Friday, December 22, 2017

1896 - Cox's Seed Catalog Lady

I just fell in love with this seed catalog cover image.  She looks like a little wooden doll about to tip over!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

1866 - Mr. Beyer, Iowa Seedsman, Wins Big at the Iowa State Fair

On a brighter note than the last post about Hugo Beyer, New London, Iowa, this one reports on his wins at the fairs, one for an essay he wrote.

However, this essay was just too, too boring to read so I left 90% out.  Mr. Beyer got $10 prize for writing it though!  The Iowa State Agricultural Fair offered ribbons for the best essays on bees, sheep, hogs, butter dairy and flowers!  

(While I could not find pictures of any vintage fair ribbons for agriculture, there are some wonderful 19th century ribbon photos online.  Chickens seem to have had some elaborate ribbons - who knew?!)

$10 is worth about $145  in today's money if the online reference is correct.


It is painful for the observer and the admirer of the beautiful to notice that the culture of flowers, which adds so greatly to the appearance and value of property, promote the enjoyment, health and happiness of a family, is so much neglected in the Western States.
Those who delight in the pleasant occupation of adorning the home, be it cottage or mansion, with the beautiful of nature, give proof that there dwells intellect, taste, and feeling.
The thoughtful parent will assign to their beloved ones, a place where to grow their own flowers and will derive much pleasure by seeing how, with busy hands and eager, childish hearts, they will watch the result. It will aid in shaping the mind for future usefulness. Children will be more obedient, performing other duties with more cheerfulness...
History tells us of many interesting incidents. ... Those beautiful things (flowers) sometimes produce surprising wonders upon minds, where least expected. I refer to a case of a most touching nature, which is, perhaps, not so generally known. It occurred during our late deplorable civil war. As the blood-thirsty guerrilla, Quantrell, was outraging humanity in the ill-fated town of Lawrence, in Kansas, neither sparing the aged nor the infants, ruthlessly destroying property, he came, in his wild career, to a residence surrounded with flowers of extraordinary beauty, effecting an impression so charming upon him, that he exclaimed: "This is too pretty to be destroyed" giving, at the same time, orders to leave everything undisturbed, nor have the inmates in the least molested. Flowers saved their lives and property.
Flowers occupy a no less high place in family ceremonies. Is not the snow-white myrtle blossom—the symbol of innocence and purity—wreathed in the bride's hair, more effective in solemnizing the event than costly jewels? And as a last tribute to our own departed friends, flowers follow to the grave.
1866 - Annual Report of the Iowa State Agricultural Society

Hugo Beyer picked up ribbons at the 1893 Iowa State Agricultural Fair as well.  (Then, as now, firsts through thirds have cash awarded.  I have a friend who aims to earn enough in prizes to pay for her family admission to the Woodstock Agricultural Fair...and she does, with change!)
  • First half peck Red tomatoes, three dollars; 
  • second three Hubbard squashes, two dollars; 
  • first three Nutmeg melons, three dollars, 
  • Second display green beans, two dollars,
  • First unnamed native plums not less than twelve specimens, eight dollars; 
  • first four bunches grapes, most promising new seedling,

($8.00 in 1894 is worth about $220 in 2017, and 2 is $55 ish.) 

Monday, November 27, 2017

1855 to 1905 - Hugo Beyer, Iowa Seedsman Says Farewell

"...too much of a strain and I can bear it no longer."

Hugo Beyer is not an easy seedsman to track down in publications so I have no anecdotes and few  insights into this man.  He seems a hard worker, and he worked as long as he could.

This catalog is not impressive visually, but interesting once read because this catalog is his last, and he writes about his career in the first few pages.  I am just including the covers and his farewell here.

Remember, when he started, Iowa in early 1850s was the frontier, trains from Chicago had not crossed the Mississippi yet! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

1904 - Hugo Beyer, "the Burbank of Iowa"

As an east coast resident who has spent most of my life living in New England events in the 19th century seem "new" to me as I read historical accounts.  Thinking about it, you need to reference the 16th or even 15th centuries before I perk up thinking "OK, that's old!".  
In this age of YouTube and being able to access BBC shows even those dates are loosing their impact; just yesterday I was watching Escape to the Country and the hostess was standing in front of a flour mill which had been there and working for a thousand years!   

