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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/526

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510

��Popular Science Monthly

��If Your Fur Coat Is Dingy Steam Will Restore Its Gloss

WHEN the old fur coat looks as if it were fast approaching the limits of its usefulness do not despair. A fur-coat doctor can put it through a five-minutes course of treatment which will make it fresh and , youthful.- /

He gets his results / simply by steaming the coat — steaming it inside and outside at the same time and rubbing it briskly while the fur is damp and hot. The coat is placed over a rack. Steam enters the in- side of the coat through a tube attached to the rack. Steam is also sprayed against the outside by a special apparatus held in the hand of the cleaner. As soon as the steam comes through the coat from the inside, the cleaner brushes the fur until it shines. Five minutes after the steam has been cut off the coat is ready to be worn.

The steam is generated by a gasoline- burning boiler. The sprayer held in the hand is simply a perforated metal disk.

���Steam cleaning by brushing and spraying the coat inside and out at the same time

��Stimulating a Plant's "Digestion" by Electricity

THERE are several electrical methods in use to-day for stimulating the growth of vegetation. It seems that a plant cannot absorb any food from the soil until some of the fertilizer present has been reduced to its simpler chemical compounds. But an electric current coursing through the soil can hasten the breaking up of the fertil- izer into its component elements. Such a current will therefore release greater food supplies in the soil, and the plant will grow faster and to a far greater size as a result of the great supply of nourishment thus produced. Perhaps the simplest of all methods for stimulating plant growth in this way is that recently devised by Warren J. Anson, of Los Angeles,

��California. In his method, shown in the illustrations, a clay pipe is buried directly under the row of plants. This very porous pipe has a number of electric wires in its walls. The ends of the wires are joined together at the surface of the ground, whence they lead to a source of al- ternating current. It is this current which when carried in the wires courses through the soil surrounding the pipe. The current in this way reaches the fertilizer at the plant roots and stimu- lates the growth.

There are two ways in which the alternat- ing current can be sup- Dlied. First, the wires the pipes can all be con- nected together and run to a small dynamo. This method is particularly desirable for stimulating the growth of delicate plants, since the comparatively large current serves also to warm the soil. The vegetation raised on an ordinary farm, however, is hardy and this heating is unnecessary. In this case, the current is needed only to act upon the fertilizer. The electricity present in the atmosphere is sufficient. For collecting this electricity, the farmer can erect several wires high in the air. One method of construction is shown in the illustration, although the in- ventor does not mention how high it is nec- essary to carry the wires over the ground.

���An alternating current carried through the clay pipe stimulates the food absorption of the plants

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