for cultivation in South America by the Dutch in 1718.

Date or Date-Palm (Phœnix dactylifera), a tree sixty to eighty feet high, with large pinnate leaves, cultivated in immense quantities in north Africa, western Asia and southern Europe. The stem is covered with leaf scars, and the flowers each have three sepals and three petals. The wood of the stem is used in building; huts are built of its leaves; the petioles are made into baskets and the fibre surrounding their bases into ropes and coarse cloth; the young leaf-bud or “cabbage” is sometimes eaten as a vegetable, or, if tapped, it yields a sugary sap which may be fermented; and even the seeds are ground into meal for camels. In central Arabia and some parts of north Africa the fruit forms the staple food of the inhabitants, camels, horses, and dogs. It is the chief source of wealth in Arabia. It was very anciently cultivated in Egypt and Babylonia and is the palm of the Bible.







The “cherries” when gathered contain two seeds, or coffee beans. The coverings are removed from the seeds by “hulling.”



Fig (Ficus Carica). The common fig is a native of the East. It is a low deciduous tree or shrub (fifteen to twenty-five feet), with large, deeply-lobed leaves, which are rough above and downy beneath. The branches are clothed with short hairs, and the bark is greenish. The fruit is produced singly in the axils of the leaves, is pear-shaped, and has a very short stalk; the color in some varieties is bluish-black; in others, red, purple, yellow, green or white. The fig is extensively cultivated in subtropical countries, particularly in Spain, Italy, and southern France, in Europe, and in southwestern Asia. It is also grown in the Gulf States and in California. All dried figs in the United States are produced in California. Commercial figs come largely from Asiatic Turkey, though Smyrna figs are now established in California.

Grape-fruit or Shaddock (Citrus decumanus), a tree, which, like the other species of the same genus, is a native of the East Indies, and has long been cultivated in the south of Europe. It is readily distinguished by its large leaves and broad-winged leaf-stalk; it has very large white flowers, and the fruit is also very large, sometimes weighing ten or even fourteen pounds, roundish, pale yellow; the rind thick, white, and spongy within, bitter; the pulp greenish and watery, subacid and subaromatic. It is a pleasant, cooling fruit, and much used for preserves. Finer and smaller than the shaddock proper is the Pomelo (also called Pummelo, and grape-fruit) a variety rather larger than an orange which bears its fruit in clusters. It was anciently cultivated and much prized fruit in India, China, East Indies and Pacific Islands. Now successfully established in Florida and California, and rapidly becoming popular table fruit in the United States.

Lemon (Citrus Limonum), a small tree or shrub closely related to the orange, apparently truly indigenous in the north of India, carried to Palestine and Egypt by the Arabs, and to Italy by the Crusaders, and now naturalized in the West Indies and elsewhere. The fruit is oval, and ends in a nipple-like point; the rind is thin, smooth, and not readily separable; and the juice is acid. There are numerous varieties, including the citron, bergamot, lime, and sweet lime. Cultivation in the United States is limited mostly to Southern California.

Lime (Citrus acida), is a variety of orange with small flowers, and small, very acid, fruit, varying in form but ending, like the lemon, in a nipple-like boss. It is said to have been anciently cultivated in India, from whence it has been widely diffused in tropical countries. It is widely imported in temperate regions, but sparingly used, being much less popular than the lemon. Now successfully grown in Florida, which produces a small crop.

Mango (Mangifera indica), a small tree indigenous to tropical Asia, but now cultivated throughout the tropics. It has scattered, entire leaves and small pink or yellow flowers. Though its glossy leaves make it valuable for shade, it is chiefly valued for its fruit, which varies considerably in size and flavor. In an unripe state it is used in pickles; but in India is largely eaten when ripe as a dessert fruit. The seeds, bark and resin have some medicinal value, apparently as astringents, and the wood, though soft, is used as timber.

Maté or Paraguay Tea (Ilex paraguayensis), a species of holly growing in Paraguay and south Brazil, which furnishes the chief non-alcoholic drink of South America. Though used immemorially by the Indians, the tree was first cultivated by the Jesuits. The dried leaves are packed in scrons or raw hides containing about two hundred pounds each. The infusion is prepared in a calabash or maté, usually silver-mounted, boiling water and sugar, with milk or lemon-juice, being added to the leaves (yerba), and the beverage taken very hot through a metal or reed tube or bombilla with a strainer at one end. Maté contains 1.85 per cent of caffein, acting as a restorative, much as tea does; but, being bitter, the taste for it has to be acquired.

Mulberry (Morus), allied to the nettle, hemp, and elm families. The Black Mulberry, mainly cultivated for its fruit, is perhaps a native of Armenia, but was early introduced into Greece, where its leaves are still used for feeding silkworms. The Asiatic species, or the White Mulberry, of which there are numerous varieties, mostly with white fruit, is that mainly cultivated in Japan, China, India and Italy for the silkworm. The fibrous inner bark of the Paper Mulberry is made into paper by the Chinese and Japanese, and into tapa cloth in the South Sea Islands. The so-called fruit is formed from a whole cluster of flowers which become fleshy, turn color and sweeten while they enlarge until they meet those of the other flowers, enclosing the true fruits, small dry capsules. Extensively grown for market near large cities in Europe and the United States.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), an evergreen tree native to the East Indies, and now in cultivation in the East and West Indies and Brazil. The fruit is pear-shaped and about two inches across. The seed has a thin, hard shell enclosing the nutmeg, which is mottled in appearance. The largest and roundest nutmegs are the best, and though generally about one hundred and ten to the pound, they may be as few as sixty-eight. Nutmegs contain about twenty-five per cent of nutmeg butter or oil of mace, a vegetable fat now considerably employed in soap-making.

Olive (Olea europæa), a very valuable small tree, seldom more than thirty feet high, of slow growth, but sometimes exceeding twenty feet in girth and seven centuries in age. The wild olive has squarish, spinous branches; opposite evergreen, leathery, shortly-stalked leaves, hoary on their under surface, and small white flowers. The cultivated olive (var. sativa) differs in its rounder branches which have no spines, longer leaves and larger fruit. For pickling, the fruits are gathered unripe, soaked in an alkaline lye, and then bottled in brine. For oil, the ripe fruit, which usually yields sixty to seventy per cent, is squeezed, yielding virgin oil, and the marc or cake is wetted and re-pressed, and the kernels crushed and boiled to yield a second and third quality. The tree grows best on light or calcareous soils near the sea, and the value attached to its oil as an article of food in countries where butter can with difficulty be preserved made the tree from early times the symbol of peace and good-will. It is extensively cultivated in Mediterranean Europe, Syria, South Africa, Australia and California.

Orange (Citrus Aurantium), small evergreen trees, probably a native of southern China and Burma, but grows wild and spinous in Indian jungles. The scattered glossy leaves are remarkable for their double articulation, having one joint at each end of the winged leaf-stalk. The fragrant white or pinkish flowers have five sepals, five petals, and branched stamens. The fruit has a leathery rind, containing large spindle-shaped cells filled with watery juice. As the fruit takes some months to ripen, it occurs on the tree at the same time as the next year’s blossoms. There are two chief varieties or sub-species, the sweet or China orange, and the bitter, bigarade or Seville orange, but the Mandarin and Tangerine oranges are sometimes ranked as a distinct species. The principal orange-growing sections [142] of the United States are Florida, Louisiana and California.

The Mandarin Orange or Clove Orange has fruit much broader than long, with a rind very loosely attached to the flesh, and small leaves; the Tangerine Orange is apparently derived from the mandarin. It is grown in Florida. The Jaffa Orange has now a great reputation. The Majorca Orange is seedless. The Kum-quat from China and Japan, is little bigger than a gooseberry, and grows well in Australia. The Navel Orange, nearly seedless, is a favorite variety with California growers.

Orange trees are often extremely fruitful, so that a tree twenty feet high and occupying a space of little more than twelve feet in diameter sometimes yields from three thousand to four thousand oranges in a year. One tree in Florida has often borne ten thousand oranges in a single season. The orange tree attains an age of at least one hundred to one hundred and fifty years. Young trees are less productive than old ones, and the fruit is also less juicy, has a thicker rind, and more numerous seeds.