Back to my point - businesses in the west are old when you see 1850s for their start date.  Iowa was opened for settlement in 1833!  Another factor I need to remember is that the railroads, necessary to support a bigger business, didn't cross the Mississippi until after 1850.  
One did not come near Mr. Beyer's community until late 1856 when it came as far as New London on its way to California from Chicago.

Hugo Beyer arrived in America in 1854, part of a large wave of German immigrants which had begun earlier in the century.  Most were farmers looking for good land in which to invest their modest savings.  


This synopsis of his life is from The History of Henry County, Iowa - 1879.
BEYER, HUGO, cultivator of vegetable and flower seeds, S. 10; P. O. New London; born in Prussia March 21, 1830; was brought up there, and came to America in 1854; he came to Iowa and located in this county in 1856, on the place where he now lives, and engaged in cultivating vegetable and flower seeds. 
He is the oldest seedsman in this State, and has built up a large business; he has demand for his seeds throughout this State and Missouri, and as far west as California.
Mr. Beyer is very successful in keeping plants through the winter without fire—a method peculiarly his own, and which keeps the plants nice and fresh and far more healthy than the old way. (To which I say, "So what is that method?!!!) 
He married Miss Bertha Schael, from Prussia, April 16, 1868; they have two children— Herbert and Oswald; they have lost two children—Hugo and Max.

The Luther Burbank of Iowa
unimproved R. occidentalis
Artist: Helen Sharp, 1907

Hugo Beyer, the veteran seedsman from New London, IA., was hero this week with samples of his “Perpetual Bearing Raspberry.” Mr. Beyer, who will deserve to be remembered as the Luther Burbank of Iowa, has been developing this new and wonderful variety of blackcap raspberry for the past 13 years.

It will interest especially the people of this community to know that Mr. Beyer secured the original stock from Dr. Tom Hell of Wapello, who is supposed to have transferred it from its original wild state. It is what is called a “sport”, an “accident” in the speech of of the unthinking, but what Mr. Beyer calls a “Providence.” 

It remained for him to discover and develop this remarkable new variety of one of the most valuable berries grown. The peculiarity of "Beyer’s Perpetual”,  by which name it is known in the government department at Washington, is that it fruits continuously from the time it begins to bear until frost. 

The cane which he left at the REPUBLICAN office contains fruit in all stages from the blossom to the ripe berry. Thus it bears for two or three months, and at a season when most small fruit is scarce.  The sample given us on the first day of August indicates that this variety fruits later than the ordinary black and red varieties.  Another peculiarity in which it differs from other kinds of raspberries and from the blackberry, is that the fruit is found on this year’s growth of canes, thus insuring against winter killing and injury from rabbits and mice. The roots also strike down deep into the ground, instead of spreading over the surface, thus preventing the injurious effects of drouth. 

It is certainly a gift of providence to the people through the watchful care of a good man, who spent fifty years in the study of fruits and flowers. Hugo Beyer, who is a native of Germany, and a resident of Henry county, Iowa, for over fifty years, is known for his integrity.   This new variety of raspberry has been introduced into thirteen experiment stations in the U S. and has also been sent to the Horticultural Society of London. And the original stock came from Louisa county. 

From the Wapello Republican, Aug. 3, 1904.

Testimonials are always hard to ignore!  
I wonder where the watercolor is, and who painted it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

1894 - The World's Columbian Exposition Potato from Iowa

Potatoes.  They are so visually humble.  I think I like them as horticultural art because they are a challenge.

I wonder how many vegetables were named so as to bask in the glow of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893?!    

I haven't found reference to it being at the fair.   

The Iowa Seed Company was established in 1871.  

Columbian Peachblow Potatoes 

Every dealer in seed potatoes has numerous calls for the old Peachblow potato, and often in the descriptions various sorts are compared in quality to it. In this grand new variety we have combined all the good qualities of the old variety and none of the poor ones.

It originated in this state about eight years ago from a seed ball of the White Peachblow, and has been carefully grown and selected ever since. It is an exceedingly handsome variety, the shape and peculiar color is well shown by our illustration. 

