Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/358

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�Making Artificial Foliage

Nature requires about six weeks to make a leaf; but a good imitation can be made in a few seconds

��Ground squirrels in their natural haunts. The leaves on the tree were prepared by the method described in this article. They were graduated in size and tinted in na- tural colors

��THE modern educators, lecturers and exhibi- tors insist upon the details accompanying their illustrations being as true to life as the objects upon which attention is to be focused. If a group of specimens from Africa or other parts of the tropics is to be shown, it is considered necessary to have a tropical atmosphere and background. This is not always possible but the attempt is never an absolute failure, since Sci- ence has devised so many ways and means of reproduc- ing natural objects. Especial success has been achieved in representing trees, flowers and shrubs, so that animals, for instance, may be shown emerging from among just such thickets as they would if alive and in their natural haunts.

Usually when a tree is to be represented, models of the leaves of different sizes are secured and plaster molds made of the upper and under sides. A fine wire, with a little raw cotton wound around it so as to taper to a point, is laid into the impres- sion of the midrib. Then a thin layer of cotton is spread evenly so as to cover the leaf impression, and a little hot melted wax.

��TYPE METAL MOLD

���tinted to nearly the required shade of green, is poured over it. The mold of the other side of the leaf is then pressed down upon it. The wax soaks through the cotton and spreads evenly, making a perfect cast.

A new method of making these leaves as well as parts of flowers, which will vastly reduce the labor of the operation, has recently been introduced by Mr. A. E. Butler, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He has devised the clamp shown in the illustration. A plaster mold is made from the face of a fresh leaf. This mold is reproduced in bronze and then fitted by means of screws to one side of the clamp. A counter mold is made in type metal on the opposite side of the clamp, thus setting both molds of the leaf in perfect contact position. The cotton and wax are introduced as before. By the closing of the clamp, the two molds are brought together so exactly and quickly that it takes only a few seconds to turn out a leaf. A leaf can thus be made much thinner than with the plaster molds. By using a number of clamps, one leaf may be left to cool as others are being poured. The leaves and flowers are more delicate, also, and conse- quently truer to Nature than when made by the older method. Therefore when they are wired to the forms representing the trees and shrubs the animal itself, whose environment is being considered, might be deceived if it were a real creature and not merely a product of taxidermy. But the most obvious advantage of the method lies in the reduction of labor.

���Above : The clamp in operation. Two leaves are being cast at once. Below the details of the clamp and the leaf molds are shown

��BRONZE MOLD

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