Palms were called by Linnæus “the princess of the vegetable kingdom,” and comprising over one thousand species, chiefly natives of the tropics. They have mostly cylindric, unbranched stems, bearing a tuft of large, often gigantic, leathery leaves at the top, the leaves being torn into segments. The leaves are sometimes spattered, and in most cases have a fibrous sheathing base to the leaf-stalk. The terminal leaf-bud is the “cabbage” which, in some species, is eaten. The fruit varies very much, with a hard seed, as in the date; drupaceous, as in the cocoa-nut; or covered with woody reflexed scales, as in the sago palm. The use of palms are innumerable. Beams, veneers, canes, thatch, fibre for cordage and matting, fans, hats, bowls, spoons, sago, sugar, wine, spirits, food, oil and wax are only some among the number. See also Date, Betel-nut, Cocoa-nut.

Peach (Amygdalus persica), probably a native of China. The nectarine is merely a smooth-fruited variety, differing, however, in flavor. The stone in both is coarsely furrowed. The flowers which appear before the leaves, are of a delicate pink. The fruit in the peach has a separable wooly skin. Though deliciously flavored and refreshing, since it contains eighty-five per cent of water and eight per cent of pectose and gum, it does not contain much nutriment. Peaches grow extensively in Europe and Asia and second only to the apple as an orchard fruit in the United States. California, Michigan, Georgia and Texas lead in production.

Pear (Pyrus communis), is a tree belonging to the same genus as the apple. It grows from thirty to seventy feet high, with a pyramidal outline; branches spinous in the wild state; leaves scattered and somewhat leathery; flowers in clusters; fruit with a fleshily-enlarged stalk, core near the apex and parchment-like, and black seeds. Gritty particles, due to groups of wood-cells, occur in the flesh. They are widely cultivated in temperate regions, but chiefly in France and the United States. Ranks fourth among American orchard fruits, being preceded by the apple, peach and plum. Chiefly grown in California, New York and Michigan.

Pecan (C. illinoensis), is a large, slender tree reaching a maximum height of one hundred and seventy feet and a diameter of six feet. It grows in moist soil, especially along streams, from Indiana to Iowa and Missouri, south to Kentucky and Texas. It is cultivated in the Southern States for its sweet, edible nut, which forms an important article of commerce.

Persimmon, the Virginian date-plum (Dios pyros virginiana), a moderately-sized tree of the United States, belonging to the ebony tribe, the round orange fruit of which, though austere, becomes edible when affected by frost. They are fermented into a beer and distilled for spirit in the Southern States. The bark has medicinal properties.

Plum (Prunus domestica), a small fruit-tree, native to Asia Minor and the Caucasus, and naturalized in most temperate parts of the world. The Damson or Damascus variety was grown by the Romans from very early times. Large quantities of many varieties, both home and foreign are grown, which are eaten raw, in tarts, and in preserves, or, when dried as prunes. Extensive cultivation is carried on throughout temperate regions. Third most important orchard fruit in the United States, exceeding eight million bushels, California growing two-thirds. All prunes produced in the United States grown in the Pacific States; first prune orchard planted at San Jose, California, in 1870.

Pomegranate (Punica Granatum), long valued in hot countries for the refreshing pulp of its fruit. It is a tree, fifteen to twenty-five feet in height, native to West Asia and North Africa. It has opposite, simple, entire leaves, and the flower has five scarlet or white petals. The fruit has a tough, leathery gold-colored, but partly reddened, exterior and numerous seeds each surrounded by a reddish pulp. This varies in flavor in the numerous cultivated varieties. The rind is rich in tannin, and is employed in tanning Morocco leather.

Walnut (Juglans regia), or Common Walnut is a native of Persia and the Himalayas, but has long been cultivated in all parts of the south of Europe. It is a tree of sixty to ninety feet, with large spreading branches. The leaves have two to four pairs of leaflets, and a terminal one. The ripe fruit is one of the best of nuts. It yields a bland fixed oil, which, under the names of walnut oil and nut oil, is much used by painters as a drying oil. The timber of the walnut is of great value, and is much used by cabinet-makers. The wood of the roots is beautifully veined. Both the root and the husks of the walnut yield a dye, which is used for staining light-colored woods brown. Very similar to the common walnut, but more valuable, is the Black Walnut of North America, found in most parts of the United States, except the most northern. See also Butternut.


The trees previously mentioned are woody plants with only one stem, which begin to form branches at some distance from the ground. The shrubs, on the contrary, are woody plants in which the stem forms branches close to the ground, or even underground.

Banana (Musa sapientium), a handsome plant, long cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical countries for its fruit. The sheathing bases of the large, oblong leaves form a false stem twenty to thirty feet high. The spikes of irregular flowers are succeeded by a branch of one hundred to two hundred fruits, weighing together from fifty to eighty pounds. The long, berry-like fruits, as they ripen, convert nearly all their starch into sugar and pectose, and form a valuable [143] article of food, the staple food in many tropical countries, producing forty-four times the weight of food per acre yielded by the potato. It is produced in enormous quantities in the West Indies and Brazil, and shipped in constantly increasing volume to the United States and Europe. Beginning with a few hundred bunches in 1870, consumption in the United States has increased to upwards of five million dollars worth annually. Banana flour is becoming a staple article of food.

Its cultivation antedates historical records in India. Pliny mentions that the Greeks under Alexander the Great saw it in India.

The banana plant is the most wonderfully productive fruit in the world. It is a native of Asia, but most of our bananas come from the New World. Here the plant is full grown and the bananas ripe. From the time the suckers are planted to the gathering of the fruit is less than a year, so rapidly does the plant come to maturity.

Blueberry. See Huckleberry.

Cassava (Manihot utilissima), the bitter cassava, and M. Aipi, the sweet cassava, are both natives of tropical America. Both are shrubby plants, the former with yellow poisonous roots and seven-lobed leaves, the latter with reddish wholesome roots and five-lobed leaves. The coarsely-grated roots are baked into cassava cakes, from which the intoxicating drink piwarrie is prepared. The juice of the poisonous kind is rendered harmless by boiling, and is then the delicious sauce known as cassareep. If allowed to settle, it deposits a large quantity of starch, known as Brazilian arrowroot when simply sun-dried, or as tapioca when partly converted into dextrine by roasting on hot plates. It was long cultivated in Brazil, and, after Spanish discovery, extended to Africa and Asia.

Cranberry (Oxycoccus), a small evergreen shrub, that grows in bogs and marshy grounds, and is a small wiry shrub with creeping, thread-like branches, and small oval leaves rolled back at the edges. The berries are an excellent antiscorbutic, and hence furnish an excellent addition to sea stores. The American cranberry (O. macrocarpa) is larger and more upright with bigger leaves and berries. Large quantities are exported to Europe and other varieties are also imported into Britain and Germany from Russia and other parts of northern Europe.

Currant (Ribes rubrum), is an important shrub, bearing red, black and white fruit. Its branches are not prickly; its leaves have three to five lobes, greenish-yellow blossoms and the berries [144] hang in clusters like grapes. It is often planted in gardens for the sake of its fruit, but is also found in a wild state. Black currants are extensively grown in Continental Europe, Scotland and Canada; sparingly in the United States. In France the liqueur de cassis is made from the fruit. Red currants are very widely grown in Europe and the United States, chiefly for jellies. New York and Michigan lead in production.

The method of gathering bananas is practically the same wherever they are grown, and here we see the bunches being brought to the railway. Bananas need a great deal of water. They will only grow in a warm, damp atmosphere and if much rain does not fall they must be supplied with water artificially. This is done by having canals between the rows of plants.

Elder (Sambucus) has thorny branches, elliptical, serrated leaves and single, white blossoms which grow in such numbers that they sometimes resemble snow. Its fruit is black and blue. It grows from three to six feet high in copses, hedges and forests. Few of the species are considered of much value though S. Canadensis is used to make a domestic wine and jelly. The most ornamental of the species is S. pubens, which has large, loose panicles of bright scarlet berries. This species is occasionally found in moist high grounds from New York southward. It is very abundant and beautiful on the slopes of the Alleghany Mountains.