It is nearly round, but slightly flattened. Color a beautiful creamy white with an irregular blotch of bright red at stem end. Sets tubers earlier than either the old Peachblow or the White Peachblow. Matures with Bonanza, or a trifle earlier. 

It is remarkably productive, exceeding any potatoes in existence that we are acquainted with in this respect, yielding ten to fourteen or more large tubers to the hill, or about twice as many as Potentate and other similar sorts, and the crop averages good medium size, not overly large and very few small ones. 

The eyes are very nearly level with surface except a slight depression at the seed end, a characteristic of the Peachblow. It cooks dry and fine without "cooking off," and is unsurpassed in quality. Keeps better than any other we have ever seen or heard of. Have kept them in an ordinary way until State Fair time (about September 1st) nearly one year from the time they were dug, and had them in good eating
condition then. Very uniform in size, shape and characteristics. Vines very strong and robust but not tall, foliage very dark green, with flower of dark purple. 

Summing it all up it is the very best potato for main crop in existence, and we hope every farmer and gardener who receives our catalogue this year will give it a trial. Order early so as to be sure and obtain them. They will be shipped at the proper season. 
Per lb. 50c, 3 lbs. for S1.25, postpaid; 3 lbs. by express for 75c; peck. S2.00.

In spite of the most exceeding bad weather for late potatoes this year, the Columbian Peachblow did well, yielding nine to twelve fine, uniform potatoes to each hill. Am greatly pleased with them, and would like to plant ten acres of this variety next year.

WILLIAM H'JSTER. Dallas County. Iowa.

More Columbian Exposition and bits and pieces:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

1894 - A Fine Toast for Thanksgiving

Here is a toast for the pie lover at Thanksgiving!

“With rich pumpkin-pie
   And turkey give thanks.
Feel your heart mollify
   With rich pumpkin-pie.
In your neighbour descry
  A man first in the ranks.
With rich pumpkin-pie
  And turkey give thanks.”


The toast is from The Academy and Literature - Volume 45, 1894.

Friday, November 17, 2017

1816 - Thomas Jefferson and the Persian Melon

Th Jefferson presents his salutations and respects to Mr. White with his thanks for the Persian melon seed he has been so kind as to send him.  he will endeavor to do it justice by his attentions, and especially to disperse it among his most careful acquaintances.  it is by multiplying the good things of life that the mass of human happiness is increased, and the greatest of consolations to have contributed to it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1880's - Jerome B. Rice's Little Jokes

Why is she dropping a good squash from her window?

Jerome B. Rice's cards were the most amusing around!  If you skim older posts you will find more smiles (as well as information about an interesting man and the history of the family business).


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dec. 7, 1881 - “Hunger is the best spice”: Remembering Grandmother's Pumpkin Pie

It seems like "American as apple pie" is a more recent American pie identity than I realized! Pumpkin pie was the one identified with the United States more often than not in the 19th century.

This essay by "L. B. B." appeared in the 
New Outlook, Volume 24, 1881.

THIS is pro-eminently an American dish. No other people that I ever heard of use it. But so long as the American Eagle and the Stars and Stripes are our national emblems, so long shall we glorify our national pie. 

One generation passeth away and another cometh, yet the popular sentiment seems not to be diluted, but rather to grow in strength_ as the intrinsic excellence of the dish increases. I submit that the original “pie of pumpkin", which poets have extolled, would now be considered anything but a dainty dish, and must have borne about the same resemblance to the modern delicacy known by that name as the gowns of Puritan women did to the attire of a fashionable lady now.

I have a friend whose husband used to be always telling what good pumpkin pies his grandmother made. Unlike the traditional husband, he praised his grandmother’s cooking instead of his mother's. But he doesn’t do it now, and this is the reason: 

One day there was a guest at his table whose grandmother and his were one and the same person. This cousin was a few years older than he, and had a more accurate memory of long bygones in which they felt a common interest. For dessert my friend had provided one of her delicious pumpkin pies, called so by courtesy, but really made of squash. Naturally the host led the conversation toward his grandmother‘s pies. Not that he depreciated his wife’s skill in that line—except inferentially—but he was especially mindful of his grandmother’s. 

