Springfield Globe-Republic, January 22, 1985

The original article

[1]The Springfield Globe Volume IV, number 210. Thursday evening, January 22, 1885.
The Springfield Republic Volume XXX, number 310.[2]


The Weight of children.

Pastor Malling-Hansen, the director of the Royal Deaf and Dumb asylum[3] in Copenhagen, has published an interesting pamphlet on “The Periodicity of the Weight of Children”. His observations, obtained by the daily weighing of the children under his care, are very interesting.  According to his evidence the weight of children differs so largely from day to day that no trustworthy result can be obtained from weighing at long intervals.  A child may be two pounds heavier at night than in the morning, and may be one and a half pounds lighter in the morning than the night before.  Eating seems to have more influence on weight than exercise, bathing or occupation.


The ultimate increase in weight, corresponding to increase in growth, does not go on regularly throughout the year.  There is a period of stoppage in the increase of weight with corresponding loss, from the beginning of May till past the middle of July, in which time the loss of weight may exceed double the average ultimate gain.  During August, September and October there is a very steady period of increase in weight, sometimes rising to five times more than the average increase.  During the rest of the year the weight varies from less to more around the average figure of increase.  During the summer holidays the increase in weight is twice the average, and in September and October even thrice.  Besides the serious period of loss from May to July, there are at other times sudden stoppages in the increase of weight, sometimes followed by actual loss.  These hindrances, lasting from six to fourteen days, are not made up for by extra periods of increase, and seem to indicate real damage, , so that the actual increase of weight seems to take place during about the fifth part of the year, while the remaining time is occupied with loss and its replacement.  There is a decided correspondence between the vacillation of temperature and accompanying vacillations in the weight of the child – increase of warmth and of weight and decrease of warmth and weight go hand in hand.  A decrease of 2 degrees of warmth in the temperature of the five days is accompanied by a ninefold decrease in the weight of a child, and 3 degrees more warmth by a thirteenfold increase in weight.  The hindrance and loss of weight that accompany a decrease in the warmth of the temperature may go on even after the temperature has begun to rise, as if the loss depended on sickliness induced by the colder temperature.


A year that has had most changes of temperature is far more unfavorable to the normal increase of weight in a child than a more steady year, and a series of such unfavourable years will for many following years result in less strong children.  The reason of the great period of loss from May to July, and the rapid increase during the autumn months,  do not seem to depend on the conditions of warmth.  The increase of weight in the children experimented on was always greater during the period when the moon was approaching the earth. During the former period the children increased in weight twice as much as during the latter period.  Pastor Malling-Hansen’s inquiries are considered so important that the Danish government and the “Carlsbergfond”[4] have granted sums of money for the continuance and extension of such experiments.






[1] JMC: The daily newspaper Springfield Globe-Republic was published in Springfield, Ohio, between 1884 and 1887.  However, it had its roots in one of the first newspapers published in Springfield, “The Farmer”, which was started in 1817. In 1884 an earlier version of “The Springfield Daily Republic” merged with “The Springfield Globe”, a paper that started around 1879, to form the “Springfield-Globe Republic”. The paper underwent several name changes over the years – “Springfield Ohio Pioneer”; “Springfield Republic”; “Springfield Daily News”. Today, the paper is known as the “Springfield News-Sun”, which has been in publication since 1982.
In the 19th century it was a small paper, typically publishing only 4-page issues but packed with information and entertainment.

[2] JMC: The same article was repeated in the Feb 1, 1885 issue of The Globe Republic Sunday Issue.

[3] JMC: We would, of course, prefer another translation: The Royal Institute for the deaf-mute.

[4] JMC: It is a frequently stated claim from this period that RMH did obtain financial support from these two sources, and it is very reasonable to believe that such support actually materialised. However, our society has not yet been able to find conclusive documentary evidence for such support. Research is ongoing.

The whole front page of Springfield Globe-Republic