Last week, when the Encyclopedia Britannica announced that it has published its last print edition, the Internet bemoaned the death of an era. The New York Times devoted an entire Room for Debate feature to the discussion of the publication’s demise. But we all know the conclusion of this debate. This news is a terrible tragedy, for how will we be able to ascertain with a single glance at a bookshelf a family’s upper middle class bona fides?
Sadly, entire generations of children will grow up never knowing what it is to plagiarize by hand, their cramped fingers having to copy letter by letter. Some have complained that they’ll miss aesthetic weight the leather-bound volumes lent to their bookshelves. If you find you simply just can’t fill the void, may I recommend a display of laser discs, CDs, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, 78s, 45s, wax cylinders, or classic books series, all of which you can find on eBay. Shelf filled, problem solved.
In honor of the death of this musty old friend, it’s only fair that we take a look back at the type of things we’ll miss. For instance, the entry on asthma from the 1890 Americanized Encyclopedia, Revised and Amended: A dictionary of arts, sciences and literature; to which is added biographies of livings subjects.
You can click here [or the above image] for the full text, but here are a few of the highlights.
- ASHTMA, a disorder of respiration characterized by severe paroxysms of difficult breathing, usually followed by a period of complete relief.
- When the expectorant is abundant, the asthma is called humid, but when there is little or none it is termed dry.
- Morphine should be given in 1/8-grain doses every hour or two till relieved, or chloroform or sulphuric ether inhaled during the paroxysm.
- Tobacco fumes are also useful in some cases to produce a relaxation of the pectoral muscles and afford relief.
- If morphine is administered, no more than three-quarters of a grain should be given unless by a physician.
What at shame it would be if this information could be updated more easily or accessed more instantaneously.
[Image and text via Google Books]