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that was easily worth $20,000 was a total failure and the owner was in debt. The career of this disease had practically doomed the early peach belt of Georgia to extinction when Mr. Scott intervened.
The annual loss to the peach crop due to the ravages of brown-rot is estimated at $5,000,000. The normal output of the state of Georgia is not less than 5,000 carloads, worth about $2,500,000. In 1900 the brown-rot burned up between $500,000 and $700,000 of the peach profits of that state. A conservative estimate of the annual damage in Georgia in recent years is $1,000,000. It is good to know that the peach grower now has the whip-hand of so expensive a disease.
State Bank, South Dakota, hit upon the idea that if he could place a bottle of some strong chemical between the outer and inner doors of the vault its fumes might retard the work of safe breakers or perhaps frighten them away. A quart bottle of formaldehyde was immediately given a position as a silent night watchman between the doors of the vault.
For about five years the ."yegg doctor" kept unobtrusive guard. Finally early in November. 1910, the test came. A couple of professional cracksmen entered the town. Two charges of nitro-glycerine were used on Cashier Clark's safe that night. The first one did little damage but the second wrecked both the outer and inner doors, tore the latter from their hinges and threw them out into the vault and against the small safe and safety deposit boxes. The "yeggmen" did not wait to wreck the inner safe, however, for at the same moment the "yegg doctor" responded to. a hurry call and the fumes of a full quart of formaldehyde filled the room. Choking and gasping, with tears streaming from their eyes, the criminals scrambled out the way they had come in and left tracks down the peaceful country highway that fairly sizzled. For days after the explosion the fumes of formaldehyde were so strong that a person could not breathe in the vault.
HOW do they reproduce the plants, the tree leaves and wild-flowers with such marvelous exactitude? We look at them in the museum cases in wonder. Here are the familiar fields brought to your eye just as you recall them in life—myriads of grasses, dozens of daisies; every leaf, every petal and stamen as perfect as if living. One usually dismisses conjecture with the thought that, no doubt, they picked these things in the field, and preserved or petrified them just as they were by some mysterious process.
Here is the case of the duck hawk or peregrine falcon for instance. You may recall it—a section of rock cliff nearly fills the case and sets off, as it were, the habitat of the falcon. In a cleft of the rock there is a tuft of grasses, and in the midst of it grows a fairy-like columbine in full blossom. How did they get it there?
If they picked that delicate plant and dipped it in a preservative that petrified
it just as it grew that would be wonderful indeed. But the way they actually do it is still more wonderful. Every one of those flowers; every leaf; the stalk, and its branches—is the work of man's hand!
Think of the skill, the close observation of Nature, required to do this and yet not make an obvious imitation! ■■• And yet, the basis of the process is simple enough. It is all done from life casts of the component parts. In the laboratory you will find large tables covered with boxes of various green shades of the finest thin sheet wax, rolls of fine oiled muslin de soie, and short lengths of cotton-wrapped steel wire. The simplest thing that the laboratory turns out is a leaf. Suppose that the group to be mounted requires for one of the "accessories" a branch of white oak. The first thing done is to secure representative specimens of white oak leaves of various ages, including buds. These are picked from the tree and brought into the laboratory.
The Curator's assistant takes modeling clay from a stand and makes an oblong dish of it slightly larger than the oak leaf. This he fills with wet plaster of Paris and lays the leaf face downward, stem and all, on the wet plaster. It soon hardens and the leaf is stripped off, leaving a perfect impression on the plaster.
Now, a sheet of wax is selected, matching perfectly the color of the leaf, and is pressed down into the form. One, two, or more strands of the covered wire are then laid down the midrib and veins of the leaf, and a piece of the oiled muslin placed over it and kneaded down onto the wax sheet in the form. A gentle heat is next applied, which fuses the whole together and makes the wax so plastic that it takes the impressions of every least vein and membrane of the leaf. The edges are trimmed with scissors and the axil of the stem moulded in wax to fit the form. In the case of leaves
with serrate edges the mould itself is trimmed away sharp from the edges with a small gouge, so as to give a sharp, clear outline to the wax leaf. The face side only is cast, as the oiled silk imitates the reverse of all leaves except a few requiring treatment on the under side.
The leaf is now complete, and any quantity of them can be turned out from a single mould with great rapidity. If the underside is downy or fuzzy, fine chopped camel's hair is strewed on while it is hot and sticky. If the face of the leaf is glossy, a few drops of poppy oil produce the desired effect. If dull, talcum powder, of the proper shade of color, is sprayed on.
The colored leaves of autumn require a still further process. It would of course be hopeless to reproduce the endless shadings and coloring of Nature with anything so gross and coarse as a brush, so a process was invented to match Nature's.
Assuming that a silver maple leaf, of which the prevailing autumn color is yellow, is to be made, the leaf is first cast in the proper shade of yellow wax. Then it goes to the painting room, where the delicate mottlings and colorings of the real leaf are copied with marvelous fidelity by what is known as the air brush. This instrument is essentially an atomizer, connected by hose to a reservoir into which air is pumped by a small, hand air pump.
The cup of the atomizer is filled with the color to be used, and it is blown on in a fine spray. This spray can be modified from the veriest breath of color to heavy coarse stipplings, and the wonderful colorings of Nature are reproduced by it with absolute accuracy and great speed.
The colors used are the usual artists' tubes, diluted so as to make them atomize freely. All the artist's old friends are there excepting that great mainstay, the fat tube of cremnitz white.
This cannot be used as a dilutent and general modifier because the leaf colors must be transparent or clear. The addition of white immediately turns the mixture into what is technically known as "mud.". All the lakes are barred for the reason that they are not permanent enough. Before a year passes, anything colored with a lake is several shades off the original hue. The madders are much used. Also cobalt blue, emerald green and many of the anilines.
Before leaving the subject of leaves, another question comes up. How about specimens picked on the Pacific Coast or elsewhere, when several weeks are required for shipment to the Museum? Of course, succulent plants must be cast fresh on the spot, but the majority of trees and shrub branches may be expressed east and put to soak in large
tanks in the laboratory immediately on arrival. In a few hours the warm water restores the leaves and twigs to their original freshness and casts can be taken.
The making of flowers requires more skill, but the method is the same. The flower is dissected and casts taken of the petals of both calyx and corolla. The stamens are made from fine hairs dipped in wax and the knobs formed on the end by hand. The parts are assembled, after coloring the petals, which are moulded in white wax. Such a flower as the wild rose is one of the easiest to assemble in spite of its numerous stamens. A practiced hand can finish one in about twenty minutes.
The columbine, mentioned before in connection with the duck hawk group, is one of the difficult flowers. The reader will doubtless recall it as a dark-red, fivelobed flower like a miniature king's crown, hung inverted by the center from