Gooseberry (Ribes Grossularia) has branches covered with spines, brown-reddish blossoms and berries of green, yellow or reddish color, which stand singly on the young shoots. It is frequently planted in gardens, and has many varieties. It is highly prized in northwestern Europe; not cultivated in southern Europe, and reaches highest perfection in England. In the United States, while widely grown, is of minor importance, ranking sixth among small fruits, being preceded by the strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, cranberry and currant.

Grape (Vitis Labrusca) has a climbing, knotty trunk, which sometimes attains a length of thirty to fifty feet; its leaves have from three to five lobes, and are coarsely serrated; its small, fragrant, greenish blossoms stand in panicles. The fruit of many varieties of vine, which have been produced by cultivation in the course of thousands of years is very different in color, size and flavor. It is either consumed raw and dried, or manufactured into wine.

In the United States the first vineyard was planted by Lord Delaware in 1610, but not extensively grown until after the introduction of the Concord grape during the last century. While the Concord, Catawba, Isabella, Hartford [145] and most of the cultivated varieties originated from the wild northern fox or plum grape, Vitis Labrusca, the Clinton grape was derived from the wild species, Vitis riparia, and most of the American wine grapes from the native summer grape, Vitis aestivalis.

Since 1860 grape culture has made remarkable progress, the last census showing a crop exceeding eight million dollars in value. New York produces one-third of the American grape crop and is followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, in order named. Notwithstanding the extensive culture of the European grape in the Pacific States, the American grape constitutes three-fifths in value of all grape products of the United States. Millions of young vines have been shipped to Europe to be top grafted with the European vine.

The grape shares leading rank with the apple among the world fruits. Chief products: raisins, currants and wine of great commercial importance. Raisin production largest in Spain, but important in southwestern Asia, Australia and California. Currants are small, seedless raisins, mostly grown in Greece (name derived from Corinth). Wine is made throughout the world, total production estimated at four billion gallons, France, Italy and Spain contributing about three-fourths of this enormous amount. The European grape products of California—wine, raisins and table grapes,—amount in value to two-fifths of all grape products of the United States.

Remotely ancient in Egypt. Used by Lake Dwellers of the Bronze Age in Italy. Cultivated by the Phoenicians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. Introduced into China 120 B. C.

Huckleberry. The popular name of the genus Gaylussacia, of which there are several species. The Dwarf huckleberry, the Blue huckleberry and the Black huckleberry are common throughout the United States, the latter being the huckleberry of the Northern States. In New England the name is commonly restricted to the black berry species in distinction from the blue berry. The shrubs range in height from about three feet to twelve feet high. In New England canning huckleberries is an extensive if not exceedingly profitable industry. The crop is first picked by hand and afterwards with a “blueberry rake.” The Indians long ago gathered the fruit and dried it for use during wintertime.

Pepper Plant (Piper nigrum) is found all over the Torrid Zone. Its berries stand to the number of twenty to thirty on one spike; at first they are green, then they turn red, and finally black. The black pepper is prepared from the unripe fruit, the white from the ripe fruit, which loses its black shell by being put into salt water (sea water). Pepper is now the most commonly and widely used spice. It is extensively cultivated in East and West Indies, Siam and Malay Peninsula, whence millions of pounds are exported.

Cayenne pepper, or chili is much grown in tropical Africa and America, but less generally used than black pepper.

Pistacia is a small tree, about twenty feet high, and native to Persia and Syria, but now cultivated in all parts of southern Europe and northern Africa. Flowers in racemes, fruit ovate and about the size of an olive. Pistachio nuts are much esteemed; but readily become rancid. Oil is expressed from them for culinary and other uses.


Pine-apple (Ananassa sativa) is highly esteemed and much cultivated for its fruit. It has a number of long, serrated or smooth-edged, sharp-pointed, rigid leaves, springing from the root, in the midst of which a short flower-stem is thrown up, bearing a single spike of flowers, and therefore a single fruit. From the summit of the fruit springs a crown or tuft of small leaves; capable of becoming a new plant; the pine-apple, in cultivation, being propagated entirely by crowns and suckers, as, in a state of high cultivation, perfect seed is almost never produced. The pine-apple is a native of tropical America, and is found wild in sandy maritime districts in certain parts of South America, but has been very much changed by cultivation. It is extensively grown in Florida, and in the West Indies for shipment to northern markets and to Europe. Increasing outdoor plantations have also been developed in the Azores, the Hawaiian Islands, northern Africa, Queensland, and the Bahamas. Florida supports upward of fourteen million plants. Great care is requisite in the cultivation of the pine-apple, which without it is generally fibrous and coarse, with little sweetness or flavor, and with it one of the most delicate and richly flavored of fruits.




The most productive tea gardens are at an elevation of about one thousand feet, the land at this altitude being generally of an undulating character, well watered, and the climate sufficiently humid to encourage leaf-production.

The plants are ready for plucking when three years old, at which time they send out numerous leaf-shoots, known as “flush.” The plucking season begins in September and lasts until June of the following year, during which period each bush is plucked about sixteen times.


For producing superior fruit in winter the Smooth Cayenne and Black Jamaica are two of the best and most reliable, and the Queen is the most highly esteemed for summer fruiting. The Spanish is the variety commonly grown in Florida. A spirituous liquor (Pine-Apple Rum) is made from the pine-apple in some warm countries.

Raspberry (Rubus Idæus), the most valued of all the species of Rubus. The wild raspberry has scarlet fruit and is found in thickets and woods throughout the whole of Europe and northern Asia. It was early introduced into the United States, but those now grown originated in native American varieties. The black raspberry, is largely grown in New York and Ohio as a commercial industry. The red variety is widely grown in the United States, but production is small compared to that of the black raspberry. Among the more promising varieties of the blacks are Gregg, Ohio and Kansas. Cuthbert is one of the best of the red varieties. The raspberry has long been in cultivation for its fruit. The root is creeping, perennial; the stems only biennial, bearing fruit in the second year, woody, but with very large pith. The raspberry is the leading bush fruit of the United States and second only to the strawberry among small fruits. New York, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, ranking in the order named, grow over one-half of the total crop, which exceeds seventy-five million quarts. The berries are consumed raw or in a preserved state, or are manufactured into raspberry juice, wine and cordial.

Tea (Camellia theifera) is a plant of which there are two well-known varieties: (1) Assam tea; and (2) China tea. The Assam variety, known as “indigenous” tea, is a tree of vigorous growth attaining a height of thirty to forty feet with a leaf from eight to ten inches in length. The China variety is a comparatively stunted shrub, growing to a height of twelve to fifteen feet, with a rounder leaf about three and one-half inches in length, and calyx covered with soft, short hairs. These two varieties have resulted in a hybrid which combines the hardy character of the China with the other features of the indigenous, now largely cultivated on the hills of India and Ceylon, and known as “hybrid-Assam.” The hybrids vary much in productiveness.

The tea-plant will flourish in all parts of the tropical and subtropical zones where the rainfall is over sixty inches and evenly distributed throughout the year. In Ceylon it grows from sea-level to an altitude of seven thousand feet.

The tea-plant is not particular as to soil, but it succeeds best on new forest-land containing plenty of humus. As is the case with cacao, coffee and other economic plants, tea grown on rich, alluvial soil is stronger than tea grown on poorer land, though the latter is often of more delicate flavor.

Chinese teas may be classified thus: Monings, or black leaf teas are grown in the north of China, and shipped from Hankow and Shanghai. Green teas are shipped from Shanghai and consist of Gunpowder, Imperial, Hyson, Young Hyson and Twankay. Kaisows or Red-leafs are grown farther south and are shipped from Foo Chow.

The United States and Canada consume nearly all the tea exported from Japan, all of which is of light character, consisting mostly of Oolongs and greens. Tea has been grown with success in South Carolina and experimentally elsewhere in the United States.

Manufacture.—The first process is to spread the green leaf thinly on hessian trays in the withering house, where it is exposed to a free current of air—a very important operation, which takes from twelve to forty-eight hours. When the leaf is tough and flaccid, like an old kid glove, it is ready for rolling. The old or Chinese system of rolling was by hand. Now this process is performed by machinery, and in India and Ceylon tea is not manipulated after plucking. The rolled leaf is now ready for fermentation, an operation requiring close attention. It is placed in drawers or on tables and covered. The state of the weather hastens or retards the process; in hot, dry weather the leaf will be sufficiently fermented or oxidized in twenty minutes, in cold wet weather it may take hours. Whenever the leaf assumes a bright copper color it must be fired; over-fermentation is a fatal error.