Said his cousin to my friend: ‘If Fred had a piece of one of her pumpkin pies now he could not swallow a mouthful of it. She made them very thick with pumpkin, sweetened them with molasses, and flavored them, if at all, with allspice."

“But you must admit, Amelia," said the discomfited gentleman, “that grandmother’s pies were good for those days."

“Hardly so much as that; for she was the plainest of plain cooks even then. But you used to call there coming home from school, hungry as a bear, and no doubt her blocks of pie tasted good; but they wouldn’t now."

That is precisely to the point. “Hunger is the best spice,” and though the primitive pumpkin pies were doubtless made according to the above simple formula, our ancestors relished them because they could get nothing better; but if one of them could step out of his picture-frame some day, and dine at the family table, he would scarcely recognize the pumpkin pic of the period as being in any degree related to his old favorite.

Alas! that the requisite skill to make these best of all pies is not universal in the land, as witness the flabby, insipid specimens seen upon so many tables. it must be chiefly for its name's sake that people continue to use the old coarse-grained pumpkin when squashes are so abundant, a thousand times better, and more easily made into pies; for squash enough for a dozen can be stowed in a few minutes, while it is a half day's job or more to stew a pumpkin. 

“The longer it is stewed the better it will be", is the old theory ; but squash is not improved by long cooking. Those which are too moist for table use are the kind for pies. Stewed squash can be kept for a week or more in a cold place, and is convenient to have all ready to make up. A teacup of the strained squash and an egg to a pie is the rule; but at the present price of eggs they seem to go further, and two for three pies will do very well, and you would hardly know the difference. Cinnamon and ginger are the only spices needed—enough of both, especially the former—a little molasses for color, and. a good deal of sugar—the amount can only be determined by tasting, and “ a little more " is nearly always needed. The remainder is all milk, the richer the better ; but if last night’s milk is used, from which the cream has been removed for coffee, it will scarcely be missed. Now what can be simpler to make than such a pie ? And yet in perfection it is the very poetry of food, and fit for a king's table.

Of course the crust is a factor not to be overlooked. It should not be thicker than the under crust of other pies, though it used to be thought otherwise, and that any degree of toughness was allowable for pumpkin pies. Happily, in these days, the kind that we have to exert ourselves to cut is not popular.

But the filling is the principal thing; above all, let there be enough to fill the dish, without having a battlement of crust to guard the edge and hinder approach to the riches within.

The baking is also important. An underdone pie, especially at the bottom, had better never have been made. No rule for the time required can be accurately given; but a slow bake is the best, which will require about an hour. 

When done "just right," cutting the pie will scarcely soil the knife, and the cut places will have a sort of granulated appearance. This, if other requisites are not wanting, is a pretty sure test of a perfect pumpkin pie. Tastes differ, but I have yet to see the first person that does not like this kind.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

1892 - Artist Deborah Griscom Passmore Starts With the USDA


The previous post on seed jewelry brought me in contact with an extraordinary botanical watercolor of the Carob pod.  

Signed DG Passmore, and the date of 1904, the illustration prompted me to look for information about the illustrator.  
It was easy-peasey!  

Deborah Griscom Passmore is a widely respected botanical illustrator who left her mark mainly through the many illustrations she did for the USDA. 

Wikipedia gives all the details.

I just want you to enjoy her work in this post.  

1858 - Seeds for "Pretty Articles of Bijouterie"

Bijouterie!!  A new word for me - and such a nice one!

     bēˈZHo͞odərē      noun -      jewelry or trinkets

This article from 1858 identifies some of the original material sources for the various seed crafts of the 19th century.  (Somehow that became interesting to me yesterday and I'm going with it.)  The gentleman who wrote the article has given a tidy overview.

I had a good time looking up information and photos of the various nuts and seeds, enjoying their wide variety of colors, shapes and uses.  The art of using these seeds and nuts is still with us.  It is annoyingly difficult to find any in collections that are from the mid-19th century however.  The Christie's auction pomander is as close as I got to probable authenticity.  Ebay offered many examples, new and old-ish.

