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Title: How? - or Spare Hours Made Profitable for Boys and Girls
Author: Holbrook, Kennedy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: frontispiece]



                      Spare Hours Made Profitable

                            For Boys & Girls

                          By Kennedy Holbrook.



                               New York:

                     Worthington Co., 747 Broadway.



                            Copyright, 1886,
                           By WORTHINGTON CO.



Although this book is ostensibly a “boy’s book,” many things which it
contains are equally useful to girls; and have been tried by the latter
with entirely satisfactory results. In fact, it was to afford amusement
and occupation, on rainy Saturdays and during the long vacation, to the
children of both sexes in my own family, that the book was first
written; and it was only an afterthought which led me to give it to the

Everything it contains has been deduced from my own experience or that
of some trustworthy friend. While it has been my aim to meet the wants
of children of all ages and in every condition of life, I have
studiously avoided every subject which might be a source of anxiety to
the most careful parent.

It is with the hope that this little work may fulfill its mission in
other families where it may be received, as happily as it has done in
mine, that I send it on its way.

                                                             THE AUTHOR.

  OCTOBER, 1886.



 Æolian harp, the, 68

 Air, earth, or the sea?, 244

 Alum, crystals, methods of coloring, 25

 Amusing experiment with tooth-picks, 17

 Animated fire, 26

 Annealing (repoussé), 180

 Antiques and horribles, 230

 Aquarium, the, 186;
   the author’s freshwater aquarium, 189;
   trouble of keeping a gold fish globe, 190;
   plants for fresh-water aquarium, _ib._;
   artificial aeration, 191;
   salt-water aquarium, 191;
   preparing rock-work for, 192;
   minnows, 191;
   sticklebacks, 195;
   nest of stickleback, 197;
   hermit crabs, 198;
   snails, 199;
   medusæ, sea-anemones, 200;
   serpulæ, 203

 Arithmetical curiosity, an, 274

 Arithmetical trick, an, 37

 Baby, a box-sled for, 44

 Basket, a hanging, 118

 Balancing doll, the, 20

 Balancing pin, the, 44

 Ball, a good, 16

 Bangle bracelet, a, 184

 Barometer, a boy’s, 18

 Barometer, an infallible, 19

 Battledore and Shuttlecock, 251

 Birds, Japanese paper, 78

 Blow-pipe, how to make a, 27

 Boats, paper, 83

 Boats, papier-maché, 90

 Book, how to make a, 11

 Boomerang, the, 20

 Boot puzzle, the, 57

 Boston clapper, the, 71

 Bottles, to cut the top from, 18

 Bottle imp, the, 107

 Bottle, the obedient, 281

 Boxes, paper, 119

 Box-sled for baby, 44

 Boy’s barometer, a, 18

 Boy’s solar microscope, a, 216

 Bracelet, a bangle, 184

 Brackets, an idea for, 115

 Brass, hammered, or repoussé, 175

 Bridge, the triple, 283

 Bubbles, soap, 31

 Bubbles, resin, 32

 Burning the center from a handkerchief, 304

 Button-hole, to pull a string through a, 314

 Camera obscura, 144-154;
   principle of camera, 145;
   camera with horizontal screen, 146;
   a simpler form, 149;
   the sketching camera, 150;
   the darkened room, 152

 Camping-out cooking-stove, a, 308

 Captain S’s peg puzzle, 238

 Cars, a set of, 47

 Cards, the three magical, 33

 Card-receiver, papier-maché, 75

 Card-receiver, repoussé, 179

 Checkers, 256

 Chickens, the musical, 235

 Chinese rope feat, 312

 Christmas presents, 113, 318;
   the ornamental egg, 113;
   trinket-holder, 114;
   an idea for brackets, 115;
   cone and twig bracket, 116;
   pebble vase, 117;
   cone and twig hanging-basket, 118;
   shaving-case, 123;
   puzzles, 318, 321

 Circle, how to make a, 268

 Circus, the magnetic, 269

 Clapper, the Boston, 71

 Coin, how to palm a, 287

 Coin, how to pass a, 288

 Compass, a home-made, 265

 Cone and twig bracket, 116

 Cone and twig hanging-basket, 118

 Cooking-stove, a camping-out, 308

 Corn-stalk fiddle, 64

 Counter puzzle, the, 38

 Countenance, necessity of a sober, 311

 Cross puzzle, the, 320

 Crystallize grass, seed-vessels, etc., how to, 24

 Crystals, how to color alum, 25

 Crystal vase, the, 317

 Curiosity, an arithmetical, 274

 Dancer, the pith, 280

 Danger of repetition, 291

 Darkened room, the, 152

 Dart, the self-rectifying, 43

 Days in a month, number of, one way to find, 274

 Dispatcher, the magic, 297

 Divided square puzzle, 14

 Doll, the balancing, 20

 Easy proof for sums in multiplication, an, 41

 Egg, the ornamental, 113

 Egg, the perambulating, 295

 Egg, the tumbling, 82

 Egg, to produce raised figures on, 273

 Electrical experiments, 275

 Electrophorus, the, 276

 Electrophorus, a simple, 277

 Electrophorus ebonite, 279

 Experiment with electricity, 275

 Experiment with flower-seeds, 141

 Experiment with tooth-picks, 17

 Experiment with two pieces of glass, 15

 Face, the grimacing, 15

 Fan, from Nagasaki, a, 323

 Feat, Chinese rope, 312

 Fiddle, corn-stalk, 64

 Fire, animated, 26

 Fire, a new way to kindle a, 263

 Flower-seeds, experiment with, 141

 Flying whirligig, the, 10

 Fountain, a simple, 322

 Foxing, 179

 Frame for impressions of plants, 87

 Frame for a plaque, 185

 Freight train, a, 51

 Friction, light produced by, under water, 138

 Game, an optical, 37

 Garden, a winter, 54

 Garden, a mineral, 316

 Glass, experiment with two pieces of, 15

 Glass, how to blow, 27

 Good ball, a, 16

 Grimacing face, the, 15

 Grasses, how to crystallize, 24

 Half-dollar, how to melt and re-coin, 301

 Halos, the three, 82

 Hammered brass, or repoussé, 175

 Handkerchief, burning center from, 304

 Hanging-basket, a, 118

 Harp, æolian, 68

 Hat, the inexhaustible, 291

 Hat trick, another, 294

 Home-made compass, a, 265

 Hour of the day, how to tell the, by the left hand, 128

 How to blow glass, 27

 How to break a string, 63

 How to crystallize grasses, seed-vessels, etc., 24

 How to cut the tops from glass bottles, 18

 How to make a book, 11

 How to make a blow-pipe, 27

 How to make a circle, 268

 How to melt and re-coin a half-dollar, 301

 How to melt stones, 31

 How to palm a coin, 287

 How to pass a coin, 288

 How to pull a string through a button-hole, 324

 How to rob Peter and pay Paul, 289

 How to skeletonize leaves, 141

 How to take impressions of plants, 86

 How to take portraits, 60

 How to tell the hour of the day by the left hand, 128

 Idea for brackets, an, 115

 Imp, the bottle, 107

 Impressions of plants, how to take, 86

 Impressions of plants, frame for, 87

 Inertia, illustration of, 284

 Inexhaustible hat, the, 291

 Infallible barometer, an, 19

 Japanese paper bird, 78

 Jew’s-harp, the spirit, 261

 Leather work, 123-128;
   in Russia, 124;
   “Cuir Bouilli,” 125;
   a panel of leather work, 126-128

 Leaves, how to skeletonize, 141

 Left hand, to tell the hour of the day by, 128

 Leyden jar, a, 279

 Light produced by friction under water, 138

 Locomotive, the toy, 48

 Lot of paper windmills, a, 52

 Magical cards, the three, 33

 Magic dispatcher, the, 297

 Magic rope, the, 307

 Magic telescope, 22

 Magnetic circus, the, 269

 Melt and re-coin a half-dollar, how to, 301

 Melt stones, how to, 31

 Method of coloring alum crystals, 25

 Microscope, a boy’s solar, 216

 Mineral garden, a, 316

 Miniature yacht and how to rig her, 331

 Month, one way to find the number of days in a, 274

 More elaborate panorama, a, 165

 Multiplication, an easy proof for sums in, 41

 Musical chickens, the, 235

 Nagasaki, a fan from, 323

 Necessity of a sober countenance, 311

 New way to kindle the fire, a, 263

 Number thought of by a person, to tell the, 37

 Numbers, two or more, to tell, 40

 Obedient bottle, the, 281

 Objects, some, for solar microscope, 225

 Octagon puzzle, the, 318

 One way to find the number of days in a month, 274

 Optical game, an, 37

 Ornamental egg, the, 113

 Ornament for boys to make, 26

 Palm a coin, how to, 287

 Panel of leather work, a, 126

 Panorama, the toy, 160-172;
   panorama of former generation, 161-162;
   simplest form of toy panorama, 163-165;
   a more elaborate panorama, 165-172.

 Paper bird, the Japanese, 78-81;
   paper boats, 83-86;
   paper boxes, 119-122;
   a lot of paper windmills, 52-54;
   a fan from Nagasaki, 323

 Papier-maché, 73;
   materials for, 74;
   process of working, 74-75;
   card-receiver, 75;
   umbrella-holder, 76;
   vase, _ib._;
   papier-maché flowers, 77;
   papier-maché boats, 90-92

 Pass a coin, how to, 288

 Pebble vase, the, 117

 Peg puzzle, Captain S’s, 238

 Perambulating egg, the, 295

 Photographic printing, 154

 Pin, the balancing, 44

 Pith dancer, the, 280

 Plaque, frame for, 185

 Plants, how to take impressions of, 86

 Plants, frames for impressions of, 87

 Portraits, how to take, 60

 Presents, Christmas, 113, 318

 Proof, an easy, for sums in multiplication, 41

 Puppet, the windmill, 7

 Puzzle, the boot, 57

 Puzzle, the counter, 38

 Puzzle, the cross, 320

 Puzzle, the octagon, 318

 Puzzle, peg, Captain S’s, 238

 Puzzle, the square, 321

 Puzzle, the divided square, 14

 Raised figures on an egg, to produce, 273

 Re-coin a half dollar, how to, 301

 Regatta windmill, 215

 Repetition, danger of, 291

 Repoussé work for boys, 172-184;
   Nubian bracelets, 172;
   hammer for repoussé work, 175;
   other tools for repoussé work, 176;
   marking the design, _ib._;
   plaque in hammered brass, 177;
   composition for deep work, 178;
   card receiver, 179;
   foxing, _ib._;
   annealing, 180;
   a salver in repoussé, 181;
   a silver bangle for a bracelet, 182;
   a bangle bracelet, 184

 Resin bubbles, 32

 Ring toss, 255

 Ring trick, the Turkish, 299

 Rob Peter and pay Paul, how to, 289

 Room, the darkened, 152

 Rope, the magic, 307

 Rope feat, the Chinese, 312

 Salver in repoussé, 181

 Schooner yacht, a, 345

 Screw-propeller windmill, the, 210

 Sea-mosses, 226-230;
   where found, _ib._;
   how, 227;
   how to arrange on paper, 227-229;
   more elaborate arrangements, 229-230

 Self-rectifying dart, the, 43

 Set of cars, a, 47

 Shaving-case, a, 123

 Side-wheeler windmill, the, 211

 Simple form of camera, a, 149

 Simple electrophorus, a, 277

 Simple fountain, a, 322

 Siphon, a, 28

 Skeletonize leaves, how to, 141

 Sketching camera, the, 150

 Slate games for children, 243

 Sloop yacht, 336

 Snake, the, 13

 Soap bubbles, 31

 Sober countenance, necessity of, 311

 Solar microscope, a boy’s, 216

 Solitaire, 249

 Some electrical experiments, 275

 Spirit jew’s-harp, the, 261

 Square puzzle, the divided, 14

 Square puzzle, the, 321

 Steam-boat, the toy, 93

 Stencils, 130-137;
   method of making, 133;
   collection of stencils in book-form, 135;
   color decoration with stencils, 136-137

 Stones, to melt, 31

 String, how to break a, 63

 String, how to put a string through a button-hole, 314

 String, how to unite a parted, 314

 Sums in multiplication, an easy proof for, 41

 Telescope, the magic, 22

 Telescope, a, which a boy can make, 110

 Tit-tat-to, 243

 Thirty-one, 246

 Three halos, the, 82

 Tooth-picks, an amusing experiment with, 17

 Toy panorama, the, 160

 Toy steam-boat, the, 93

 Train, a freight, 51

 Trick, an arithmetical, 47

 Trick, Turkish ring, 299

 Trick, another hat, 294

 Trinket-holder, 114

 Tumbling egg, the, 82

 Turks and Russians, 245

 Twig and cone bracket, 116

 Two pieces of glass, experiment with, 15

 Vase, the crystal, 317

 Vase, the pebble, 117

 Vase, a papier-maché, 76

 Windmills, 204-216;
   the wooden windmill, 206-209;
   mode of mounting the windmill, 210;
   the screw-propeller, 210-211;
   the side-wheeler, 212-214;
   the regatta windmill, 215

 Winter garden, a, 54

 Whirligig, the flying, 10

 Xylophone, the, 65

 Yacht, the miniature, and how to rig her, 331-352;
   miniature yacht regattas, 334;
   model of yacht, 335;
   making the hull, 336-337;
   how to cast and attach a lead keel, 337-338;
   the deck, 338;
   bowsprit and rudder, 339;
   mast and other spars, 340;
   standing rigging, 341-342;
   sails, 343;
   running rigging, 344-345;
   a schooner yacht, 345;
   spars and stays for a schooner yacht, 346-349;
   belaying, bolt ropes, reef-points, 350;
   painting the miniature yacht, 350-351;
   flags, 352




                      SPARE HOURS MADE PROFITABLE.


                          THE WINDMILL PUPPET.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

This amusing little puppet is very easily constructed, and, like several
other mechanical toys in this book, furnishes much entertainment for the
little folks. Even the baby will sit in her high chair, half-hours
together, watching the little man turning his crank, while she claps her
tiny hands and crows at so delightful an exhibition of untiring energy.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

Cut from cardboard a disc like Fig. 2, which shall measure about six
inches across; then by means of a ruler draw the lines _a b c d_;
half-way between these points make four others, corresponding to _e f g
h_; and lastly, between all these, still another set of lines. Make the
circle, _m_, one-and-a-half inches in diameter, and with a pair of sharp
scissors cut through all these lines, to the edge of the smaller ring.
Bend one edge of each of these triangular pieces slightly upward, as
indicated by the shading, and the opposite edge downward; also bend a
piece of wire a foot long, so as to form the crank indicated in the

Next make a frame-work for the figure to rest upon: this should consist
of a three-cornered piece of wood, six inches long for the bottom, a
stick six or seven inches long for the upright, and lastly, the support
for the upper part of the wire, with a small hole in one end for the
latter to pass through. Fasten these pieces together with small
brad-nails, and secure the upright to the bottom piece by a screw or
nail passing up from below. The wire, having the crank already bent in
the proper place, may now be passed up through the hole, and the other
end sunk down into another, bored a short distance into the bottom
board, directly below the upper one. Then the wire may be fastened to
the windmill, by passing it through a little one side, then back again
through on the other side of the center; twisting the end once or twice
about the main stem beneath the windmill; it now turns with the
windmill, and it is needless to say that the friction in the holes
should be as slight as possible.

The figure is to be cut from a piece of cardboard and is made in five
pieces. The lower half, which comprises the box, legs, and body up to
the dotted line, is in one piece; the head and body to the lower edge of
the belt, consists of two pieces, cut precisely alike, and lapping on
either side of the lower part of the body over the dotted line, to give
strength to the image. A pin passed through the belt, and bent down on
the other side, will hold it in place, and allow sufficient play to the
figure. There are two arms, cut from the same pattern, and pivoted at
the shoulders with another pin. The hands are finally brought together,
with the crank between them, and lightly secured on either side with two
or three stitches.

To impart life to this creation, it is placed over a furnace register
through which the hot air is briskly rising. If the machine works
easily, the current of air above a stove may suffice.


                         THE FLYING WHIRLIGIG.


This amusing toy consists of an empty spool with two pins driven into
its head, as seen in the figure. With a pair of pliers break off the
heads of the pins before driving them in position, then take a piece of
soft wood and make a spindle, like that represented in the figure at
_A_, and drive another headless pin into the small end. Lastly, cut from
a piece of cardboard a figure like the one marked _B_, making three
holes, _a a a_, with the point of a darning-needle, corresponding to the
two pins in the spool and the one in the spindle.

Bend the edges marked _x_ and _y_ in opposite directions.

Now place the spool on the spindle and wind a piece of twine around the
spool; then place the piece of pasteboard upon the top, letting the pins
pass up through the row of holes in its center.

Holding the machine upright in the left hand, with a quick movement of
the right, jerk the string from the spool, and the cardboard will fly
through the air with a very graceful motion.

If stripes of color are added to the ends, as seen in the cut, a much
prettier effect is produced while the whirligig is in operation. These
stripes can be painted in red, white, and blue water colors, or may be
formed by pasting on narrow strips of bright-colored paper.

If the first trial does not succeed, wind the string in the other
direction, or put on the “card flyer,” with the other side next the
spool. The same causes which make it soar away in the one case will hold
it yet more firmly to the spool in the other.


                          HOW TO MAKE A BOOK.

Do any of my boy readers know how to make a book? Not the fine volumes
turned out by the thousand in our great publishing houses, but the
little individual books made by boys and girls, and needing for their
construction only an old used-up ledger, a small tin pan of paste, and
scraps cut from newspapers or books. These bits may consist simply of
poems, or they may be “a little of all sorts.”

I recently saw a very nice book of this kind made by a boy of twelve,
which was composed entirely of humorous pictures and jokes, culled from
several illustrated and daily papers, one or two almanacs, and various
other chance publications, which he had collected during the year.
Whenever he found any bright or witty thing, he would carefully preserve
the clipping by putting it in a large paper box he kept in a convenient
place for that purpose.

He reserved the pasting for rainy days and winter evenings, and as he
took much pains with the arrangement and neat appearance of his book,
this operation was necessarily slow, and formed a pleasant occupation
for many hours which would otherwise have been wasted.

In making such a book, do not try to complete it in a week or even a
month, but let it, like my boy friend’s, furnish amusement for a year.

Get your father and mother interested, and ask them to save any scraps
they may see, and think appropriate for the purpose.

A handsomely bound scrap-book, specially designed for this use, would
certainly be the most desirable thing to have; but if such a book cannot
be obtained, an old ledger does very nicely in its place, and if, after
it is completed, you cover it carefully with a piece of smooth brown
paper and print its title neatly on the back, it will look very well on
any table where you may wish to keep it.

If the latter is used, cut from it every other two leaves, reserving the
third, through the book. Next be careful to trim all your clippings
neatly, leaving no extra paper beyond the edges. Fit the different slips
nicely on the pages, filling the little spaces left from the longer
articles with any little jokes or bits of poetry you may have.
Frequently a whole piece of newspaper poetry is hardly worth preserving,
but some one of its stanzas may be very pretty and just the thing to
fill up a place you may have left.

It is well to collect all these little things you can find, for they
always come in nicely when pasting, and your book looks much better when
finished if the original surface is entirely covered.


                               THE SNAKE.

[Illustration: A]

Cut from a piece of Bristol board, or stiff paper, a circle measuring
four inches in diameter; then with a pencil mark it like Fig. _A_. With
your paints and pencil make its head as nearly like a snake’s as
possible; and mark the body with stripes or checks, as your fancy may
dictate. Cut through the deep black line, put a pin through the dot on
the tail, and drive it into a slender stick of wood, which must be held
or caught over the stove or register. The rising current of heated air
causes the snake to revolve and apparently writhe, in a very natural
manner. This little toy, so simple in its construction, affords an
endless amount of entertainment to the little folks of the family, and
is well worth the trouble and time you may spend in making it.


The hot air from a lamp or gas jet will also impart activity to this
mimic reptile.


                       THE DIVIDED SQUARE PUZZLE.


Take a square of paper or cardboard, and cut it into four pieces, as
shown in the engraving. Now try to put them back in the form of a
square. This seemingly simple puzzle, has kept our young people busy a
whole evening, and was only accomplished at last by marking each piece
before it was cut apart.



Procure two pieces of glass about six inches square, join any two of
their sides, and separate the opposite sides with a piece of wax, so
that their surfaces may be at a slight angle; immerse this apparatus
about an inch in a basin of water, and the water will rise between the
plates and form a beautiful geometrical figure called a hyperbola.


                          THE GRIMACING FACE.

[Illustration: A]

[Illustration: B]

[Illustration: C]

Take a card one-and-one-half inches wide, and fold around it a piece of
unruled note paper, so that the card can easily slide up and down; then
paste this case on the under side. Now cut three holes in the paper for
the eyes and mouth, as seen in _A_; place the strip of card within this
and mark the points for the eyes and root of tongue; then slipping it
out once more, the eyes can be carefully finished, and the tongue cut to
fit in the mouth, and to extend some distance down on the chin, see Fig.
_B_. Then by putting the two pieces together, pulling the tongue in its
place through the opening, very amusing expressions can be produced, by
simply moving the pasteboard up and down in the paper. Fig. _C_
represents the two parts put together.


                              A GOOD BALL.

Take a round, well shaped orange; cut it evenly into quarters, numbering
them at one end to aid in putting the parts together again. Next cut out
of kid four pieces exactly like the four pieces of orange peel; then,
with strong linen thread, sew over and over three seams, thus joining
the four pieces, but leaving one seam open. In putting together be
careful to place 1 next to 2, and so on, just as they were in the
orange. Ravel out an old yarn stocking, or cut into narrow strips an old
cashmere one, and after making a little round ball of any soft woolen
material, commence winding it evenly with the raveled yarn, trying
occasionally if it is near the size of the kid covering. When nearly
large enough wind it in such a way that it shall just fit the cavity,
and then carefully sew up the remaining side.

Great care should be exercised in forming the inner ball, and in cutting
the kid. The wrists of old kid gloves make capital coverings. An old
rubber overshoe cut in very fine strips and wound carefully, forms a
nice center, but it is better to use the soft wool yarn next the cover,
as it is more pliable and makes a better shaped ball.

Prepare this ball during your leisure moments in the long winter
evenings; and it will then be ready for the first game, when the bright
spring sunshine reminds you of summer sports once more.




Take five tooth-picks, weave them together, as seen in the illustration,
which perhaps is easiest done by holding the three diverging ones
between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand at the point _a_, and
insert the other two successively, first _b_, then _c_. Now lay the
figure upon any flat surface, letting the end c extend a short distance
beyond the edge. If you touch a lighted match to _c_, in a moment each
stick will leap into the air as if suddenly endowed with life and
animation, quite unusual in such inert objects.



A glass bottle when freed from its top can be utilized in many ways, and
most boys will be glad to know how to get rid of this troublesome
portion without smashing the whole thing into fragments.

A red-hot poker with a pointed end is the instrument used. First make a
mark with a file to begin the cut; then apply the hot iron, and a crack
will start, which will follow the iron wherever it is carried. This is,
on the whole, simple, and better than the use of strings wet with
turpentine, etc.


                           A BOY’S BAROMETER.

Take a common vial, or small bottle, cut off the rim by using the hot
poker as directed above. Let the vial now be nearly filled with common
rain water, and applying the finger to its mouth, turn it quickly upside
down: on removing the finger it will be found that only a few drops will
escape. Without a cork or stopper of any kind, the water will be
retained within the bottle by the pressure of the external air, the
weight of the air without the vial being so much greater than the small
quantity within it. Now let a bit of tape be tied round the middle of
the bottle, to which the two ends of a string may be attached, so as to
form a loop to hang on a nail; let it be thus suspended in a
perpendicular manner, with the mouth downward: and this is the

When the weather is fair, or inclined to be so, the water will be level
at its lower surface, or perhaps concave, like an individual butter
plate turned upside down; but when disposed to be stormy, a drop will
appear at the mouth, which will enlarge till it falls, and then another
drop, so long as the humidity of the atmosphere continues.


                        AN INFALLIBLE BAROMETER.

With a few cents any boy can buy the chemicals required for this
barometer, and obtain an instrument much more reliable than many of the
cheaper grades for sale in the stores. Put two drams of pure nitrate of
potash, and half a dram of chloride of ammonium reduced to a powder,
into two ounces of pure alcohol, and place this mixture in a clear glass
bottle, covering the top with a piece of rubber or thin kid pierced with
small holes.

If the weather is to be fine, the solid matters remain at the bottom of
the bottle, and the alcohol is as transparent as usual. If rain is to
fall in a short time, some of the solid particles rise and fall in the
alcohol, which becomes somewhat thick and troubled. When a storm,
tempest, or even a squall is about to come on, all the solid matter
rises from the bottom of the bottle and forms a crust on the surface of
the alcohol which appears to be in a state of fermentation. These
appearances take place twenty-four hours before the tempest ensues, and
the point of the horizon from which it is to blow is indicated by the
particles gathering most on the side of the tube opposite to that part
whence the wind is to come. The longer the diameter of the bottle the
better for this kind of barometer.


                          THE BALANCING DOLL.


From a piece of soft wood whittle out a head and body like that in the
illustration, making slits on either side for the insertion of the
wings. These oar-shaped appendages are generally made from a shingle,
and are affixed to the body by pressing them firmly into the slits. The
whole thing can be painted to suit the fancy; water colors spread on
rather thickly answer quite as well for small objects of this class, if
protected by a good coating of varnish, made by dissolving a few cents’
worth of white shellac in a small quantity of alcohol. It is important
that the oars are of the same weight and placed at equal angles with the
body for this plaything to be successful.


                             THE BOOMERANG.

The boomerang is a weapon which has long been known as peculiar to the
Australian savages, who are wonderfully skilled in its use.



It consists of an irregular shaped piece of hard wood, so constructed
that by its aid, the unsuspecting game can be killed at an angle widely
diverging from the line of direction in which it was thrown. Instances
have been cited in which the boomerang, in the hands of these untutored
savages, has accomplished wonderful feats. One of the favorite ways of
throwing consists in sending the weapon in such a manner that it shall
skim along just above the ground for about a hundred feet, then, rising
in the air, double back upon its course, and hit a mark only a few feet
in front of the thrower. Of course we do not expect to equal the savages
in its use, when recent investigations show that it has taken the
experience of generations upon generations of men and hundreds of years,
to bring it to its present degree of excellence; but every boy may
derive much fun from practicing with the little cardboard boomerang cut
of stiff pasteboard in either of the forms given in the preceding page.
To throw this, place it upon a book, one end extending beyond the edge;
then, with a ruler or small stick, strike it forcibly upon the edge, and
it will fly through the air and back again, in an amusing, lively
manner, quite unlike any other missile in a boy’s collection. It may be
sent on its way by simply snapping it with the forefinger of the right
hand while it is held on the book in your left. If you should try making
one of wood to use out-of-doors, try it in the middle of a large open
lot, for there is no telling what mischief it might do if it only had
the chance.


                          THE MAGIC TELESCOPE.