The difference between black and green teas is simply this: if the tea is fired immediately after rolling it is green tea; if it is fermented it becomes black tea. After firing the manufacture is complete, and the tea is what is known as “unassorted,” which contains all the different grades into which tea is usually separated. Sorting by hand sieves is still done in small factories, but in large factories machinery is used.


We cultivate in our gardens plants of all kinds, which give us great pleasure on account of their lovely blossoms or their agreeable odors. They are no longer luxuries, but have become necessities of life; and never have they become so extensively grown and widely appreciated as now. There are plants suited for sunny and shaded aspects and for various positions, from the mossy dell to high and dry situations in the country; from the area to the housetop in the town. Only knowledge is wanted for making the best selections for different purposes and sites, with information on culture for the uninitiated to achieve satisfactory results.

Plants and flowers grown in gardens are embraced in three groups: 1. Annuals, 2. Biennials, and 3. Perennials, the last-named being divided into two sections: [148] (a) herbaceous, with soft or succulent stems that die in the winter; and (b) shrubby perennials with woody stems that survive the winter.

Annuals are those flowers which are born, grow, flower, ripen seeds, and die within a year. They never push growths a second season after flowering, because the roots die as well as the tops and branches. The common scarlet Poppy is a typical example.

Biennials are those plants which are raised from seeds in the spring or early summer and require the whole season to make their growth preparatory to flowering the next year, dying after ripening seeds.

Perennials differ from the above in living more than two years. All plants, such as hardy border flowers, that die down and spring up again from the root-stock year after year are perennials—herbaceous. Roses and other flowering shrubs are also perennials, but not herbaceous. Orchids. One of the best examples of herbaceous perennials is that of the Orchids, the most popular of which are the Odontoglossums and the Cattleyas.

Florist’s Flowers. This term has been applied to a number of plants which under cultivation and by selection or hybridization have produced from seed varieties of improved form, habit or color. The plants included under this title are constantly being added to, and great impetus given to the cultivation of hardy flowers and plants in recent years. The following are representative of this class:

Begonia. Named in honor of M. Begon, a French patron of botany. All the species of Begonia are interesting and beautiful winter ornaments of the hot-house or green-house, of the simplest culture in any rich soil if allowed an abundant supply of water. There are several tuberous-rooted species and varieties. They have large, showy flowers, and succeed well in a moist, shady border. The tubers should be kept warm and dry during the winter. They are readily propagated by cuttings, seeds, or division of tubers.

Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is an almost hardy herbaceous perennial plant, a native of southern Europe. The Greeks and Romans used it for making chaplets whence it was called “coronation.” It is a favorite exhibition flower, of many varieties, forms and colors; but the red, white, pink and yellow predominate. Carnations are among the plants which can be grown in the atmosphere of cities, but they are intolerant of shade. Propagation is usually effected by the process of layering, but cutting, seeds, and divisions are also employed.

Cattleya. What the rose and carnation are among garden plants, the Cattleya is among Orchids, preëminently beautiful. Not a species but possesses claims of the strongest nature on the culturist’s attention, either for its delicate loveliness or the rich and vivid coloring of its large and handsome flowers. They are natives of the temperate parts of South America, and in cultivation are found to succeed in a lower temperature than is necessary for the majority of plants of the same order. The plants grow vigorously, and consequently flower in perfection. The colors of the flowers run through all the shades of white, rose, rosy-lilac, crimson and carmine, nor is even yellow absent.

Dahlia. This, through constant improvement, has become one of the indispensable flowers. It derived its name from the Swedish botanist Dahl. Dahlias are known as show, fancy, pompon, single and cactus. They vary from the single type, not unlike a daisy, with broad rays, to the tiny, tightly-quilled, formal “pompon,” and to the “cactus-flowered,” resembling a chrysanthemum; and their lines are equally varied. Yellow, lilac, white and the deepest maroon, are found in innumerable combinations. It is necessary to lift the roots in late autumn, and, having ripened them in a shed, to store them for the winter in a cool, dry place, where the temperature will not fall below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit. In the spring, the separate tubers may be planted in deep, rich soil; or the roots may be placed in February in a hot-bed, and when the young shoots which form are about three and a half inches long, they may be separated, together with a small piece of the tuber, and potted in small pots, which should be placed in the hot-bed until the young plants are ready to be hardened, preparatory to being planted outdoors.

Geranium. Our native species, called “crane’s bill,” from the beak-like appearance of the fruit, have palmately lobed or cleft leaves. The flowers have unusually bright-colored petals. The plants commonly cultivated in gardens and greenhouses under the name of Geraniums are species of Pelargonium. There are about one hundred and twenty-five species, mostly natives of the Cape of Good Hope, prized on account of the brilliant colors, of the flowers and the shape and markings of the leaves.

The most popular method of propagating is by cuttings, which can be rooted in pots or boxes of light soil placed in a greenhouse, or even a cottage window, at any time from spring to autumn, provided the soil is not kept very moist. Good loam is the best potting material, and beyond a little sand it needs no addition. Firm potting is a point to be well observed. Avoid coddling.

Gloxinia is the florists’ name for plants belonging to the genus Sinningia, tropical American plants. They have beautiful, many-colored, funnel-shaped flowers and velvety leaves. Seeds should be sown in February; and if the young plants are carefully potted, they flower the first year. They require the temperature of a warm greenhouse during the summer months; but as the leaves die away in autumn, the roots may be stored in a dry place, merely protected from cold. They like a sandy soil, containing abundance of leaf-mould and heat.

Lily (Lilium) in its many forms is one of the noblest and must beautiful of all bulbous plants. About forty-five species are natives of the north temperate zone, many of which are prized for the size and beauty of the flowers. The White Lily (L. candidum), a native of the Levant, with large white flowers, has long been in cultivation in gardens. The European Orange Lily (L. bulbiferum), with large, orange-colored flowers, is a well-known and very showy ornament in flower gardens. The Tiger Lily (L. tigrinum) has a stout stem two to five feet high with beautiful orange-colored flowers, spotted with purple. It is a native of China but has escaped from cultivation in many parts of the United States.




Nasturtium, the generic name of a plant of the cruciferæ or mustard family, and the common name of the widely different genus tropæolum. The best known of these is Tropæolum tricolorum, one of the most generally cultivated annuals. It has tuberous roots, and such very weak and slender stems, that it is found necessary always to train them over a wire frame, as they are quite unable to support themselves. The stem climbs six or eight feet; the flowers vary from yellow to orange, scarlet and crimson. The unexpanded flower buds, and the young fruit while still tender, are pickled in vinegar. The dwarf varieties of this form bushy, rounded tufts about a foot high, and are used for bedding; some of them have flowers of exceedingly rich colors.

Odontoglossum. Unquestionably the most popular genus of Orchids. Very many of the species have been introduced into the green-house, and are greatly prized by cultivators for their magnificent flowers, which are remarkable both for their size and the beauty of their colors. Many of the species have pure white flowers, variously mottled; and some have a powerful odor of violets. With but few exceptions, they require to be grown in a moderately cool house. They are propagated by division, and grown like the other varieties of Orchids.

Tulip (Tulipa). A genus of upward of eighty species of hardy bulbous plants. Between forty and fifty species are known, mostly natives of the warmer parts of Asia. The most famous of all florists’ flowers is the garden tulip (T. gesneriana), which is from eighteen inches to two feet high, with a smooth stem, bearing one erect, large flower. The tulip is still most sedulously cultivated in Holland, especially at Haarlem, whence bulbs are largely exported; but attention is almost exclusively devoted to the cheaper varieties, which are used in hundreds of thousands for the purposes of decoration in gardens and rooms throughout winter and spring. Tulips are propagated by offset bulbs, and new varieties are raised from seed. Another species of tulip cultivated in gardens is the sweet-scented tulip, or Van Thol tulip (T. suaveolens), which has yellow or red flowers, inferior to those of the common garden tulip in beauty, but prized for their fragrance, and for appearing more early in the season.