Anyone who passes through the bazaars and arcades, or notices the shop-windows of the metropolis, cannot but have been struck with the many new and ornamental applications of nuts and seeds which have come into use of late years, and which are greatly on the increase There is yet, however, a very wide field open in the extensive productions of nature for profitable industry. 

The many applications of cameo and pearl shells to ornamental use, for studs, sleeve-links, breast-pins, &c, for pretty articles of bijouterie, or use for the boudoir and drawing room table, and the large sale for such fancy articles, shows that a rich mine for the manufacturer and trader has been opened up. 

The fish-scale ornaments, from the hard transparent scales of the callipeva (some sort of a mullet with big scales) and other fish, first brought under notice by Chief-Justice Temple, in the columns of the Society's Journal, have now become a recognized trade, and brooches, bracelets, tiaras, &c, made of them, are largely vended in the galleries of the Crystal Palace. 

Christie's: A carved and pierced coquilla nut pomander,
19th century, 
of ovoid form, screw-thread opening, profusely 
pierced and carved with scrolling foliage -- 2 5/8in. (6.7cm.) high; 
and a late George III coquilla nut pocket nutmeg grater,
 modeled as an acorn -- 3in. (7.7cm.) long (2)
The turner, again, has profited largely by the extensive introduction of the vegetable ivory and coquilla nuts, which are applied to a great variety of useful and ornamental purposes.

In endeavouring to add to my private collection of industrial products the various applications which from time to time come before the public, I have been particularly struck with the new uses of nuts, seeds, dec, and as these form, perhaps, one of the most compact, ornamental, and popularly interesting sections of a museum, possibly a few collected notes respecting them may be useful.

In the great extension of this branch of trade we have one of the evidences of the utility of public exhibitions and economic or trade museums, as opening up suggestions and pointing out new materials to work upon. Our continental neighbours seem to be more ready and ingenious than ourselves in the application of nuts, seeds, and such small articles, to the purposes of decoration, and although, from their very cheapness, many of these ornaments are despised by our belles, yet none can deny their interest and beauty, and the taste in which they are worked up.

The field is an exhaustless one, and many well-known ornamental nuts and seeds of India and South America have not yet made their appearance in this country. The most common applications of seeds and nuts at present are the betl nut, Job's tears, Mimosa seeds, the seeds of the wild liquorice, the Nicker seeds or Bonduc nuts, vegetable ivory, and coquilla nuts, &c.

The betel nut, the fruit of the Areca Catechu palm, loses with us its famous Eastern
reputation as the popular narcotic masticatory. 
There the nut is sliced and used with pan, or the leaf of the betel pepper (Chavica Beth) and chunam, or shell-lime. The lime gives a deep orange or red colour to the colouring matter of the nut, and thus dyes the lips and tongue in the peculiar manner so common among the natives of India. All classes, male and female, chew it; and they allege that it strengthens the stomach, sweetens the breath, and preserves the teeth. 

In this country betel nut charcoal is often vended now by chemists as a tooth powder, but the imports of the nut being small, I very much question whether the greater part of that geld is really the produce of the betel nut. But it is the ornamental application of the nut with which I have here to deal.

The fruit (a nut) is yellow, oval, the size of an egg, inclosing an oily kernel, like a nutmeg, conical, rounded, pointed, and marked with white and reddish veins.  When the outer coat is removed, these veins, or markings, have a very ornamental appearance. The nuts are either turned of a round shape, like beads, with striated lines, or flat, with ridges, like the petals of a flower, set with steel centre ornaments, and small intervening beads of the nut, and thus strung they form bracelets. In the Kew Museum there is a large walking-stick made of sliced betel nuts, fixed on a wire or centre.   (Couldn't find it, but they do have a walking stick collection in their Economic Botany department.)

 Elaeocarpus ganitrus
A still more ornamental seed used for bracelets and rosaries, is the spherical corrugated seed of the Elaeocarpus ganitrus, which are generally admired. In India they are known as Brahmin's beads, and when capped with silver they make very pretty ornaments.

Canna indica

The small round black seed of the Indian shot (Canna indica) are often threaded as beads. But there is another use for them, and that is as a coffee substitute. 