The following, although requiring considerable skill in joining, can
readily be made by any boy of fifteen, if he is at all skillful in the
use of carpenter’s tools, and has a fair endowment of those two
excellent qualities, patience and perseverance, so absolutely
indispensable to success in almost any undertaking.

This telescope consists of a series of square wooden tubes, with an
inside diameter of about five inches, so carefully joined together that
no ray of light can find its way in through the crevices. The oblique
lines are pieces of looking-glass, with their faces turned toward each
other. Now, by placing the eye at _E_, of course it would seem that
anything at _H_ could be seen directly through the tubes _A B_, while if
a book or other opaque object be interposed, as shown in Fig. 2, it
would seem equally a matter of course that the view would be obstructed;
this, however, is not the case, as the mirrors reflect the object
through the tube and it appears as plainly as when the book is removed.

To those unfamiliar with its construction this magic telescope, by which
you apparently see through a solid substance, is an unfailing source of


The object at _H_ should be quite brilliantly lighted, as some of the
rays are absorbed in the passage of the reflection through the tube;
especial care should also be taken to place the mirrors at a slant,
exactly midway between the horizontal and the upright, or, to speak more
scientifically, at an angle of 45 degrees to the line of the tubes.

The tubes _A_ and _B_ should not be so far apart at the place where the
book is inserted as to permit the backs of the mirrors to be easily



Take a large-sized piece of alum, and pour over it a pint of boiling
water, letting it stand until the water has taken up or dissolved all
the alum it will. If at the end of a few hours any alum remains
undissolved, you may be sure the water contains all the alum it can hold
in a liquid state, and the solution is called a “saturated solution of

During the summer, while the grasses are in their most perfect state,
select such as you think will look well crystallized, and put them into
a vase or wide-mouthed bottle to dry, being careful to spread them well
apart, so that they may retain their perfect shape in drying. If the
season of grasses should pass before you have a chance to collect them,
the season of weeds is always at hand. Any boy, in his wanderings over
marsh or mountain, through woods or our quiet village street, during
even the coldest winter months, could not fail to see some beautiful
sprays of seed-pods crowning many of our most common weeds, which if
crystallized, would make a very pretty and acceptable present to mother
for the corner bracket, or the shelf which seemed just a little bare
before. Having secured your grasses or weeds, both together if you like,
and having your saturated solution of alum at hand, lay as many tops of
the grasses in a flat dish as will fill it without crowding, then pour
the liquid over them, being careful that the parts you wish crystallized
are under the surface. Let them lie in this position until well coated
with the alum. When finished remove them and put in others. Continue in
this manner until all are treated. If only a few crystals are desired
they may be obtained by dipping the heads one at a time in the solution
and slightly shaking them after each immersion. When all have been
dipped, commence with the first and repeat the process. Do this until
the crystals formed are as large as you wish them to be.



In making these crystals the coloring should be added to the solution of
alum in proportion to the shade which it is desired to produce. Coke,
with a piece of lead attached to it in order to make it sink in the
solution, is a good substance for a nucleus, if a cluster of crystals
are to be formed. Any form, if wound around with knitting cotton, can be
used, or the grasses above described can be dipped in these colored
solutions, and very pretty results obtained.

Yellow: muriate of iron. Blue: solution of indigo in sulphuric acid.
Pale blue: equal parts of alum and blue vitriol. Crimson: infusion of
madder and cochineal. Black: Japan ink thickened with gum. Green: equal
parts of alum and blue vitriol, with a few drops of sulphate of iron.
Milk white: a crystal of alum held over a glass containing ammonia will
become a milky white color upon its surface.

    [NOTE.—To make an infusion of a substance you simply pour
    boiling water over it. The madder and cochineal are in the dry
    form, and only a little water should be used, as too much will
    make the color less brilliant.]


                             ANIMATED FIRE.

When small pieces of camphor are placed in a basin of pure water, a very
peculiar motion commences; some of the pieces turn as if on an axis,
others go steadily round the vessel, some seem to be pursuing others,
and thus they continue forming a very curious and pleasing appearance;
but if a single drop of sulphuric acid be put into the water, the motion
of the camphor instantly stops. If a piece of camphor be lighted, and
then carefully placed on the water, it burns with a bright flame, moving
about with great rapidity, as if in search of something, but is
instantly stopped by a drop of sulphuric acid.



Dissolve in seven different tumblers containing warm water, half ounces
of sulphates of iron, copper, zinc, soda, alumina, magnesia, and potash.
Pour them all, when completely dissolved, into a large flat dish, and
stir the whole with a glass rod or bit of broken glass for a while.
Place the dish in a warm place where it will be free from dust and will
not be shaken. After due evaporation has taken place, the whole will
begin to shoot out into crystals. These will be of various colors and
forms, some little ones being gathered together in small groups, and
other larger ones scattered throughout the whole fluid. By a little
careful study you will soon be able to distinguish each crystal
separately, from its peculiar form and color, thus learning an
interesting lesson in chemistry, while making a beautiful ornament for
your room. Be sure and preserve it carefully from the dust.


                        HOW TO MAKE A BLOWPIPE.

Procure two common clay pipes; break off the stem of one about three
inches from the little end. Take a cork that exactly fits into the bowl
of the other pipe, cut a hole through it large enough to insert the
mouth-piece already broken off, and draw this through the opening till
its larger end is even with the surface of the cork. Insert the cork in
the bowl, and fill the end of the stem which touches the flame with a
tiny ball of clay or chalk. Through this clay make a hole with a needle,
and a blowpipe is the result, which answers very well for any experiment
a boy may be likely to try.


                           HOW TO BLOW GLASS.

Although it is impossible to give any detailed account of glass blowing
which would be practicable for small boys, yet a child can amuse himself
for hours, by simply melting bits of glass and joining them together; or
by melting small glass tubes and drawing them out to mere threads; or
again, blowing them up into tiny balloons until their surface is as thin
as a soap bubble and almost as fragile. These little tubes are smaller
than the end of a pipe-stem, about four inches long, and made of very
thin glass. A dozen can be procured for ten or twelve cents at any place
where chemical supplies are to be found. A short tallow candle, held in
a cheap tin candlestick, answers for the flame; and the tobacco-pipe,
converted into the blowpipe just described, can be used in any of the
experiments here given. Take a piece of a broken window pane, hold it in
the left hand very near the candle flame, then holding the blowpipe so
that the shorter end nearly touches the flame, blow steadily through the
pipe-stem a current of air into the flame, which sends it upon the glass
and soon reduces the part in contact with it to a red-hot melting mass;
this can be worked into various shapes by forming it with the aid of
pincers; or it can easily be joined to pieces of different colors, by
holding the two together and turning the full force of the blaze upon

The little tubes may be heated in the same manner, and one end be closed
air tight, by pinching it tightly while still hot; then, after heating
the portion near the end to a red heat, lay the blowpipe aside, and,
taking the tube away from the flame, blow into the open end with the
mouth. If this is done quickly, before the glass has had time to cool, a
pretty bubble or balloon is the result.


                               A SIPHON.

A simple glass siphon can be made by taking one of the above tubes and
heating it at a point about one-third of its length from the end, till
the surface appears a rosy red; then carefully bending it over the round
part of a clothes-pin, till the two ends form parallel lines.


A simple experiment with the siphon affords considerable amusement to
the little folks, and is well worth trying. Take two tumblers, place
them side by side, and fill one with water. Now fill the siphon with
water and place the longer end in the empty tumbler, and the shorter one
well down in the water of the other. Immediately the laborer will begin
to work, pumping water into the empty vessel, and will not stop until he
has reduced the water in the full tumbler to a level with the end of the


                            TO MELT STONES.

Many kinds of stones containing more or less metallic ores, can be
readily melted by means of the blowpipe. When the specimens are small
they can be placed upon a piece of mica, and then presented to the
flame; or a clay receptacle can be made for the purpose, by simply
hollowing out a small cavity in one side of a lump of clay. Large ones
can be held in the hand or with the pincers as in the case of the glass


                             A SOAP BUBBLE.

Within the past few years soap-bubble parties have been quite the style
among our young people, and not a few of the older members of society
have joined in the frolic with as much zest as their younger
competitors. Usually at such gatherings, after the guests have all
arrived, the hostess, having previously secured two or three boxes of
bonbons, or other equally inexpensive trifles for prizes, presents each
of her guests with an ordinary clay pipe, and leading the way to the
room in which the bowls of soap-suds are already prepared, shows her
prizes, and challenges all to the contest. If fine, large iridescent
bubbles are desired, it is well to add a small quantity of glycerine to
the water used. It is said that if the mixture of glycerine and water is
allowed to stand some hours before it is used the effect is much better.
Hot water and soap can be added just before the party enter, and only
two bowls of the soap mixture are necessary for quite a large party.
These should be placed upon small side tables or stands at opposite ends
of the room. Two or three reliable persons should be chosen for judges
to decide the contest. The parents or some older members of the family,
at whose house the party is held, usually perform this duty. I should
have added, when speaking of the soap mixture, that the common yellow
soap intended for laundry use, is much better for this purpose than the
finer toilet varieties most commonly used by amateur soap-bubble


                             RESIN BUBBLES.

If the end of a tobacco-pipe be dipped in melted resin, at a temperature
a little above that of boiling water, taken out, and held nearly in a
vertical position and blown through, bubbles will be formed of all
possible sizes, from that of a hen’s egg, down to sizes which can hardly
be discerned by the naked eye, and from their silvery luster, and
reflection of the different rays of light, they have a pleasing
appearance. Some that have been formed these eight months, are as
perfect as when first made. They generally assume the form of a string
of beads, many of them perfectly regular, and connected by a very fine
fiber, but the production is never twice alike. If expanded over a gas
jet by means of a small rubber tube, they would probably float around
the upper part of the room.


                        THE THREE MAGICAL CARDS.


Take three cards of the same size, and thick enough to prevent the black
surface from showing through; ink or paint over the whole of one side of
_c_, having the other side perfectly white, and the others, _a_ and _b_,
in the parts shown in Fig. 1; they are now ready for use.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

Fig. 2 shows the first arrangement of them, _a_ and _b_ lapping over
each other so that when _c_ is placed in the position shown by dotted
lines the whole face presents a perfectly white surface. Show this to
your audience; then, still holding them in sight, inform them in a neat
little speech, that by aid of some magic power you possess, you can
readily change these same cards to black, or back again, at will. Now
holding them with their backs away from you, in such a manner that the
card _c_ cannot be seen by the other boys, turn them upside down and
spread out what were the lower parts of _a_ and _b_. You have them now
in the position indicated by Fig. 3, and after carefully turning _c_ you
will find them presenting a uniformly black surface. Should any bit of
white show at the lower corner, cover it with your thumb. When they are
arranged to your satisfaction, hold them up in front of you, and while
saying over some cabalistic words, such as, for instance, “Presto,
agramento, calafesto—change!” blow upon their faces and turn them around
to your audience, which will probably be greatly surprised at this
undeniable evidence of your magic skill.

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

Instead of white, the ordinary playing cards may be used, blacking the
back of one to represent _c_. These are much more showy than the plain
white ones, and the trick is not so easily discovered if slight bits of
black are seen, as those having black spots are generally taken for the


One day a little fellow who had been repeatedly mystified by this trick,
saw the cards which his brother had prepared lying on the table. He took
them up, examined them carefully for a moment, then, with his little
face all aglow at the revelation, he exclaimed, “Ha! I’ve found out how
you do it now, you just blow charcoal on the other part.” How he got rid
of the part already black, he did not explain, nor did we think to ask
him, but he had at last solved the puzzle of their turning black, and
that was all he cared to do at the time.


                            AN OPTICAL GAME.

Hold a ring between thumb and forefinger at some distance from the boy
addressed, and giving him a crooked stick, ask him to close one eye and
try to catch the ring on the stick. This game looks so very simple, that
any boy is certain he can do it at one thrust, and is only made aware of
its difficulties after several unsuccessful attempts.



Desire the person who has thought of a number to triple it, and to take
the exact half of that; triple that half if the number was even, or if
odd multiply the larger half by 3; and ask him how many times that
answer contains nine: for the answer will contain the double of that
number of nines, and one more if it be odd. Thus if the number thought
of is 5, its triple will be 15, which cannot be divided by 2 without a
remainder. The greater half of 15 is 8. If we multiply this by 3 we have
24, which contains 9 twice. So we shall have 2 + 2 + 1 = 5, the number
first thought of.


                          THE COUNTER PUZZLE.

In an old book published over half a century ago, I came across this
puzzle; and finding it gave an evening’s entertainment to our young
folks, I introduce it here for the benefit of those boys who take
especial delight in games of an arithmetical nature.

[Illustration: Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Out of thin cardboard—old business cards answer this purpose nicely—make
thirty-two blank counters, the size of a dime. Then upon a piece of
note-paper mark off a figure just three inches square, and divide it by
lines into nine compartments, each containing one square inch. The
puzzle is, to arrange the counters in the external cells of the square
four different times, and each time to have nine in a row, yet to have
the sum of the counters different, and varying from twenty to
thirty-two. If you will inspect the following figures you will see how
this is possible: the first represents the original disposition of the
counters in the cells of the square; the second, that of the same
counters when four are taken away; the third, the manner in which they
must be disposed when these four are brought back with four others; and
the fourth with the addition of four more. There are always nine in each
external row, and yet in the first case the whole number is twenty-four,
in the second it is twenty, in the third twenty-eight, and in the fourth
thirty-two. The numbers are substituted in the place of the counters in
the above figures for convenience, but Fig. 5 represents the disposition
of the counters, as indicated in Fig. 2.


                      ANOTHER ARITHMETICAL TRICK.

By knowing the last figure of the product of any two numbers, to tell
the other figures. If the number seventy-three be multiplied by each of
the numbers in the following arithmetical progression, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15,
18, 21, 24, 27, the products will terminate with the nine digits, in
this order, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1; the numbers themselves being as
follows: 219, 438, 657, 876, 1095, 1314, 1533, 1752, and 1971. Let,
therefore, a little bag be provided, consisting of two partitions, into
one of which put several tickets, marked with the number 73, and into
the other put as many tickets, 3, 6, 9, etc., up to 27. Then open that
part of the bag containing the number 73, and ask a person to take out
one ticket only; after which, dexterously change the opening, and desire
another person to take a ticket from the other part. Let them now
multiply their two numbers together, and tell you the last figure of the
product, by which you will readily determine from the foregoing series
what the remaining figures must be. Suppose, for example, the numbers
taken out of the bag were 73 and 12, then as the product of these two
numbers, which is 876, has 6 for its last figure, you will readily know
it is the fourth of the series and the other two figures must be 8 and



These numbers must not exceed 9. Let him think of two or three numbers,
double the first and add 1 to the product, multiply the whole by 5, and
add to that product the second number. If there be a third, make him
double the first sum and add 1 to it; then desire him to multiple the
new sum by 5, and to add to it the third number. If there should be a
fourth number, you must proceed in the same manner, desiring him to
double the preceding sum, to add 1 to it, to multiply by 5, and then to
add the fourth number, and so on. Then ask the number arising from the
addition of the last number thought of, and if there were two numbers
subtract 5 from it: if three, 55; if four, 555, and so on, for the
remainder will be composed of figures, of which the first on the left
will be the first number thought of, the next the second, and so of the

Suppose the numbers thought of to be 3, 4, 6; by adding 1 to 6, the
double of the first, we have 7, which being multiplied by 5 gives 35; if
4, the second number thought of, be then added, we shall have 39, which
doubled gives 78, and if we add 1, and multiply 79 by 5, the result will
be 395. Lastly, if we add 6, the third number thought of, the sum will
be 401, and if 55 be deducted from it we shall have for the remainder
346, the figures of which 3, 4, and 6, indicate in order the three
numbers thought of.



As boys are always interested in short cuts in arithmetical processes,
it may be well to insert for the benefit of those who are studying
multiplication, a method of proving their examples which I learned a
short time ago from an old banker of New York. This rule is simply to
add the digits of both multiplicand and multiplier, divide both answers
by 9, and multiply the remainders; divide this product by 9 and the
remainder will be, if the example is correct, the same as that obtained
by adding the digits of the product and dividing that answer by 9. For
instance, suppose after multiplying 4359 by 2786 we have 12144174 for
the answer; now instead of performing this operation over a second time
to make sure our answer is correct, we simply add the digits in 4359 and
divide the sum 21 by 9, we find we have 3 left. As it is the only
remainder we have to deal with, we need not keep the other figures. By
adding the digits in the multiplier we obtain 23, which divided by 9
gives 2 and 5 remainder. Now, multiplying the first remainder by the
second we have 15: this product divided by 9 gives 1 and 6 remainder. If
the product 12144174 is correct, the sum of its digits divided by 9 will
leave 6 for a remainder. Performing the operation, we find the sum of
its digits is 24, divided by 9 equals 2 and 6 remainder. As both the
remainders correspond, the answer was correct. After a little practice
you will find you can prove your examples very quickly by this method,
and where a number of sums are given without the answers it will be of
invaluable assistance, besides saving you a great amount of labor.


                       THE SELF-RECTIFYING DART.


The dart, and its larger brother the javelin, were among the earliest
weapons used in warfare, and were very skilfully thrown, not only by the
Roman soldiers, but by the Goths and other savage tribes who lived in
the regions north of them.

These javelins were large affairs, measuring some six or seven feet in
length; the handle, a tough piece of wood, was generally four and
one-half feet in length, and an inch in diameter, while the rest of the
length was taken up by the barbed triangular-shaped head.

Ever since those days children of all nations and climes have made toy
implements, resembling those in general appearance, but varying much in
size and materials used.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

The little dart described below is perhaps the tiniest and least
formidable of them all; but even this should not be carelessly tossed
about the room in which others are playing; when, however, thrown in the
open air, and away from others who might be hurt, there is considerable
amusement derived from the airy bit of flying wood, which always comes
down with such unerring certainty upon its spear-like head. To make this
dart, take half a sheet of note-paper, double it diagonally across, so
that its top edge may fall evenly upon that of one side (see Fig. 1),
and cut off the surplus piece of paper which remains uncovered at the
bottom of the page. Open your square, and fold it again in the other
diagonal line _c_, _d_ (the first is represented on Fig. 2, as _a_,
_b_). Now, opening again, fold upon the line _e_, _f_, then, after
opening, upon _g_, _h_. Crease all the folds as you make them. Now,
having prepared your handle, which consists of a piece of wood about 8
inches long and the size of a lead pencil, cut across one end at right
angles, with slits nearly or quite an inch in depth; take your paper and
open it flat once more. Fold the diagonals so that the four points, _a_,
_b_, _c_, _d_, shall all meet together above _x_, and the lines _ax_,
_bx_, _cx_, and _dx_ shall meet at the central line of the figure, and
the four shorter lines, _ex_, _fx_, etc., form the outside edges of the
figure. Insert a tiny wedge or knife-blade at the bottom of the slits,
and press the paper down in the opening, bringing the folded edges
through each of the four slits; remove the wedge, and the paper will be
firmly held in its place. Insert a needle or headless pin in the other
end of the wood, and the dart is ready for use.


                           THE BALANCING PIN.

This amusing feat I first saw performed in our little district
school-house, many years ago.


One morning, while the teacher was busy with his class at the
blackboard, one of the boys drew an old clay pipe-stem from his pocket,
and producing a small green gooseberry and a pin from some other part of
his clothing, gave us boys to understand that he was about to perform
some wonderful trick with them. We were of course all attention, and as
the teacher’s back remained turned toward us, he proceeded to astonish
us with his remarkable feat. He first stuck the pin through the
gooseberry, and then let it fall, point downward, into one end of the
pipe-stem; then, placing the other end to his mouth, and holding his
head thrown well over backward, he blew into the opening, and the
gooseberry and pin arose quite clear of the tube, and began dancing and
balancing above it in a very funny way. How long it would have continued
its gyrations I cannot tell, probably until his breath gave out, but
just then a little boy in the front row made some exclamation, and
straightway the teacher’s head came around, the pipe-stem, pin, and
gooseberry went on a voyage of discovery out of the school-house window,
and the boy got a thrashing for his pains. But the feat was often
performed by us all after that, and some years later, when a second
generation of boys were having over again the tricks and sports their
older brothers had outgrown, I saw the same principle applied under more
favorable conditions. Instead of the straight pipe-stem, which
necessitated throwing the head over backward, to insure its
perpendicular position, a tube bent at a right angle near one end was
used, and the balancing of the pin could be much more easily watched by
the performer. Instead of the gooseberry, a currant, pea, or any light,
round fruit can be substituted, and a small glass tube may take the
place of the pipe-stem.


                          A BOX-SLED FOR BABY.

Procure a deep, smooth soap-box, and decide how high you wish the back
and front to be; then take a piece of brown paper, the exact size of the
sides of the box, and mark on it a curve, which shall unite the high
back with the low front. After this has assumed a perfectly satisfactory
form, cut it out and tack it on one side of the box. Mark the outline
carefully on both side-pieces, and saw the boards as indicated by the
line; cut the front straight across, and rasp and sand-paper the edges
till they are very smooth and well rounded. Next paint the box inside
and out, excepting the bottom, which is to be fastened to the sled, with
a thick coat of burnt umber, and give it a good drying. Then with
light-blue paint, make a narrow band, one-fourth of an inch wide,
entirely around each side, the back, and the front, about half an inch
from the edge. Stencil a pretty design on the back, and the name of the
little owner on each side; let this thoroughly dry, and finish with two
coats of varnish. A little seat can be fitted in the back part if
desired, but a pillow answers the purpose much better.


                             A SET OF CARS.

Procure a stick of wood of any length, and an inch and a half square at
the ends. Saw it into pieces six inches in length, being careful to cut
it evenly, that the blocks may be rectangular in form. Round off the
tops slightly at the edges and paint them brown, then give the sides and
ends a good coating of yellow.


If you have no oil paints, it would be a good investment to get a few
tubes, as they are not expensive, and are of invaluable assistance in
adding beauty and naturalness to many things a boy can make. For the
cars, a tube of chrome yellow, one of Indian-red, and one of black would
be needed, but as those are not over seven or eight cents apiece the
whole cost would be small. The windows can perhaps be most conveniently
put on by “stencilling.” To do this, cut a piece of stout paper or thin
cardboard the exact size of the side of the car, and mark the windows on
it in their proper places (see Fig. 2). Then cut out the windows thus
drawn with the point of a sharp penknife. Catch the card firmly upon the
surface by driving two or three fine pins through it into the wood.
Finally, with your brush moderately filled with the black paint, cover
all the yellow surface exposed through the openings; then remove the
card very carefully and one side of your car will be complete. After
painting the whole set, another long time will be needed for drying.
During the meantime obtain a few screw-eyes and hooks, and, when
perfectly dry, screw a hook into the left and an eye into the right end
of each car, join them into a train, and you will find you have a strong
set of cars with which your little brother can play to his satisfaction,
without a fear of breaking. The locomotive is more difficult to make,
but with a little care any boy of ten can be quite certain of success.


                          THE TOY LOCOMOTIVE.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

The thin ends of a common soap-box afford very good material for the
base of this locomotive, while the end of a curtain-roller makes a
capital boiler. The cab can be cut from a cigar-box, and a button-mold
will do for the boiler-head. First cut from the thicker wood a base in
shape like Fig. 1, and seven inches long by one and a half wide; with a
jackknife bevel it on either side of the pointed end to correspond to
the shape of the pilot, as shown in the cut. Saw the roller even at
either end just four inches in length. Next cut from a solid block of
wood a smoke-stack three inches high and an inch in diameter across the
top. The cab is cut from the cigar-box wood, and consists of a front
like _a_, two side-pieces like _b_, and a top like that seen in Fig. 1;
round off the edges of the top to give it a slightly convex surface like
the tops of the cars. Now, with brads, fasten these three parts
together. Then with a long, slender brass screw fasten the button-mold
and smoke-stack on front of the boiler. The screw should have as large a
head as it is possible to find, and should be long enough to extend half
an inch or more into the round section of wood or boiler. Cover the
whole, excepting the cab, with two thick coats of black paint, being
careful that the first is perfectly dry before the second is put on.
After the blackened surface is thoroughly dry and hard, put the red
stripes on the pilot, as seen in the cut: and for the brass bands around
the boiler use chrome yellow. The cab is painted Indian-red, and after
this is perfectly dry, the windows are painted on with black, as in the

[Illustration: 1]



The little ornamental lines on the cab are made with the yellow paint. A
large round-headed brass screw driven through a low flat spool (such as
is used for button-hole twist), into the top of the boiler in front of
the cab, makes a good steam-chest and whistle, and adds the finishing
touch to this indestructible little toy. If you anticipate making this
train of cars for a Christmas present, begin it in time, as paint dries
much more slowly in winter than in summer, and it is absolutely
necessary that each coat be perfectly dry before the next is applied.
Varnishing greatly improves the durability and appearance of the painted
surface. Shellac dissolved in alcohol makes the best varnish for this
kind of work. It should be made moderately thick, and if intended for
light-colored work, white shellac should be used, as the dark leaves a
slight stain upon the surface. I forgot to add in its proper place that
a brass button, caught in on top by a stiff wire, is made to represent a
bell. The wire should be first bent into the shape seen in the
illustration; the button then hung in position, and the wire finally
driven into the holes made to receive it.

The tender consists of a piece of wood the same width but only half the
length of one of the cars, and one inch high. This is painted black with
a narrow band of yellow running around the sides near the top, and is
fastened to the locomotive and car by means of the screw-eye and hook.


                            A FREIGHT TRAIN.

The locomotive for this train can be made like the one already
described, and the cars are cut from a rectangular stick, in the same
manner as the passenger cars. These should receive a thick coat of
Indian-red paint, and if this does not cover well, that is, if any of
the wood shows through, another coat should be given. After the paint is
perfectly dry, put on one edge of the side, near the top, a number in
white, and two or three letters in the same color, to represent the
sides of the freight cars on different lines. If desired, the cars can
be painted different colors, and the side decorations copied from the
car you mean to represent. Give the whole a good varnishing with the
shellac dissolved in alcohol, and allow plenty of time to elapse before
the toy is used, for it to become perfectly dry and hard.


                       A LOT OF PAPER WINDMILLS.


Take a thin stick of wood a foot and a half or two feet long, and nail
to it four cross-pieces, graduated in length and six or seven inches
apart. The shorter, at the top, should measure about six inches. Cut out
of stiff, colored paper (the greater the variety the prettier the
effect) fifteen pieces, each three inches square, and slit each piece as
indicated by the diagonal lines in the figure. Out of pretty
tissue-paper cut three round pieces for each mill, about the size of a
silver dollar, and with a dull knife scrape their edges, that they may
slightly curl like the petals of a rose; crinkle them at the center if
intended for a rose, or from the edge toward the center if for asters or
marigolds, and thrust a large, strong pin through the middle of each
disk, drawing the flower well down over the head; then, bending the
opposite corners of each square of paper so that they shall all rest
over the central dot marked on each (Fig. 1), force the pin with the
flower on its head, down through the five thicknesses of paper, driving
it well into the wood of the frame. In doing this care should be taken
to avoid creasing the curved edges of the windmills. They are placed
upon the frame-work as indicated in the cut.