Roses are perhaps the most universally admired of all flowers, and few respond so well to the care of the cultivator. The earlier they are planted in the autumn (October 15th to November 15th) the better they will grow. Spring planting is fairly successful, provided the roots are kept moist when out of the ground. Time, April 15th to May 15th.

Roses enjoy deeply worked and fertile soil, and may be grown in specially prepared beds, or as borders. An open position, with a south or southeast exposure is preferable. Pruning should be done toward the end of March. When especially large blooms are desired, only one should be borne on each stem, the remainder of the buds being removed.


Hybrid Perpetuals.—These produce handsome blooms in varied colors in the summer followed by a more or less bountiful supply in the autumn. Hardiest of the garden roses.


Hybrid Teas.—These possess the freedom of growth of the foregoing with much of the delicacy of flowers for which Tea-scented Roses are admired. The most satisfactory for the general garden.


Tea and Noisettes.—Loveliness with profuseness are combined in this section. Much tenderer than the Hybrid Teas; sweet scented. The Noisette is an excellent climber for walls.


Hardy Climbers.—Popular and showy.


Hybrid Briers.—Hardy semi-climbing roses.


TheBaby Ramblers.”—Dwarf, “perpetual bloomers.”


Japanese and Chinese.




Common and Botanical Name;
Hints on Cultivation
Color, Height and Time in Bloom Kind of Soil and Light Required
Blooming in May    
Pansies (Viola tricolor), generally wintered in frames, but protected with leaves often survive the winter outdoors. Various; 7 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, light; partial shade.
Trailing Catchfly (Silene pendula).—For succession from May 15th to July 15th sow outdoors September 1st, and again in early spring. Pink, white; 12 inches; 4 weeks. Light, rich loam; sun.
Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus).—With moisture and frequent picking will bloom longer. Blue; 24 inches; 10 weeks. Light; sun.
Calliopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria).—Calliopsis elegans is one of the best browns among flowers. Yellow and brown; 24 inches; 12 weeks. Light; sun.
Blooming in June    
Giant Spider Plant (Cleome spinosa).—Usually planted in the front of shrubbery. Rosy purple; 36 inches; 4 weeks. Light; sun.
Ageratum (Ageratum conyzoides).—Sow seed under glass in March. For edging. Blue; 8 inches; 16 weeks. Rich, light; sun or half shade.
Annual Phlox (Phlox Drummondi).—Remove fading flowers daily. Various; 12 inches; 12 weeks. Rich, moist; sun.
Monkey Flower (Mimulus luteus).—Spotted petals. Flowers somewhat resemble a snapdragon. Various; 36 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, moist; shade.
Three-colored Gilia (Gilia tricolor).—A profuse bloomer. Sow seeds where plants are to grow by May 1st, and it will bloom in late June. Various; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Any good; sun.
Shirley Poppy (Papaver Rhœas).—A form of the common corn poppy. Sow seeds in the poppy bed in early September or April. Various; 24 inches; 2 weeks. Good, moisture; sun.
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus).—Manure and moisture cause abundance of blossoms. Sow seed March 20th near New York. Cut flowers daily. Various; 72 inches; 8 weeks. Heavy, rich loam; sun.
Candytuft (Iberis umbellata).—Sow early where plants are to stand. Various; 8 inches; 4 weeks. Good; sun.
Petunia (Petunia hybrida).—Grow somewhat apart from low plants because straggling. White, pink; 12 inches; 16 weeks Good; sun.
Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum).—For May bloom sow in September, for June flowers sow in April. Orange; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Dry; sun.
Antirrhinum or Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus).—Sow in hotbed in February for June bloom. Various; 24 inches; 12 weeks. Rich, moist sun.
Blooming in July    
Lavatera (Lavatera tri).—Sow early May where plants are to grow. Pink, white; 24 inches; 5 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Clarkia neriifolia (Clarkia elegans).—Clarkia pulchella is also useful for edging beds. White, lilac, pink; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Light, rich; sun or half shade.
Large-flowered Godetia (Œnothera Whitneyi).—The large-flowered species. Some with spotted throats. White, lilac, pink; 12 inches; 6 weeks. Good; sun.
Early Cosmos (Cosmos binnatus).—Very rich soil makes it bloom too late. White, pink, crimson; 48 inches; 8 weeks. Light; sun.
Sweet Alyssum (Alyssum maritimum).—Blooms till frost. Trim back moderately when flowers fade. White; 8 inches; 14 weeks. Light; sun.
Nicotiana affinis (Nicotiana alata).—Very fragrant at night. Plants usually started in cold frame. White; 36 inches; 12 weeks. Light; sun or part shade.
Sander’s Nicotiana (Nicotiana Sanderæ).—More satisfactory as a greenhouse plant, steadily improving. Various; 36 inches; 12 weeks. Light, rich; sun or part shade.
Arctotis grandis (Arctotis grandis).—Petals white above, lilac beneath. Blue-centered daisy. White and lilac; 18 inches; 14 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Stock, Gilliflower (Matthiola incana, var. annua).—For July bloom sow February in greenhouse or hotbed. Various; 18 inches; 12 weeks. Deep, rich; sun.
Annual Larkspur (Delphinium Ajacis).—Sow seeds in September outdoors to have flowers July 1st. Various; 18 inches; 8 weeks. Good, light; sun.
Bedding Lobelia (Lobelia Erinus).—Blooms till frost in partial shade if watered. Blue; 10 inches; 12 weeks. Light, rich, moist; half shade.
Wishbone Flower (Torenia Fournieri).—Set five inches apart in two or three lines. Blue; 8 inches; 12 weeks. Light, rich, moist; half shade.
Phacelia congesta (Phacelia congesta)—An interesting little plant for border edge. Blue; 12 inches; 6 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
African Marigold (Tagetes erecta).—Colors range from deep orange to sulphur yellow. Yellow; 36 inches; 16 weeks. Rich; sun.
California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica).—Sow early in border edge. Avoid transplanting. Yellow; 15 inches; 16 weeks. Rich; sun.
Giant Tulip (Hunnemannia fumariæfolia).—Bushy in habit. Sow seeds in May outdoors. Yellow, red; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Rich; sun.
Annual Gaillardia (Gaillardia pulchella).—Best kinds belong to var. picta. Profuse bloomer.[151] Crimson, red, yellow; 24 inches; 14 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Salvia or Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens).—Don’t place near pink flowers. Start indoors in March. Red; 36 inches; 14 weeks. Good; sun or half shade.
Youth and Old Age (Zinnia elegans).—Rather stiff, but splendid for mass effects in garden. Various; 36 inches; 14 weeks. Rich; sun.
Rose Moss (Portulaca grandiflora).—Sow outdoors June 1st. It self-sows freely. Various; 6 inches; 14 weeks. Light, sun.
Balsam (Impatiens Balsamina).—Balsamina hortensis strain is best. Pinch plants once. Various; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Light, rich, moist; sun.
Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis nuala).—Beautiful venation. Best started under glass. Various; 18 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Verbena.—Sow indoors in February to get earliest bloom. Various; 12 inches; 10 weeks. Rich, light, moist; sun.
Blooming in August    
Three-Colored Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum carinatum).—Sometimes called “painted daisy.” Various; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Mourning Bride (Scabiosa atropurpurea).—Sown in April for early August bloom. Various; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
China Asters (Callistephus Chinensis).—Dig in wood ashes around roots to prevent diseases. Various; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Everlasting (Helichrysum bracteatum).—This shade is by far the most desirable. Deep red; 36 inches; 8 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Didiscus (Trachymene cærulea).—Sow Didiscus cæruleus under glass in April. Light blue; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Blooming in September    
China Aster (Callistephus hortensis).—Dig in wood ashes to prevent aster disease. Various; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus).—Dig around it and jolt it in midsummer. Pink, white and red; 6 inches; 2 weeks. Fairly good; sun.
Blooming in October    
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale).—They begin to bloom in September. Purple, white, pink; 4 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Datsch’s Aster (Aster Datschi).—Latest aster of its color in trade. White; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Good, deep; sun.
Himalayan Aster (Aster trinervis).—Latest aster of its color in trade. Violet-purple; 30 inches; 3 weeks. Good, deep; sun.
Tea Rose (Rosa Chinensis).—Last bloom of the monthly or tea rose. Various; 24 inches; 2 weeks. Rich, deep; sun.
Perennial Larkspur (Delphinium sp.).—Cut back larkspur after annual bloom. Blue; 24 inches; 2 weeks. Deep, rich; sun.
Everbloom Torch Lily (Kniphofia Pfitzerii).—Store roots of Tritoma Pfitzerii in cellar over winter. Orange-scarlet; 36 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, deep; sun.
Blooming in November    
Pompon Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum Indicum).—Buttons one-half inch across or flowers one inch across. Various; 36 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, loam; sun.


