Letter | Published:

Pwdre Ser

Nature volume 85, page 6 (03 November 1910) | Download Citation



ON my return from a field season beyond the reach of periodicals, I have just seen, for the first time, Prof. McKenny Hughes's article, on “Pwdre Ser” in NATURE of June 23, and the correspondence relating thereto in the succeeding numbers. It may interest your readers to know that a substance of this sort was found by Mr. Rufus Graves (at one time lecturer on chemistry in Dartmouth College) at Amherst, Mass., on August 14, 1819, and by him identified with a luminous meteor which had been seen to fall at that spot on the previous evening. His report of the occurrence appeared in the American Journal of Science, vol. ii., pp. 335–7, 1820. The mass of jelly was circular, abput 8 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick. It was of a bright buff colour, and covered with a “fine nap similar to that on milled cloth.” The interior was soft, of an insufferable odour, and liquefied on exposure to the air. Some of this liquid was allowed to stand in an open glass for a few days, when it had entirely evaporated, leaving only a small quantity of a “fine ash-coloured powder without taste or smell”, which effervesced strongly with sulphuric acid, but not with nitric nor hydrochloric.

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  1. United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Soils, Washington, D.C., October 17.



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