Another round black seed, of a larger size is the kernel of the fruit of the Sapindus saponaria (Linn.), or S. marginatut (Vahl), and other species, which is much used now for rosaries, necklaces, bracelets, and other ornaments. 

It is popularly known as the soap berry, for the aril which surrounds the seeds is used as soap in South America and India. 
(aril - an extra seed-covering, typically colored and hairy or fleshy, e.g., the red fleshy cup around a yew seed.) 

The capsules or seed vessels are very acrid; they lather freely in water, and will cleanse more linen than sixty times their weight of soap; but in time, it is said, they corrode or burn the linen. This, however, requires confirmation.

The legumes of Acacia concinna (Mimosa taponaria, Roxburgh), form a considerable article of commerce in India. Mimosa abstergent fetches in the bazaars there about 1d. a pound, and if powdered 2d. a pound.    (Abstergent means it contains a detergent!)

The Saponaceous principle, "Saponine," exists in many other seeds and roots, &c, as in the root of Vacearia vulgaris, Agrostemma oithago, Anigallis arventis, Oypsophila struthium (the Egyptian soap root), various species of Dianthus and Lychnis, in the bark of Quillaia saponaria and Silene inflata.

The soap nuts are exceedingly hard and tough, and take a fine polish. The kernels of the small black nuts of S. saponaria are eaten in the West Indies, and deemed as palatable as the hazel nut or almond.

Dr. Sherwood mentions that the seeds of S. marginatum pounded with water, often put an end to the epileptic paroxysms, a small quantity being put into the patient's mouth.

(circassian beads, red sandalwood tree, coralwood,
sandalwood tree, circassian bean, red sandalwood,
 Barricarri seeds, Circassian seeds, Red Sandal wood tree)

The red seeds of the Adenanthera pavonina, a tree of the Mimosa tribe, often called red sandal wood in India, are much used for ornaments, weighing almost uniformly four grains; they are very generally employed by jewellers in the East as weights, ...
 are the beautiful seeds of the wild liquorice (the Abrus precatorius), which are small bright red peas with a black spot. In India they are called goonch; very pretty rosaries, bracelets, and other trinkets are made of them.

Abrus precatorius

The large seeds of the necklace tree of the West Indies (Ormosia coccinea, and dasycarpa), of a brilliant red hue, with a black spot at one end, are now beginning to be used for sleeve-links and shirt studs. 

The Barricari seeds of Demerara (Erythrina corallodendron), a member of the kidney bean group, are also an ornamental seed.

(Print to the right is from 
Descourtilz, M.E., Flore médicale des Antilles, vol. 4: t. 298 (1827))

The nuts of Putranjiva Roxburghii, eailed in Hindostan Jeeapootra, are strung by the natives round the necks of their children as an amulet to keep them in health.

The grey bead-like seed known under the popular name of Job's Tears, are the stony fruit of a graminaceous plant (Coix lachryma). 

They are chiefly used in Catholic countries as beads for rosaries, but in times of scarcity they have served as food. They are also valued for some supposed medicinal qualities.

Guilandina Bonduc
The large, bony, shining, grey, nearly globose seeds (Guilandina Bonduc, and G. Bonducella), called Nicker beans or Bonduc nuts (or Nicker Nuts according to Wikipedia :-), are used for bracelets and rosaries, and are very ornamental when set. 

They are very bitter, and have some medicinal properties, being considered emetic, and are used as a remedy for dropsy. The kernels of O. Bonducella are supposed by the native practitioners of India to possess powerful tonic virtues, and are esteemed as a febrifuge.

Cherry stones, and other fruit kernels, are often seen carved and highly ornamented, made into rosaries, &c, evidencing the patience and skill of the workman who has laboured on them.  

The small brown seeds, something like apple pips, so commonly used, when strung thickly together, for bracelets, work-bags, nets for the hair, and other ornamental work, are the produce of Desmanthus virgatus. They are frequently dyed black for effect.

Cloves, threaded and interspersed with beads, are also used for bracelets, and are made into a variety of ornamental work, baskets, boxes, etc.