Very pretty windmills are often made of only two shades, common
note-paper being used for the wheels, and a bright, rosy pink
tissue-paper for the flowers. Indeed, those made of common brown
wrapping-paper without any flowers at all give more satisfaction in a
light wind than the more elaborate ones described above.


                            A WINTER GARDEN.

Most boys love flowers; and many families, especially in the country,
would keep more through the winter than they do, if they had the space
and time to devote to them, necessary for their preservation. A number
of pots, sufficiently large to hold good-sized plants, take up
considerable room; and no little time is required each day, to keep the
pots clean and the plants well watered. Now, boys, I have a suggestion
to make, which I intend for your ears alone. Why can’t you make a winter
garden, and, if necessary, take care of it through the season? It will
amply repay you for your labor, and do much toward brightening the home
life through the long dreary months, when everything without is covered
with ice and snow.

First procure a soap-box, the best and tightest you can find: if any
cracks are too wide to be easily closed with putty, nail laths over them
on the inside, line their edges, and, in fact, stop every seam and
crevice with good thick layers of putty. Next paint over the entire
inside with any colored pigment you may have, as it does not show when
the box is filled with earth, but simply aids in making it water-tight.

Now take four strong pieces of wood, about two and a half feet long;
smooth them well and sand-paper; be sure both ends are cut off evenly,
and that each leg is the same length as the other three, and, finally,
nail them firmly to the four corners of the box, letting the tops come
in line with its upper edge, and give the whole thing two good coats of
Indian-red. A very pretty stand is made by substituting the straight
trunks of young forest trees with their bark left on in place of the
smooth, painted legs; bore holes in the bottom of the legs and insert
casters, and finish by giving the entire outer surface a thick coating
of varnish. Then get a good wheelbarrow-load of fine leaf-mold, about
half that quantity of sand, and some common garden soil. Stir these well
together, and fill the box half full with the mixture, first covering
the bottom with pebbles, to secure drainage. Before this, however, bore
a hole with a good-sized gimlet in the bottom of the box, and fit a soft
pine peg to close it from the under side. When the plants are watered
this peg can be removed, and a dish placed beneath the opening to catch
the surplus water.

You are now ready for the plants. I find almost any garden plants thrive
well in this box, so any favorites you may have will soon make
themselves at home in these new quarters. It is well to put vines around
the edge, as they fall over, and their glossy green leaves and stems
form an agreeable contrast to the dark-red background of the box itself.
In my present winter garden I have German and Cenilworth ivy,
partridge-berry, and the common inch-plant for vines. In the center is a
large salvia, taken up so carefully that the great ball of dirt was not
shaken from its roots. On one side is a calla lily, and on the other a
feverfew of the large double variety. At the ends are fuchsias and
heliotrope, and scattered over the other available spots are verbenas
and petunias, sweet peas and lobelia; one or two fish-geraniums of
bright colors also found a place, and a little wood-violet nestled in
one corner has bloomed since early spring. A beautiful large purple
pansy, too, has been blooming all winter in another corner of the box.

Over this garden are two hanging-pots, one filled with pink oxalis, and
the other with a Chinese pink; both have contributed their full share of
blossoms during the entire season, and neither seems to tire of
well-doing. I must now tell you how to care for these beautiful pets,
for they must receive some attention, which, however, is very small when
compared with that required by their sisters in pots. First, always
water them with warm water (almost as hot as you can bear your hand in),
pour this around the roots in sufficient quantities to thoroughly
moisten the soil. A good rule to be observed in watering your plants is
to pour on the water until it begins to run out of the hole in the
bottom of the box. With such thorough wetting down they will not need
water oftener than twice a week, except when the sun is very hot, and
the moisture evaporates quickly. A little carbonate of ammonia added to
the water greatly improves their growth, and half-a-dozen grains of
permanganate of potash added once a fortnight to the warm bath turns
their foliage a rich dark green. With a whisk broom, sprinkle them once
or twice a week with water which is also warm, but not as hot as that
used on their roots; this operation takes but little time, scarcely five
minutes, and as the stand is on casters it can be easily moved to the
middle of the room, and each side can then receive its full share of the
washing. It is safe to predict that if any boy would make the stand, and
supply it with rich soil, his mother or some one of his sisters would
only be too happy to plant and care for the flowers it might hold.


                            THE BOOT PUZZLE.

First take a piece of paper, double it, and cut from it a pair of boots,
the fold in the paper coming at the top of the boots, and consequently
joining them together. Then take another piece, fold it and cut it in
the form of Fig. 2, _a_ being the folded end. Fold still another piece
and cut it like Fig. 3, _b_ representing the folding side. Now open the
smaller piece, as in Fig. 4, and push the point _a_ through the opening
in its center (Fig. 5). Then put one boot through the loop of the long
arm, _c_, between _a_ and the smaller piece, which has been pushed
forward as far as it will go (Fig. 6). Now pull the smaller piece down
over _a_, and open the largest piece, and the boots are fastened on to
the larger paper in such a way that it is rather hard for the
uninitiated to extricate them.

[Illustration: Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

After they are fastened in place, with your finger-nail smooth out the
creases made at _a_, Fig. 5, as their appearance might furnish a clue
toward solving the mystery. It is best when cutting Fig. 2 to avoid the
creasing if possible.

[Illustration: Fig. 7]

When you pass them to your friends to take off, explain that they are
not to bend the boots. It is an excellent plan to make the last-named
articles of cardboard, while the other parts are simply of note-paper.


                         HOW TO TAKE PORTRAITS.


The person whose portrait is to be taken must sit so that his shadow is
thrown upon a sheet of cardboard or thick white paper placed against the
wall. To obtain a sharp outline there should be a fixed distance between
the lamp, wall, and sitter, which can easily be found by experiment. The
sitter must keep perfectly still while the outline of the shadow is
quickly traced upon the paper. A tumbler or roll of paper may be placed
between the head of the sitter and the wall, to aid in holding the head
quiet. The tracing is then cut out with a pair of scissors or a sharp
penknife, and placed upon a dark cloth or paper. This is a very pleasing
amusement for a cold winter’s evening, and the results are often profile
likenesses not only very striking but often wonderfully accurate.


                         HOW TO BREAK A STRING.


No boy feels himself perfectly at home if he has not one pocket at least
full of strings, and a good sharp jackknife at his command. Although the
jackknife often gets lost, the string is usually at hand, and most boys
will probably be glad to learn how a good strong cord can be broken
without injury to the hands. Take the cord and pass it around the left
hand, as shown in Fig. A, so as to form a cross or double loop over the
palm. One end is then wound round the fingers, and the other seized in
the right hand. Then, by closing both hands, and giving a very sharp,
quick pull, the string will be broken at the cross in the left hand.


For those boys living in the country who have a musical turn, but have
never seen this little instrument, I write the following description of


                          A CORN-STALK FIDDLE.


Find a good straight corn-stalk, and with your jackknife cut four slits
from joint to joint, as seen in the upper figure. Then from a bit of
wood cut a bridge, as shown just below. With the point of the knife lift
the three strings and insert the bridge. Then carefully raise the bridge
to its upright position, spread the strings until they rest in the
grooves cut in the bridge for that purpose, and put a similar bridge at
the other end. Make the bow in the same manner, of a smaller section of
a stalk, and the instrument is complete. I have never heard a very
decided tune played on this fiddle, but perhaps some of my readers may
be able to get music from this simple little instrument.



                             THE XYLOPHONE.

The xylophone is an instrument of great antiquity, having been used in a
slightly different form by both Greeks and Hebrews. It is now sometimes
used in connection with other instruments in our larger orchestras, in
which case, however, the bars are usually made of metal. Its
construction is very simple, and any boy having a good ear for music can
readily make one.

The instrument is composed of strips of wood of various sizes, and thick
enough to allow the passage of a stout piece of twine or fish-line, as
seen in the illustration. The largest strips give the lowest notes. The
first note of the scale may be a strip of any convenient size, and the
succeeding strips are tuned by carefully cutting away from the under
side until the desired tone is produced. They are strung upon cords, in
the manner shown in Fig. 2, a knot being made on each side to keep the
strip in place; and finally, across the upper part of a box, in order to
give sufficient resonance of sound. In putting these strips together, it
is necessary to have the holes through which they are strung at a slight
angle, or in the direction of the slant which the strings take when
fastened to the frame.

[Illustration: Figs. 2, 3]

The arrangement seen in Fig. 3 is perhaps best adapted to the usual form
of a box, and affords a greater range of notes. It would be well to
letter the upper part of the bars with the name of the note they are
intended to produce, and the wood should be thoroughly seasoned from
which these bars are made.

It is well to have the lowest note not the first of the scale but a
fifth below, and the highest three or four notes above the octave. This
will give sufficient compass for any air you may care to play.

A good ear for music is of the greatest importance to insure success in
constructing an instrument of this description, and it would simply be a
waste of time and patience for any boy not so blessed, to venture upon
the undertaking.

Little wooden mallets are sometimes used to play upon this xylophone,
but the little drumsticks belonging to the common toy drum are better
for the purpose.


Among the tribes of southern Africa an instrument of this class holds
the chief place in their festivals, and is played upon with considerable
skill by many of their native musicians. This piano, called by them
“marimba,” consists of two bars of wood placed side by side; in the most
southern portions quite straight, but farther north, bent round so as to
resemble half the tire of a carriage-wheel; across these are placed
about fifteen wooden keys, each of which is two or three inches broad,
and fifteen or eighteen inches long, and their thickness, as in the case
of the xylophone, is regulated according to the deepness of the note
required. Each of the keys has a calabash beneath it; from the upper
part of each a portion is cut off to enable them to embrace the bars,
and form hollow sounding-boards to the keys, which also are of different
sizes, according to the note required; and little drumsticks, like those
spoken of above, elicit the music. Rapidity of execution seems much
admired among them, and the music is pleasant to the ear.

In Angola, the Portuguese use the marimba in their dances.


                            THE ÆOLIAN HARP.

This simple little musical instrument derives its name from Æolus, god
of the winds, who is said to have lived at Stromboli, then called
Strongyle, while he reigned over the Æolian islands, just north of
Sicily. His island was entirely surrounded by a wall of brass, and by
perfectly smooth precipitous rocks. Here he dwelt in continual joy and
festivity with his wife and children; the latter, six sons and as many
daughters, are said to be a poetic type of the twelve months of the
year. And here he kept the winds, tied up in bags, in perfect
subjection, only letting them out when called upon to do so by Neptune,
god of the sea. As the winds served Æolus on his little isle, so we
force them to serve us in our far-away western homes, by operating upon
our instrument and making music to soothe and calm us when we are too
tired or indolent to make it for ourselves. The simplest form this
instrument can have is a single string of strong waxed silk, stretched
between two bits of wood, inserted under the lower window-sash,
sufficient space being allowed between the window-sill and the sash for
the vibration of the string.


The other and more satisfactory harp is made like that in the engraving,
and is not so difficult an undertaking, that any boy who can handle
carpenter’s tools need fear to try it. Take two long strips of thin,
soft pine wood, four and five inches wide respectively, and a little
shorter than the sash is wide, to allow for the length of the pegs at
one end; then from common seven-eighths of an inch board make two other
pieces in shape like _b_, six inches wide, six high, on the narrower,
and seven on the back or longer side. With a small gimlet make in both
ends a row of eight or nine holes, at equal distances from each other,
and half an inch from the edge of the slanting top, for the strings to
pass through; then with a larger gimlet bore in one end only, the second
row of holes, _h i_, to hold the pegs upon which the ends of the strings
are to be wound. Nail the parts together as in the cut, making the lower
edges of the pieces meet at the bottom; then from the outside of _d e_
draw through as many pieces of violin string (the smallest or E string)
as you have holes in your wood. Hold these by knots on the outside, and
having brought them across the box pass them through the corresponding
holes in the other end, and twist them around the pegs below, in the
same manner that the strings are fastened in the violin itself. Unlike
the violin, however, these should not be drawn too tight, simply
stretched evenly across, and must all be tuned in unison. That is,
having drawn one as tight as you think best, draw the others, one at a
time, till they give forth the same musical note when snapped with the
finger. Now put another thin piece of board across the top which shall
just cover it like the lid of a desk. This was purposely left out in the
illustration, that the arrangement of the strings might be more fully
seen, but is necessary in the complete instrument. If catgut cannot be
readily obtained, strong pieces of sadlers’ silk, well waxed, may be
used in its place, although the tones resulting are not as musical, or
the strains as soft and lulling in character, as those produced by the

After the instrument is properly tuned, place it upon the ledge of an
open window, and let the sash down upon it, when, if there is any breeze
stirring, it will pour forth strains of sweet, drowsy music, beautifully
described by the poet Thomson, as supplying the most suitable harmonies
for the _Castle of Indolence_.


                          THE BOSTON CLAPPER.

Take a piece of soft wood, five or six inches long, and whittle out of
one end a hollow box, open at the top and outer end, like that
represented in the illustration. Cut a groove around the inside, near
the top, for the cover to slide in. Make this cover of a very thin piece
of tough wood, and one-third as long as the opening, pushing it, when
completed, well up against the inner end of the box; see _b_, in the
figure, for size and position of cover.

The handle, _f_, is simply for convenience in holding the instrument.
Pass a piece of strong string or fish-line twice around the box at the
point _d_, and after drawing it as tightly as possible, tie it firmly on
the under side.


Out of hard, tough wood make a thin, slender tongue, _c_, and place this
between the two strings at _e_. Now twist this tongue over and over,
each time drawing out the longer end, to allow of the other sliding by
the edge of the cover. At each revolution of _c_ the string is twisted
tighter around the box, and if the end of _c_ is touched, the other end
strikes with more force upon the cover _b_.

When sufficiently tight, grasp the handle with your left hand, and
having the point well over the cover, commence with the third finger of
your right hand and strike down on the end _c_ with the fingers in their
order, giving quick and repeated blows, like the successive taps of a
drum. The music produced, if not strictly melodious, is quite enchanting
to the average American school-boy.



I have now come to one of the most fascinating and at the same time
useful employments a boy can have; one which not only affords amusement
for the time being, but, if properly executed, furnishes home with much
which is useful or ornamental, at scarcely any expense beyond the mere
time and labor consumed in the work.

How many of my readers know how to make things of papier-maché? None who
are old enough to read these directions are too young to make really
useful objects or pretty playthings of this inexpensive medium; indeed,
many of the children of India, Persia, and many other Asiatic countries
support themselves, and in some instances whole families, by making
ornaments of papier-maché.

In Germany this art is carried to a great extent, and a large proportion
of the German toys so common in our stores, as well as the jointed
bodies of the expensive French and German dolls, are made of this

Papier-maché means “softened paper,” and is simply any old soft paper
converted into pulp by water; the poorer the paper the better. Cheap
newspapers, such as tear with a mere touch, thin handbills and posters,
are all particularly suited for this purpose.

For a first trial it would be well to take some simple object, and a cup
would perhaps make as good a beginning as any. First have some good
flour-paste made, by pouring into boiling water enough flour, which has
previously been moistened with cold water, to make a substance rather
thicker than boiled starch; this should be stirred only enough to unite
the flour with the water, and to prevent burning. Add to this one or two
old newspapers and a dish of water, a broad brush for the paste, and any
prettily shaped tea-cup conveniently at hand, and you have all the
materials required. A bag filled with sand or stuffed hard with cotton
is a great help in molding, although not indispensable to the operation.
Take the cup, which should be well smeared over with sweet-oil or lard,
and cutting out a piece of paper sufficiently large, wet it, and press
it down on the cup, using the fingers, or the sand bag, if you have it,
for the purpose; then with the brush spread the paste over the paper,
and lay on this another piece; press this down as before and continue
the process until twenty or thirty paper coverings have been used. After
the first two or three layers, it is not necessary to use pieces which
entirely cover the surface; any sized scraps will do if they are so
placed that the same thickness is preserved throughout. The outer
surface should be as smooth and even as possible. When this is
completed, let it dry for a day or two in any moderately warm place, as
it is not well to dry it too quickly. When it seems sufficiently hard,
remove the mold, and you will have a pasteboard cup with an uneven edge
which must be trimmed with a sharp knife and smoothed with sand-paper.

It might be well to trim off the top before removing the mold, as you
would be more certain of getting it even by so doing. After this the cup
can be painted in any manner desired.

A plaque can readily be molded upon the inside of a plate or saucer, and
a pretty work-basket can be made upon a shallow bowl. Toy boats are made
in the same manner as the cup, upon wooden molds cut out for the

CARD RECEIVERS.—These are generally flat dishes or shallow cups, made to
hold visiting-cards, or the varied collections from Christmas, Easter,
and New-year’s. They may be molded on plates, saucers, or small bowls,
or receiving their concave shape from a plaque or saucer, they can be
cut into any fantastic form your fancy may dictate. A large, well-shaped
grape-leaf, or the catalpa, would furnish pretty designs to those who
have no confidence in their own skill in that direction.

UMBRELLA HOLDERS.—Take any cylinder with a smooth surface, about two
feet in length, and six to ten inches in diameter, for the mold; make
upon it a coating of papier-maché about half an inch in thickness. It is
made much stronger by rolling it during the pasting. The bottom may be
of the same material, or a wooden disk made to perfectly fit into the
cylinder. The whole surface should be thoroughly sand-papered and given
two or three good coats of paint. A simple band of gold paint around top
and bottom forms a pretty finish, but a large bunch of peonies or
poppies, freely painted upon one side, greatly improves its appearance.

By reducing a quantity of paper and paste into a pulp, and allowing that
to become a little dried—still moist, but not liquid—a number of objects
can be molded, such as animals, boats, marbles, etc., by simply forming
them with the hands and allowing them to dry.

Paper pulp is sometimes mixed with common blue clay and glue, instead of
flour-paste, used as a _binding_ material.

A beautiful vase can easily be made of papier-maché by forming a
frame-work of pasteboard, and joining it together with a few stitches or
with narrow strips of strong paper pasted across the edges. Make this
frame-work as near the form and size of your vase as it is possible for
you to get; then with your thin paper line it inside and out, until it
seems as thick as you desire. Trim and sand-paper off the upper edge,
and cover with one or two extra layers to insure a rounded edge common
in earthenware vases. Stand it on a smooth, even table or board to make
it flat on the bottom, and let it have plenty of time to dry. Next make
from the paper pulp and fine clay preparation spoken of above a rose,
poppy, or other flower, with its leaves and buds, resembling as nearly
as possible those on the bisque vases so fashionable just now. This may
seem at first a very difficult undertaking, but by molding one petal at
a time, and placing each in position with glue as it is finished, the
work is comparatively simple. Do not undertake a difficult flower at
first. If in summer, you may take any from the garden, and after
enlarging every part in the same proportions, make it your model. When
the flowers, stems, and leaves are all in place, let them become
thoroughly dry, then after painting the body of your vase with shades of
blue, red, or olive, so applied that they give a clouded effect to the
whole, color your flowers as nearly as you can like the natural ones of
the same species, and the stems and leaves the proper shades of brown or
green. Let this paint thoroughly dry, and then varnish with the white
shellac dissolved in alcohol spoken of elsewhere in this book, if a very
light surface is to be covered, or with the dark shellac or common
varnish if the surface is intended to be dark. The floral decorations
are not absolutely necessary, and a very pretty vase is made by simply
painting the smooth surface with any graceful or pretty design, and
varnishing it subsequently to give it the desired polish.


                        THE JAPANESE PAPER BIRD.


In the skillful management of paper, the Japanese are acknowledged to
take the lead, as their balloons and kites, lanterns and fire-screens,
now so commonly seen in this country, will testify.

Many of the grotesque and hideous monsters, which nevertheless are
artistic in form and decorative in effect, are made of paper pulp, with
the necessary materials added to give it the proper degree of hardness;
and in articles made of folded or crinkled paper they have no equals,
while in some instances they apparently infuse life itself into their
airy creations. By simply folding a square piece of paper in the manner
here described, they produce a bird-like figure, which will move its
wings in quite a natural and amusing manner.

[Illustration: 1]

[Illustration: 2]

[Illustration: 3]

[Illustration: 4]

[Illustration: 5]

[Illustration: 6]

[Illustration: 7]

[Illustration: 8]

[Illustration: 9]

[Illustration: 10]

A leaf of paper—letter-paper is good for the purpose—is cut into an
exact square; fold this cornerwise, and then through the middle each
way, as indicated in Fig. 1. This done, turn over each corner in
succession, so that the edge of the square will be along one of the
cornerwise folds, as in Fig. 2, and fold sharply the portion from _a_ to
_b_. Do this eight times, twice with each corner, first turning it one
way and then the other, till it has the folds shown in Fig. 3. Turn
inward two of these portions, indicated by the shading, as in Fig. 4;
this will draw together the other two sides; fold it closely across the
middle, _a b_, as in Fig. 5; then repeat the same in the other
direction, folding on the line _c d_. This is done to mark the folds,
which may be made more completely by pressing them with the finger-nail.
Now it will be easy to bring the corners of the square up together,
making a figure like No. 5 or like No. 6, when looking down on the
meeting of the points at _a_. Then bring the points 1 and 2 together,
also 3 and 4, and your figure will be like No. 7. Take the two outside
points at _a_ and turn them down, folding at the dotted line, and you
have Fig. 8. Now turn down the other two points, 3 and 4, one forward,
the other backward, making Fig. 9, with two broad points inside and two
narrow ones outside. Turn and fold these narrow points to the right and
left, and turn down the end of one point to form the head, and you have
the bird, Fig. 10. Take it by the head and tail, as shown in the final
view, and move them to and from each other. After a little careful
working, when the folds become flexible in the proper places, you will
make the bird flap its wings. It can be done after a few trials, if not
on the first, and is sure to afford amusement to all.


                           THE TUMBLING EGG.

Fill a quill with quicksilver, seal it at both ends with good hard wax;
then have an egg boiled, take a tiny piece of shell off the small end,
and thrust in the quill with the quicksilver; lay it on the floor, and
it will not cease tumbling so long as any heat remains in it; or if you
put quicksilver into a small bladder, and then blow it up, upon warming
the bladder it will skip about as long as heat remains in it.


                            THE THREE HALOS.

Take a saturated solution of alum, and, having spread a few drops of it
over a plate of glass, it will rapidly crystallize. When this plate is
held between the observer and the sun or a lamp-flame, with the eye very
close to the smooth side of the glass plate, there will be seen three
beautiful halos of light at different distances from the luminous body.
The smallest, which is the innermost circle, is the whitest, the second
is larger and more colored, with its blue rays extending outward, and
the third is very large and highly colored.


                              PAPER BOATS.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

[Illustration: Fig. 7]

[Illustration: Fig. 8]

[Illustration: Fig. 9]

Take a piece of paper measuring about four by three inches; fold it
across the middle, as shown by dotted line in Fig. 1; then turn down the
corners of the folded side (_a b_, Fig. 2). You now have Fig. 3; turn up
the edge _c d_ toward you, and fold it; turn up the other edge away from
you, and fold it against the other side, which gives you Fig. 4. Bend
over the points _c d_ in either direction, also the other two
corresponding points, so that the outline of the triangle is continuous.
You can cut off these little corners if you like; but the boat is
somewhat stronger, however, by letting them remain, and after a little
experience, you will find no difficulty in disposing of them. This
little hat-shaped form you now open (Fig. 5) and press together, with
the points _e f_ meeting each other, which gives you Fig. 6. Bend the
point _f_ up toward you till it meets the point _g_, folding on the
dotted line. Turn the point _e_ up likewise on the other side. Now you
have another hat, but smaller, and with a triple crown. Treat this as
before (Figs. 5 and 6). Your last shape will have two points meeting at
the bottom and three at the top. Pull the two outside points at the top
apart sideways (Fig. 7), and continue this till you have drawn it out to
a flat shape, as in Fig. 8. Press this closely together, then open it
slightly, and the boat is complete—like Fig. 9.

    [NOTE.—To avoid taking up unnecessary space, the first two
    figures are drawn smaller than their actual proportion to the



Take fine paper and oil it well with lard or sweet oil; let it stand a
few moments to soak through, then remove the superfluous oil with a
piece of paper, and hang it in the air to dry. When the oil is well
dried in, take a lighted candle and move the paper slowly over it in a
horizontal direction so as to touch the flame, till it is perfectly
black. When you wish to take impressions of plants, lay your plant
carefully on the oiled paper, and a piece of clean paper over it, and
rub it with your finger equally in all parts for about half a minute;
then take up your plant, being careful not to disturb the order of the
leaves, and place it on the paper on which you wish to have the
impression; cover it with a piece of blotting-paper and rub it with your
finger for a short time, and you will have an impression equal to a fine
engraving. The same piece of black paper will serve to take off a great
number of impressions, so that when you have once gone through the
process of blacking it, you may make several impressions in a very short

It is well for beginners to try with single leaves before attempting
whole plants. After you have gained some experience you will find little
difficulty in making a beautiful bouquet of leaves, which will be a very
acceptable Christmas or birthday gift for mother or an older sister or


                      A NICE FRAME FOR THE ABOVE.

Procure a strip of board, half an inch thick and three inches wide; take
the dimensions of your drawing or impression picture, and subtracting
half an inch from both length and width, make the remainder the inner
dimensions of your frame. For instance, suppose your picture was twelve
inches wide and fourteen inches long, the inner dimensions of your frame
would be eleven and one-half by thirteen and one-half inches. The two
upright strips would be cut just thirteen and one-half inches long, but
the top and bottom would be eleven and one-half inches plus six inches,
the width of the two sides, which is seventeen and one-half inches. So
the two sides would be thirteen and one-half inches and the top and
bottom seventeen and one-half inches each. Great care must be taken to
cut the pieces so that their ends will be at exact right angles to their
sides. If you are not expert in such work, it would be well to get a
carpenter to cut the pieces for you. In selecting your stock for this
frame, procure a board with a rough, unplaned surface, if possible, as
the result is much better than with a perfectly smooth satin finish.
Next take a lath and cut from it two strips three inches longer than the
side-pieces, in this instance sixteen and one-half inches, and two other
strips one-half inch longer than the inner dimensions of top and bottom,
being twelve inches for the frame we are making. With good hot glue join
the parts of the frame, and tie it with a cord to keep its form till the
glue is dry; then lay the laths upon the back of the frame, one-fourth
of an inch from the inner edge, and with small brads nail them in place.
At this stage it is well to have your glass fitted, as it saves marring
the frame when finished. After it is fitted—any glazier will do that for
you—lay the glass carefully away till needed. Find some prettily shaped
larch twigs with their little cones attached, or if they are not to be
had, pine twigs will do, and with the hot glue and two or three slender
brads, place them in graceful bunches over the points of joining. With a
bottle of gold paint and a soft brush you can very soon change this
rough, unpretending affair into a very artistic frame, one of which, if
every step of the process of construction has been carefully taken, you
may justly be proud. The glass is next put in place, then the picture
carefully laid upon that, face downward, and a piece of cardboard—an old
paper-box cover will do—cut the exact size of the glass, laid upon both;
these are caught in place by brad-nails driven into the edges of the
laths, and extending over the edges of the cardboard. When the picture
is firmly fixed in its place, paste a piece of strong brown paper over
the whole back of the picture and frame, covering the laths as well.
This will exclude all dust and dampness and make the whole thing neater
in appearance. Last of all, put in two screw-eyes a little above the
middle line of the frame and attach a wire or cord for hanging it in its
place upon the wall.

