W HAT plant supplies us with much of our clothing? Name articles of clothing made of cotton.
Did you ever see a field of cotton? The plant blooms as it grows during the summer. The bloom is first white, then pale red, and is soon pushed off by the young boll which ripens and bursts open.
The cotton-field is now a pretty sight—the bright green leaves, pale red blossoms and snowy cotton all mingled together. Form a picture in your mind of a field of cotton in bloom.
The cotton is now picked. The first thing is to separate it from its seed. This is done by a machine called a cotton-gin.
Now it is ready to be pressed in great bales and sent to market. It will, at last, go to the cotton mills and be spun into thread, then woven into muslin, calico, etc.
Are the seeds of any use? They contain a great deal of oil, which is pressed out by machinery. What is the name of this oil? What use is made of it?
There is another plant from which clothing is made.
Do you know what plant linen is made from? Linen comes from the flax plant.
Flax is a small plant which grows two or three feet high, bearing on the top a bunch of pretty blue flowers. A field of flax in bloom is a very pretty sight.
The flax does not grow in a pod like cotton. The stalk of the plant is covered with a bark, or skin, containing fibers. These fibers are spun into thread, which is woven into a cloth called linen.
The seeds are used for making an oil called linseed oil. For what is linseed oil used?
Do you think people who live in hot countries need the same kind of clothing as those who live in cold countries?
What kind of clothing should you think was needed in cold countries? Would such clothes be comfortable in hot countries?
There is a plant that yields no food, drink, or clothing, yet it is used in nearly every country in the world. Can you tell its name?
Every one has seen it growing. It is tobacco.
Do you think the tobacco plant is as useful as the cotton and flax plants?
Everybody eats sugar. Did you ever see a table set for supper without a sugar bowl?
The sugar in common use in this country is made chiefly from sugar-cane. The sugar-cane is a tall plant which looks much like Indian corn when growing. It is called the sugar-cane because it is filled with the sweet juice that is made into the sugar.
When the stalks are cut they are taken to a sugar mill. Here they pass between great rollers which press out the juice. The liquid is then boiled until it turns to sugar.
Much sugar is made from the sap of the sugar-maple tree. In the early spring the sap begins to rise. A hole is bored in the tree and a tube inserted, through which the sap passes to a bucket or other vessel placed to receive it. The sap is boiled in large kettles and becomes syrup. More boiling turns the syrup into sugar.
Write what you have learned of cotton and linen.