The vegetable ivory nut, sometimes called Corozo, the fruit of a South American palm, the
Woodcraft Supply even has them!
Phyteltphat macrocarpa, Ruiz and Pav., is now largely imported, sometimes to the extent of 150 tons a year, and they have been sold at the brokers' sales at 8s. or 10s. a thousand, but they fetch now about 40s. a thousand. 

They come chiefly from the Magdalena river. The applications of the nut under the hands of the turner are most varied.  Umbrella knobs, the reels of spindles, pincushions, children's rings, small humming tops, thimbles, cases, and a variety of toys and little knick-knacks being made from it. The interior or albumen of the kernel is as white and almost as hard as ivory, and is in great demand for turning. It is of the same nature, though not of the same consistence, as the flour of the cereal grains, the aromatic substance of the nutmeg, and the pulp of the cocoa nut, which in other palms becomes more hardened. That of the date palm is quite as hard, if not harder, but it is neither large enough nor white enough to be of use to the turner.

The Coquilla nut is the popular and commercial name for the fruit of the Attalea funifera palm of Martius. 

Being excessively hard, beautifully mottled with dark and light brown, and capable of taking a very high polish, they are extensively used by turners for making the handles of bell-pulls, napkin-rings, the knobs of walking sticks and umbrellas, humming-tops, rosary cases, and such like.

 Several hundred thousand of these nuts are imported annually from Brazil, and sold at about 30s. the mille. The principal use of these nuts now is for waistcoat buttons, which are largely used at Birmingham, and they are coloured different tints to suit different cloths. 

The palm which bears these nuts also furnishes the strong piassam fibre of commerce, so largely used in making brushes and street-sweeping machines. The seeds of many of these palms are eaten by the natives of the countries in which they grow.

 Several hundred thousand of these nuts are imported annually from Brazil, and sold at about 30s. the mille. The principal use of these nuts now is for waistcoat buttons, which are largely used at Birmingham, and they are coloured different tints to suit different cloths. The palm which bears these nuts also furnishes the strong piassam fibre of commerce, so largely used in making brushes and street-sweeping machines. The seeds of many of these palms are eaten by the natives of the countries in which they grow.

The seeds of the shreetaly or talipot palm (Corypha umbraeulifera) are a species of vegetable ivory, capable of being turned into marbles or beads, and cut into button moulds, draughtmen, &c. 

They could be obtained in large quantities in Canara and other parts of India, but have not been introduced into England. 

A kind of flour is obtained from the nut. 

Another pretty palm nut is that of the Macaw (Acrocomia sclerocarpa, Mart). 

It is often turned and carved into small ornaments abroad. I have finger rings, sailors' rings for their neck ties, and other small articles made from them. 

On removing the outer coat, the nut has a beautiful black hue, which takes a fine polish, but they arc too small to be commercially useful.

The uses of the coco-nut shells, from their familiarity, are now less appreciated. But we still see them carved and polished on the exterior and made into baskets and spoons, or mounted in silver as drinking goblets. They are also used for cups, elegantly carved sugar basins, lamps, skimmers, and by the Polynesians, as well as other natives, entire, for containing their water, having two holes in the summit. 

The largest nuts are chosen for this purpose, and are often seen highly polished, and of a fine black colour. The shells will also make good lamp-black, and, reduced to charcoal and pulverized, an excellent dentifrice.  They are manufactured into beads for rosaries. The common ladle used over a great part of India and in the Brazils is formed of part of the shell, to which a long wooden handle is fixed. Particular virtues have been attributed to cups made of the shell of the cocoa-nut. They have been supposed to give an anti-apoplectic quality to intoxicating liquors.
1806 - 
 "The double coco-nut (Lodoicea techillarium) of Labillardiere, was once held in great repute for all sorts of fanciful properties, from the ignorance which prevailed respecting its origin. 

The great men of the East formed of the shell precious vessels, cutting off a transverse slice, which constituted the lid, and in this they put their tobacco, betel lime, and whatever else they masticated, believing that these articles could never be contaminated by anything noxious. 