    [NOTE.—Before pasting on the brown paper, dampen it well to
    avoid its wrinkling.]


                          PAPIER-MACHÉ BOATS.

In a preceding article, I alluded to boats as being good subjects for
papier-maché, and remembering how much pleasure every boy takes in
constructing a boat, I will give a few more explicit directions for the
benefit of those of my readers who have ponds and brooks within easy
access of their homes.

Having cut from soft wood a good model for the hull, smear it well over
with sweet-oil or lard, and rub it well into the wood; then cut your
paper into strips an inch or so wide, and paste them longitudinally
around the model from stem to stern, in very much the same manner that
the boards are put on a real boat, but not so evenly, as the arrangement
will not show when the boat is completed. Continue this process until
the coating of paper is as thick as very heavy pasteboard, and let it
remain until perfectly dry; then with a sharp knife cut off the edge
evenly at the top, and sand-paper the whole surface till it is smooth
and hard.

Cover both inside and out with two good coats of oil paint, making sure
that every point is protected by this medium from the invasion of the
water, which would soon ruin it if allowed to reach the paper surface.

Now cut two supports or braces out of 7/8-inch board, which will just
fit into the body of the boat, across it from side to side. These are to
give proper strength and, at the same time, form supports for the masts;
while into a post at the stern two small iron sockets can be driven from
the outside through the paper, for holding the rudder in place. The
others are placed, one fore and the other aft, in the position the masts
are finally to occupy.

As these boats are necessarily very light, some ballast or a keel is
indispensable for their sailing well. If a ballast is used, it must be
fastened in place by wires on the inside; but as a keel is most
satisfactory in the end, I should strongly advise its use. As it is
molded from lead, you will be obliged to construct your own mold, which
can be done by digging out a piece of wood in the proper shape, or, what
is easier, by nailing on a flat piece of board two narrow strips at a
suitable distance from each other, and closing the form by nailing other
and shorter strips across the ends of the first. A little trough, as you
will see, will be the result, and if after passing into this your melted
lead you place two sharp nails with their heads imbedded in the mass, at
the same distance from each other, and in the same relative positions as
your wooden supports, your keel will, when hard, require only a few
blows with the hammer to fix it in place. Care must be taken to place
the nails so that they will enter the supports after passing through the
paper bottom; as the keel would not otherwise hold in place. Next cut
from the cigar-box wood a deck for your craft; this is easiest done by
simply laying the model upon the wood bottom upward, and marking around
the edge with a sharp-pointed lead-pencil. This deck must necessarily
fit in your boat if your lines are followed in the cutting. Mark upon
the deck the positions of the supports, and bore holes through it and
into them, for the accommodation of the masts, which should be two in
number for a schooner, or three for a full-rigged ship; fasten a
bowsprit in its place, and arrange your sails and stays to suit the
style of your boat.

After the keel, deck, and bowsprit are in place, it would be well to
give her another good coat of paint, and when that is perfectly dry, to
varnish her thoroughly with the shellac spoken of before in this book.

This boat is a great improvement on the ordinary dug-out hulls most boys
are in the habit of making; for aside from taking less time in making,
and sailing more rapidly, it has the advantage of being duplicated; that
is, of having a dozen if you wish, made just like it on the same model,
while it would be almost impossible to make two alike by the old,
laborious method. In forming your model be careful to make it largest at
the top, so that it can be removed without trouble from its papier-maché


                          THE TOY STEAM-BOAT.


Among the many mechanical toys a boy of ordinary ability can make, the
steam-boat is perhaps one of the most satisfactory of them all.

As a scroll-saw takes an important part in its making, some knowledge of
one, or friendship with the owner of it, is desirable, if not absolutely
necessary, for complete success.

[Illustration: Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

This toy is composed principally of five pieces of board, of different
degrees of thickness, which are first cut out as follows:

The first piece, or hull, is eighteen inches long by three and one-half
inches wide, with a shape like that indicated by Fig. 1, and made of
wood seven-eighths of an inch thick.

To insure making both sides of these pieces alike, it would be well to
first draw, on thick brown paper, a straight line from the bow to the
middle point of the stern, and carefully mark out one-half the piece on
the right side of this line; then, folding the paper on the line, cut
through the outline, and the pattern is ready for use on your wood. Do
this with all the parts, and you will find less difficulty in putting
them together.

The second piece is made of a half-inch board, and is nineteen inches
long, by five and one-half inches wide opposite the slits for the

The dotted line _d e_ across this is just nine and one-half inches from
the bow, and is placed there to show where the slits _a a_ are to begin.
These slits are for the wheels, and are four and one-quarter inches
long, five-eighths of an inch wide, and three-eighths of an inch from
the edge. The sides opposite these slits must be straight, or parallel
to a line drawn from bow to middle of stern. The hole in the middle is
three inches long by two inches wide, with an extension two inches long
by one wide on the forward end. The middle of the main hole forms a line
with the middle point of the paddle-wheel slits. Remember and mark out
one-half of this on paper, double, and cut both sides at once; do 3, 4,
and 5 the same way.

The third piece is made of seven-eighths-inch wood, fourteen inches
long, and corresponds in shape to the second board from the dotted line
_b c_, Fig. 2, to just aft of the slits for the paddle-wheels. Here the
edge forms a line parallel to that of the second board, but one inch
from it all the distance around, as indicated by the dotted lines on
Fig. 2. Its shape is given in Fig. 3, and the point _d_ is intended to
fall over _e_ in Fig. 1. The rear, _f_, in the second board, indicated
in Fig. 2, extends an inch beyond, and forms the base for the flag-staff
to stand upon, and a hole is made at _g_ for another flag-staff to rest
in (_see_ engraving). The slits and central hole are the same size as in
second board, and correspond to them in shape and position. (The
position which three occupies in connection with two is indicated on
Fig. 2 by the dotted lines.)

Fourth piece: Cut it like Fig. 4 in shape, and out of a board one inch
in thickness. Its position is indicated by the inner set of dotted lines
on Fig. 3. This piece is ten inches long and two and three-quarter
inches wide, with a central hole the same size and shape as in the other
pieces. At three-quarters of an inch forward from the slits for
paddle-wheels, cut in three-quarters of an inch and finish in a
semicircular shape at each end.

The fifth piece is made of half-inch wood, in shape like Fig. 5, and
fifteen inches long by two and three-quarter inches wide, with the
middle opening corresponding in length to the other three, but only
three-quarters of an inch wide. Its position is indicated on Fig. 3 by
the outer set of dotted lines. When referring to these pieces hereafter,
I will call them Numbers 1, 2, etc., as indicated by the figures.

The smoke-stack next claims our attention: this is six inches long, and
seven-eighths of an inch in diameter across the top; its position is
indicated at _g_ on Fig. 5.

The pilot-house is cylindrical, and cut to correspond in form to that in
the illustration. It is one and one-half inches in diameter and two
inches high from base line to tip of point on the top.

The walking-beam is rather less than one-quarter of an inch thick, and
is two and three-quarter inches long by one and one-quarter inches wide.
It should be cut in the shape represented in Fig. 6, and a small hole
bored in either end.

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

The supports for the walking-beam are two in number, made of
quarter-inch wood, cut in the shape of _d_, _e_, _f_, Fig. 6; the base
line, _d f_, is one and one-half inches, and the height of the support
just two inches.

The wheels are made from three-eighths-of-an-inch wood and are circular
in form, with a diameter of three and three-quarter inches.

At this stage of the work it would be well to bore in each of these two
holes to allow the passage of a good-sized wire; one hole through the
center, and the other a quarter of an inch one side of it. This is so
arranged that the wire can be brought through the center of one wheel
and allowed to project a few inches. Then bend the projecting end twice,
in such a manner that it may enter the second hole in the wheel when
that is pushed back upon it. This arrangement is seen at _B_, Fig. 3, in
which the dotted lines show the final position of the wheel.

The pieces for the paddle-boxes, four in number, are semicircular, with
a base line or diameter of four and one-quarter inches. The form is seen
in Fig. 8, which also is intended to assist in the decoration.

[Illustration: Fig. 7]

Fig. 7 represents a front view of the walking-beam and its supports; the
line _a b_ is a short piece of strong wire, which passes through the
hole made in the center of the walking-beam, and rests in two holes made
in the sides of the supports near the top, and extending nearly, but not
quite through to the outer side. This is plainly seen in the figure, the
black line indicating the length of these holes. _C_ in the same figure
is a small piece cut from a quarter-inch wood and intended to hold the
supports in place, and to keep them a sufficient distance apart to allow
free motion of the walking-beam.

The forward and aft flag-staffs are of large wire, and the two masts are
of tough wood nearly as large round as a lead-pencil.

Having all the parts now cut out in the proper form and size, take each
piece and bore holes for the screws which hold them together. The
position of these is indicated in each figure by the heads of the screws
placed at precisely the best points; these screws should be of different
lengths, as those passing through No. 4 require a length of one and
one-half to one and three-quarter inches, while those for No. 2 need not
be more than an inch in length. In No. 3 make four small holes,
indicated by _a_ in Fig. 3, for slender screws which are to hold the
outer paddle-box pieces in place. In Fig. 3, the lines _b c_, _b c_,
indicate grooves, cut down in the sides five-eighths of an inch deep,
and reaching across in a straight line from the middle of one slit to
the middle of the other; these should be large enough to admit an easy
play of the wire which is to form the axle of the wheels. Holes should
also be made at _a_ and _b_, in Fig. 5, for the wire forming the
flag-staffs to pass up through, and for the screws at _c_ and _g_, which
are to hold the pilot-house and smoke-stack in place.

Having smoothed off all these pieces and sand-papered those parts
needing it, we now proceed to the painting, as it is much more
convenient to paint each piece separately, and then put them together,
than to leave it till the last, as is generally the custom.

No. 1 simply needs a thick coat of white paint.

No. 2 is also painted white. It seems unnecessary to add that those
parts not seen when the steam-boat is put together, need no paint.

No. 3 is first painted white, then the windows are stenciled on in the
same manner as given in the directions for making toy cars, in another
part of this book. These should be black, while the name should be
either dark red or brown.

No. 4 is also white, with windows stenciled on in black, as in No. 3,
while No. 5 is painted a buff color, both on the top and under-side.

The smoke-stack is black, while the base is a deep yellow; and the
pilot-house is white, with windows stenciled around its sides, while its
pagoda-shaped top is a bright, light green.

[Illustration: Fig. 8]

In Fig. 8, the two outside pieces of the paddle-box are given; and the
manner in which they are to be painted is indicated; these four pieces
need be painted only on one side, with a thick coat of white; two of
these may now be laid aside, but the other two, after drying, should be
decorated with radiating lines of red extending from the central
semicircle, to the dark-red line running around the top at a short
distance from the edge. These radiating lines should be alternated with
light blue ones near the circumference; and the small semicircle at the
bottom is a rich dark blue, with a star cut from gilt paper pasted on to
give it the desired brilliant effect.

The walking-beam, Fig. 6, should next be treated; this is first covered
with a bright green, and when dry marked with black, as indicated in the
cut. The supports are first painted buff, the same color as the top, and
afterward striped with black, as seen in Fig. 6.

The wheels must not be forgotten, for although showing but slightly,
they would give the whole boat an unfinished appearance if left
unpainted. These may be dark, or Indian red, with lines of black
radiating from the center to the edge.

After all the parts are perfectly dry, fasten No. 2 and No. 1 in
position, then having a sufficient length of wire, about the size of a
large knitting-needle, fasten it in the first wheel, as indicated at
_B_, Fig. 3. Then bend it into a crank, as shown by dotted lines in the
middle opening of Fig. 3. This crank should be one and one-half inches
wide and three-quarters of an inch deep; make the points, where it
bends, as near right angles as possible; then pass the end through the
other wheel, and with pliers bend it in place; next fasten the end of
the wire, as in the first wheel, taking especial care meanwhile that the
wheels are fixed the proper distance apart, and that the center of the
crank comes in the middle of the opening.

It is a matter of some difficulty to adjust these wheels, as they should
not be crowded against either side of the slit, but turn easily when the
boat is drawn over the floor.

After the crank is bent in shape, wind around it the end of a piece of
smaller wire about six inches long, as shown in Fig. 3. This wire is to
connect the crank to the walking-beam, but it is not to be fastened to
the latter until the boat is put together.

The outside of the paddle-boxes should next be attached to No. 3 by the
small screws already spoken of, which are to pass up from the under-side
through the holes _a a_, _a a_, Fig. 3, into their lower edge. The
extremities of these boxes should form a line with the ends of the
slits, and the outside of these and the edge of No. 3, which contains
the name, should form a continuous flat surface.

The other two sides of these paddle-boxes are to be secured against the
sides of No. 4, their bottom line forming a continuation of the bottom
of the piece, and their position determined by placing the part on top
of No. 3, as indicated in Fig. 3, and making their ends form a straight
line with those of the outside pieces and the slits; this is also
indicated by the dotted lines on the outside of Fig. 4.

Having fastened No. 3 in its position over No. 2 (see Fig. 2, dotted
lines), place the wheels in their slits and let the wires rest in the
_bottom_ of the grooves; they will then extend a fraction of an inch
below the bottom of the boat. This arrangement is intentional, as the
toy is intended to be drawn over a floor or carpet, and it is the
friction these wheels encounter that moves the walking-beam, and thus
gives it the natural appearance of a boat moving through the water.
After these wires are pushed to the bottom of the grooves, insert wedges
of wood above, deep enough to nearly touch them; make these of tough
hard wood, so that there shall be no danger of the wheels riding up out
of their proper places.

Place No. 4 in position, first drawing the wire attached to the crank
through the opening, and screw it firmly down upon No. 3. There is now
no danger of the axle of the wheels getting out of order, if the wedges
were firmly fixed, and deep enough to keep the wire in place.

The smoke-stack should now be fastened with a strong and very long screw
from the under-side of No. 5, at _g_. It should be very firmly attached
in its place, as little children frequently use this as a handle to take
the boat from the floor. Fasten on the pilot-house in the same manner at
_c_, on Fig. 5. Having the walking-beam and its supports perfectly
dry—and it would have been well to have given both a good coating of
shellac dissolved in alcohol—take a wire or piece of knitting-needle
nine-sixteenths of an inch long, and having fixed one end in the hole
made near the top of the support to hold it, pass it through the central
hole in the walking-beam, and insert the other end in the second
support, then screw the piece marked _c_, in Fig. 7, in its place, which
will of course hold the walking-beam firmly fixed. Now glue the supports
inside the slit of No. 5, and in such a position that when the
walking-beam is extended in a horizontal direction, the hole in the end
toward the stern shall be exactly above the line of the axle of the
wheels—that is, a line running across the boat from the center of one
wheel to that of the other. These supports should also be caught
underneath with nails, that there may be no danger of their falling
through into the opening in the center.

Having fixed these in place, fasten the loose end of the wire connected
with the crank through the small hole in the end of the walking-beam, so
that when the crank is in a horizontal position, the walking-beam will
also be in the same position. Attach a piece of wire four or five inches
long to the other end of the walking-beam, and let the loose end fall
through the opening in the top.

Now cover the open spaces at the top of the paddle-boxes with pieces of
tin just wide enough to reach their edges, and catch it in place with
tacks. Paint them with the light buff used for the deck.

Fasten the two wire flag-staffs to bow and stern, and pass a wooden one
seven inches long through _a_, Fig. 5, down into a hole in No. 2, as
shown in Fig. 2, at _g_. With fine wire attach a topmast five inches in
length to this, allowing them to lap about an inch.

Sink a mast four inches in length into a hole bored through 5 and well
into 4, so that its top will be about three inches above the deck, and
fasten the stays in their positions, as seen in the cut. On a piece of
blue cambric paint white stars, cut it in the shape of a flag, and
attach it to the forward pole. A small “one cent flag” will do for the
stern, while the name of the boat painted in red or vermilion upon a
white ground, should float from the tall staff in front of the

Before the flags are placed, the whole surface of the boat should be
washed, if she has become soiled while being put together, and after the
flag-staffs and stays are painted and have dried, the whole should be
covered with the shellac dissolved in alcohol. Be sure and use white
shellac, as the other would stain the white to a light brown and spoil
the whole effect.

A hole is bored horizontally through the bow three-quarters of an inch
from the extreme end, of sufficient size to admit a piece of large
fish-line, the ends of which after it is inserted can be tied together
to give a better hold for the hand.

This boat is modeled after the ordinary bay and river excursion boats
common to the northern and middle Atlantic sea-coast, but if any boy
residing in the West should care to make one resembling those he is
accustomed to see, he will find little difficulty in modifying these
directions to suit his own particular taste in naval architecture.


                            THE BOTTLE IMP.


Take one or more small bottles, such as are generally used by
homeopathic physicians for their pellets; cover them with a bit of
closely-woven white cloth, and fasten it with a string around the
middle. With oil paint make a grotesque face upon the upper part, and
draw stripes or figures to represent a clown’s dress upon the lower and
loose portion of the covering of each. Varnish this with the shellac,
dissolved in alcohol, and when perfectly dry they are ready for use.
Have a large-mouthed, perfectly clear glass jar nearly filled with
water; then, after filling the little bottles about one-third full of
the liquid, place the finger over the opening and immerse them, one at a
time, bottom upward, into the jar. Be sure and keep the finger over the
tiny mouth till they are well under the surface of the water. Should
they sink in the jar, you have too much water in them.

The quantity of water they contain should be such that they will barely
float, that is, the bottom of the little inverted vials should just
touch the surface. This adjusting of the equilibrium is a matter of some
delicacy; a single drop will make a difference: but by half-filling the
bottle, placing the finger over the mouth, and removing it an instant to
allow a drop or two to escape, the proper degree of buoyancy may be
attained. Three or four of these bottles, in masquerade, should be
introduced into the jar, and if they are, as they doubtless will be, of
slightly differing degrees of buoyancy, the amusing effect will be
enhanced. Now stretch a piece of thin rubber, such as toy balloons are
made of, across the mouth of the jar, and tie it down, as seen in the

To make the imps dance, one has only to press upon the rubber top, as
the air, in the top of the jar, is thus forced downward, the water is
driven up into the small bottles, compressing the tiny quantity of air
they contain, and they, in consequence, fall lower in the jar; but when
the pressure is removed, the air in them expands, and they instantly
rise to their normal position again.


Quite a pleasant evening’s entertainment can be derived from this simple
toy. You may first adjust your imps and make sure they are in good
working order; then prepare a slight introductory speech, in which you
can pretend to mesmerize the little images, not letting it be known they
are bottles, and by some wonderful power you are supposed to possess,
can make them obey your slightest wish. This will be very simple, as
they will naturally descend when you press upon the top. This pressure
should be exerted in such a manner that it is not noticed by the others
in the room. You might stand with your left hand resting upon the top of
the jar as if by accident, but in such a manner that you can easily
press down upon the rubber with one or more fingers, and while telling
of the wonderful things these little fellows can do, you can make
graceful gestures with your right hand, and motion with it what you
require them to do; it will thus seem that they are obeying the motions
of that hand, and will serve to mystify more than ever those of your
audience who are unacquainted with the secret.


                    TELESCOPE WHICH A BOY CAN MAKE.

First, obtain two lenses; the larger having a long and the smaller a
short focus.

A powerful telescope, having a large field of vision, requires a lens at
least two inches in diameter, with a focus of from two to three feet for
the larger glass; and another lens of from one-half to one inch in
diameter, and with a focus of one inch, for the smaller end. Having your
lenses, the next important step is to make your tubes; this is done by
bending a piece of pasteboard a foot long by seven inches wide in the
shape of a tube, whose diameter shall be about one-sixteenth of an inch
larger than that of your lens. Glue the edges firmly together, and tie a
piece of tape around to insure their keeping in place. Make two tubes of
this size and one rather smaller, that its ends may fit in the other
two. Lap these ends together, and paste or glue them in place (_see_
cut). Joining these sections together is simply to insure a proper
length of tube. If a piece of pasteboard can be found large enough to
make a tube three feet long, it will look much neater than the one
described above. Take a narrow strip of pasteboard and glue it around
the inside of the tube, half an inch from one end; put the large lens in
its place, and press it against the edge of this band. Now take another
strip, three-eighths of an inch wide, and paste around the inside
between the lens and the end of the tube. By this means the glass is
kept in place, it being held by the edges of the pasteboard on either


Another and smaller tube, five or six inches in length, and of a size
just sufficient to slide easily in the other end of the long tube should
now be made. Around the inside of one end paste a band of pasteboard, as
in the larger section, but much nearer the edge. When this is dry, paste
still another strip inside this one, making a wide edge for the lens to
rest against. As this tube is of much greater diameter than the glass,
inclose the latter between two disks of cardboard of the same size as
the opening in the tube, and each having a round hole cut in its center
for the eye to look through. Cover the inner side with paste, and press
it against the edges of the strips. Finally, cover the whole thing with
some dark-colored paper, pasting it carefully over the surface, and your
telescope is completed.

This instrument will present everything in an inverted position, but if
the lenses are carefully adjusted, objects at a long distance can be
very plainly seen, and a boy can derive a great amount of solid comfort,
not only while constructing, but from its subsequent use.

To find the focal distance of a lens, if for any reason the optician
does not give it, hold it in the sun, and observe at what distance from
itself it makes the smallest point of light. That, if measured, will be
its focal distance. The long tube should be from two to three inches
shorter than the focal distance of the larger lens.


                          CHRISTMAS PRESENTS.

“What shall we make for Christmas?” is the cry that arises from the
children all over this land and abroad, wherever the Christmas season is
known and observed; and many a boy would be glad to contribute his share
of labor toward making the others of his household happy, if he only
could think of something to make. In the following pages, I purpose to
give a few directions for some simple things, which boys of ordinary
ability can easily execute.


Procure a large, perfectly white, hen’s egg, and after making a hole
slightly larger than a pea in either end, blow the contents into a bowl
placed to receive it. Paint some little thing on both sides of the
shell—a bunch of forget-me-nots or pansies are very good subjects—or, if
well acquainted with the brush, a small landscape, inclosed in an oval,
is still prettier. After the painting is perfectly dry, varnish it with
a brush filled with “retouching varnish,” and, with a long hair-pin,
draw a piece of blue or pink ribbon through the holes, and get some lady
friend, who can keep the secret, to tie the ends in a pretty bow. A yard
of ribbon about an inch wide is required to complete this pretty


During your summer journeyings, collect any fine large shells you may
see; the large well-formed quahaug-shells (the common hard-shell clam),
or those of the beautiful sea clam, with their wonderful opalescent
linings. Scrape off all the outside you can possibly remove; then sketch
on the inside some pleasing marine view, or, if that is beyond your
powers, take any simple subject you are confident of doing well,
remembering that a very unpretending thing, well painted, is much more
pleasing, and indeed ornamental, than the most ornate subject
imaginable, if poorly executed or badly drawn.

In painting on egg or sea shell, or, in fact, on any hard substance of a
similar nature, use the paint as dry as is consistent with its flowing
freely, and allow plenty of time for it to dry. After the painting seems
firm and hard, give it a good coat of varnish, taking care to avoid
touching all the unpainted surface of the shell. This little
trinket-holder is easily made, costs nothing if one has a supply of
paints at command, and makes one of the most acceptable presents you can
offer to either an older sister or brother, as it is intended to stand
on the dressing-table, and hold rings, collar-studs, or sleeve-buttons,
when taken off for the night.


In making a corner bracket, which, on the whole, is the most
satisfactory to make, let one side be as large as the other, with the
thickness of the wood in addition, and let the front of the shelf form
the arc of a circle. If no curtain or fringe is to be tacked on the
shelf to cover the uprights, some simple ornamentation on these is
desirable. If a scroll-saw is conveniently at hand, this is easily
accomplished. A design should first be drawn upon paper the exact shape
and size of the bracket desired. This should then be transferred to the
wood and the surplus portions carefully cut away. After the pattern is
sawed out, the edges should be rubbed down with sand-paper, or if left
very rough, a rasp would reduce this unevenness more readily; the
sand-paper should be used in that case, to give the final finish. After
the surface is as smooth as it is possible to make it, oil the whole,
and when dry put the three parts together with brads and glue. Then oil
the entire surface again, and when dry varnish if you like.


If no scroll-saw is to be had, a pretty pair of uprights are made by
gouging a narrow stripe around the entire form, at equal distances from
the edge, and painting with gold paint a small stenciled form on the
middle of each, also filling the stripe with the same material. For the
stencil use a simple one of your own design, made according to
directions given in another place in this book. Should you and an older
sister desire to unite in making the present, she making the curtain,
and you the woodwork, no fancy design would be required. A simple
bracket, with well-proportioned supports nicely curving in front, and
well sand-papered, oiled, and varnished, would be all required, as the
curtain would hide the entire form.


One of the prettiest home-made brackets the writer ever saw was in an
old-fashioned country house, in a thinly settled region of
Massachusetts. The maker, a quiet, gentlemanly boy of fifteen, was a
cripple, and being obliged to remain much of his time within-doors, had
utilized these spare moments, and surrounded himself with many beautiful
things, made from materials which nature with so lavish a hand bestows
upon us all. This poor crippled boy loved the fields and meadows, lakes
and woods, with an intensity of feeling utterly inconceivable to his
more robust brothers and sisters; but his gentle, kindly manner won
their hearts, and the brightest and best the farm afforded, whether
fruit or flowers, minerals or young animals, found its way into “Ned’s
sanctum,” as his little room was called. Even the young calves and
colts, were brought around to his window, that he might admire their
rather doubtful beauty, and nearly every brood of newly-hatched chickens
spent several hours of their early life in a basket on the table at his
side. One day, the children brought home some beautiful spruce and larch
cones, and the little sufferer began, with the true artist’s sentiment,
to revolve in his mind how he could put them in a form, which should
always be in sight from his place by the window. At last he thought of
the bracket, and immediately set to work drawing designs for the
foundation. When these were quite satisfactory, he asked his brother to
saw the different pieces from old cigar-box wood, and nail them
together. The bracket was very simple in outline, but the arrangement of
the cones, half nut-shells, and tiny twigs, was extremely artistic and
pretty. They covered the two supports and the under-side of the shelf,
forming little pendants, like stalactites in some hidden cave. These
were glued firmly in place and afterward carefully varnished.


On this bracket was a little vase, made by the same deft fingers. A
broken wine-glass held the water, and the vase was formed around this,
of that inexhaustible material, papier-maché, studded all over with bits
of colored glass and bright pebbles gathered from the sea-shore. From
earliest spring till the frost claimed the last lingering blossom, this
vase was filled with the fairest flowers of the seasons, and, with the
unique little bracket, seemed like a bit of the delightful out-door
world transferred to the pleasant corner of the sunny little room.


