“In Pompei, says Wendell Phillips, they discovered a room full of glass; there was ground-glass, window-glass, cut-glass, and colored-glass of every variety. Catholic priests who broke into China 200 years ago, were shown a glass, transparent and colorless, which was filled with liquor made by the Chinese, and which appeared to be colorless like water. “This liquor was poured into the glass, and then looking through, it seemed to be filled with fishes. They turned it out and repeated the experiment and again it was filled with fishes.”
In Rome they show a bit of glass, a transparent glass, which they light up so as to show you that there is nothing concealed, but in the centre of the glass is a drop of colored glass, perhaps as large as a pea, mottled like a duck, and which even a miniature pencil could not do more perfectly. “It is manifest that this drop of liquid glass must have been poured, because there is no joint. This must have been done by a greater heat than the annealing process, because that process shows breaks.”
In relation to their wonderful art of imitating precious stones, the lecturer speaks of the “celebrated vase of the Genoa Cathedral”, which was considered for long centuries “a solid emerald.” The Roman Catholic legend of it was that it was one of the treasures that the Queen of Sheba gave to Solomon, and that it was the identical cup out of which the Saviour drank at the Last Supper.”
Subsequently it was found not to be an emerald, but an imitation; and when Napoleon brought it to Paris and gave it to the institute, the scientists were obliged to confess that it was not a stone, and that they could not tell what it was.
Further, speaking of the skill of the ancients in metal works, the same lecturer narrates that “when the English plundered the summer Palace of the emperor of China, the European artists were surprised at seeing the curiously-wrought metal vessels of every kind, far exceeding all the boasted skill of the workmen of Europe.” African tribes in the interior of the country gave travelers better razors than they had. “George Thompson told me”, he adds, “he saw a man in Calcutta throw a handful of floss silk into the air, and a Hindu sever it to pieces with his sabre of native steel.”
He concludes by the apt remark that “the steel is the greatest triumph of metallurgy, and metallurgy is the glory of chemistry.” So with the ancient Egyptians and Semitic races. They dug gold and separated it with the utmost skill. Copper, lead, and iron were found in abundance near the Red Sea”
H. P. Blavatsky