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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Science and Nature

A Compilation of short Victorian Newspaper articles

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Transcripts from original newspaper articles: -

Page Contents


Elevation of London Above The Sea

Inhabitants of an Oyster

Strength of The Tiger

The Circus

The Pianoforte

The Waters And The Dry Land

Wonders of Nature

INHABITANTS OF AN OYSTER. – Observations with the microscope have shown that the shell of an oyster is a world occupied by an innumerable quantity of small animals, compared to which the oyster is a colossus. The liquid enclosed between the shells of he oyster contains a multitude of embryos covered with transparent scales, which swim with ease; a hundred and twenty of these embryos, placed side by side, would not make an inch in breadth. This liquor contains, besides a great variety of animalcules five hundred times less in size, which give out a phosphoric light. Yet these are not the only inhabitants of this dwelling; there are also three distinct species of worms.

"The pianoforte was invented by J. C. Schroeder, of Dresden, in 1717, and the first instrument was made in London in 1766, by a German named Zumple."


The above 19th century newspaper article has a number of errors of fact, as kindly pointed out below by Bill from the Piano History Centre;

1. Schroeter did not invent the piano.

2. It was invented around 1700 by Cristofori, in Florence, although first published information was 1707.

3. "Zumple" should be Zumpe.  He did not invent the piano, or make the first, but his are the oldest known square pianos, dated 1766, and made in London.
Piano History Centre




The strength of the tiger is prodigious. By a single cuff of his great forepaw he will break the skull of an ox as easily as you or I could smash a gooseberry, and then taking his prey by the neck, will straighten his muscles and march off at a half trot with only the hoofs and the tail of the defunct animal trailing the ground. An eminent traveller relates that a buffalo belonging to a peasant in (?) having got helplessly fixed in a swamp, its owner went to seek assistance of his neighbours to drag the buffalo. While he was gone, however, a tiger visited......



The CircusTHE CIRCUS. – A circus came to town, and everybody knows how the music and the grand tent and the horses set all the boys agog. Quarters of dollars and big Rings are in great demand; and many a choice bit of money have the circus-riders carried away which was intent for better purposes. A little boy was seen looking around the premises with a great deal of curiosity. “Halloa, Johnny,” said a man who knew him, “going to the circus?” “No, sir”, answered Johnny, “father doesn’t like ‘em” “Oh, well, I’ll give you money to do,” said the man. “Father don’t approve of them,” answered Johnny. “Well, go in for once, and I’ll pay for you.” “No, sir,” said Johnny, “my father would give me money if he thought ‘twere best; besides, I’ve got 25 Cents in my strong box, twice enough to go.” “I’d go, Johnny, for once, it’s wonderful, the way the horses do,” said the man; “your father needn’t know it.” “I can’t,” said the boy. “Now, why?” “’Cause,” said Johnny, twirling his bare toes in the sand, “after I’ve been, I couldn’t look my father right in the eye, and I do now.”

American paper.

Click here to see the Original Newspaper Article for the following two items.

ELEVATION OF LONDON ABOVE THE SEA. – The surface of the ground upon which London, or the districts usually termed the metropolis, it built, varies in elevation from the mean level of the sea to about 200 feet above that level.

THE WATERS AND THE DRY LAND. – The whole area of the surface of the globe contains 197 million square miles, of which land occupies 53 million square miles, and the ocean 144 million square miles. The ocean, therefore, occupies nearly three times as much of the surface of the globe as the land.

WONDERS OF NATURE. – The polypus, like the Tabled hydra, receives new life from the knife lifted to destroy it. The fly-spider lays an egg as long as itself. There are four thousand and forty-one muscles in the caterpillar. Hook discovered fourteen thousand mirrors in the eye of the drone; and to effect the respiration of a carp, thirteen thousand three hundred arteries, vessels, veins, bones, etc., are necessary.

…. CONVERSATION. – He that would please in company must be attentive to what style is most proper. The scholastic should never be used but in a select company of learned men. The didactic should seldom be used, and then only by judicious and aged persons, or those who are eminent for wisdom. No style is more extensively acceptable than the narrative, because this does not carry an air of superiority over the rest of the company, and therefore is most likely to please them; for this purpose we should store our memory with short anecdotes and entertaining pieces of history. Almost every one listens with eagerness to extemporary history. Vanity often co-operates with curiosity, for he that is a hearer in one place wishes to qualify himself to be a principal speaker in some interior company, and therefore more attention is given to narrations than anything else in conversation. It is true, indeed, that sallies of wit and quick replies are very pleasing in conversation, but they frequently tend to raise envy in some of the company; but the narrative way neither raises this nor any other evil passion, but keeps all the company nearly upon equality, and, if judiciously managed, will entertain and improve them all.