Monday, April 11, 2011

A wonderful time capsule find from 140 years ago

I was looking around today for some information on how weeds came to the US, and did some little googling and then I got stuck oogling the scanned copies of Hardwicke's Science-Gossip from the late 1800s (late 1872-1885 to be exact) on Google Books. Here you can find anything scientific, curious, and worth reporting, from the small to the large. Here is an excerpt on how some weeds showed up in the US, including butter-and-eggs/yellow toadflax (Linaria, called 'gulsporre' in Swedish). The culprit might have been a Mr. Ranstead in Pennsylvania.

Priests stuffing their pillows with thistles?  What do they think they are, martyrs?

And more:
(real old-fashioned plagiarism by Mr Pratt, aha!)

(And mining insects on ground ivy, or a fungus, or what?  Imagine all the amateur scientists exploring the world around them.  We need more like this today, there is so much unknown out there. 
(Mosquitos are brain-sucking monsters, in my favorite place of Gunnison, Colorado, USA, no less.)

"It will be an incalculable boon to every person who can read and think."  A bit hyperbolic, are we?  The ads are hilarious and wonderful and a true snapshot of the times. 

I apologize for the bad quality of the text images, but that is what I could get from the Google scans. You can explore more here.


PP said...

is that trout story true???

LS said...

I doubt mosquitoes can suck blood from trout in those quantitites. I think the trout (salmon?) died from exhaustion after breeding, :) They can't get into the brain, there is a bony skull in the way. But I know mosquitoes can feed on blood from many animals, so maybe also fishes. Hmmm, who to ask?