The fall after his experiment with the bracket, Ned made a
hanging-basket with the same materials, using a wooden bowl for the
foundation. This was also a success, but not as uncommon as the bracket.
The cocoanut-shell, cut evenly around near one end, forms a good
material to build upon. In either this or the bowl, be sure to bore
three holes near the top, at equal distances from each other, to attach
the chains or strings to the basket. This must be done before the cones
are glued in place. If a fourth hole is made near the bottom, and filled
with a round-headed peg which can be removed at will, but which forms a
part of the design, and receives its share of the final varnishing, the
plants growing in the basket will present a much more flourishing
condition, as the surplus water can be readily drawn off from their


                              PAPER BOXES.

Many years ago, when our mothers were little girls and ready-made
playthings were not as common as at the present day, during the long
winter evenings they were obliged to invent their own amusements, and it
was not uncommon in a large family where there were several girls and
boys, for them to take turns in providing games for certain evenings in
the week. Even the little ones contributed their share to the general
amusement, and it was from one of these little girls, now grown to be an
old gray-haired lady, that I first learned to make these simple boxes.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

[Illustration: Fig. 7]

Take a square of ordinary note-paper, fold it as in Fig. 1, and crease
it across; now open it and bring the two corners to the central point of
the crease, and making them just touch each other at that point, and
crease the folds, as in Fig. 2. Next fold between these folds and
between the last made, and the corners, as in Fig. 3, always remembering
to crease the folds when made. Now turn the paper and crease it seven
times across the other way, and you will find your paper is folded in
little squares. Then take your scissors and cut the little half squares
left out in Fig. 4. Then with your penknife or the sharp points of the
scissors cut the little slits 1 and 2; next, cut 3 and 4, 5 and 6 to the
first creases; last, 7 and 8, 9 and 10 to the dots, but no further. Now
fold the joint marked 9, 10, so that it will go through the slit 2, and
when you have passed it through, straighten it out and press the paper
in the shape of Fig. 6. Now pass the last point through the remaining
slit and your box is complete. Occasionally, we used to make “nests” of
these boxes, by commencing with very tiny ones, and gradually increasing
the size, making one over another until our paper gave out, or we became
tired of the amusement.


                            A SHAVING-CASE.

Although generally considered girls’ work, many little boys delight in
working upon perforated paper, and they can put this pleasure to good
account in making a shaving-case for papa. Procure a piece of silver or
gold gilt perforated cardboard, of the coarsest variety, and cut it into
two similar pieces, five by seven inches in size. With double zephyr,
work an initial or some simple design on one of the pieces only, as the
other will form the back of the case. Then get half-a-dozen sheets of
different colored tissue-paper, and cut them up into pieces the exact
size of the case. When all are fitted, place them between the two
covers, and ask some lady in the family to sew them together at the top;
fasten a ribbon of the same color as the worsted to each top corner for
a handle, and cover the points of juncture with tiny bows. A little boy
in the writer’s family made one of these for a dear uncle, and it lasted
him a year without replenishing, forming one of the most useful presents
he received.


                             LEATHER WORK.

How many of my young readers have seen the beautiful shoes, boxes, and
saddle-cloths, made of leather or velvet, and appliquéd with thinner
leather, in graceful traceries, which are occasionally brought over to
this country from Russia? These are mostly the work of the women and
children of the smaller Russian villages, and in many instances their
only means of support.

In those cold, desolate regions, where summer is very short, and the
long dreary winter extends over a greater part of their lives, their
occupations necessarily must be such as can be carried on in-doors, and
are in many instances executed in their own homes. Hence the children
seeing the simple processes going on around them, soon learn to help,
and long before they have reached the age when American boys begin to
think of working, they are earning their own living, and frequently
supporting others of the family by their industry.

Although leather work to a Russian boy is anything but play, to a bright
American it will be a source of considerable pleasure, and will serve
the same purpose of amusement and instruction, for which most of the
things in this book are intended.

The materials for leather work are very simple, consisting of the waste
scraps from the neighboring book-binders or shoe-makers; these can be
chosen without regard to shape or size.

To do the kind of work spoken of above, and known as “Kasan work,”
select the thinner kid pieces from your leather, and with a lead-pencil
mark upon the wrong side any design you may fancy. Then with a pair of
sharp-pointed scissors cut out the design, carefully following the
lines, and making the edges smooth and even. Lastly, wet the back with a
little glue or paste, and stick it upon the cloth. Care should be taken
not to move the pattern after it touches the cloth, as the glue might
besmear the material in the open places of the pattern, and thus ruin
the effect. After this has partially dried, get your mother or sister to
stitch the edges on the machine, and you will have a nice bit of
material, suitable for a shoe-bag or any other useful object you may

Another kind of leather work which is better adapted for boys, and a
much more fascinating process than the above, is called by the French
name “Cuir Bouilli”—pronounced “queer bwea”—or boiled leather. The
scraps already gathered are suitable for this work, as any kind of
leather can be used, although the softer kinds, such as sheep or calf
skin, work much more easily. Soak this in hot alum water until it is
soft, remembering that thick, tough leather requires a much longer time,
as well as a hotter and stronger solution to soften, than the thinner
pieces you may have. After this leather has been reduced to mere pulp,
press it into any mold you may have at hand, taking care that it is
pressed into all the cavities. After it is partially dried, in two or
three days, remove the mold, and you have your object in firm hard
leather which can be painted or varnished as you like. Many toys for
your younger brothers and sisters can be made in this way, and are quite
indestructible. Should you chance to have a good-sized piece of skin,
much prettier things could be made from it, although a good worker in
leather will use his scraps as the boy in his papier-maché uses his bits
of paper, pasting them so nicely that no one would guess the number of
pieces used. The best paste for this work is made of dextrine, a cheap
substance, easily procured at any apothecary’s.


As this is one of the simplest forms into which leather can be wrought,
and one that probably gives the most satisfaction when completed,
perhaps the description of a dining room panel, made by the writer’s
little son, may afford more real assistance to the reader than any
general rules which could be given for the work.

He had a sheet of calf-skin, nine by fourteen inches, which he soaked in
warm alum water till it was very soft and pliable. Before this, however,
he had prepared his foundation, which consisted of a thick piece of
pasteboard six by twelve inches. Upon this was nailed or glued a simple
design of a duck hanging by its legs, which he had drawn upon a thin
slab of wood—a cigar-box cover, I think—and had cut out with a
scroll-saw. Before tacking this on, he rounded off the edges of the
figure on the right side with his jackknife, and using an old newspaper
and a little paste, he built out the body of the bird, molding it with
his fingers and an old ivory paper-cutter until he obtained the desired
shape. After this had dried he covered his soaked leather with the
dextrine paste, and laid it evenly on the form. Beginning at the middle
of the panel, he carefully pressed the wet leather upon the figure,
using the dull edge of the paper-cutter for the lines and deep places
left in the foundation; always working from the center toward the edge,
and taking particular care that each part was firmly attached to the
wood. After the bird was done to his satisfaction, he proceeded to stamp
over the whole background, using for this purpose an old office-seal
which was at hand. In regard to the stamp, any ingenious boy can easily
make a good substitute, by taking a piece of hard wood with a flat end,
and cutting it across in parallel lines, re-cross these lines with other
parallel ones, forming a surface of even diamond-work upon the wood.
This, when pressed upon the wet leather, makes a very agreeable
background for almost any figure you may like. A wet sponge must be
constantly applied to the leather while working, to prevent its drying
too rapidly. After the surface was well covered with the stamping, the
leather was again rubbed with paste and pressed over the edge of the
pasteboard background; tiny triangular pieces were snipped from the
corners to allow of their lying quite flat on the under-side. Finally,
the whole thing was firmly glued upon a black-walnut slab bought for
that purpose. This panel is the natural color of the leather, but they
are frequently stained black, and for that purpose the “ebony black
stain” is the best material to use; but it is not necessary that they
should be black; any color can be used, the beautiful bronze powders
making very fine effects.



For the benefit of those boys who make frequent excursions into the
woods, or away from the sight and sound of town clocks and bells, I
write the following, which I found in an old book published early in the
present century:

Extend the left hand in a horizontal position, so that the inside shall
be turned toward the sky; then take a bit of straw or wood, and place it
at right angles at the joint, between the thumb and the forefinger. It
must be equal in length to the distance from that joint to the end of
the forefinger, and must be held upright, as represented in the figure
at _a_. Now turn the bottom of the thumb toward the sun, the hand being
extended till the shadow of the muscle which is below the thumb
terminates at the line of life, marked _c_. If the wrist or bottom of
the hand be then turned toward the sun, the fingers being kept equally
extended, the shadow of the bit of straw or stick will indicate the


When the shadow falls on the tip of the forefinger, it denotes five in
the morning, or seven in the evening; at the end of the middle finger,
it denotes six in the morning or evening; at the end of the next finger,
seven in the morning, or five in the evening; at the end of the little
finger, eight in the morning, or four in the afternoon. At the nearest
joint of the little finger, nine in the morning, or three in the
afternoon; at the next joint of the little finger, ten in the morning,
or two in the afternoon; at the root of the little finger, eleven in the
morning, or one in the afternoon; in the last place where the shadow
falls, on that line of the hand marked _d_, which is called the table
line, it will indicate twelve o’clock at noon.



A dozen or more years ago I saw an advertisement from a Boston firm, of
a package, to be had for the small sum of twenty-five cents, which
contained several devices for entertaining children. As the
advertisement seemed attractive, I sent for the article, and received by
return mail a small box, which certainly contained all one could
reasonably expect for the money. Many of the smaller things I have
forgotten, but the idea of cutting stencils was so good, and gave the
children of our family so much pleasure, that I insert a few simple
designs, and give directions for cutting, hoping they may amuse the
little ones of other families as agreeably as those of ours.


These designs, which require considerable care in the tracing, should be
first drawn upon tracing-paper, or some stiff, thin paper, with a
sharp-pointed lead-pencil; then, this being securely attached to a piece
of thin bristol-board, or a common business-card, carefully cut the
design, leaving the edges smooth and even. Particular care should be
taken to cut all the useless bits of paper from the pattern. After a
little practice, children learn to make designs for themselves, and
enjoy it much more than following those given by others. It is, however,
necessary that they should use those supplied at first, so as to
understand just how the lines are to be cut.








After the design has been carefully cut out, take a smooth piece of
white paper, fold it through the middle; now fold again, bringing the
ends of the first crease together; fold once more, making the last
crease to fall upon the same line as the other two, and your paper will
be in shape like the letter V, Fig. 1. Be sure that _b_, in Fig. 1,
forms a perfect point. Now lay the pattern on your folded paper, letting
_a_, Fig. 2, fall upon _b_, Fig. 1, and taking care that the edges of
the pattern fall evenly upon the folds of the paper. Cut the paper out,
following the lines of the design. After the black portions have all
been cut away, open your folded form, and you will have a very pretty
stencil, which can be used in decorating your playthings, or for the
various other purposes stencils are so extensively employed. One little
friend of mine used to paste all his finest specimens on square pieces
of black cloth, and after he had a good-sized collection, he had the
pieces sewed together in the form of a book. On the cover he pasted the
word “Stencil” and his initials, all cut from white paper; and it was a
never-failing source of pleasure to him to show this little work,
declaring proudly as he did so, “I did it all myself with my own little
pair of scissors.” These stencils could be cut from variously colored
papers and then pasted upon ordinary note; the whole being caught
together with a piece of ribbon. A book would be the result, which, if
not prettier, would be less cumbersome than my little friend’s, and
would probably give full as much satisfaction, besides being much easier
to make. If you will carefully examine the inside decorations of many of
our fine public buildings, you will see that much of the work is put on
with stencils; and by looking still more carefully, you can learn just
how these stencils are made; and from them gain ideas for your own
designs, which will aid you very materially in any decoration you may
try. It is not expected that a boy has judgment or skill sufficient to
decorate an important room, but if you would like to try the experiment,
you may be able to persuade your parents to allow you to try your hand
at something of the kind in an unused garret room. But even in this, do
not begin at hap-hazard. Study all the designs you can find, and note
the effect of the colors on each other and upon the color of the wall
itself. Choose some simple, open pattern at first, and do not use more
than two colors in putting it on the wall. The fresco paint, or
kalsomine, comes in a powder, with full directions for using printed on
each package. It is put on with a short, thick brush; and is patted on
through the stencil. For stenciling, the paint or kalsomine must be
mixed much thicker than for an ordinary wash, and it is best to have
your stencil pattern, after it is perfected to your taste, cut from a
piece of tin, if a tinman is near at hand. After the walls have received
their share of decoration, it would be well to paint the door to match,
using some appropriate oblong stencil for the panels, and applying it
with oil paint. In such things it is very easy to overload the work, and
by putting on too much spoil the effect; so care and judgment must be
exercised to know at just what point to stop, as well as to avoid
daubiness and an uneven character to your work.



If you should rub two squares of cut-loaf sugar together in a dark room,
light would result from the friction; but the effect is produced in a
much greater degree by two pieces of silex or quartz; and if two pieces
of a fine quality of quartz be forcibly rubbed together, you may
distinguish the time of night by a watch; but what is more surprising,
the same effect is produced equally strong on rubbing the pieces
together under water.

In olden times, before matches were invented, fire for all purposes was
produced by means of friction; a piece of flint and one of steel being
the substances used, and a tin box of charred linen rags, called tinder,
received the sparks which fell from the steel.

Many years ago, when your great-grandmothers were children, in many New
England communities a cow’s horn, sawed across the top, and fitted with
a wooden stopper, was used to hold the tinder, but later, the more
stylish and luxurious tinder-box took its place. This box, made of tin,
and somewhat larger and deeper than a good-sized blacking-box of to-day
was fitted with an inside cover, a simple disk of tin with a ring of
wire in the top for a handle, and was filled with a quantity of cotton
or linen rags, which were set on fire with a brand from the hearth. When
this burning cloth had reached a black color, but before it was reduced
to ashes, the inside cover was let down upon it, and the flames were
extinguished. After this, another outside cover was put on the box to
prevent dampness penetrating, and thus rendering the tinder worthless.
To insure further protection against the intruding damp, the box, with
its companions of flint and steel, were generally kept in the chimney
closet beside the fire-place.

In those primitive days of our country, it was a very common thing for a
farmer’s wife to run into a neighbor’s and borrow some one of these
necessary articles, and it was usually the tinder, which she had
neglected to prepare when fire was plenty, that was the thing needed.
Occasionally, when two or three houses were near together and the
inmates on friendly terms with each other, one set would answer the
demands of the neighborhood, and would be used by all with equal
freeness. Later on, each family made their own matches, by simply
dipping bits of wood into melted sulphur, and allowing it to dry on the
end. These matches were kept in another tin box, and when the spark had
ignited the tinder, the sulphur end was touched to the smoldering fire,
and would immediately burst into flame.

Before these matches were invented, however, when the housewife wished
to make her fire (stoves were of course unknown), she would seat herself
near the fire-place, and, grasping the uncovered horn or box between her
knees, would hold her steel in her left hand just above it, and with the
flint or quartz in her right, would strike upon the former, till two or
three sparks fell upon the charred surface; the bit of glowing tinder
would then be carefully taken from the box, wrapped around with a bit of
rag, and blown upon with her breath until the cloth burst into flames. A
candle was quickly lighted from this, to keep the flame till the fire
was well under way.

Every boy has probably felt the inconvenience of being without matches,
when a fire on the beach in summer, or near the skating-pond in winter,
would have been such a luxury. The next time the emergency occurs,
strike a piece of quartz or hard white stone upon the large blade of
your jackknife, over any bit of dry cotton or thin paper you may have at
hand, as a tinder-box would probably not form part even of the very
miscellaneous collection of the average school-boy’s pockets.


                     EXPERIMENT WITH FLOWER-SEEDS.

Split a small twig of the elder-bush lengthwise, and having scooped out
the pith, fill each of the compartments with seeds of flowers of
different colors, but which blossom about the same time. Surround them
with mold, and then tying together the two bits of wood, plant the whole
in a pot filled with earth, properly prepared. The stems of the
different flowers will thus be so incorporated as to exhibit to the eye
only one stem, throwing out branches covered with flowers of different
colors, analagous to the seed which produced them. If the plants are
somewhat alike in the texture of their stems, and germinate at about the
same period, there will be less danger of the strong choking the weak.


                       HOW TO SKELETONIZE LEAVES.

Among the many desirable subjects for photographic printing, none are
more satisfactory or so delicate as a graceful arrangement of
skeletonized leaves. It may be very simple, and composed of only three
or four leaflets; or it may be so elaborate as to embrace specimens from
trees and weeds, wild flowers and garden shrubs; while the beautiful
seed-pods and grasses, readily found in our fields or along our
brooklets, answer for the blossoms in this dainty, fairy-like bouquet.

The methods employed in freeing leaves from their pulpy element, or
cellular tissue, as it is more properly called, are very unlike, as
practiced by different individuals; but the following, given the author
by a lady friend who has a large and extremely beautiful collection of
remarkably fine specimens, is very simple, and can be practiced with
success by a boy or girl of ten.

Take a wash-bowl, and fill it half full of soft water, into which a
heaping teaspoonful of baking soda should be thrown; place this in a
sunny window, or one with a southern exposure if possible, and put in
your leaves; care must be taken that they are all under water, and not
too crowded, although three or four dozen can safely be done at a time.
Any leaf which has a firm, well-defined frame-work will make a good
specimen. The leaves of the horse-chestnut, maple, silver-leaf catalpa,
and magnolia; those of the currant, pear, English ivy, and plum, all
make fine skeletons, and many delicate seed-covers, like those of the
strawberry-tomato, are very easily treated. Do not confine yourself to
this list, however, but try any which resemble these in texture, as a
great variety is particularly desirable, if you would have a good

After you have put your leaves to soak in the soda-water, leave them in
the sun for three weeks, as that is the shortest time in which any will
do. Then look them carefully over, and should any be found nearly free
from their tissues, take them out, and wash them off in a bowl of clean
water; then with a soft brush liberate any tiny particle that may still
adhere to the frame-work, as any blemish of this kind is considered a
defect in the specimen.

During this process, be careful to retain the fine threadlike bit of
fiber that entirely encircles the leaf and forms an outside frame-work
or edge. If it is found impossible to entirely clean the skeleton by aid
of the brush, it should be put in a bowl or saucer of clean water and
left in the sun for two or three days longer. When they are thoroughly
cleaned, place them between the leaves of an old book, and lay them
aside until the time for bleaching.

If you live in or near the latitude of New York, the best time to
collect and treat your leaves is in June, while they are still fresh and
tender, and before the insects have destroyed their shape; but should
your home be further south, April or May would be a better time.

After your collection is complete, and all are dry, they will be much
improved by bleaching. This process is also very simple, consisting, as
it does, of merely dipping them in a weak solution of chloride of lime,
and letting them remain there until the proper color is attained; then
by slipping a piece of unglazed paper—ribbon paper is best for this
purpose—beneath the surface of the water, and bringing it up with the
leaf lying flat upon it, the skeleton can easily be taken from the

If the form is not inclined to spread out on the paper as it should,
take a long slender darning-needle, and with the point carefully arrange
it to your satisfaction. Another drying is now necessary, but the
bleached leaves should be left on the ribbon paper, which may be put
between the leaves of a book as before.

These can be kept for years, and should you be successful and obtain a
number of perfect specimens, they will form a very valuable addition to
your materials for Christmas gifts, and, prettily arranged, a very
acceptable present to any dear friend.


                            CAMERA OBSCURA.

Camera Obscura, a Latin name, meaning literally a dark chamber, belongs
to an instrument invented by Baptista Porta in the sixteenth century.


The principle involved in the simplest and most refined forms is the
same, and may be illustrated by the following experiment: Let a small
hole be cut in an opaque window-shade, and the room darkened. If, now,
the beam of light entering the room by this hole be intercepted by a
sheet of white paper, held at a small distance from the hole, an
inverted image of objects without will be seen upon the paper. By
placing a small convex lens over the hole this image is rendered much
more distinct. It will also be found, that at a certain distance from
the hole the image attains the sharpest or clearest outline, and that if
the paper be removed from this point to any position either nearer to
the hole or further from it, the image becomes indistinct and confused.
At the point of greatest clearness the image is said to be _focused_.
Such being the principle of the camera, it is evident that in practice
the instrument may assume many forms, provided always that it consists
of a darkened box or chamber, having a hole at one end for the insertion
of a lens or combination of lenses, and at the other a screen, generally
made of ground glass, on which to receive the image. One of the first
home-made cameras I remember seeing was constructed by a boy friend many
years ago. In it he used a lens from an old ship’s spy-glass, which
still remained incased in its brass tube. Fig. 1 gives a view of this
form of camera. As every boy is not as fortunate as my friend in having
a brass mounting for his lens, it would be well to inclose it in a small
tube of papier-maché or pasteboard, so that it may be moved in or out of
the opening at will. The box itself was made of cigar-box wood, with the
cover sawed in two parts. After the hole had been cut at one end and the
lens inserted, a piece of looking-glass was placed obliquely across the
lower corner of the other end of the box, the longer piece of the cover
nailed on the front part of the top, and a piece of ground glass
carefully fitted, with the ground side downward, over the remaining open
space; the smaller part of the cover was then fastened on one side with
small pieces of tape. When not in use, this little cover fell down over
the glass, but when any object was to be viewed the little lid was
lifted into the position in the cut, and served as a shield to the
ground glass beneath. A piece of black cloth thrown over this cover, and
allowed to fall over the triangular side-openings, so as to still
further prevent outside light from reaching the ground glass, is a great


In the diagram, the dotted lines show the course of the light from the
object in view, through the lens (where the rays cross each other) to
the looking-glass, and thence to the ground glass above.



[Illustration: Fig. 2]

A simpler form of the camera obscura is seen in Fig. 2. Here the case is
a small soap or spice box, the lens a convex spectacle-glass, and the
board marked _b_ a partition, serving as a screen upon which the image
is thrown. In this form the lens may be fixed in the end of the box if
desired, which is much easier than adjusting it in a sliding tube. The
focal distance of an ordinary spectacle-glass averages about twelve or
fourteen inches, and the box should be, of course, somewhat longer than
the focal length of the glass used. A glass from “near-sighted”
spectacles will not do, as it is concave instead of convex.

The box is now pointed out of the window, at some well-marked object,
such as a sun-lighted building, and the partition-board moved backward
and forward, till the point is found at which the image on it is best
defined. Then the board may be fastened (as _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, Fig. 2)
and the top put on, of which the end should be cut off about four inches
from the screen, as shown in the figure.

A piece of black cloth thrown over the head, and completely covering the
ends of the opening, renders the image more distinct.


[Illustration: Fig. 3]

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

This form of camera may be also used for sketching from nature, by
raising it on end, and providing it with an inclined mirror, as shown in
Fig. 4. The opening _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, should in this case be
sufficiently large to admit easy play of the hand in sketching, and also
allow an unobstructed view of the image. The mirror may be prepared
without much difficulty. Get the glazier to cut for you a piece of
looking-glass three or four inches square, and cover the back with a
piece of thick paper or card, to prevent scratching; then take a wire of
sufficient length, and double it as in _A_; now bend this double wire in
the form of _B_, letting the ends come at _a_ and _b_, and placing your
mirror, face downward, upon the frame as in _C_; hold it in place by two
bands of strong paper, passed around the glass and wires, and pasted
strongly on the back, at the top and bottom of the mirror. When in use
this frame is placed over the lens, and reflects the image down upon the
drawing-paper placed on the screen below. The four round-headed screws
in the top are intended for attaching an opaque curtain to the box,
which, however, is only needed when the artist is working in the open
air. Then the dark curtain is buttoned in place, and falls over the head
and shoulders, completely shielding the image from any invading rays of
light which might otherwise confuse the draughtsman.

As a matter of fact, in using the sketching camera, it is necessary to
turn one’s back to the objects sketched, if it is desired to draw them
in an upright position. I have represented the artist facing the house,
as it would look strangely in the illustration to see him seated with
his back to the view; but he is compelled, in consequence, to draw his
house, sister, and everything else which is included in the image thrown
upon his paper upside down, as a penalty for appearances.


To those boys living in the country, and having a wide, extended
landscape stretched out before their windows, the “darkened room” is a
very interesting feature. It simply requires a room which can be made
perfectly dark. At the window (if there are more than one) commanding
the broadest prospect have a perfectly tight, opaque screen fitted, with
a small hole cut in the lower part for the insertion of the lens. Over
this fasten a small mirror to receive the image, at such an angle as
will throw the reflection down upon a stand placed two or three feet
from the window, and thus make it possible for the spectator to view the
scene in its normal condition. Should you be desirous of having the
whole sweep of the horizon at your command in the darkened room, a
simply constructed frame-work is necessary for the accommodation of the
movable mirror, and also for the lens; this would further necessitate
the cutting of a larger hole in the curtain. Fig. 5 represents this
arrangement; _a_ being the movable lens, which can be readily taken from
its socket if desired; _b_, the hole in the bottom of the bracket, which
should correspond to a larger hole in the shelf _d_, upon which the
bracket rests, and can be easily turned in any direction desired. This
hole should be large enough to allow the passage of all the diverging
rays, and _c_, a small mirror, fitted like the one for the sketching
camera just described, to receive the image and reflect it down through
_b_ upon the stand, or a sheet placed upon the floor for the screen. The
height of the shelf _d_ from the floor is determined by the focal length
of the lens, and must be decided by experiment before the hole is cut in
the shade. It is fastened in place by strings attached to small
screw-eyes at its corners, and tied upon tacks driven into the
window-frame. The arrangement shown in Fig. 5 can be moved on the shelf,
so as to face the lens toward any portion of the view commanded by the


                         PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING.

If all boys are not so fortunate as to possess a camera, there is no
reason why they should be debarred from all the pleasures of
photography; and as there is much entertainment to be derived from this
simple amusement, it is advisable for every boy throughout the land who
is old enough to give it a fair trial. The first thing needed is a frame
for holding the print while it is being exposed. This can be made by an
ingenious boy, but as it is a rather troublesome job, it is better to
buy a small transparent slate for five or ten cents, and discarding the
copies, use the frame and glass for your work. The sensitized paper
should next be prepared. This can be bought at any place where
photographers’ supplies are to be found; many boys, however, are too far
away from our great cities to have access to such stores, and even those
who have will find more delight in making it for themselves. There is a
great satisfaction in the feeling of perfect independence, and the more
we can do for ourselves without aid or hinderance from the world at
large, the nearer we come to the ideal state. So, presuming that every
boy has this independent spirit well ingrained in his nature, I will
give two formulas for this kind of paper, and leave it to the reader to
decide for himself which he will use. The first produces a negative
impression; that is, one in which all the parts that are dark in the
copy come out light in the print, and _vice versâ_; and the second makes
a positive print, or one in which all the shadings remain the same as in
the original.


Paper by this process is very easily prepared as follows: Make two

                1st.—Water, 1 ounce.
                     Prussiate of potash, 60 grains.

                 2d.—Water, 1 ounce.
                     Ammonia citrate of iron, 70 grains.

