Chodat employed static electricity, and found that the germination of the pea was accelerated, and that the electrically treated Seedlings were longer and thinner, and their leaves somewhat smaller than normally grown plants. Paulin, who likewise used static electricity, obtained positive results. He placed his seeds inside a Leyden jar in which was suspended a copper wire connected with the conductor of a frictional machine. In order to get the best results, he found that the jar containing the seeds must be charged hourly, the length of time which this must be kept up depending entirely on the kind of seed employed. He maintained that electricity not only accelerates germination but that it is capable of awakening the dormant life in seeds.
Speschnew found germination greatly accele rated by the use of galvanic electricity. According to Speschnew, treated seeds germinated four or five days earlier than untreated seeds and possessed longer and stockier stems. Weakes applied electri fied water to seed, which resulted in an accele rated germination and growth of seedlings. McLoud found, by the use of direct currents, that many seeds germinated earlier. The growth of the treated seeds. moreover, exceeded that of the normal.
Paulin erected poles in the middle of his experi mental plots, which supported a collector composed of numerous copper wires. An insulated wire con nected the collector with an iron wire buried in the soil. He asserted, as a result of his experiments, a gain of 33A per cent in the production of potatoes. bare experimented in a similar way. However, he connected his collector, which was on a pole 35 feet high, to a wire attached to zinc plates in the soil. He obtained an average increase of 25 to 50 per cent, and in some instances nearly 100 per cent.
Maccagno's method was somewhat different from the preceding one. He attached wires directly to sixteen grape-vines and endeavored to pass the atmospheric electricity through the plant. Chem ical analysis of the plants at the end of the season five months later showed only a slight difference in the normal and treated plants.
Aloi found that atmospheric electricity works favorably in the germination and growth of Lactuea satira, Z,ea Mays, ?Wilma sat irum, Nicotiasa Tabacum, and Faba rulgaris. Celi employed static electricity. He asserted positive results by charg ing a wire provided with numerous small points, which were suspended over growing seedlings. Freda experimented in a similar way with Penicil lium, but obtained negative results.
Lemstrfim obtained favorable results with static electricity in a large number of cases, in which he used a large Holtz machine. The wire meshes were suspended over the plants which connected with the positive pole, the negative pole being connected with the ground. His experiments extended over a period of years, during which time he employed a larger number of plants than any of his prede cessors and, on the whole, his experiments are the most trustworthy. He used a large variety of plants, some of which were favorably and others unfavorably stimulated. He demonstrated that strong charges were unfavorable, and arrived at the conclusion that electricity acts in an indirect way, and that ozone is produced by electrical dis charges which have an influence on plants.
Duhamel, in 1758, maintained that electricity may be concerned with those remarkable atmos pheric changes which affect plants in so marked a manner. Similar ideas were entertained by Mann and Beccaria, who believed that after thunder storms plants of all kinds grew with remarkable vigor. However, he attributed more marked effect to the constant but feeble electric conditions of the earth. Bertholon, in 1773, called attention to the influence of meteors and lightning on the germina tion of seeds and the growth of plants. He attrib uted the failure of the hop crop in 1787 to the comparatively small amount of lightning during that year. In fact, it has been believed for many years in Europe that there is some connection between thunder-storms and the behavior of plants. A common saying among the German peasants is that if a thunder-storm occurs during blooming time buckwheat will not set its fruit. Some years ago Lindley made measurements of plants during a thunder-storm and found no particular differences in their rate of growth, and Matthew thought to have disproved the notions about buckwheat.
Among farmers and others the idea has long been held that milk sours very rapidly during thun der-storms. There appears to be some foundation for this belief, although bacteriologists attempt to account for it by the occurrence of the warm and humid condition of the atmosphere which usually precedes thunder-storms. Our experiments on the influence of electricity on milk tend to show that the farmer's idea is well founded, at least in many instances, since a very slight charge of electricity given to milk increases the number of bacteria enormously in a very brief period of tme.