Common and Botanical Name;
Hints on Cultivation
Color, Height and Time in Bloom Kind of Soil and Light Required
Blooming in March    
Anemone or Hepatica (Hepatica triloba).—For wild garden or rock garden. Evergreen. Blue, lilac, pink, white; 5 inches; 3 weeks. Rich, drained loam; shade.
Blooming in April    
Bluebell (Mertensia Virginica).—Leave undisturbed for years. Foliage dies in summer. Blue; 16 inches; 3 weeks. Rich loam; sun.
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon Meadia).—Its English name is very descriptive. Pink; 8 inches; 3 weeks. Good; partial shade.
Wild Sweet William (Phlox divaricata).—The tallest of the early phloxes. Blue; 16 inches; 4 weeks. Rich; sun or shade.
Sweet Violet (Viola adorata).—Blooms again in autumn. Blue; 8 inches; 6 weeks. Heavy rich; sun or shade.
Rock Cress (Arabis albida).—For edgings, carpeting bare spots, covering banks, etc. White; 4 inches; 3 weeks. Any; sun.
Large-Leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga sp.).—The different species known to the trade as Saxifraga Megasea generally appear in early April. White, blue, pink; 12 inches; 2 weeks. Any; partial shade.
Moss Pink (Phlox subulata).—Spreads rapidly. Moss-like foliage. Carpets ground.[152] Pink; 6 inches; 4 weeks. Good; full sun.
English Primrose (Primula vulgaris).—Some moisture is necessary to produce fine blossoms. Yellow; 9 inches; 3 weeks. Light rich; full sun.
Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum plantagineum, var. excelsum).—Showiest early flower of the daisy family. Flowers sometimes four inches across. Give scattering bloom all season. Yellow; 10 inches; 4 weeks. Any; sun or semi-shade.
Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata).—Hardy. May bloom again in late summer. Red, purple; 9 inches; 8 weeks. Good sun.
Blooming in May    
Spiderwort (Tradescantia Virginiana).—For mixed borders, wild garden or front of shrubbery. Violet, blue; 24 inches; 12 weeks. Good; sun or half shade.
Many-Leaved Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus).—Easily raised from seed. Soil must not dry quickly. Blue, white; 36 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, heavy; sun or shade.
Common Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).—Also grow A. chrysantha (yellow), and A. Canadensis (red). Violet, white; 36 inches; 5 weeks. Rich; sun or shade.
German Iris (Iris Germanica).—Plant rhizomes flat, cover half their depth. Best transplanted after bloom. Keep from contact with manure. Various; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Good; sun.
Scotch Pink (Dianthus plumarius).—Evergreen. Don’t cover with litter in winter. White, pink; 10 inches; 2 weeks. Good; sun.
Garden Heliotrope (Valeriana officinalis).—Sweet spicy fragrance; rapid spreader; an old favorite. White; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Good; sun or half shade.
Yellow Larkspur (Delphinium nudicaule).—Grows wild near streams in northern California, a pretty, early variety for the garden. Yellow; 12 inches; 10 weeks. Deep, rich, sandy loam; sun.
Brown and Yellow Corn Flower (Lepachys columnaris, var. pulcherrima).—Grown as an annual for bedding. Start indoors in March; it will bloom June to September. Brown and yellow; 24 inches; 12 weeks. Any good; sun.
Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis).—Divide every four or five years if crowded. Plant six or seven pips in a bunch. White; 8 inches; 3 weeks. Good, heavy; partial shade.
Bachelor’s Button (Ranunculus acris, var. flore pleno).—Easiest to raise of the yellow buttons. Yellow; 18 inches; 5 weeks. Good, moist; partial shade.
Cowslip (Primula officinalis).—Small flowers well above leaves. Water during drought. Yellow; 8 inches; 3 weeks. Moist, deep, light; part shade.
Lemon Lily (Hemerocallis flava).—This sweet scented flower is the best Hemerocallis. Yellow; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Good; sun or partial shade.
Early Peony (Pæonia officinalis).—This European species is the parent of the early peonies; blooms fortnight before the Chinese peonies. Red, white; 6 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, heavy; sun.
Carolina Phlox (Phlox ovata).—A rich color for the front of a bed. Rosy red; 8 inches; 4 weeks. Good, light; sun.
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis).—Commonly planted in fall. Sold by bulb dealers also. Rosy red; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum coccineum).—Pyrethrum roseum dies from too much moisture in clay soil. Wilts if too dry. Pink, white; 24 inches; 5 weeks. Rich, deep, light; sun.
English Daisy (Bellis perennis).—Best to winter in cold frames. Water freely while growing. Pink, white; 6 inches; 8 weeks. Rich, rather heavy; sun.
Siberian Primrose (Primula cortusoides).—One of the latest primroses. Flowers one inch across. Pink; 12 inches; 5 weeks. Dry, rich; sun.
Blooming in June    
Perennial Larkspur (Delphinium formosum).—D. Zalil is yellow, two feet. D. elatum is blue, six feet. D. Chinensis is a dwarf kind, two feet. Blue; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, well-drained, heavy; sun.
Canterbury Bells (Campanula Medium).—Biennial, needs winter protection. Var. calycanthema best. Blue, white, pink; 24 inches; 5 weeks. Rich, not too light; sun.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).—Short-lived perennial but self-sows. Highest type is var. gloxiniæflora, best sown in August; wintered in cold frames. Purple; 36 inches; 5 weeks. Light, good, moist; sun; shade.
Beard-Tongue (Pentstemon diffusus).—Tall slender spikes of light purplish blue flower. Blue; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Good soil; partial shade.
Japanese Iris (Iris lævigata).—Largest flowered iris. Needs more moisture. Various; 48 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, moist; sun.
Siberian Columbine (Aquilegia Sibirica).—Give columbine seeds light soil; plants rather heavy soil. Light blue; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, dry; sun or half shade.
False Indigo (Baptisia australis).—Resembles the lupine. Blue; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Good; sun.
Douglas’ Clematis (Clematis Douglasi).—Bell-shaped flowers darker within than without. Blue; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Rich, light loam; sun.
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium cæruleum).—Likes moisture. An old-time flower.[153] Blue, white; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, deep loam; sun.
Amsonia (Amsonia Tabernæmontana).—Subshrub with willow-like leaves. Grows well in shrubbery. Blue; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Good; sun.
Goat’s Beard (Aruncus astilboides).—Feathery-spiked flowers. Fine cut foliage. White; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Good; sun.
Pearl Achillea (Achillea Ptarmica, var. Pearl).—Fence in roots with a square of boards. White; 24 inches; 12 weeks. Rich; sun.
Phlox Miss Lingard (Phlox maculata, var. Miss Lingard).—Healthiest and best variety of common early perennial garden phlox. White; 18 inches; 6 weeks. Rich; sun.
Gas Plant (Dictamnus Fraxinella).—Will also grow in partial shade. Very long-lived. White, pink; 24 inches. Rich, heavy; sun.
Hardy Yucca (Yucca flaccida).—“Yucca filamentosa” of nurserymen, not of botanists. Transplant only in early spring. Makes new plants every year by suckers. White; 60 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, light loam; sun.
Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria).—Divide every year. Var. Kelwayi best. Yellow; 12 inches; 10 weeks. Good; sun.
Perennial Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata).—Don’t let it go to seed. Yellow; 18 inches; 10 weeks. Good; sun.
Woolly Yarrow (Achillea tomentosa).—Carpets the ground in early June. Yellow; 8 inches; 4 weeks. Dry, rich; sun.
Perennial Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata).—The yellow with maroon disk is perhaps the best. Blooms steadily till frost if fading flowers are cut. Yellow; 12 inches; 16 weeks. Good, light; sun.
Thin-Leaved Coneflower (Rudbeckia triloba).—Biennial, but blooms first year and self-sows. Yellow; 36 inches; 5 weeks. Rich, moist; sun.
Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria).—Baptisia australis, blue, is showier. Yellow; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Good; sun.
German Catchfly (Lychnis Viscaria).—Beautiful, old-fashioned, long-lived in congenial situation. Deep red; 9 inches; 3 weeks. Good, light; sun.
Late or Chinese Peony (Pæonia Chinensis).—Flowers best in rather heavy soil, with moisture in spring and summer. Single varieties are exquisite. Crimson, white, pink; 30 inches; 3 weeks. Very rich, deep; sun.
Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).—The variety bracteatum—deep red—is the best. Red; 36 inches; 2 weeks. Rich; sun.
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus).—Biennial but self-sows. Various; 12 inches; 5 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Japanese Pinks (Dianthus Chinensis, var. Heddewigi).—Best treated as annual. Start indoors. Various; 9 inches; 12 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea).—Graceful racemes of delicate flowers. Blooms all summer. Crimson; 18 inches; 12 weeks. Good; sun or half-shade.
Fire Pink (Silene Virginica).—It cannot stand much moisture. Crimson; 18 inches; 8 weeks. Good; sun or half shade.
Blooming in July    
Fremont’s Clematis (Clematis Fremonti).—A western bush clematis for the hardy border. Bluish purple; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Deep, rich; sun.
Beard-Tongue (Pentstemon ovatus).—Short-lived but very free blooming while it lasts. Blue; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Moist; sun.
True Monkshood (Aconitum Napellus).—This plant lives longer in partial shade. Blue; 48 inches; 3 weeks. Rich; partial shade.
Japanese Bellflower (Platycodon grandiflorum).—Largest easily grown flower of the bellflower family. Blue, white; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Light loam; sun.
Double Feverfew (Chrysanthemum Parthenium).—Gives many white buttons. White; 18 inches; 12 weeks. Rich; sun.
False Chamomile (Boltonia asteroides).—Like a wild aster. Very profuse of bloom. White, violet; 60 inches; 4 weeks. Any good; sun.
Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa).—For shrubbery back of border, or wild garden. White; 60 inches; 4 weeks. Good; partial shade.
Meadow Rue (Thalictrum polygamum).—For wild garden or shrubbery. Fern-like foliage. White; 60 inches; 4 weeks. Moist; sun.
Perennial Phlox (Phlox paniculata).—See also Phlox maculata in June. White, pink, red, blue; 36 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, moist; sun.
Hollyhock (Althæa rosea).—Dig dry Bordeaux about crowns in spring; spray under side of leaves weekly with ammoniacal copper carbonate. White, pink, red; 72 inches; 4 weeks. Deep, rich, heavy; sun.
Double Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus, var. multiflorus).—Divide every two years. Flowers deteriorate. Yellow; 60 inches; 6 weeks. Any good; sun.
Shining-Leaved Coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida).—Plenty of moisture suits it best. Yellow; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Any good; sun.
Golden Glow (Rudbeckia laciniata, fl. pf.).—Wonderfully prolific. Divide annually. Getting common. Yellow; 72 inches; 3 weeks. Any good; sun.
Pitcher’s Sunflower (Heliopsis lævis).—Earlier than sunflowers, smaller. Var. Pitcheriana best. Yellow; 6 weeks. Good, dry; sun.
Gay Feather (Liatris pycnostachya).—Very striking. Plant in groups of five or more.[154] Pink; 48 inches; 3 weeks. Good; sun.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).—Rather coarse but effective flowers. Sometimes four feet high. Pinkish; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Good: deep: sun.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma).—Rapid spreading. Place next to white phlox. Red; 36 inches; 8 weeks. Good; sun.
Blooming in August    
Long-Leaved Veronica (Veronica longifolia).—The best is var. subsesilis. Blue; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Deep, rich; sun.
Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia cyanea).—Hardy near Boston. An unusually fine shade of blue. Blue; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Well drained, light, rich; sun.
Mist Flower (Conoclinium cœlestinum).—Easily grown. Light blue color. Blue; 18 inches; 4 weeks. Any good; sun.
Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum).—For back of broad border, or shrubbery. Purple; 96 inches; 4 weeks. Any good; sun.
Arkansas Ironweed (Vernonia Arkansana).—Flowers by August 1st. For shrubbery or wild garden. Purple; 96 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, deep; sun.
New York Ironweed (Vernonia Noveboracensis).—Bushy. May be placed near V. Arkansana. Purple; 60 inches; 6 weeks. Rich, deep; sun.
Lyon’s Turtlehead (Chelone Lyonii).—Resembles pentstemons. Don’t allow to suffer from drought. Purplish; 24 inches; 4 weeks. Rich; partial shade.
Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila paniculata).—Beautiful misty white flower. Effective in bouquets. White; 24 inches; 3 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Marshmallow (Hibiscus Moscheutos).—They have deep crimson or purple eyes. Rose, white; 60 inches; 3 weeks. Rich; sun.
Showy Coneflower (Rudbeckia speciosa).—Moisture will increase the size of the flower. Yellow; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Good; sun or half shade.
Showy Sunflower (Helianthus lætiflorus).—Spread too rapidly for a crowded border. Yellow; 72 inches; 6 weeks. Good; sun.
Long-headed Coneflower (Lepachys columnaris).—Resembles black-eyed Susan. Yellow; 24 inches; 6 weeks. Good; sun.
Canadian Goldenrods (Solidago Canadensis).—Goldenrods all welcome in the wild garden. Yellow; 48 inches; 5 weeks. Any good; sun.
Yarrow, Milfoil (Achillea Millefolium).—Pink kind is var. roseum. Sink boards around it. Pinkish; 24 inches; 8 weeks. Any good dry; sun.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa).—Has big woody root. Transplant young seedlings. Orange; 24 inches; 5 weeks. Good, dry; sun.
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis).—Does well in garden soil. Water freely. Red; 36 inches; 5 weeks. Deep, moist; partial shade.
Showy Stonecrop (Sedum spectabile).—Give good drainage. Best of the tall stonecrops. Pink; 18 inches; 6 weeks. Good, rich; sun.
False Chamomile (Boltonia latisquama).—Satisfactory for back of border. Spreads considerably. Pinkish; 60 inches; 5 weeks. Rich, deep; sun.
Blooming in September    
Fischer’s Aconite (Aconitum Fischeri).—Early frost does not harm this beautiful flower. Blue; 60 inches; 4 weeks. Rich, deep, partial shade.
Blazing Star (Liatris graminifolia).—A singular and strikingly beautiful flower. Rosy, purple; 36 inches; 3 weeks. Rich, good; sun.
Tartarian Aster (Aster Tataricus).—Tallest of all asters. Many other good blue kinds. Blue; 72 inches; 3 weeks. Any good; sun.
New England Aster (Aster Novæ Angliæ).—The rose variety is better. Purple; 48 inches; 3 weeks. Any good; sun.
Giant Daisy (Chrysanthemum uliginosum).—Spreads rapidly. For back of borders. Rather heavy soil. White; 60 inches; 3 weeks. Rich, moist; sun.
Graceful Sunflower (Helianthus orgyalis).—One of the best hardy sunflowers. Blooms late. Yellow; 96 inches; 4 weeks. Any good; sun.
Maximilian’s Sunflower (Helianthus Maximiliana).—Another graceful sunflower. Yellow; 72 inches; 5 weeks. Any good; sun.
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale).—Begins to bloom in August, sometimes in July. Yellow; 60 inches; 8 weeks. Any good; sun.