When these are dissolved, mix them together, and pour them through a
piece of filter-paper into a tumbler, and then into a clean glass
bottle. If filter-paper cannot be had, nice clean cotton wool answers
the purpose nearly as well. This solution should be kept and also used
in a dark room. To sensitize the paper, pour out a little of the liquid
into a saucer; then having cut note-paper into rectangular pieces, a
trifle smaller than the glass in your frame, take one of these pieces at
a time, and place it evenly upon the surface of the liquid; let it lie
in this position until it is flat and not inclined to curl. Now take it
out by one corner, and thrusting a pin through this point, drive it
lightly into the edge of a shelf in your dark room, and leave it to dry.
It is now ready for use; should any be left after printing, roll it up
and place it in a tin box which has a cover, to keep it from the light
and dampness. To print on this paper, place your glass in the frame, and
next to it any engraving you may fancy, provided it is printed on thin
paper and has no type on its back. If a copy is desired precisely like
the original, place the engraving face downward on the glass, but if a
reverse is wished, that is, one in which all the objects in the original
are turned about, and its left side is to correspond to the right in
your print, then place it with its face toward you in the frame. When
this is adjusted to your satisfaction, take the frame to your dark
closet, and put in your sensitized paper, being careful to cover it
closely with the back of the frame well fastened in place before
bringing it to the light. Place the frame, glass side upward, on a
window-ledge, or in any place where it will be exposed to the free rays
of the sun, and let it remain until it is printed to the desired depth.
It will be noticed that at first the light changes the portions exposed
to a bluish color; the operation, however, is not finished at this
stage, but must be continued long enough to turn these portions a deep
metallic gray. Care must be exercised in examining the print, that the
paper is not moved from its position relative to the copy to be printed;
with the above frame this will be a very delicate matter, and it is
doubtful if it can be successfully done. A better way would be to make
one or two prints, without caring for accuracy of form, but simply with
a view of obtaining a good color, and time the operation; this would
form a sort of basis from which to work. If some subsequent engraving
was upon thicker paper, it would take a somewhat longer time to print
it, and if on thinner paper, the time required would be proportionately
shorter. It would be a great source of convenience if the back could be
cut in two equal parts, and a piece of canton flannel be pasted over
both, joining them as they were at first. This with the soft side
outward will keep the paper from slipping, and act as a hinge to either
half. Now instead of one fastening, two will be required, one on either
half of the cover; if then you wish to examine your print, you have only
to open one end of your frame, and carefully lift up the edge of the
paper, while the other end, remaining firmly closed, holds the whole
thing in place.

After your print has reached the proper degree of color, take it out and
immerse it in clean water, when it will become a rich blue, except those
parts which are to remain white. Change the water once or twice, or
until every part comes out distinctly; then take it from the bath and
dry between sheets of blotting-paper.

The second way to prepare paper consists in washing good letter-paper
with the following solution:

                    Bichromate of potash, 10 grains.
                    Sulphurate of copper, 20 grains.
                    Water, 1 ounce.

Papers prepared with this are of a pale yellow color; they may be kept
any length of time in a tin box, and are always ready for use. For
copying engravings, the wings of dragon-flies, or of cicadas, the
beautiful skeletonized leaves or delicate ferns, arranged in tiny
bouquets on the inner surface of the ground glass, this paper is

After it has been exposed to the influence of the sunshine, take the
frame to your dark closet, and after removing the print, wash it over
with a solution of nitrate of silver of moderate strength. As soon as
this is done, a very vivid positive picture makes its appearance, and
all the “fixing” it requires is well washing in pure water.

The dark closet spoken of above is necessary in all kinds of
photography, as light let in upon the sensitized paper would darken the
whole surface. To make a “dark room,” stop the upper part of the window
with any opaque substance, and pin a large sheet of dark orange paper
over the lower sash. The yellow paper used in making envelopes is
excellent for this, but if it cannot be found, four sheets of
tissue-paper, two red and two yellow, placed over each other, answer the
purpose very well.

A friend of the writer utilizes an old disused chicken-house for his
dark room, and it answers its purpose capitally, while it was at the
window of this little room I first saw the tissue-paper successfully

The prints used for copy might be rendered more translucent by rubbing
them over with a little linseed oil mixed with turpentine. This, of
course, should be thoroughly dried before it is used in connection with
the sensitized paper.

A great number of graceful, pretty things can be photographed in this
manner; the delicate maiden-hair fern, so common in several parts of our
country; the fine, feathery leaves of many of our wild flowers, some of
the finer flowers themselves, and many of the beautiful mosses and
sea-weeds after they are pressed, make exquisite little photographs,
worthy of a place in any collection.

A dozen or more of these prints carefully taken, pressed, and trimmed,
would make a pretty Christmas present to a dear friend. The cover could
be of plain paper, with the name of the person for whom it was intended
neatly written upon the top, an appropriate sentiment on the middle, and
the donor’s name with the date upon the lower part of the page.

The stencils, for the making of which full directions are given in
another part of this book, make very line subjects for photographs. If
intended for this purpose, however, they should be of a slender,
delicate pattern, small in size, and cut with extreme care. A snow-flake
caught upon a black surface, and examined in a cold room, will furnish
many suggestions for stencils designed for copy.


                           THE TOY PANORAMA.

The modern stereopticon has almost entirely superseded the old-fashioned
panorama, so popular a quarter of a century ago.


Your parents will probably remember with what delight those itinerant
exhibitions were greeted by the young people of those days; how the very
handbills, those wonderful precursors of so many entertaining
spectacles, were studied and commented upon, and when the happy day
came, how we all rejoiced to see the manager enter the school-house
door, and after a few words with the teacher, address the school, and
offer to us children an afternoon exhibition, for the trifling sum of
ten cents apiece, if enough could be induced to attend.

The panoramas the writer remembers most vividly occurred during the war
of the Rebellion, and as the subjects of the paintings were of a very
patriotic character, we had little difficulty in urging our parents to
permit us to go; and the afternoon session of the school was gladly
sacrificed for so good a cause.

The battle of the _Monitor_ and _Merrimac_, was a favorite subject, and,
as the vessels moved to and fro, and sent forth from their tiny
port-holes volleys of real fire and smoke, while a big drum, out of
sight, gave forth the answering boom, the scene was very impressive, and
struck a kind of fascinating terror to our childish hearts.

After the many accounts and fine illustrations which subsequent readings
have given, at the simple mention of that famous battle, my mind
instantly wanders back to the darkened hall, filled with boys and girls,
all intently gazing at the sham battle in progress before them; while
far back in the rear end of the hall stood the two brass field-pieces,
captured from Burgoyne at the battle of Saratoga, nearly a hundred years
before, grim and awful, and silently waiting for the time when they
should be called to take their place in the mighty conflict then so
fiercely raging in our land.[1]


Footnote 1:

  This building was erected for an armory, but served the purpose of
  town-hall as well.


But finally the war ceased; and after all, the only part the old cannon
played was to thunder forth resoundings of joy, which shook our old town
to its very foundations, when peace was again restored.

Although children’s hearts will never again be gladdened by these great,
clumsy shows, there is no reason why the little toy panorama should also
be banished from among us. The mere delight of making it is sufficient
reason for its existence, and when it is once finished it will continue
to be a source of enjoyment to each little member of the household in

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

The simplest form this can have is represented in Fig. 1, the foundation
being a small soap-box, the rollers, sections of a broomstick, with
small wooden pins glued into each end, which extend through holes made
in the box for that purpose. The pictures, taken from any illustrated
paper, are all cut the same width, about an inch narrower than the
length of the rollers, and pasted together at their ends, the only limit
to the length of this strip being the capacity of the box.

[Illustration: Figs. 2, 3]

When the paste is dry, attach an end to each roller. It is necessary
that the upper peg of each roller be also fitted with a strong crank, as
an even motion is requisite for the proper display of the pictures; and
this crank can be made in two ways: first, like Fig. 2, where a piece of
wood is nicely fitted and glued on the pin, or like Fig. 3, which is the
better arrangement, where a stiff wire is bent into the shape _a_, and
then passed through two holes pierced through the crank-pin as shown at
_b_; this arrangement securing the needful firmness, the projecting ends
of the wire are then bent, the upper one upward, the lower downward, so
completing the crank.

After the mechanical part of the panorama is finished so that it runs
smoothly, two strips of stiff pasteboard can be fastened over the front,
corresponding to the dotted lines _a_ and _b_ in Fig. 1, which will hide
the rollers and give a neater appearance to the whole. If liked, a
second piece of the pasteboard can be cut, in length corresponding to
the width of the box, and wide enough to cover the cranks, and extend
down to the top of the pictures.

When exhibiting the pictures, place the box on a table with its front
well lighted, turned toward the audience, and turn the pictures slowly,
by an even motion of the cranks, pausing slightly at each scene, at the
same time giving, if possible, a brief description of the thing
illustrated, as this will add considerably to the enjoyment of the
little folks. I forgot to add, in its proper place, that for a final
finish the whole thing should be covered with any pretty paper at hand.
Nice wall-paper or even common brown wrapping-paper gives it a neat


                       A MORE ELABORATE PANORAMA.

Having thoroughly mastered the construction of the simpler form of the
panorama, a more elaborate one can be made by simply devoting to it
considerably more time and attention; but as this is greatly superior to
the other in every respect, it is well worth the extra trouble.

This will necessarily require a much larger box than the one previously
described. For convenience in description, suppose we have a soap-box
two feet long, twelve inches high, and eighteen inches wide. We shall
first take away both top and bottom, then standing it upon its side, we
have the frame-work of our structure, which is still two feet long, but
now eighteen inches high, and twelve inches deep, that is from front to
back; next, we cut from the discarded top a false bottom, or shelf, like
Fig. 2, which, if your box is of seven-eighths inch material, will
measure twenty-two and a quarter, by eight inches. Mark the point _a_,
four inches from one side of the board, and equidistant from the ends;
through this draw the line _b c_, five inches long on each side of _a_,
or ten inches in all; mark at three and one-half inches from the ends of
the board the points _d_ and _e_, and draw the lines _b d_ and _c e_;
then cut out the piece thus marked off.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

The holes at the bottom for the rollers are four and one-half inches
from the back _f g_, in order to insure that the line of pictures when
in motion shall not fall back from the line _b c_, and are equidistant
from the ends of the board and the oblique lines _b d_ and _c e_, to
secure as much room as possible for the roll. Make corresponding holes
in the top of the box, taking particular care that they are exactly
above those in the shelf, when that is in position. The rollers are made
from sections of broomstick, with holes bored in the ends, and the
wooden pins glued firmly in place. Remember that the upper set of pins
are to be much longer than the lower to allow for the insertion of the
crank. These rollers are about eleven and one-half inches long, and when
the glue has thoroughly dried, should be put in place and kept there by
inserting the shelf, and fastening it in place by nails driven through
the sides as at _i i_, in Fig. 3.

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

Fig. 3 represents what is called a horizontal section; that is, the work
is supposed to be cut across from front to back, a little way above the
shelf just mentioned, and the observer is supposed to be looking
downward at it. Fig. 4 represents the work in an upright position, and
the observer sees the front of it.

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

From the top of the shelf to the lower outside edge of the box should be
just five and one-half inches. Next come the two uprights, _a b_, _c d_,
Fig. 3, and _A A_, Fig. 4. They may be made from the bottom of the box,
which was taken out, it will be remembered, and let their width
correspond to _a b_ and _c d_, Fig. 3. Round off the edges at _a_ and
_c_, and smooth it with sand-paper, as it would soon tear the pictures
if left in a rough state; place these two boards in position, and secure
them by nails at the top and bottom. Now cut two oblong pieces from
stiff cardboard, as long as these wooden uprights, and wide enough to
cover the spaces left at _e b_ and _d f_, and tack these in position;
they are shown by dotted lines in Fig. 4.

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

From a thin board cut two other strips to cover the spaces _g h_, but
leave the placing of these till the work is nearly finished. A board two
feet long and about three inches high is also necessary for the lower
edge of the front, and should be put on after the other parts are in
position, to hide the flame of the foot-lights (consisting of a row of
short candles) from the spectator. The two pieces like Fig. 5 are made
of pasteboard and are designed to furnish the upper and lower portions
of the frame for the pictures. Their position is indicated by dotted
lines in Fig. 4. As it is somewhat difficult to arrive at the exact
proportions of these irregular pieces, without the actual box before
one, it will be easier to leave this to the maker, as it is simply
necessary to take a stiff piece of paper and place it in the position
desired; then crease the lines so that they shall meet the proper points
on the uprights; the lower piece comes up to the top of the shelf, and
the upper piece comes down just below the top of the picture. After
fitting this paper, it is an easy matter to trace the form on the
pasteboard, taking care that all the lines are perfectly straight. The
curtain should be next adjusted, and a piece of dark blue or green
cambric is best suited for this purpose.

Cut (do not tear) from your cloth a piece of the required size, making
sure that the sides are at right angles to each other, and prepare
another roller from your broomstick twenty-one and one-half inches long.
This roller is seen between _e_ and _f_ in Fig. 3. Paste or glue one of
the ends of the cloth, which corresponds to the length of the roller,
smoothly around it; now letting this roll just touch the floor, draw the
other end up evenly, and tack it along the under-side of the top of the
box, on a line three inches from the edge. In order that the curtain may
roll up smoothly, it is best to mark straight lines with a pencil and
ruler, on both roller and box, and adjust its edges carefully to these

Just in front of this line, and at two inches from either end, tack to
the box the ends of two pieces of fish-line, and, carrying the strings
down the front of the curtain, bring them under the roller, up on the
other side, and through two small holes bored for the purpose in the top
of the box, about three and one-half inches from the ends; next bring
the two strings together, and pass them through a screw-eye placed at
the middle and back edge of the top to receive them. At one side of the
back, in any convenient place, drive a small nail to wind the strings
upon when the curtain is up. By simply undoing this, the curtain can at
any moment be made to fall. It is also well to tie the two strings
together, and fasten a button to them just back of the point where they
pass through the screw-eye, when the curtain is down, and they are
evenly drawn, as this prevents an extra play of the cord, and obviates
entirely the danger of their slipping. Before the curtain is nailed on,
it is best to paper the whole beveled surface picture frame with some
neat plain paper; very dark red or green “velvet” house-paper being
preferable to all others.

After the curtain is in a good working condition, fasten on the two
uprights, _g_ and _h_, indicated in Fig. 3, and the long piece across
the front which you have already prepared; make a fancy design for the
top out of stiff cardboard, taking especial care that it is wide enough
to cover the cranks on the top, while at the same time it extends low
enough to cover the upper edges of the curtain and the rough unfinished
wood in front.

Cover the outside and edges of the box with fancy wall-paper, letting it
extend well over on the inside, wherever there is the slightest danger
of that surface being exposed to view; and lastly, fasten the long strip
of pictures on the rollers, and nothing is wanting but posters and
tickets, to insure a first-class show, of the best approved,
old-fashioned style.


                        REPOUSSÉ WORK FOR BOYS.

The term Repoussé is applied to any sheet-metal in which a pattern is
hammered out or left in relief, by means of a hammer and common nail, or
a regular tool made for the purpose. It does not simply refer to
brass-work, but applies equally to work of like character either on
silver or gold.


If you have friends who have made the voyage of the Nile, you have
probably seen the beautiful silver bracelets bought by them of the
Nubian workmen as souvenirs of their Eastern travels. These bracelets
are made, I was told, by the natives of the interior, with simply a nail
and a stone, but the effect is very artistic and pretty. So, if ignorant
Nubians can make these beautiful things with such primitive tools,
certainly an intelligent American lad can do equally good work, with a
little instruction and better materials.


This work is chiefly produced by means of a punch and hammer. An
ordinary tack-hammer can be used, but that generally in use by most
workers is of rather peculiar shape, like that in Fig. 1.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

The round end will be found very useful in working from the inside of
the pattern, which will be explained hereafter. The punches are of
various forms; but a set of common board nails of different sizes, and
varying shaped ends, make good tools for beginners. A very nice piece of
work can be done with a common French nail whose end has been ground

It is desirable that a beginner should practice upon the thinnest
sheet-brass until he becomes perfectly acquainted with the use of his
tools. Brass can be obtained for about twenty-five cents a pound, and
one-quarter of a pound of No. 25 will be amply sufficient for this

A tool which is of great assistance in all brass work is a dull chisel
or screw-driver, with a serrated edge, so that a dotted line is left
when it is pressed upon the metal; however, if this is not readily
procurable, a common screw-driver will answer the same purpose in most
instances. In this practice, the first thing to be done is to draw a
line of some design upon the brass with a soft lead-pencil or with
impression-paper, taking extreme care that this line is precisely like
that in the copy, as all irregularities should be corrected in the
drawing, and none left for the punch. It is, indeed, very difficult to
make the proper corrections after the work is commenced. Then having
traced your line as perfectly as you can do it, lay the brass upon a
piece of soft wood, and with the end of the screw-driver pressed evenly
upon the line, give the head a light blow with the hammer; then move the
blade along the penciled line, so that its edge shall just touch the end
of the last indentation, and give it another slight tap with the hammer.
If you strike with too much force your line will be unequally deep in
some places, and your work will not present as good an appearance when
finished. This process should be repeated along the entire design, and a
perfect unbroken line should be the result. Until this is accomplished
it is best to attempt nothing further. After you have succeeded in
making one unbroken even line, mark two parallel lines upon the metal,
and do them in the same manner. When these present a satisfactory
appearance, trace some very simple design upon the same thin sheet, and
after nailing the sheet at each corner to the block, commence with the
chisel and mark lightly around the figure. It is often necessary to do
this tracing over two or three times during the process of working, as
too deep denting at first warps, or, as the regular brass-worker would
say, “buckles” your pattern. Now commence at the outside edge of your
design, with your nail placed near the line, strike upon it with a light
blow, and continue this operation until your whole background is covered
with little dents, and presents a thickly mottled appearance. When this
is removed from the block, the pattern will seem to stand out from the
rest of the surface.

Care must be taken at first not to crack or break holes in the brass,
but after a little practice, and a thicker quality of brass is used, you
will learn to avoid this danger.


When quite confident in the use of your tools, you can proceed to make a
card-receiver decorated with an antique head, as in the figure; or by
enlarging the design, and making the background circular, a plaque will
be the result, which will be useful for holding fruit, or, set in a
velvet frame, will make an ornament for your walls. A sheet of brass
nearly one-eighth of an inch in thickness, and at least seventeen inches
square will be required.

As in work of this character a deeper relief is desirable, you will find
it more agreeable to work over a bed of composition, which is more
yielding than wood, and can be made with but little trouble; this
composition can be obtained in small cakes at any store where jewelers’
tools are for sale; but you can easily make it yourself by thoroughly
mixing fine sand, well-sifted wood ashes, or even brick-dust, with equal
parts of pitch or resin; a tiny bit of tallow improves it considerably.
This pitch bed, as it is called, can be spread on a flat table or board,
and the sheet of brass, after the design has been carefully traced
thereon, fastened down upon it by means of four screws at the corners.
To draw the design for the plaque, with a strong pair of carpenter’s
dividers describe a circle whose diameter shall be sixteen and one-half
inches, and within this draw a second circle, with a diameter of fifteen
inches. The space between these two circles is to be left untouched, as
it will be turned over to inclose the wire which forms the edge, if for
a platter; or will extend under the edge of the velvet, if intended to
be framed. Be sure and put your screws outside the large circle, as
holes in the body of the plaque would ruin its effect. In this work
heavier blows with the hammer will be needed; and a large, well-shaped
nail used for the background. Work around the pattern until it stands
out in line relief.

The brass will become discolored and black during the process of
hammering; but, when done, it can be readily cleaned, at first with
oxalic acid and rotten-stone, then a final polishing with chamois-skin.

When well polished, take it to a tinsmith and he will make it up for you
as a platter, or trim and bend the edges for a plaque.


In making the card-receiver, take the design off on tracing-paper, and
then carefully trace it with a sharpened stick or end of a bone
crochet-hook, over the impression-leaf on the sheet of brass. In this
also the relief should be high, thus rendering it necessary that it
should be hammered on the composition-bed. Polish and finish this in the
same manner as the plaque.


Foxing, or sticking the metal to be embossed upon a block covered with
pitch, is a favorite method with many workers. The block can be of iron
or wood, and should measure eight or nine inches across; this rests upon
a deep ring of straw, which is readily made by an ingenious boy, as it
simply consists of the twisting several wisps of rye straw in the form
of a large cable, and then bending them into a small ring of even
thickness. Catch them in place with a large darning-needle filled with
wrapping-twine. Nice rings, made of leather, and designed expressly for
this purpose, can be obtained in the trade, but the home-made ones
answer as well for any work a novice would be competent or even desirous
of undertaking. The top of the block is covered with pitch, which should
be warmed, and then given the slightest possible coating of oil,
whenever a new object is to be placed upon it. Care must be taken that
too much oil is not used, as in that case it will be impossible to make
the surface of the brass adhere to the bed. In work of a nice nature,
where the lines are many and fine, and the background complicated, this
is by far the most satisfactory bed to use, and when the metal is
“annealed” it will be found invaluable.


When working in very heavy metal, it is often necessary to soften it
somewhat, especially if a deep relief is desired. This is accomplished
by placing the plate upon a bed of glowing coals, and allowing it to
remain there till it becomes soft, but not in the least melted, and then
removing it with pincers. Hammering upon the cold metal is inclined to
make it brittle, and at times slightly unmanageable, and this unpleasant
quality can be overcome by annealing; but so much care and patience are
required to accomplish this process successfully, that it is not very
popular with young workers. In many larger designs, a very high relief
is obtained by turning the brass after the plaque has been hammered upon
the right side as much as seems necessary, and with the round end of the
hammer sending strong, even blows into the figure, at whatever points
the highest work is desired. By annealing the metal, and working the
pattern from the inside after the background is finished, a very fine
bunch of well-rounded grapes is easily formed, and makes a very nice
subject for a fruit-dish or dining-room plaque. A dragon, and the emblem
of St. Mark, both make unusually fine designs for a mediæval plaque.

As you become more expert in this art you will constantly desire new
punches. Designs will suggest themselves to you, and it will be
impossible to obtain them ready-made, so it is well for a boy to learn
to make his own tools. A kind of square steel wire about one-eighth of
an inch thick is made for this purpose, and can be bought in any
quantity; this can be cut with a file, and the ends formed into the
desired shapes.


A very beautiful salver, which will not only be ornamental but
exceedingly useful, can be easily made by one accustomed to work upon
sheet-brass. A piece twenty by fifteen inches in size, and about
one-eighth of an inch thick, will be required for one of medium size.
Strike off with the dividers a quarter circle in each corner, to give it
a slightly oval effect, and draw a line around the salver parallel to
the intended edge, and one and three-fourths inches from it. The entire
central surface can be hammered in the honey-comb pattern, which is so
popular just now, and is done with a perfectly straight-edged punch, its
length determining the side of the hexagon, or if preferred the
pentagon, as both forms are equally attractive; or it may contain some
graceful design done in low relief. The more original the design the
more unique the salver, provided it is artistic and in harmony with the
object and use for which it is intended.

It would be well for all young workers in brass to examine carefully any
work of that nature which comes within their field of view, especially
any antique or foreign brasses, with a view toward perfecting their own
designs, or gaining ideas for others.

When the work on this salver is completed, take it to the tinman, and
tell him how you wish it made up, and he will do it for you for a very
small sum.


For the past few years there has been an increasing passion among young
girls for the little round bangles, which tinkle so musically with every
movement of the slender white wrist, that we are forcibly reminded of
the old nursery rhyme:

                      “With rings on her fingers,
                         And bells on her toes,
                       She shall have music
                         Wherever she goes.”

And as it has long been a matter of rivalry, as to who should display
the greatest number of these resonant favors, it is quite certain that
one of the pretty trifles will make a very acceptable present to any of
your sisters or girl friends you may desire to please. They are usually
made from ten cent pieces, but occasionally a bit of silver no larger
than an old-fashioned three-cent piece is used. The coin is beaten or
rolled flat, and the giver’s initials or monogram, with perhaps a date,
is engraved on one side. Now a much more unique and artistic thing could
be made by annealing the coin, and beating its surface flat on some
firm, hard bed. After the silver is reduced to the proper size and
thinness, with a pen or pencil draw some odd designs, and hammer it in
shape with a small, blunt-pointed nail. Ancient coins, such as are
frequently on exhibition in store windows, afford excellent subjects for
this class of ornaments. When the design is well indented, the work can
be cleaned by boiling it in sulphuric acid and water, and polishing it
with chamois-skin.


A bangle bracelet can be easily made of hammered work, from a narrow
strip of sheet-silver, which can be obtained from any silversmith at a
small cost. The design is to be traced on the silver in the same manner
as upon the sheet-brass, and great care must be taken in the working out
of each little detail. When the work is finished, it should be sent to a
jeweler to be made up and polished. This is of course an expensive, as
well as a very nice piece of work, and should not be tried until
considerable skill in the manipulation of sheet-metal has been acquired,
and success seems in a large degree certain.

Many ladies are fine workers in repoussé, and it cannot fail to be a
source of satisfaction to every one interested in the art to know, that
each year its merits are becoming more fully known and appreciated by
that great class of people, whose purchases govern the prices of all
artistic things. Now, boys, I have simply touched upon this very
interesting subject of repoussé, and given you a few directions, culled
from my own experience. If, however, I have succeeded in stimulating in
you a desire to pursue this subject further, you will find many
excellent helps, in the form of books or pamphlets, in any of our large
stores devoted to artists’ materials and supplies.


                         A FRAME FOR A PLAQUE.

A fine frame for any kind of plaque, whether repoussé, porcelain,
leather work, or papier-maché, can be easily made from a square piece of
wood, about six inches wider than the subject to be framed; this can be
beveled at the edges, or left as when sawed. In the center, with a
strong pair of carpenter’s dividers describe a circle, whose diameter
shall be half an inch shorter than that of the plaque. Bevel the front
edge of this opening, then covering the whole front surface of this wood
with thin glue, lay it, face downward upon the piece of plush or velvet,
intended to cover it; the material lying flat and smooth, with its
raised surface downward, upon an uncovered table. Cut the center of the
cloth away, allowing enough on the edge to draw over the opening of the
frame; slash this to within a short distance of the wood, that it may
lay evenly when finished; now glue this firmly down upon the back, and
bring over the outside edges and fix them in the same way. When this is
dry, fasten in your plaque with brads driven into the back of the frame,
and extending over the edge of the opening at its back. Finally, when
certain all is securely fastened, wet a piece of brown paper, cut to
exactly cover the entire back of plaque and frame both, cover it with
paste and press it in place. It is necessary to wet the paper first, to
prevent its wrinkling or forming great bubbles when dry. When the paper
is dampened, a bit of paste around the edge is all that is necessary to
hold it in place.

After this backing is completed, a couple of screw-eyes and a wire cord
are to be added, and your plaque is ready for your walls.


                             THE AQUARIUM.


