TO OUR READERS.—The present number is the beginning of a new era in the history of this Journal, which hereafter will appear monthly, forming a volume of the same size as heretofore, the text in each number will cover 48 pages, yet by widening and lengthening the page about what is equal to five lines of the old page have been added to each. It will be observed that each page is dated, with the name of the Journal, thus giving the time of publication of every paper printed.
Contributors will much oblige us by sending their copy by the 15th of the month preceding the date of publication, or earlier if convenient. Some of our old contributors have been silent lately. We earnestly invite these and all others to favor us with their investigations and suggestions.
By reference to the Minutes of the College, at page 40, it will be seen that the business management of this Journal will soon be placed in charge of a Special Editor, who will relieve the Editor and Treasurer from labor that did not appertain to their functions. We would also remind our delinquent subscribers that our expenses are increased by recent changes, which should be met by the dues which they fail to send us promptly.
SPIRITUS SALIS DULCIS.—A correspondent in New Haven asks for a formula for Spiritus Salis Dulcisas, used many years ago. It is a sweet spirit of (common) salt, just as sweet spirit of nitre is of saltpetre. Each was originally made by distilling the respective salts with sulphuric acid and alcohol. This name was officinal in the Edinburgh Pharm. of 1722, and applied to a spirit of hydrochloric ether obtained by distilling a mixture of one part of muriatic acid and three parts of alcohol, after digesting the mixture for several days, and redistilling the product one or more times, until free from acid. This is probably what was used under that name.
In the Prussian Pharm. of 1847 a sort of spirit of chloric ether, under the name Spiritus Ether Chlorati, is made by distilling 16 parts of chloride of sodium, 6 parts of binoxide of manganese, 12 parts of sulphuric acid, and 48 parts of stronger alcohol, sp. gr. .813. The acid and alcohol are to be carefully mixed, and poured on the salt and oxide, previously placed in a large retort, and the whole mixed; a well refrigerated receiver being adapted, forty-two parts of distillate are obtained by means of a sand-bath heat. To free the product from acidity it is shaken with about half a part of calcined magnesia till neutral, and then redistilled. Sp. gr. .815 to .820. This product has also been called Spiritus Salis Dulcis.
The French use a preparation called Esprit de sel dulcifié, which is a simple mixture of 1 part of muriatic acid and 3 parts of alcohol.
EDITORIAL DUTY AND SELECTED MATTER.—The frequent disregard of Journalistic right on the one hand, and the inconvenience of investigating readers on the other, are proverbial faults of many American medical and perhaps pharmaceutical editors. During the past year a number of articles properly to be accredited to this Journal have been going the rounds under false colors, and translations and abridgements for which we have paid, are taken without acknowledgement.
While on this subject, we would respectfully suggest to editors the great advantage arising from giving the date, or number and volume of journals from which papers of any consequence are extracted, as well as the original authorities, so the reader can consult them, if for any reason it is desirable.
A GENERAL INDEX TO THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY.—It is with pleasure that we announce that arrangements have been made by the Publishing Committee, with a gentleman qualified for the task, to make a general Index to the entire forty-two volumes of this Journal. Commenced in 1829, and for a long period the only journal of its kind in the country, its pages embrace a large number of valuable papers and a great variety of formulas, to which reference will be made in the Index. As the whole will make a volume of several hundred pages, involving considerable expense in its publication, this will have to be met by subscription. Every person possessing a copy of the Journal needs such an index, and those who do not have the back volumes, by possessing the Index can at once learn whether the work contains what they need before seeking its pages elsewhere. The price of the Index cannot yet be determined, but will be placed as low as its cost will admit; meanwhile the names of subscribers are solicited from all interested, as the Committee will not feel justified in going to press, after the copy is ready, until a sufficient number of subscribers is obtained to justify their proceeding.
THE PHARMACIST.—We learn from the October issue of The Pharmacist (which did not arrive until too late for notice in our November number) that a serious loss has been sustained by the destruction by fire of its printer's stock, which occurred on the 4th of September. This misfortune is the more to be regretted as it occurred just as that enterprising journal was getting into good working order. The October and September numbers were somewhat delayed, but Chicago energy will doubtless soon restore its losses, especially if delinquent subscribers will remember the potency of money as a restorative in such misfortunes.
FEMALE PHARMACEUTISTS IN HOLLAND.—According to the editor of the Pharmaceutische Zeitung, at the examination for pharmaceutical assistants recently held in Amsterdam, nine female candidates made application, five of whom had been educated there at the industrial school. The Commission of examination was fully satisfied of their capability. The Pharmaceutical Weekly of Holland reiterates the views expressed on a former occasion, that these girls (Meisjes) are not adapted for city pharmacies, but that in the Country, where the prescription business is naturally limited to certain hours, and where they could find time for improvement in domestic duties, they might become useful and valuable assistants.