Common and Botanical Name;
Hints on Cultivation
Color, Height and Time in Bloom Kind of Soil and Light Required
Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos Lablab).—Sensitive to frost. Makes good screen. Plant one foot apart. Purple; 15 feet; 4 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Cup and Saucer Vine (Cobæa scandens).—Rapid climber. Set plants six inches apart. Purplish, white; 15 feet; 6 weeks. Rich, light; sun.
Allegheny Vine (Adlumia cirrhosa).—For covering bushes. Set eight inches apart. Pinkish; 10 feet; 3 weeks. Moist, rich; shade.
Ivy-Leaved Gourd (Coccinea cordifolia).—Coccinea Indica is grown for its scarlet fruit.[155] White; 10 feet; 4 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Canary-Bird Vine (Tropæolum Canariense).—Not showy, but quick growing. Set eight inches apart. Canary yellow; 15 feet; 3 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum Halicabum).—Seed vessels like balloons. Set plants ten inches apart. White; 10 feet; 3 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Balsam Pear (Momordica Charantia).—Plant seeds outdoors after last frost, else under glass earlier. Yellow; 10 feet; 3 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Climbing Nasturtium (Tropæolum majus).—For close screen plant ten inches apart. Yellow or red; 10 feet; 8 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Cypress Vine (Ipomœa Quamoclit).—Star-shaped flowers. Finely cut leaves. Scarlet; 15 feet; 3 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus multiflorus).—Tender perennial with tuberous roots. Red, white; 18 feet; 4 weeks. Light, rich; sun.
Maurandia (Maurandia Barclaina).—Showy leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers. White, blue; 10 feet; 2 weeks. Light, rich; sun.