The name aquarium was formerly sometimes given to a tank or cistern
placed in a hot-house, and intended for the cultivation of aquatic
plants; but in later years its signification has widened, so that it now
embraces animals as well as plants in its category. Its use seems to
have been known nearly a hundred years ago, and a number of gentlemen,
in the latter part of the eighteenth century, made several successful
experiments by means of this “scientific plaything,” as some writer has
happily called it. The aquarium can be used for either salt or fresh
water animals, the former necessitating a residence conveniently near
the sea, for the purpose of occasionally replenishing it with a fresh
supply of the water. It may be an ordinary globe, or it can be made of
slabs of heavy glass, fastened inside an iron frame-work, with a
peculiar kind of cement, made specially for the purpose. They can be
obtained in different sizes at several places in New York and other
cities, and as the materials in themselves are expensive, and the work
of making one usually results in a series of disappointments, and
finally, in total failure, the expediency of buying one ready-made
cannot be too strongly urged upon the young naturalist. Although the
large aquarium accommodates more inmates, the globe is much more easily
cleaned, and answers equally well for a few fishes, as the one in my
window will testify. As fresh-water animals and plants are more
accessible to the larger proportion of boys in the country, and the
globe much cheaper, while it occupies less space than the large square
articles alluded to above, it may possibly not come amiss for me to
give, for the benefit of those of my readers who are interested in the
subject, a description of my own fresh-water aquarium, and what little
experience I have derived from it.

It is a globe of ordinary shape, and has the capacity of a common
water-pail. For several years it was stocked with gold-fish, but it was,
moreover, a source of ceaseless anxiety and trouble. The fish would die
or turn black without any apparent cause, and, still worse, would
frequently have what we termed “fits” in the night, and jump out of the
globe on the floor, where they would be found, cold and lifeless, in the

The experiment of keeping these decidedly troublesome pets was finally
given up, and the empty globe placed high and dry upon a closet shelf.

One day nearly a year ago, a young member of our household brought home
three small fishes (the common dace), and begged so hard that the globe
might be brought out, and converted into the family fish-pond once more,
that we finally consented, and the little fishes were soon at home in
our library window. Not more than a week after this, a genuine
mud-turtle was added to the collection, and, strange as it may seem,
these little creatures have lived at peace with each other ever since.

We covered the bottom with a few pebbles from the brook, and afterward
added some sand and a handful of shells from the sea-shore.

We experimented with several species of water-plants, but were convinced
that a tiny fine-leaved plant, of which I have forgotten the name, but
which grows very plentifully in our northern fresh-water brooklets, and
the _vallisneria Spiralis_, or common tape or eel-grass, gave the
greatest satisfaction on the whole. With these little plants growing on
its bottom, we are not obliged to change the water for several days at a

In bright sunny weather the plants give forth plenty of oxygen for the
fishes to breathe. This can be readily seen by noting the little
air-bubbles adhering to the leaves and stems, or rising slowly to the
surface of the water; but in cloudy weather this gas-making process
diminishes, so that after awhile the air becomes vitiated, and the
fishes, finding it hard to breathe, are forced to swim near the top,
with their heads at the surface of the water. At such times it is well
to introduce fresh air into the water, by filling a cup with the water,
and, holding it an inch or two above the surface, pour it slowly back
into the globe; by repeating this process several times the water is
made comparatively pure once more. Another and easier way of
accomplishing this is by using a small syringe instead of the cup; but
care must be taken in either case to avoid hitting the fish with the
descending stream.

Their food consists of angle-worms and flies in summer, and bits of
fresh meat cut very fine with the scissors, during the colder portions
of the year.



The globe answers equally as well for salt as for fresh water fish,
provided its inmates are not crowded and are supplied with a sufficient
quantity of good sea-water. In obtaining this supply, it is desirable to
have it dipped from deep water some distance from the shore, or from the
channel if possible.

In preparing your globe, put a handful of gravel and sand on the bottom,
then with three or four irregular stones build a cave or little arch,
for the fishes to play beneath.

Although some authorities say that the aquarium should be kept in the
shade, the one with which the writer was familiar through childhood
always stood in a south window, which was only partially shaded by some
great trees in the garden beyond.

Occasionally, on very sunny days in spring or early summer, before the
leaves were fully grown, a newspaper would be placed between the glass
and the window-pane, or over a corner of the top, to give the desired
protection; but the tiny cavern usually supplied sufficient shade, and
it was ever a source of unabating amusement to watch the little fellows
swim in and out through the arches, darting now here and again there,
hiding in the shadow of some moss-grown stone, to spring out a moment
later upon an unsuspecting companion swimming leisurely by; their little
games of hide-and-seek and of tag were very entertaining to witness, and
we children would frequently find ourselves quite excited over the
success or failure of our special favorite in the game.

As the aquarium of which I speak was a large one, it frequently had
several inmates at the same time; among these the little nippers, or, as
the dwellers along the coast of New York State call them, killie-fish—so
named by the Dutch settlers from their frequenting the little kills, or
inlets, along the shore—always held a conspicuous place. Indeed, these
little fishes seem to be blessed with a long string of names entirely
disproportionate to the size of their tiny little bodies. In some places
they are known as minnows, while on the shores of the Narragansett they
retain their old Indian name of Mummychog. They are a bright, lively
little fish, darting through the water with such rapidity, that you hold
your breath in fear lest they dash themselves against the glass at the
end, but they never do; just as contact with it seems a matter of
certainty, they suddenly turn a sharp angle, face about, and perhaps
come to the front and peer at you through the glass, with their funny
little faces pressed up close to its surface. They are of a
greenish-gray color upon the back, which gradually shades to a bright
silvery tone at the sides, and their eyes, which are large and staring,
have a very mild, good-natured expression.

Very different from these are the sticklebacks (_Gasterosteus_), also
fine subjects for the aquarium, for a more pugnacious or plucky little
fellows it would be hard to find than these graceful little tyrants,
which in early spring are found in our creeks and salt-water ditches in
great abundance. As this is the only season of the year in which they
can be captured, it is best to be on the watch for them during the last
of March or the first of April. A dip-net, made of a piece of mosquito
netting caught over a small hoop, and attached to a long, slender
handle, is best for catching all kinds of fish for the aquarium, and the
shores of bays or salt-water streams supply a greater abundance than the
open sea, or the shore washed by the heavy ocean waves. If your globe is
the vessel you are to use, the sticklebacks will afford you quite as
much amusement as any fish you could find, for aside from their quick,
lively manner, they are a very handsome fish. The male is of a rich
ruddy color, his little silvery sides giving forth gleams of red or
blue, which vary considerably, according to his temper. If he feels
quiet and peaceful, they are pale and soft in tone, but if indignant,
they become very brilliant, and the little chap with his savage, fiery
eye, becomes an object of great respect and terror to all the other
denizens of the water within reach of his teeth or sharp little spines.
The female is less brilliantly colored than the male, is blunter in
build, and has a comparatively mild disposition, leaving all little
differences with other fish for her liege lord and master to settle, for
which duty he is perfectly well fitted and takes great delight in
performing; indeed, so quarrelsome were these little fellows, that they
would soon kill all fish of other species in the tank, and when no other
subject was at hand, would fall to and fight one another, biting as ugly
dogs might do, and spearing with their tiny spines, till one had
acquired complete supremacy over all the rest. It is very interesting to
watch the process of their nest-building, and to see them, like so many
lilliputian carpenters, lay the sticks and hairs in place, working as if
their whole life depended upon their unceasing exertions. We used to put
in bits of broom-corn split in threads, and bristles from the
floor-brush, for materials; and the work of building would generally
occupy three or four days. The nest was built in one corner of the box
(we were obliged to keep the sticklebacks in a separate glass case, as
they killed all the other fish if together) and well up on the sides,
with a tiny round hole at the top for the fish to go in and out. After a
short time—I do not remember now just how long—hundreds of little fish
came out from the nest, and were very lively for two or three days, but
in a week they were all dead, and the parents had the waters to
themselves once more. We never succeeded in raising the young fish, I
remember, but I do not now recall whether any reason was ever ascribed
to our failure, or if it was even known.

But to go back to our large aquarium. Fortunately for us, not many fish
are as quarrelsome as the sticklebacks, and most of those I shall now
describe live together in perfect harmony. The young of larger fish do
very nicely for a time in the aquarium, and a young eel is a rather
amusing although somewhat sluggish fellow to keep.

The most amusing denizens are creatures of the crab family. The little
hermit-crabs, found in quantities on any shelving beach of the bay or
sea inlet, create much sport for the young naturalist. These little
crabs, you must know, are soft little fellows, for whom nature in a
frugal moment prepared no house or covering to protect them from the
thumps they might receive from both water and stones; but the little
fellows, with a shrewdness one would hardly suspect in creatures so
small, rise equal to the occasion, and help themselves to the empty
snail-shells left by their more fortunate neighbors. When small they
occupy the little black snail-shells, moving from a smaller to a larger
as they increase in size. After outgrowing these plainer homes they take
possession of the pretty grayish-white shells also found in abundance on
our shores. It is frequently quite amusing to watch two fight over a
particularly desirable one, which either has chosen for its own, and
ofttimes the battle will be long and heavy before either will give up
that which he considers by rights his own. If you have one or more of
these little wanderers in your globe, remember to put in two or three
empty snail-shells for them to flee to when they have outgrown their
present abode. Their manner of eating affords a very entertaining
spectacle. Clams, either soft or hard, cut into tiny bits, form the
principal food for all the dwellers in the aquarium, and a long stick
with a needle driven in one end, to form a tiny spear, is used in
passing it to them. When a particular crab is to be fed, a bit of clam
is taken up on the needle, and lowered down in the water to a position
directly in front of him. At first, before he has become acquainted with
this mode of dining, he draws in his claws, and nothing but the shell is
to be seen upon the bottom; but in a few moments the little fellow lets
himself out again, little by little, with a quick, jerky movement, till
at last his two little eyes stand in an upright position, and he is
ready to seize the tempting morsel. This he does with his longest claw,
and holding the clam firm in his grasp, he proceeds to pick it in pieces
with the other long claw, and pass it along to the smaller set, which in
turn give it to the next in order, until it finally disappears in the
mouth itself, and is swallowed by the little creature.

It is important to have two or three snails in your globe to act as
scavengers, and keep the water free from the refuse which would
otherwise remain on the bottom. These little creatures are often seen
moving slowly along on the surface of the glass, feeding upon the green
moss or confervæ which accumulates so quickly on all the objects under
water. The pipe-fish, a peculiarly shaped specimen, comparatively rare
on our Atlantic coast, is worthy a place in your collection; and the
shrimp, the acrobat of the aquarium, whose funny little backward
movements, when the poor little fellow is frightened, create so much
laughter among the little folks, must not be forgotten. Young scallops
are very pretty, and when left undisturbed open their shells a trifle,
disclosing a beautiful fringe of tiny blue tentacles which wave to and
fro with every motion of the water.

The medusæ, also called jelly-fish, with their umbrella-like cover, and
long, slender tentacles streaming downward, are pretty for a time, but
do not live long after they are taken from the sea. The Cydippe and the
Beroe are very lovely specimens of this class, the former particularly
is noticeable for its beautiful iridescent colors. The beautiful orange
colored medusa is an unsafe inmate, as he very soon kills all the fishes
within his reach.


If it is possible, obtain one or more of the beautiful sea-anemones, and
add it to your globe; the large, bright-colored members of this class
are only to be found in the tropics, but very pretty, delicate specimens
are sometimes found in our northern waters, where a rock or bit of
stonework is constantly washed over by a swift current. If possible, it
is better to take the stone on which they rest, as it is almost
impossible to remove them from its surface without killing them. This
was, however, done several times with success, and the anemones lived in
our aquarium as long as they could be expected to exist in perfectly
quiet water. When these creatures are at rest or frightened they draw
down into little shapeless masses; but when looking for food they
stretch up again, and expand on the top of the long stalk, as we may
call it, a beautiful flower-like head, resembling an aster in form, and
of a deep brownish-yellow color. When food is passed down to this
animated blossom, it will fold its little tentacles one by one around
it, and pass it down into its mouth, open to receive it, but which is
entirely hidden by the beautiful petals of this delicate flower.

All of you have probably noticed the serpulæ, or worm-like excrescences
often seen upon oyster and other hard shells. If one of these shells be
taken from the water and immediately placed on the bottom of your
aquarium, after a few days, when the little animals feel quite at home,
they send out of one end of their slender tubes bunches of the
loveliest, delicate brown fern-like feelers, which sway about in the
water like the beautiful roadside ferns in a gentle summer breeze.

But in the salt as in the fresh water aquarium, vegetation is necessary
for a healthful condition of the inmates. Here we see on a miniature
scale that wonderful balance of organic forces which exists on the
larger globe around us. The vegetation exhales the purifying oxygen,
which renders the water fit for sustaining animal life; the fishes and
other animals in their turn give forth the carbonic-acid gas, which is
equally needed for the healthful development of the plants; while, last
of all, the snails—those little scavengers nature has so wisely
provided—remove such minute portions of decaying matter as might
otherwise pass unnoticed, and so contaminate the entire water in the


                          THE WOODEN WINDMILL.

So common were these little toys among the companions of my childhood,
that it seemed almost superfluous to insert what I supposed every boy
must be familiar with; but upon questioning my young friends, I find
that very few of them away from the sea-coast towns of New England, and
the sailor-like influence or atmosphere which permeates them, know
anything of the pretty little windmills, or weather-vanes, which we
copied from those of our sailor friends.

It was no uncommon thing in those days for some boy less ingenious than
his companions to use a little strategy, and so get his work done for
him by proxy; and the manner in which he would proceed was generally
something like this: Early some bright spring morning, with jackknife
and shingle in hand, he would saunter down to the wharf, upon which he
knew at an early hour the old sea captains of the village would
assemble, and wait his chance. Here the old captains, and the sailors,
who by reason of their advanced age took the same honorary title, were
wont to gather on the sunny side of the weather-beaten old store-house,
and watch from under their heavy gray eyebrows the bay stretched out
before them, while they enjoyed their pipes, and lived over again the
wonderful adventures and disasters of their successive voyages; and here
he would watch for his prey, little suspected by those kindly old souls,
who had, years long gone by, ruled with iron will over the crews and
destinies of great ships, known to him only by their names. Occasionally
two or three would arrive at the wharf together, and he knew his chances
were gone for that day at least; but usually some one, whose breakfast
may not have claimed as much attention as usual, would be seen making
his way down the quiet village street, easily recognized by his rolling
gait, his inseparable pipe, and manner of scanning the clouds and
horizon. Now our friend would begin to whittle in earnest, soon
attracting the attention of the ancient mariner by his awkward
movements. Of course, he would receive no end of ridicule for his
stupidity; but as that did not sink very deep in his boyish soul, he was
prepared to pay a greater price, if necessary, for the work he expected
to receive. It not unfreqently happened that the old fellow would take
the shingle to show him how to begin, and would get so much interested
in the work that he would offer to do it during the day, and would
actually whittle away on the little boat, while he or one of his
companions related for the fiftieth time how the _Nautilus_ passed
through so many hair-breadth escapes, and finally reached port at last,
with no soul missing and cargo untouched.

It was during these long voyages, when time hung heavily on their hands,
that they acquired their skill in fashioning these mechanical toys,
which almost always had for their motive power the wind or the waves.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

The simplest form of windmill from this source I remember seeing is very
easily constructed. It is made from an oblong piece of wood like Fig. 1.
Through the center of this bore a hole, _a_, for the pivot upon which it
will finally turn, and mark the two lines at _b_. Now, commencing at the
point _b_, cut off the corner, _b c_, and make the surface flat as in
Fig. 2; then cut off the opposite side of the other end, indicated in
Fig. 1 by the dotted lines _d e_, in a like manner. Your figure will now
resemble Fig. 2, and both ends will form a prism like _b c d e f_; but
_b c d e_ should be a thin flat blade, so the corner or edge, commencing
at _f_, should be cut down in the same manner that _e d_ was treated in
Fig. 1. Make the other blade to correspond and chamfer out the middle,
or square piece, as seen in Fig. 3. This middle piece is not a square,
although I have spoken of it as such, but is oblong, to allow room for
another two-bladed piece made precisely like this to interlock with it.
When these two pieces are fitted together, fasten them with one or more
nails, and then insert the small round stick upon which the windmill is
to turn. Fig. 4 shows an arrangement by which two windmills are operated
on the same stick. These should turn in opposite directions to make them
effective, and this is easily accomplished by simply cutting the vanes
of the one so that the wind shall strike it at an angle opposite to that
with which it strikes the other. Should you care to decorate them in
colors, it had best be done by painting bands or stripes across each
vane, all to correspond with each other in width and shade. For
instance, take the windmill in Fig. 4; let the outside bands be of
chrome yellow and one inch wide; the next red and two inches wide; while
the third yellow, and the fourth blue, should each be an inch in width.
The axis should have a greater diameter where the larger revolves upon
it, but should be cut smaller where it meets the back of the little
windmill. Nails in front and back of the larger, and front of the
smaller, are necessary to keep them in place.


Perhaps the most satisfactory way of arranging such a windmill is to
place it on the end of a weather-vane, as shown in Fig. 5. It is then
always presented to the wind. The vane and the windmill may be painted
the same color, or the latter may be decorated in stripes, as before
described, and the vane given a color which will harmonize with it. Care
must be exercised to fasten each part strongly in place, as the strain
is very great during a strong wind or in a storm.



Take a piece of board, seven-eighths of an inch thick, and large enough
to make a vessel of the size you desire. Cut out a hull like that in the
illustration. Make a small windmill like that just described, but with
rounded ends to the vanes, like that represented in Fig. 2. Pass a
strong wire through the hole in the center, and drive it into the stern
of Fig. 1; fasten the other end into the rudder, which should be
stationary. Be careful when planning your vessel to allow sufficient
room for the windmill to revolve below the over hang. Bore a hole at a
for the pivot to rest in, upon which the weather-vane is to turn, and
insert the two masts in their proper places. Cut a small mizzen-sail
from thin board and nail it to the mast.


The flags are of red and blue flannel, the stays of copper or galvanized
wire, and the bowsprit a small stick, cut from a tough bit of wood. This
propeller may be painted to suit the fancy, but usually is black, with a
narrow yellow or white stripe near the top. The lower third is
frequently painted green, however, which adds considerably to its
nautical appearance. The windmill should be a bright red, and the entire
vessel should have plenty of time to dry before being placed in its
final position.


[Illustration: Fig. 1]

Another, and very pretty windmill, which can be easily constructed by a
boy, is in the form of a steam-boat, the paddles of which are always
presented to the wind by the position of the boat itself. Cut out of a
seven-eighths of an inch board a hull like that seen in the
illustration, and make the hole for the pivot at the middle point
between bow and stern; bore another hole just aft of this for the axle
of the paddle-wheels. Out of thin wood cut two circular disks for these
wheels, and dovetail the paddles into their edges as seen in Fig. 2.
Next cut out two half circles of your thin wood for paddle-boxes, and
bore a hole in each for the axle of the wheels. These are to shield the
upper half of the wheels from the wind. Now take a piece of tin, in
shape like Fig. 3, and wide enough to accommodate the wheels on either
side, and nail it to the edges of the paddle-boxes, as seen in the
figure; the ends, _a_, are to be nailed upon the deck of the steamer,
and answer the purpose of keeping these boxes in position. Paint this
boat black and green, the latter occupying the lower third of the hull,
while a narrow line of yellow or white around the top relieves the
somberness of the upper part. The paddle-boxes should be black, with
narrow lines of light red radiating from a small semicircular figure of
the same color near the bottom. This boat should also be fitted with a
small mizzen-sail, made of tin or thin board, and painted white. The top
of the paddle-boxes is buff or light yellow, and the wheels or windmills
are a bright red.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

In this steam-boat, a “dummy” walking-beam, cut out of a single piece of
thin wood, can be added if desired, and should be painted in solid
black, or, if liked, it can be striped like that in the “Toy
Steam-boat,” elsewhere described in this book. The smoke-stack in this,
as well as the screw-propeller, should be nailed in place before the
first painting.

If you should care to take the trouble, the walking-beam can be made to
move by simply cutting away the hull between the paddle-boxes, to allow
the crank to turn in, and bending the axle of the wheels in the form of
the crank described in the “Toy Steam-boat.” A long slit must also be
cut in the tin cover of the paddle-boxes, to allow of the play of the
connecting-rod. Small flags of bright-colored strong cloth can be placed
in the proper places if desired, and really add considerable to the
bright, pretty effect when first made; but as they are soon ruined by
the combined influences of sun, rain, and wind, they are hardly
desirable, unless the boat is in some position where it can be easily
reached, and the little flags changed for new ones, as they become faded
or torn.



Take two sticks of wood, about three feet long, and one inch in
diameter; fasten them together at their central points, so that their
arms shall be at right angles with each other (see Fig. 1); and bore a
large hole through the point of intersection. From shingles cut out four
boats, each eight inches long, and fit them with masts; next cut from
strong new cloth four small triangular pieces for sails, and sew them to
the masts; fasten the lower corner by a strong bit of cord to the stern,
as seen in Fig. 2; then cut a small flag from red flannel and nail it to
the top of the mast. You can paint these boats if you like, and also the
cross-pieces upon which they are finally nailed. Care must be taken that
they all head the same way. Observe their positions in Fig. 1.


Fig. 1 shows the affair finished and mounted on its pole. Place them in
as high a position as possible, so that they may catch the breeze from
all directions.


                       A BOY’S SOLAR MICROSCOPE.

The microscope is, as every boy knows, an optical instrument, which
enables us to see and examine objects which are too small to be seen by
the naked eye. The arrangement of the solar microscope is similar to
that of the magic lantern, the sun taking the place of the limelight
usually employed. In this form of the magic lantern, two difficulties
are to be overcome; one, the necessarily fixed position of the
instrument; and the other, the very inconvenient habit the sun has of
constantly changing his position; so that it would be impossible to
adjust the lens without the aid of a mirror, to throw sufficient light
in upon the object to be examined. Both of these obstacles are
surmounted in the simple arrangement of the solar microscope here

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

First make a strong frame of wood, seven-eighths of an inch in
thickness, that will exactly fit in the lower half of the window when
the sash is thrown up; and in the middle of this fit an upright board a
foot wide, which has a hole cut in its center ten inches in diameter.
Fasten it strongly in place by four nails driven through the frame, and
well into the ends of the boards, or, if more convenient, by long screws
inserted in the same places. Fig. 1 shows the position of the board _a_,
also that of the nails _b_. The open spaces, _c_, are to be closed by
several thicknesses of brown paper pasted or tacked across on the inside
of the frame. The upper part of the window must also be closed, so that
no ray of light shall enter the room, except through the hole _d_.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

Before proceeding further, it may be well to remark, that, as perhaps
the largest part of the work is the cutting of no less than seven
circular holes of various sizes, through as many pieces of board, a
scroll-saw will be found an almost indispensable aid to the construction
of this apparatus. Also, that the window in which this microscope is
used must necessarily have a southern exposure.

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

In Fig. 2 we have a disk of half-inch wood, twelve inches in diameter,
with an opening in the center four inches across, to hold the condensing
lens, _a_; _b_ is a mirror five inches wide and ten inches long, turning
on an axis which passes through the supports, _c c_, the latter being
attached to the disk. These supports should be long enough to admit of
the mirror turning entirely around without touching the disk, and are
fastened in place by screws passing through the disk and into their
ends. When the mirror is in place, cut the slit _d_ parallel with the
edge of the mirror, for the wire _e_ to pass through. The manner of
attaching the wire to the back of the mirror is seen in Fig. 3. The back
is first covered with paper to prevent its scratching; then the wire is
bent and laid in place, and lastly, a piece of very strong paper is
pasted over the wire and entire back, and caught down over the edge of
the front, forming a narrow frame to the glass; the ends of this wire
should pass through rather small holes in _c c_, so that it will not
turn easily out of position. A handle (see _f_, Fig. 4) should be placed
on the other side of the disk, and just across the lens from the slit

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

Next take two pieces of wood, fifteen inches square and half an inch
thick; in the center of one cut a hole twelve inches in diameter, while
in that of the other cut another round hole only ten inches across. In
Fig. 4, which represents a section of this microscope, _g_ is the
central board of the screen, marked _a_ in Fig. 1; _h_ is the piece you
have just made, with the central opening twelve inches in diameter; and
_i_ is the second piece, which measures fifteen inches square, but has a
hole of only ten inches diameter in its center; _d_, which has a dotted
surface, to distinguish it from the frame-work, is the large disk (Fig.
2), which, you remember, is just twelve inches in diameter, and,
consequently, will exactly fit the opening in _h_; if these edges are
rough, sand-paper both with a coarse quality first, finishing them off
with a finer kind. When _d_ is in position, and moves easily but not
loosely in _h_, place _i_ over it and fasten it in place with screws,
passing through _i_ into _h_; but _h_, of course, must first be strongly
nailed or screwed upon _g_.

You will now see that by turning the handle, _f_, the position of the
mirror, which is fastened to this disk, can be easily changed so that it
shall face in any direction, while by drawing the wire, _e_, it can be
turned so as to reflect the sun’s rays through the lens, _a_, from
whatever quarter of the heavens it may be shining. This double
adjustment of the mirror and lens enables you to throw the rays of the
sun through the opening in upon the object, _o_, at any hour of the day.
As the mirror is adjusted in Fig. 4, the sun must be very low, as its
rays, to strike the mirror, would necessarily be nearly horizontal.

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

The lens, _a_, should be held in place by two pieces of whalebone, bent
around on either side of it, at the edge of the opening in _d_; this
lens is four inches in diameter, and has a focal length of nine or ten
inches; its adjustment had better be left till everything else in the
microscope has been finished. Fig. 5 shows the appearance of this when

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

As the outer part of the work is fitted, we will now turn our attention
to the other, or inner, side of the screen. In Fig. 4, the board _j_ is
eighteen inches long by ten inches wide, and half-an-inch thick. In the
middle is a small circular hole, one and one-half inches in diameter.
This is fastened to the middle board, _g_, by the four horizontal posts,
_p_, each six inches long.

Now take a square piece of half-inch board, five inches across, cut a
circular hole two inches in diameter in the middle, and fit into this
hole a pasteboard tube four inches long, which is painted black on the
inside. The edge of the circular hole in _j_ should also be black. In
Fig. 6, which represents this board, you will notice two cleats, _l l_,
fastened to the back of _k_; these are also made of half-inch wood, and
are five inches long by one wide. In Fig. 4, the position of _k_ and _l_
is seen in connection with the longer piece, _j_; the center of the
openings in _j_ and _k_ should form one and the same horizontal line.
The opening between _l_ and _l_ is for the glass slides upon which the
objects to be examined are placed.

After these parts are fastened in their proper places, make a pasteboard
tube, with a black inner surface, as represented at _n_, about four
inches in length, and inclose in one end two lenses, each one and
one-half inches in diameter, and each having a focal length of four
inches. Fit this tube in the one marked _m_. Now, having everything in
place, fit in the lens, _a_, so that it will send the rays of light
directly through the hole in _j_ upon the object in _l_, and fasten it
securely in place with your bent whalebones.