MR. DONOVAN, OF DUBLIN. From the Medical Press and Circular of Nov. 30th, we learn that this distinguished apothecary, the last of his order, has retired from his profession in comfortable circumstances. Michael Donovan is an Honorary member of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and has written many papers on pharmaceutical subjects. The editor says of him: "Mr. Donovan's name was familiar to the readers and scientific men of the last half century as the associate and colleague of the first Irish Physicians of his day. Pursuing his well considered course he persistently refused either to lay claim to medical experience, though immeasurably in advance of most general apothecary practitioners in this respect, or to remove one step either side of the path of science to which he had devoted himself. Far seeing and believing in the greatness of his art, he foretold the virtual extinction of the Irish Apothecaries Company, which has arisen from their abandonment of their proper functions, and alone he maintained a silent and life-long protest against the theory and the policy which regards pharmaceutical chemistry as nothing better than drug selling."
Other tomes: Specific Medication
Specific Medication and Specific Medicines, By John Scudder, M. D., Prof. of Practice of Medicine in the Eclectic Medical Institute, Cincinnati. Wilstach, Baldwin & Co., Cincinnati. 1870; pp. 253, 12mo.
This book, written by the editor of the Eclectic Medical Journal, is a new contribution to the literature of the eclectic practitioners. The author gives, in a preliminary chapter, his views on specific medication, specific diagnosis, difference from homoeopathy, administration of medicines, the form of medicine, the dose and preparation of remedies, office pharmacy and classification of remedies. Four-fifths of the book is occupied with brief therapeutic notices of a long list of the Materia Medica, chiefly, however, indigenous, but not confined to American plants nor to vegetable medicines. Among the "specific remedies" the author recommends infusion of honey bees as a diuretic, tincture of cactus grandiflorus in heart disease, collinsonia in ministers' sore throat, gelsemium in affections of the brain and spinal centres, leptandra for the intestinal canal, lobelia in difficult labor, and this he considers a sedative between veratrum and aconite. The entire work appears to be Dr. Scudders' opinions and views of the value of the several medicines treated.
American Journal of Microscopy, devoted to the general dissemination of the knowledge of microscopic science. Chicago, Vol. 1, No. 1. Published monthly by George Mead & Co., 185 Clark st., Chicago. 16 pages, quarto.
The spirited manner in which the initial number is brought out promises well for this pioneer Journal of microscopy in this country. The first article is on "the value of the microscope to the pharmaceutist," by Prof. E. M. Hale, of Chicago, in which the author endeavors to show the need of microscopic scrutiny to detect processes of deterioration set up by fungi in the tissues of organic drugs. As a medium for advocating this important branch of scientific research, this journal will lend valuable aid, and deserves encouragement by all interested. Price one dollar per year, or ten cents per number.
Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the California, Pharmaceutical Society, held at San Francisco Oct. 10th, 1870. San Francisco, 1870; pp. 52, octavo.
This pamphlet embodies the several reports made to the Annual Meeting, and the replies to some of the queries propounded at the last Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee's report informs that there are 87 retail drug stores in San Francisco, 48 of which are represented in the Society. The happy influence of the Pacific Railroad, in affording supplies promptly to the drug market, and thus preventing the remarkable variation in prices incident to the ante-railroad era, is alluded to.
The meetings of the Society have been well attended, and a library and museum have been commenced at the new rooms of the Society, at 226 Sutton st. The chapter on Medicinal Plants possesses much interest. Endeavors are being made to establish a garden for the supply of medicinal plants, and the large number of Californian plants in many important natural orders is suggested as a field worthy of culture by the therapeutist and organic chemist. California mineral waters are attracting attention, and allusion is made to an ingenious double cup for dissolving effervescing powders separately, and then mixing them in the enlarged neck of the vessel before drinking.
The subject of a school of pharmacy has been considered, and in the opinion of the Committee seems possible at no distant period.
The address of the President, Mr. Calvert, and the report of the Secretary, Mr. Steele, are interesting, but our space does not admit of noticing them. The special reports we hope to recur to in a future number.
Archives of Science and Transactions of the Orleans County Society of Natural Sciences. Editors, J. M. Currier, M. D., of Newport, Vt., and George A. Hinman, M. D., West Charleston, Vt. Vol. 1, No. 1, October, 1870. Published quarterly by J. M. Currier, M. D., at Newport, Vt. Price $2.60 per annum.
This number contains articles on the Pawnee Indians, on Mineral Waters of Essex County, Vt., on the Indian History of Northern Vermont, Meteorological Register from December, 1869, to July, 1870, inclusive, New Mounting for Microscopic Objects, and a Double Maple-tree (Acer saccharinum), together with the Constitution and By-Laws of the Society.
The Manufacturer and Builder for November and December.
This valuable handsomely illustrated monthly is duly received, and contains much of interest in great variety in matters pertaining to machinery and architecture. Among the small items is an arrangement for saving life at sea by cutting a few staves from the bilge of a cask so as to admit a man's body, then by two ropes suspend sufficient weight of iron to retain it with the opening up, so as to float safely. After the navigator gets in, a piece of canvas may be drawn around him, so as to keep the water from entering the cask.