Names and Descriptions Height in Feet Flowering Time Cultivation and Use
Spirea (Spiraea Van Houtter).—The most showy of the spireas; flowers in umbels two inches across. Handsome foliage all summer. 6 June Plant in a conspicuous place with ample room. Cut out flowering wood in summer. Thrives anywhere.
Spirea (Spiraea, Anthony Waterer).—The only shrub of its season. Flowers crimson red produced successively for six weeks. Good for edging. 3 July Prune off old flower heads as soon as withered to induce good second crop.
Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius).—Most fragrant white large flowered shrub. Valuable for tall screen. Flowers one and one-half inches across. 12 June Old wood should be cut out from time to time, otherwise the tree gets very ragged.
Althea or Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus Syriacus).—The only tall shrub of late summer. Very hardy; leafs late. White or rose flowers. 12 August Good for hedges and screens. Must be planted very early in the autumn.
Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, var. grandiflora).—Most showy of all summer shrubs. White flowers, shading into pink and persisting all winter. 6 to 15 July-August Prune very completely in winter for quantity of flowers next year.
Golden Bell (Forsythia suspensa).—The most showy, early-flowering shrub. Yellow flowers before the leaves. Branches arch over and root at tips. 5 to 8 April-May Plant against a dark background, such as evergreens, or a hillside to set off flowers.
Japan Quince (Cydonia Japonica)_.—Earliest bright scarlet flowered shrub. Useful also as a hedge. Plant as specimen. Slow growing. 4 to 8 May Very subject to San Jose scale. Don’t plant near orchards unless systematically sprayed. Stands close pruning.
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris).—Very fragrant lilac, white or purple flowers. Grows anywhere, even in partial shade. 8 to 15 May-June Spray with potassium sulphide for mildew in August, September. Do not permit suckers to develop. Prune for form only.
Japanese Snowball (Viburnum plicatum).—Largest showy white balls of bloom, better habit than the common snowball and not so subject to plant louse. 6 to 8 May-June Prune as little as possible. Should be planted on lawn as a specimen, or trained on wall of house.
Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera Tatarica).—Most fragrant of all the early summer shrubs, especially at dusk. Flowers pink; several varieties red or white. 8 to 10 May-June Plant in shrubbery where its presence is made known by the odor. Valuable as a low screen on seaside.
Weigela (Diervilla florida).—Showiest shrub of midsummer. Flowers pink, white, red. Best flowering shrub under big trees. 6 to 8 June Can be planted where other shrubs fail. Free from insects and disease. Cut out old wood to the ground.
Wistaria or Wisteria (W. Frutescens).—Handsome hardy, slow-growing, climbing shrub. Flowers in elegant lilac-colored racemes, slightly scented. 8 to 15 All Summer Adapted for screen or trellis.
California Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium).—Fastest growing. Stands salt spray. Good soil binder. Stands severest pruning and can be trained high or low. 6 to 8 ... Set six inches deeper than in the nursery and cut back to six inches or less.
Regel’s Privet (Ligustrum Ibota, var. Regelianum).—Low growing, denser habit with spreading, drooping branches clothed with white tassels.[156] 2 to 6 June Useful as a border hedge to plantations and along roadways. Should not be planted as a protection.
Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).—Grows in any soil. Makes a dense defensive hedge as far north as Massachusetts. Flowers white. 3 to 15 May Unless regularly trimmed, the top branches will spread. Will exhaust soil on each side for some feet.
Japanese Barberry (Berberis Thunbergii).—Foliage down to the ground. Dense compact growth of small spiny branches making effective hedge in winter. 4 June Does not need pruning. Red berries all winter, and foliage red until Christmas. Do not plant in wheat districts.
Honey Locust (Gleditschia triacanthos).—The thorniest of all. “Bull strong, horse high and pig tight.” Perfectly hardy. Fast and vigorous grower. Suckers. 3 to 15 May Plant thickly and prune severely. Mice girdle in winter. Spring trimmings must be burned. Needs strict control.
Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).—The best strong hedge, as dense and tight as honey locust but not so high. Thorny. Never ragged. Moderate grower. 6 to 10 ... Spray with kerosene emulsion for hop louse. Old hedges that are out of condition are easily recovered by cutting back.
Trifoliate Orange (Citrus trifoliatus).—Best medium height hedge for the South where it is evergreen. Deciduous in the North. Foliage yellow in fall. ... ... Not reliably hardy north of Philadelphia. White flowers followed by small yellow fruits make it ornamental also.
Tamarix (Tamarix Gallica).—Unexcelled for saline and alkaline soils, growing on the salt water’s edge where nothing else will. 5 to 10 ... Flowers feathery pink on old wood; on new wood in var. Narbonnensis. Foliage small.
Japanese Briar (Rosa rugosa).—The only rose suitable for a hedge. White, pink and red flowers. 5 to 8 All Summer Suited for boundary or screen.


Common and Botanical Name Region of Use Lbs. per
Sow per acre bushels alone Conditions and Uses
Rhode Island Bent (Agrostis canina). On sandy seasides. 15 13   For close, fine turf. Color very green.
Creeping Bent (Agrostis alba, var. stolonifera). Low lying inland and dry valleys of the East. 15 3   Rapid growing, forms a strong turf, that is improved by heavy rolling or tramping.
Red Top, Fancy Red Top (Agrostis alba, var. vulgaris). From Tennessee north. 14
  Stands hot weather and hard usage. Fills in well with blue grass.
Beach (Ammophila arenaria, A. arundinacea). On railway cuttings and embankments on the sea coast. 15 3 12 Dry, loose soils. Holds drifting sands and banks.
Biennial Sweet Vernal (Anthoxanthum odoratum). Useful only to lend fragrance to the lawn when cut. Used only in mixture two pounds to the acre. Starts early in spring, and makes new root-leaves all the year after cutting.
Bermuda (Capriola Dactylon). Is killed by frost; valueless north of Virginia. A weed in blue grass lawns where it dies early. 15   12 Can be used for binding banks. The best lawn grass for the South from Virginia to Florida. Withstands heat and drought. Thrives on poorest soils.
Crested Dog’s Tail (Cynosurus cristatus). Valuable for shady places and under trees. Also for terraces on deep soil. 30 1   Same color as Kentucky blue and so mixes well with that. A good bottom grass. Not recommended alone. Prefers rich, moist soil.
Various Leaved Fescue (Festuca heterophylla). Northern States and on cold, wet soils. 15 1 12 Does best in cold, moist soils, rich in humus and potash.
Sheep’s Fescue (Festuca ovina). Useful in mixtures for the Northwest and for lands on poorest sands. 16 2   This is a “bunch” or “stool” grass with very fine foliage and dense dwarf growth for any uplands.
Slender Fescue (Festuca ovina var. tenuifolia). Dry slopes on lawns or on dry, high situations. 22 1 12 Finer leaf than sheep’s fescue and stools like that. Recommended only in special situations.
Italian Rye (Lolium Italicum). Very thickly or in mixture as far south as Jacksonville, Fla. 22 2 12 Ver