Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 522 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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AMERICAN MINERAL WATERS.—The number of springs in the United States and Canada to which public attention has been called on account of their supposed therapeutic virtues is very large, amounting in all to more than three hundred. Of this number comparatively few are in Canada, and of these not more than six (St Catharines, Caledonia, Piantagenet, Caxton, Charlottesville and Sandwich) have attained general celebrity. The first three belong to the saline class, the Caxton is alkaline-saline, and the last two are sulphur waters. The St Catharines is remarkable for the very large amounts of sodium, calcium and magnesium chlorides which it contains, its total salts (450 grains in the pint) being more than three times the quantity contained in the brine-baths of Kreuznach in Prussia. The Charlottesville and Sandwich springs likewise surpass the noted sulphur-waters of Europe in their excessive percentages of sulphuretted hydrogen, the former containing more than 3 and the latter 4.72 cub. in. of this gas in the pint. The mineral springs in the United States are very unequally distributed, by far the larger number of those which are in high medical repute occurring along the Appalachian chain of mountains, and more especially on or near this chain where it passes through the States of Virginia, West Virginia and New York. The Devonian and Silurian formations which overlie the Eozoic rocks along the course of the Appalachian chain have been greatly fissured—the faulting of the strata being in some places of enormous magnitude —by the series of upheavals which gave rise to the many parallel mountain ridges of the Appalachians. In many places the springs occur directly along the lines of fault. The various classes of mineral waters are likewise very unequally represented, the alkaline springs, and those containing Glauber and Epsom salts, being much inferior to their European representatives. On the other hand, the very numerous and abundant springs of Saratoga compare very favourably with the Selters and similar saline waters, and among the many American chalybeate springs the subclass represented by the Rockbridge Alum Is unequalled in regard to the very large percentages of alumina and sulphuric acid which it contains. Besides its greater amount of mineral constituents (135 grains per pint), the Ballston spring surpasses the similar saline waters of Homburg, Kissingen, Wiesbaden and Selters, in its percentage of carbonic acid (53 cub. in.). It is also remarkable for the very large proportion of carbonate of lithia, amounting to o•701 grains. Thermal springs are specially numerous in the territories west of the Mississippi and in California. Those in the east mostly occur in Virginia along the southern portion of the Appalachian chain; in the middle and New England States Lebanon is the only important thermal spring. Subjoined is a list of thirty American springs, the design being to represent as many of the more noted spas as possible, while at the same time enumerating the best representatives of the classes and subclasses into which mineral waters are divided according to the German method of classification. (2) French: Dictionnaire des eaux minerales, &c., by MM. Durand-Fardel, &c. (2 vols., Paris, 186o) ; J. Lefort, Traite de chemie hydrolologique (2nd ed., Paris, 1873) ; C. James, Guide pratique aux eaux minerales (Paris), many editions; Mace, Guide aux vales d'eaux, &c. (Paris, 1881); Joanne and Le Pileur, Les Bains d'Europe (Paris). (3) Swiss: Meyer Ahrens, Heilquellen der Schweitz (Zurich, 1867); Gsell Fels, Die Bader and Kurorte der Schweitz (Zurich, 188o). (4) Italian: G. Jervis, Guide alle acque minerali d'Italia (Turin, 1876, &c.) ; E. F. Harless, Die Heilquellen and Kurbdder Italiens (Berlin, 1848). (5) Spanish: Rubio, Tratado de las fuentes miner-ales de Espana (Madrid, 1853); Don J. de Antelo y Sanchez has recently published a work on Spanish waters. (6) English: T. Short, History of the Mineral Waters (London, 1734) ; J. Rutty, Methodical Synopsis of Mineral Waters (London, 1757) ; Granville, Spas of England (1841) ; E. Lee, Mineral Springs of England (London, 1841) ; J. Macpherson, Our Baths and Wells (1871) ; id., Baths and Wells of Europe (1873); and H. Weber's Eng. ed. of Braun (London, 1875). great portion of the literature is to be found in monographs on particular places. (7) American: J. Bell, The Mineral and Thermal Springs of the United States and Canada (1855); J. J. Moorman, The Mineral Waters of the United States and Canada (1867) ; C. F. Chandler, Lecture on Water (1871); G. E. Walton, The Mineral Springs of the United States and Canada (1875) ; I. Burney Yeo, The Therapeutics of Mineral Springs (1904).

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