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which was in great favour here at one time, and realized a high price, but could not be obtained in large planks.
The Laburnum has a wood of a darkly variegated colour, rendered more beautiful by a lustre of metallic green, and when knotted is equal to mahogany. The medullary plates, which are large and very distinct, are white, and the fibres of a dark brown, a circumstance that gives quite an extraordinary appearance-a peculiarity not to be observed in any other wood.
Incidental mention has already been made in the Notes on the Exhibition,* of some of the fine woods of our colonies; but as yet scant justice has been done to them in the way of publicity, either in the Jury Reports or through any other medium. Such a magnificent collection of woods of all kinds, many of them new and rare, from different countries, was never before brought together, and it is very doubtful if it ever may be again.
Many of these woods are as yet comparatively unknown; the difficulties in the want of labour, proper roads, and available means of transport, have hitherto prevented the various treasures of our colonial forests from becoming readily accessible to the requirements of our artizans.
Numerous illustrations were afforded of the suitability of many of these woods for furniture, for smaller articles of turnery and ornamental workmanship, and for parti-coloured work in marquetry, wood mosaic or Tunbridge ware, and Sorrento inlaying. Innumerable specimens of cabinet-work, of the highest excellence, were seen to great advantage, and obtained universal commendation from competent judges.
Many of these elegant pieces of ornamental work displayed the peculiar beauty and figure, the closeness of grain, and, in some cases, revealed the fragrant odours of the smaller woods, and showed how well they are deserving of more extensive notice than they have hitherto received. Many of the woods exhibit a peculiar beauty of structure ; some are highly fragrant, and retain their agreeable odour for a considerable period of time, which renders them additionally pleasant and acceptable in the form of ornamented articles to the boudoir and drawing-room.
Some of the rarest and most esteemed ornamental woods are South American, and come chiefly from Brazil ; among these are tulip-wood, zebra-wood, the produce of Omphalobium Lamberti, king-wood, canary-wood, partridge and pheasant wood, and purple-wood.
Coromandel or Calamander wood is the produce of an ebenaceous tree of Ceylon, and considered, from its peculiar marking,
one of the handsomest of the brown woods. It is getting scarce. Kingwood and zebra-wood are rich yellowish-brown, striped; sometimes full of zoned eyes.
À valuable, heavy furniture wood of British India is the blackwood, locally called rosewood, obtained from the Dalbergia latifolia, a leguminous tree. It can be procured in any quantity, and of immense size, but in large panels is liable to split. Jackwood (Artocarpus integrifolia) furnishes a yellowish wood, which deepens into brown. When made into tables and well kept, it attains a polish little inferior to mahogany. The Chittagong wood (Chickrassia tabularis) is more used in Madras for the making of furniture than any other wood. It is light, cheap, and durable. · Lingoa wood, the Amboyna wood of commerce, was imported into this country in considerable quantities from the Moluccas during the time those islands were British possessions. It is stated to be abundant at Ceram, New Guinea, and throughout the Molucca seas. The wood can be obtained in any quantity if the precaution be taken of ordering it during the previous season. Circular slabs of Amboyna wood are occasionally met with as large as nine feet in diameter ; but the usual size is from four to six feet. These slabs are obtained by taking advantage of the spurs which project from the base of the trunk, as the tree itself has not sufficient diameter to furnish such wide slabs. The kayubuka of commerce, so much .esteemed as a fancy wood, is obtained from the gnarled excrescences which are found on these trees (Pterospermum Indicum.)
In the beauty of its duramen the blackwood of Australia (Acacia melanoxylon), also known as lightwood, possesses many resemblances to the best walnut, and is considered even superior to that wood, being harder and more durable. It is a favourite wood with the cabinet-makers of Victoria for furniture of every description, and receives a very high and beautiful polish.
There is one other very ornamental wood which has lately been largely used in cabinet work by the French,—the cypress of Algeria (Thuja articulata). The wood is dark nut-brown, closegrained, and very fragrant. It is believed to be the algum or almuz of Scripture, one of the most costly materials furnished by Hiram, king of Tyre, to Solomon, for the building of the Temple, and for the house of Mount Lebanon. Planks of this wood formed the precious citrine tables of the Roman banqueting halls.
It requires a large capital to keep up a good stock of seasoned wood, so as even to support a moderately large manufactory; but as there are no duties on wood, it pays the dealer well to
lay in a stock of furniture wood for seasoning, because the unexampled prosperity of our colonies insures for a long series of years a market for the furniture of Europe. Nothing but the taste and make of the mother country will suit her colonists, and skilled labour is too high in the colonies for much attention to be given yet to furniture and cabinet-making. The valuc of the furniture, cabinet, and upholstery wares annually exported from the United Kingdom averages from £250,000 to £350,000.
There was a time, we are told by a leading Liverpool timber firm, when a portion of the capital of that county (Lancashire) employed its population in the manufacture, and its merchants in the exportation of furniture. The foundations of the fortunes of the more prosperous cabinet-makers and shipowners were so laid. Circumstances, however, interrupted this state of things, through the imposition of war duties of £12. 10s. per ton on Spanish mahogany, and £45 per ton on rosewood; and Lancashire ceased to employ its people in the manufacture beyond the home trade, and its merchants ceased to load the 'tween decks of their ships with furniture to the colonies.
BY S. J. MACKIE, F.G.S. (EDITOR OF “TIE GEOLOGIST.")
O F all the wonderful applications of vital force as a mecha
nical power to the locomotion of solid bodies, that of flight is the most marvellous; and delighted as we are with the cheerful voices and painted plumage of birds, their graceful and rapid motions through the air equally attract our attention.
In the far past exhibited by Geology, we look back to a pristine age of shell-fish and creeping things." Then follow fishes, smoothly gliding through the sea — nicely-balanced aquatic balloons that rise and fall by voluntary compression or expansion, and propel themselves by the strokes of sidepaddles or the lateral lashings of a rudder-like tail. Next, amphibious life-great reptiles basking in the sea, and sluggishly crawling over the muddy shores. Then, an age of mammals-browsing herbivores, fierce carnivora, flat-footed bears, ponderous elephants, fleet deer and horses—walking on four props or legs on the firm land. Now we see four-handed beasts swinging with easy agility from bough to bough, and tree to tree-vegetarian inhabitants of the woods—and two-footed, two-handed man walking erect, and master of the earth.
From the earliest records of the earth's history that we possess, the idea of flight seems absent; and it is not until we have passed the vast Palæozoic age, and entered the secondary epoch of the earth's crust-formation, that we find any trace of this idea. Then, indeed, we find foot-prints of perhaps wingless, or nearly wingless, birds; but scarce a bony relic of all the thousands that trampled on the yielding shore, and left “their foot-prints on the sands of time.” The first of birds, so far as we can learn from their foot-prints, were cursorialrunners like the ostrich, or rather like the rhea. We have no evidence to show they could accomplish long or lofty flights; but, on the contrary, all the little that we know seems to prove that their wings were rudimentary, and only assistant to their velocity of pedal progression. .
Then follows a long silence, broken, as it were, by whispers, and a few decisive words—a few bones, here and there, in the cretaceous and oolitic beds—and then the wonderful Archæoperyx. But during this long silence flight was a prominent feature of animal motion; and that, too, in perhaps its most