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Article
November 13, 1926

THE SHAPES OF CELLS

JAMA. 1926;87(20):1649-1650. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680200049015
Abstract

About the middle of the seventeenth century, Robert Hooke5 asserted that the cells in the shaft of a feather form "a kind of solid or hardened froth, or a congeries of very small bubbles." In the latter half of the nineteenth century Leo Errera wrote that cell walls "must correspond with such a lamellar system as one gets in pouring soap suds, beer, etc., from a narrow-necked bottle." Dieterich G. Kieser, in 1815, had already declared that "the higher plant consists of a mass of individual cells—cell tissue—and the cells then assume, through mutual pressure, a form determined by mathematical laws and consequently inevitable; namely, that of the rhombic dodecahedron." These twelve sided bodies Kieser considered to be truncate, with four hexagonal and eight quadrilateral surfaces, and he asserted that "the rhombic dodecahedron encloses the greatest space with the least extent of surface." William, Lord Kelvin, however, utilizing a

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