Water kept in it was considered to preserve those who drank of it from every complaint. The discovery of the Seychillio (Seychelle) Islands, and the knowledge thence derived that these nuts grew upon trees, as other coco-nuts, soon reduced their value, and now probably, by the East Indians as by the Europeans, they are only sought as a matter of curiosity, or for domestic purposes.

Of the nut are made vessels of different forms and uses. When preserved whole, and perforated in one or two places, the shell serves to carry water, and two of them are suspended from opposite ends of a stick. 

Some of these nuts hold six or eight pints. If divided into two between the lobes, each portion serves, according to its size and shape, for plates and dishes, or drinking-cups, these being valuable from their great strength and durability, so that this kind of utensil, in the Seychillio Islands, bears the name of vaiselli de l'Lille Praslin.
 Amongst other articles, shaving-dishes, black, beautifully polished, carved, and set in silver, are made from them."—Seeman's Palms.

Tucuma palm
Tucuma palm

 The stony seeds of the Tucuma palm (Astrocaryum Tucuma, Mart.), are in Brazil turned into rings, "birros" or knitting pins, and other small articles for which bones are employed. The seeds are so hard that it is almost impossible to break them, except by a powerful blow with a large hammer. 

The kernel (albumen) is also very hard, nearly approaching to vegetable ivory. The kernel of the fruit of the doom palm is turned into beads for rosaries.

Several kinds of hard brown beans have lately been brought into use for making bracelets and other ornaments. Their plainness and monotony is varied by gilt or steel studs and settings, and small beads intermingled with ornamental pendants. 

The large horse-eye bean, the seed of a species of Mucuna, is really ornamental, and curious when mounted for bracelets. 

(Often called Hamburger Bean now. :-)

Entada Gigas

The large brown sword beans of Entada Gigalobium and E. Pursaetha are made into spoons, small coin cases, scent bottles, etc. They are used by the natives of India, under the name of "Gel," with Soap berries for washing their hair.

E. Pursaetha
E. Pursaetha

The seeds of the pod of the Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), are said to be the original carat weights of the jewelers. It is strange that these seeds, and those of the tamarind, date, have not been applied to some economic use with us.

The locust pods or carob beans, as they are termed, have come largely into use as a cattle food in this country, although they were first introduced at a high price in the chemists' shops as an improver of the voice. Vocalists were assured that like the sweets recommended in the extempore doggerel of a well-known and popular itinerant vendor, they would—

Clear your voice, and make you sing as well, 
As notes of music, or the nightingale.

Custard Apple

In the Portuguese settlement of Ambrez, Africa, the seeds of the custard apple are strung upon thread as necklaces, 

and in the Kew Museum are rosaries made of olive seeds and stones.

Immature oranges, turned and polished, make very pretty rosaries, having a pleasant odour, and they are also sold in chemist's shops as "issue peas."   (I had to look up "issue peas". They are small pea shaped objects placed in wounds to keep them draining freely.)

Walnut shells are frequently mounted with hinges and used as the ornamental cases for miniature articles, such as scissors, thimbles, &c, and the Limerick gloves are packed in them, while jewels and other presents are often disguised in this rough case as an agreeable surprise. 

Calabashes, the hard rind or covering of the fruit of the Crescentia cujete, are used for all kinds of domestic utensils in Africa and the West Indies. 

Cups and saucers, baskets and bowls, pepper and salt dishes, &c., of various sizes, plain or carved and ornamented, take the place of crockery, and are not so easily broken or destroyed. 

I have them in my collection in all sizes and styles. Many will stand the fire for cooking as well as an iron pot.

(To the left: Displays at Mary and Marvin Johnson's Gourd Museum, Kennebec, North Carolina, 1946)

Under the name of bottle-gourds the hard and rough rind of the fruit of the Lagenaria vulgaris, cleared of the pulp and seeds, is used like the calabash for ready-made bowls and vessels for holding water.

Oncoba spinosa, the snuff-box tree,
fried egg tree or fried-egg flower,

Snuff-boxes, again, are made by the Africans of Oncoba spinosa in Natal and Gaboon.

Having touched upon their purely ornamental applications, I may have a few words to say in a future number upon the edible uses of some of the ordinary nuts and seeds, and others that have been less generally utilized.

8 Winchester-street, Pimlico, Sept. 28.