Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/321

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315
THE GUAYULE

PSM V81 D321 A large fifty years old guayule plant.pngFig. 2. A large Guayule Plant, probably 50 years old. The measure is one meter. PSM V81 D321 Asa gray specimen of a guayule plant.pngFig. 3. The Specimen of the Guayule on which Asa Gray based his original description. After a photograph. camped, finding traces of earlier travelers in arrow-points, beads and old-fashioned army copper cartridge shells. On the surrounding slopes the guayule grows, and probably here Bigelow in 1852 found the specimen on which the description published by Asa Gray in 1859 was based.

For a good many years that specimen (Fig. 3) lay in the Gray Herbarium awaiting its apotheosis. So little was the plant known till recent years that even Bray does not mention it in his description of the vegetation of western Texas, written in 1906. In fact, it was less than a year and a half previous to this date that, as the result of the efforts of Mr. William A. Lawrence, backed by American capital, it was for the first time demonstrated that it was possible to extract the rubber from the guayule by a mechanical process. On December 25, 1904, 50 pounds of crude guayule rubber were shipped to and sold in New York city. This was the beginning of the immense operations of the Continental-Mexican Rubber Co. at Torréon, Coaliuila.