Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885.
somewhat similar character, but is, we believe, new alike to gardens and to science.  We met with it in the course of the autumn in the nursery of Messrs. Sander, at St. Alban’s; but learn that it has since passed into the hands of Mr. W. Bull, of Chelsea.  It was imported accidentally with orchids, probably from the Philippine Islands.  It belongs to Engler’s section, trisecta, having two stalked leaves, each deeply divided into three ovate acute glabrous segments.  The petioles are long, pale purplish, rose-colored, sprinkled with small purplish spots.  The spathes are oblong acute or acuminate, convolute at the base, brownish-purple, striped longitudinally with narrow whitish bands.  The spadix is cylindrical, slender, terminating in along, whip-like extremity, much longer than the spathe.  The flowers have the arrangement and structure common to the genus, the females being crowded at the base of the spadix, the males immediately above them, and these passing gradually into fleshy incurved processes, which in their turn pass gradually into long, slender, purplish threads, covering the whole of the free end of the spadix.—­M.T.M., in The Gardeness’ Chronicle.

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In the new edition of Mason’s “Burma” we read that among other uses to which the bamboo is applied, not the least useful is that of producing fire by friction.  For this purpose a joint of thoroughly dry bamboo is selected, about 11/2 inches in diameter, and this joint is then split in halves.  A ball is now prepared by scraping off shavings from a perfectly dry bamboo, and this ball being placed on some firm support, as a fallen log or piece of rock, one of the above halves is held by its ends firmly down on it, so that the ball of soft fiber is pressed with some force against its inner or concave surface.  Another man now takes a piece of bamboo a foot long or less, and shaped with a blunt edge, something like a paper knife, and commences a sawing motion backward and forward across the horizontal piece of bamboo, and just over the spot where the ball of soft fiber is held.  The motion is slow at first, and by degrees a groove is formed, which soon deepens as the motion increases in quickness.  Soon smoke arises, and the motion is now made as rapid as possible, and by the time the bamboo is cut through not only smoke but sparks are seen, which soon ignite the materials of which the ball beneath is composed.  The first tender spark is now carefully blown, and when well alight the ball is withdrawn, and leaves and other inflammable materials heaped over it, and a fire secured.  This is the only method that I am aware of for procuring fire by friction in Burma, but on the hills and out of the way parts, that philosophical toy, the “pyrophorus,” is still in use.  This consists[1] of a short joint of a thick woody bamboo, neatly cut, which forms a cylinder.  At the bottom of this a bit of tinder is placed, and a tightly-fitting piston inserted composed of some hard wood.  The tube being now held in one hand, or firmly supported, the piston is driven violently down on the tinder by a smart blow from the hand, with the result of igniting the tinder beneath.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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