The screen upon which the image is thrown can be the opposite
whitewashed surface of the room, if by a proper adjustment of the tubes
the image can be made distinct, or it can be a sheet stretched over a
frame-work of light wood; the latter is preferable, as it can be more
easily brought in focus. Of course, in this form, as in any other “magic
lantern,” the nearer the screen to the lantern, the longer the tubes _m
n_; but the image, which is smaller, gains in brilliancy of
illumination, while with these conditions reversed, the results are the
opposite; a larger image, but less bright in appearance. The same light
being spread over a larger surface is necessarily less strong.


The objects which can be examined by aid of this instrument are many in
number, and can be readily prepared by simply inserting them between two
pieces of glass, sufficiently small to slide in the opening _l l_, and
pasting bits of brown paper over the edges to hold them in place.

In this manner the legs of flies and mosquitoes, the heads of the latter
with their venomous sting; hairs of the dog and cat, also from the human
head; tiny sections of human skin; down from the butterfly’s wing,
obtained by dusting off a few of the tiny particles upon a glass plate;
the pollen from different flowers; spores of the puff-ball and tiny
grains of dust, all make very interesting subjects for study, when
magnified and thrown upon the screen in the darkened room.

One of the most interesting experiments with this form of the magic
lantern is made by throwing the image of a drop of some solution, like
sulphate of copper, upon the screen, and watching the process of its
crystallization; sulphate of copper and of iron; hyposulphite of soda,
which latter may be colored by adding a very little permanganate of
potash to the solution.

The eels in a drop of vinegar, drops of stagnant water, and the larvæ of
the mosquito are also interesting objects, when viewed by the aid of
this powerful magnifier.




No boy who has lived on our coast, or, indeed, who has spent much time
near the sea, could have failed to notice and admire the beautiful
feathery mosses which sway about so gracefully under the surface of the
water. The most delicate mosses are not found upon the open sea-beach,
but in the more sheltered bays and inlets near the coast, and one who
has never given them especial attention cannot fail to be impressed by
the great variety of form and color to be found within a small space of
water. Ranging in color from the palest pink or straw to the deepest
purple or brown, and from the lightest sea-green to the darkest shade of
olive, they are capable of being arranged in most beautiful bits of
coloring, while the delicate, fine specimens, united with the coarser
varieties, add to the effectiveness of the whole. To gather and arrange
these mosses is not as difficult a task as most people imagine. Any boy
can, with a little care, make a fine collection, which would be valued
very highly by some inland friend who cannot reach the sea-shore every
year, or perhaps not more than once or twice in a lifetime. If any of
you, my boy readers, have any such friend, do not fail to collect a
quantity of the mosses common to the waters near you, and arrange them
on cards for their preservation. In gathering your mosses have an old
tin can filled with water in the bottom of the boat, and after detaching
from the stones, throw them immediately into the can. When you get home
they can be left in the can of salt water over night, if you have not
the time to attend to them at once; or they may be put into a basin of
fresh water, and left for awhile to wash away the salt and sand that
remains on them. When they seem perfectly clean, take two or three
carefully up on a bit of paper and throw them into a basin of clean

Now the delicate part of the process is reached. Have a number of square
pieces of unglazed paper at hand—ribbon paper is very good for the
purpose—and thrust them carefully into the water under the bit of moss
you desire to take out. With a long, slender darning-needle carefully
arrange the tiny filaments, so that they shall form a graceful
composition, and raise the card carefully from the water. It is not
necessary to exercise as much care with the coarser “silver mosses,” as
their more wiry branchlets naturally assume graceful positions, and the
water flowing from the surface of the card does not so easily disarrange
their positions. When all the mosses have been taken up on cards, fasten
each to a table or shelf to dry. This is done by driving a pin through
one corner of the card into the edge of the shelf or table, and allowing
it to remain undisturbed until both the moss and paper are perfectly
dry. They may now be mounted upon cards prepared for the purpose, and
their names, with the locality where they were found, neatly written
beneath; or they may be preserved in a case or frame.


The illustrations show two different arrangements of sea-mosses for the
frame. In the first, that seen in Fig. 1, they are glued upon a
background of fine white cardboard, one layer superimposed above
another, until they extend forward from the card for an inch or more.
Their stems are finally covered by a small, well-striped scallop-shell
which has been washed clean and varnished. It is perhaps needless to add
that the effect is very pretty. The “silver mosses” are best adapted for
this arrangement.

The design given in Fig. 2 is quite grotesque in its appearance, and
appeals rather more to the average boy’s taste than the former
arrangement. Red and brown mosses are used entirely, unless the effect
seems too somber, in which case a little “silver moss” may be introduced
on the back to lighten it a trifle.

Tiny baskets, made of pretty scallop-shells nicely fitted together and
varnished, are often filled with the coarser varieties of moss, and are
very pretty; but if they are unprotected from the dust they are soon
destroyed, and unless covered with a glass case or inverted thin plain
glass tumbler, they hardly pay for the trouble of making.


                        ANTIQUES AND HORRIBLES.


This is another of the mechanical toys which was common during my
childhood. The whole affair is so simple that a small boy could make it,
in a less finished form at least, and the most sullen little fellow in
all the land could not fail to be amused by the grotesque procession of
clowns and hobgoblins, kings and countrymen, birds and fishes and
animals, whose names no naturalist could tell, and whose like was never
seen on this earth before. This procession travels on and on, as long as
the crank is turned. The above illustration gives some idea of a few of
the many members of the band, but any boy at all ingenious, will see
that he has a variety—the more grotesque and outlandish the better the
effect. Fig. 2 shows a section of the machinery; the box-like covering
is removed, and the frame-work exposed to view. First procure a board,
_a_, about twenty by eight inches; next two rollers upon which the band
is to turn, for you must have seen that these little images are made of
thin cardboard, attached to an endless band of strong cloth. These
rollers should be rather larger than broomsticks, and held in place by
four uprights, _c_. Only two of these can be seen in the cut. A table,
_d e_, extends between the rollers and is supported by four legs, _f_,
which should be of sufficient length to make the top, _d e_, come just
below the upper section of the band, _g g_ are boards, the same width as
the bottom, _a_, and of sufficient height to make a good foundation for
the top, and to allow free passage of the procession. None of the
figures should be much over three inches in height, and none should be
attached to the cloth in more than one place; that is, by only one foot,
as they would be unavoidably torn in passing over the rollers if more
firmly fixed. The top and front are of pasteboard, and the whole exposed
surface is covered with pretty wall-paper. On the right roller at the
back end, fix a small crank, or handle, and the machine is started by
turning this. When about to give a grand exhibition, be careful to turn
in the right direction, and not set the whole procession running
backward, as you might easily do if unobserving or forgetful. The images
are much more amusing if painted in bright colors. Use plenty of blue,
red, yellow, black, and white paint, with a touch here and there of rich
green and purple; and you may perhaps almost make your audience believe
that Fourth of July is here again, and they are viewing the “Antiques
and Horribles” through the large end of a spy-glass.



                         THE MUSICAL CHICKENS.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

One of the most pleasing toys for children, which may be counted among
those made by boys themselves, is this little coop of chickens. Make a
box like Fig. 1, leaving off the top and back boards until the works are
placed within it. The little bars which separate the chickens are thin
strips of wood. In Fig. 2, _a_ represents one of the chickens, which is
also made of thin wood and painted yellow; a hole is made at _b_, to
allow the passage of a strong stiff wire, upon which the chickens turn,
and by which they are also kept in place. At the end, _c_, of each, a
strong piece of linen thread is tied through a small hole bored for the
purpose, and each line is caught to a separate nail, driven in the
bottom of the box, just below the chicken, in such a manner that when it
is drawn tightly in place it will just touch the roller _d_. Fig. 1
shows just where each chicken is placed, and how far their heads
protrude through the bars. The ends of the wire, _b_, which holds them
in place, can be fastened on one side by simply pushing one end into a
hole bored partly through the wood to receive it; the other should be
slipped into a groove made for it, and fastened in place by a wedge
nailed just above it when in position. Fig. 3 shows the roller in full,
and the little blocks or cams which are placed along its surface. These
little cams are made of wood, not more than three-eighths of an inch
thick, and are placed at such distances from each other along the roller
that the middle point of each shall come opposite one of the threads.

[Illustration: Fig. 2]

[Illustration: Fig. 3]

Between these blocks, but so situated that they will not come in contact
with any one of the threads, are little quills, driven into tiny gashes
made in the roller. These quills are an inch long, and should all be of
the same length. One end of the roller is fitted with a crank, while the
other is fastened in place by a wooden pin or long nail. Below this, at
either end of the box, is a curved bridge, _e_, into which grooves are
cut and slender brass wires drawn very tightly, as seen in a violin. The
curve made by the wires, however, is unlike that in the above-named
instrument, being concave instead of convex. Now it will be seen that by
placing the roller in such a position that the quills will strike the
wires with some force as the wheel revolves, a constant tinkling sound
like that of a toy piano is the result; and at the same time, as the
little blocks come in contact with the strings, they push the thread
backward, and in so doing lower the point _c_, and consequently raise
the head of the chicken. The top of the extension in front of the bars
is made of thin board and painted green, while a slight sprinkling of
yellow over its surface represents the meal the chickens are supposed to
be eating. The remainder of the box may be painted to suit the fancy of
the maker.


                        CAPTAIN S.’S PEG PUZZLE.

One bright summer morning, which seems but a short while ago, unless I
stop and count the years that have passed since then, we children were
invited to take a sail across the bay with one of the kind-hearted old
captains who owned a trim little cat-boat, which her owner was wont to
boast would beat any other craft of her length in the harbor. But there
was not much chance of beating anything on the morning of which I write,
for, although a light northerly breeze was stirring when we intended to
start, the girls of our party took so much time in which to get ready,
that by the time we were fairly under way we were scarcely able to fill
our sail. However, we managed to make some little headway, and in the
course of two hours reached the beautiful rocky point covered with its
grove of fine old trees, which, but for the delay in starting, would
have been reached much earlier in the day. This point was quite a
favorite spot for excursionists, and was hailed with delight by most of
our party. We boys, however, cared more for the little _Sea Dog_, and
the companionship of old Captain S., than for the walks on shore. So,
claiming our full share of the good things packed in the baskets stowed
away in the cabin, we decided to remain on board and share our picnic
with the captain on the bay.

After all were on shore, and the hampers had been taken to the grove, we
hoisted the sail and made for deeper water; but there was no wind, and
we had to content ourselves with looking at the glassy surface around
us, and feeling that we were in a boat away from shore, even if not in
rapid motion. We ate our lunch as we listened to a delightful story told
by the captain, of how his ship was once chased by a pirate, and only
escaped through the timely interposition of a snow-storm. We next tried
our hands at the oars and rowed some distance further from the land.
Finally, as we were about to return for the others of our party on
shore, a small piece of wood Fred found on the cabin floor changed the
current of our thoughts, and we saw for the first time the little device
I am about to describe. This bit of wood which he had picked up was a
thin strip of a cigar-box cover. In one end was a circular hole about an
inch in diameter, in the middle was a square hole of the same diameter,
and at the extreme end was still another opening, in the form of an
isosceles triangle, the perpendicular being of the same length as the
side of the square.

[Illustration: Fig. 1]

When Captain S. saw the piece of wood he challenged us each to make one
peg which should exactly fit all three holes. “But it can’t be done,
Captain,” we both exclaimed at once; “the holes that have corners
couldn’t be fitted with a round peg, and the peg large enough for the
square would be too large for the triangle,” continued Fred, as he
examined the openings more carefully. “But it can be done,” answered
Captain S., with a peculiar kind of chuckle he always gave when very
much pleased. “It can be done, for I have done it hundreds of times.”

He had done it hundreds of times; had made one peg which should fit a
round, a square, and a triangular hole, and fit them nicely! How was it
to be done? We thought it over, and tried to study it out; we even took
out our jackknives and whittled away at an old broken thole-pin which
lay in the bottom of the boat. But we couldn’t make it work; there were
always the corners to be filled, and little spaces would be left if we
tried to compromise, and make the pin less round as it increased in
length; then the triangle! that wouldn’t accommodate itself to any shape
we could devise. We whittled away for over an hour, now and again
receiving a little encouragement from the captain, who greatly enjoyed
our successive failures. During the meantime a brisk south-west wind had
sprung up, and we were bounding over the water at a delightful speed;
but we paid little attention to the sail; in fact, we hardly knew we
were moving at all, so intent had we become to solve the mystery. After
the others of the party came on board, we soon fired them with our
enthusiasm, and every bit of available wood and every jackknife was
brought into use. But not one of the party was bright enough to hit upon
the right shape. I shall never forget the fun made of us by the
girls—not one of whom, by the way, could sharpen a lead-pencil
decently—when the captain finally showed us how the thing was done.
Asking one of the older boys to take the helm, he picked up a bit of
wood we had thrown aside as too small, whipped out his jackknife, and in
less time than it takes me to write it, had the peg made and fitted to
the holes. How he made it fit so well in so short a time has never
ceased to be a source of wonder to me; but probably the practice of
years, while off on lonely whaling cruises, had something to do with his

[Illustration: Figs. 2, 3, 4]

He first whittled out a cylinder, which exactly fitted the circular
hole; then he cut it off, so that its length should be the same as the
diameter of the square (see Fig. 2). Now, by putting this sideways into
the square opening, it fitted it perfectly. Lastly, leaving the base of
the cylinder undisturbed, he cut away from either side until he had a
shape like Fig. 3, which, when looked at from another point, presents
the appearance of Fig. 4, and would, of course, perfectly fit the last
and triangular opening.


                       SLATE GAMES FOR CHILDREN.

A slate is one of the most useful presents which can be given to a
child. Long before the little hands can fashion letters, or the infant
mind comprehend them, the baby fingers can make marks and scratches upon
the smooth surface and derive considerable amusement from the exercise.

As the little one grows older, these meaningless scrawls gradually
change to more intelligible forms, and then it is that the “Tit-Tat-To,”
so very old, and yet so delightfully new, to every little girl or boy in
their turn, comes into play.



This game is played on a figure similar to the above, made on an
ordinary slate. The players alternately mark in the figure, the one a
cross, and the other a nought; he who first obtains a row, either
horizontally, perpendicularly, or diagonally, wins the game, and calls
out the following rhyme:

                  “Tit-Tat-To, my last go;
                   Three jolly butchers all in a row.”

The object of each of the players is equally to obtain such a row and to
prevent his opponent from obtaining one.


This game—which is sometimes called _Birds, Beasts, and Fishes_—is
instructive as well as interesting to children who have some slight
knowledge of natural history. It is played as follows: Two boys take
their slates, and each writes down the first and last letters of the
name of some bird, beast, or fish, first stating whether it belongs to
the air, earth, or water, or from which category the name is selected,
and puts a cross for each of the intermediate letters. For example:
James writes upon his slate T × × × r, and remarks, as he passes it to
his companion, “the earth.” Charles selects a bird and marks upon his
slate as follows: E × × × e, saying, at the same time, “the air.” They
exchange slates, and each tries to guess the name of the beast or bird
indicated, and fills up the blanks accordingly. It is evident that those
indicated above are respectively tiger and eagle.



The slate should be divided into three divisions, the top and bottom
divisions each having a small compartment marked off therein, as shown
in the annexed diagram.

One of the two end divisions should be allotted to the Turks, and the
other to the Russians, and marks put therein, to represent the soldiers
of the respective nations.

Each player having provided himself with a well-sharpened pencil, the
game is played as follows: The players decide the order of play, and the
first selected being supposed to be a Turk, places the point of his
pencil at the spot marked in the smaller compartment of the Turkish
division of the slate and draws it quickly across the slate in the
direction of the opposing army.

The pencil will, of course, leave a line marking its track, and all the
men of the opposite side through which the track passes count as dead.
Each player plays alternately, and he wins who first kills all the men
on the opposite side.

The track of the pencil must be rapidly made and must be either straight
or curved; any track in which there is an angle does not count.
Sometimes the players turn their heads or close their eyes when making
the track.



Although this game is usually played upon a board similar to the one in
the cut, and with small wooden blocks made for the purpose, a slate
properly marked off would answer very well for the board, and bits of
pasteboard, marked with the necessary figures, do equally well for the

The game consists of playing these bricks or squares of pasteboard, so
that the column added up makes just thirty-one.

As only two persons play together, suppose William and Mary are
contestants. Mary commences the game by playing a six; that is, she
slides one of the blocks numbered six over to the right-hand side of the
board. Then William plays block No. 4. This makes ten. Mary then plays
two, and William follows with a five, making seventeen total. Now, some
calculation is necessary if either will win. Mary, after some study,
ventures a five, and William plays a six. It is now only necessary for
Mary to slide No. 3 over to the right side, to make the total thirty-one
and beat.

That move of Mary’s—which was made after considerable deliberation—was
not a safe one, as William could have moved over a one and made the
total only twenty-three. This would require eight more to complete the
required thirty-one, and as six is the largest number on the blocks,
William would have had the last play and gained the contest.

                        _Rules for Thirty-one._

The object of each player is to gain thirty-one, or _nearer_ thirty-one
than his opponent, _without going over_ that number.

Put the blocks or bits of pasteboard on the left side of the board; and
each in turn moves any piece they like to the other side.

Each player moves alternately one piece at a time.

Add together the numbers on _all the blocks moved_, until one or the
other gains thirty-one, without going over that number.

The player gaining this number by his individual block wins.

The final honor is given to him who wins three out of five single games.




During the long winter evenings, we cannot have too many games to amuse
the younger members of the household, and a variety is always

Where the family is large and the means small, and especially in the
country where boys are forced to rely upon their own devices in the way
of amusement, few of the ready-made games find their way into the

Now boys, and girls, too, let me whisper to you so softly that your city
cousins may not hear—you are no losers because of that fact. A great
part of the enjoyment of a thing consists in the making of it. And many
of the games which are best enjoyed by children all over the land you
can, with a little ingenuity and some trouble, perhaps, make for

Among the many things which a boy can make, there are very few more
interesting or fascinating than the simple game of Solitaire, or, as it
is more frequently called, _The Peg Puzzle_.

Take a piece of smooth board, from nine inches to a foot square, cut out
the corners as indicated in the illustration, and bore holes in the
positions indicated by the dots.

Out of soft pine or other suitable wood whittle thirty-two pegs, which
are to fit into these holes; the middle or thirty-third hole is to be
left empty.

The game consists in removing all the pegs excepting one from the board,
and that one is to be left in the middle hole.

This is effected, as in “checkers,” by a series of captures; that is,
when taken off the board, the peg removed must first have been jumped
over by another peg.

In beginning the game, peg No. 1 jumps over peg No. 2, and is placed in
the central hole. No. 2 is then removed from the board. As the hole
occupied by No. 2 is now empty, peg No. 3 jumps over No. 4, and is
placed in the empty hole No. 2. No. 4 is removed, and the moves continue
in like manner as those described.

The following is a key to the solution of the puzzle, but should not be
consulted until you find it impossible to accomplish the feat without
its aid.


                              1 to centre
                              3 to  2
                              5 to  4
                              2 to  3
                              7 to  4
                              8 to  6
                              9 to  7
                             11 to  3
                              7 to  4
                              6 to  8
                             13 to  2
                              x to  1
                             15 to  2
                             16 to 14
                              2 to 13
                             18 to 11
                             20 to 19
                              8 to 21
                             22 to 20
                             20 to 19
                             11 to 18
                             24 to 14
                             26 to 25
                             25 to 17
                             28 to 14
                             17 to 25
                             29 to  x
                              x to 27
                             30 to 24
                             32 to 25
                             27 to centre.


                      BATTLEDORE AND SHUTTLECOCK.


If any of my young boy friends wishes to make a useful, and at the same
time acceptable, present to a sister or girl friend, he cannot do better
than make a set of this pretty and amusing game.

The battledore is readily made with a hickory stick and a piece of hoop,
and the shuttlecock with a cork and a few short feathers. The forms of
the two are shown in the illustrations.

The game is played by two players, each having a battledore, and each
bats the shuttlecock from one to the other, the one failing to return it
when it is batted to him within possible reach losing a point in the
game. A game consists of twenty points, and the best two out of three
games gains the match.


                               RING TOSS.


This light pastime for the summer lawn, or for the parlor on a winter’s
evening, is one of the most graceful and pretty games ever invented.
Although particularly intended for the fairer sex, boys are generally
the most skillful, if not the most graceful, competitors in the game.

This game is played with a target-post, more or less ornamental, as the
skill and taste of the maker may decree, and a number of light rings or
small hoops, ranging from five to ten inches in diameter.

The rings are nicely made of old hoop-skirt wires, bent in the desired
shape, and strongly fastened with cords, the whole covered with bright
silk or ribbon; the greater variety of colors used the brighter the
effect of the game. The ribbons need not necessarily be perfectly fresh,
as in winding the rings any soiled spots can readily be hidden.

It is also better to have the rings divided into three sets or sizes,
and all those of each set as nearly as possible of the same size. For
instance, if eighteen rings are to be used, let six be about five inches
in diameter, six more be seven or eight inches, and the remaining six to
be ten inches across.

The game is simply to toss the rings so as to fall on the target-post.
The smaller the rings the higher the count.

For the large rings one point is scored, for the next in size two
points, and for the smallest or five-inch rings, three points—fifty
points being a full game.

The distance on a lawn which the player stands from the target-post is
twenty-five feet. In the parlor it is fifteen feet.




As I write the above title, I wonder if there is a boy or a girl in this
great American land who does not own a checker-board, or does not know
how to play this delightful game. The game was brought to us from
England, we cannot say how many years ago, probably by the first
settlers in these then lonely wilds.

This game of checkers is a scientific one and is governed entirely by
calculation. So, in order to become a good player, one has to give
considerable time and thought to the subject, which is perhaps as good
mental discipline as many of our less interesting school studies.

The game is played upon a board or table, divided off into thirty-two
white and thirty-two black squares, with twelve white and twelve black
men or checkers.

The board can be made out of thin wood, or upon a strong piece of
pasteboard, the white squares left the original color of the material
used, and the black colored with ink or paint, whichever is most
conveniently at hand.

For the checkers, small pieces of wood may be used, or black and white
buttons be substituted in their place.

The table or board should be so placed that each player shall have a
black square at his right hand, if playing on the white squares, or a
white square, if playing on the black.

The men move obliquely _forward_ until they arrive at the last, or the
adversary’s head row, when they are made kings and can then move
_backward_ as well as _forward_.

To distinguish a king from a common man he is crowned, by placing
another checker of the same color on top of him, as soon as he reaches
the _king’s row_.

The adversary’s men are taken by leaping over them, and _must be taken_
whenever offered or exposed. No move can be recalled after the man has
been quitted; that is, after the finger has been removed from him.

The players have the first move in each game alternately.

Checkers may best be learned by playing, for awhile at least, upon a
board on which the white squares are numbered, some authorities advising
the placing of permanent numbers in a corner of each white square, so as
to be seen when the men are placed.

The numbers are arranged as follows: 1 being on your right hand and 4 on
your left; number 5 the right hand of the second row, and 8 the left,
and so on. See illustration.

The black men are placed upon 1 to 12; the white on 21 to 32.

In order to understand the game more readily, it may be of some
assistance to beginners to show how a simple game might be played.

Suppose B., who has the black men, makes the first move from 11 to 15.
W. follows him with 22 to 18. B. now moves from 15 to 22, jumping over
18, and capturing it by the move. 22 is now exposed, so W. is obliged to
take it, and to do so moves from 25 to 18. B. now commences a new line
of moving, and passes 8 to 11. W. moves 29 to 25 thus breaking his
king’s row. B. 4 to 8; W. 25 to 22; B. 12 to 16; W. 24 to 20; B. 10 to
15. Now W. moves 27 to 24, and loses the game by so doing. B. follows
with 16 to 19, thus exposing 19. As it is a law in the game that the
opposite side must take up the exposed men, W. is obliged to jump 19,
and moves from 23 to 16 in so doing. B. moves from 15 to 19; W. 24 to 15
to jump 19; B. 9 to 14; W. 18 to 9, and captures 14. B. now sees 15 and
22 exposed, and moves from 11 to 25, thus capturing both men by the act.
W. 32 to 27; B. 5 to 14, jumping 9. W. 27 to 23; B. 6 to 10. W. 16 to
12; B. 8 to 11. W. 28 to 24; B. 25 to 29, and is made a king. W. now
moves 30 to 25, but as 29 is a king and can move backward as well as
forward, B. moves from 29 to 22 and jumps 25, but exposes the king,
which is quickly captured by W., who moves from 26 to 17. Now both sides
proceed in a quiet manner for a time, B. moving from 11 to 15, W. 20 to
16, B. 15 to 18, W. 24 to 20. B. captures 28 by moving from 18 to 27,
and W. takes 27 by jumping from 31 to 24. B. 14 to 18; W. 16 to 11,
which is taken by B. who moves 7 to 16. W., in turn, takes 16 with 20,
which he jumps over to 11. B. 18 to 23; W. 11 to 8. B. 23 to 27, and W.
now gains another king by moving 8 to 4. B. moves 27 to 31 and also gets
a king. The king, you remember, can move backward, so W. moves from 4 to
8; B. 31 to 27. W. 24 to 20; B. 27 to 23. W. 8 to 11; B. 23 to 18. W. 11
to 8, and B. 18 to 15, which shows the game is lost to W.

[Illustration: Figs. 1, 2]

The two following problems are given for practice, and are intended to
materially assist the learner in gaining some knowledge of the
intricacies of the game.

                          SOLUTION TO NO. 1.

                        Black to move and win.

                        Black.           White.

                   1st move  6 to  1       5 to  9
                    2d move 10 to 15       9 to  5
                    3d move 15 to 18       5 to  9
                   4th move  1 to  5       9 to  6
                   5th move 18 to 15      21 to 17
                   6th move  5 to  1       6 to  9
                   7th move 15 to 18       9 to  5
                   8th move 18 to 22      17 to 14
                   9th move  1 to  6       5 to  1
                  10th move  6 to  2      14 to 10
                  11th move 22 to 18       1 to  5
                  12th move 18 to 14      White loses.

                          SOLUTION TO NO. 2.

                        White to move and win.

                        White.           Black.

                   1st move 18 to 14       5 to  1
                    2d move 14 to  9       1 to  5
                    3d move 22 to 17       5 to 14
                   4th move 17 to 10      21 to 25
                   5th move 10 to 15      25 to 30
                   6th move 15 to 19      30 to 25
                   7th move 27 to 32      25 to 22
                   8th move 19 to 24      20 to 27
                   9th move 32 to 23      White wins.


                         THE SPIRIT JEW’S-HARP.

During the Christmas holidays, when families are home for the season,
and entertainments are the principal things desired in the long bright
evenings, perhaps a few more tricks may not come amiss.

Among these the spirit jew’s-harp will be sure to amuse and at the same
time mystify both the older and younger members of the company, who will
probably form the audience on these Christmas or New-year’s evenings;
and will form a pleasant entertainment between the acts of a charade or
the lapses in the music. Briefly described, the trick is as follows:

A jew’s-harp is placed in the mouth, and played upon for awhile with the
finger in the ordinary way. Gradually, however, the performer moves his
hand away, but continues the motion of playing some distance from the
mouth, while the instrument continues to play quite as clearly and
distinctly as before. The hand may wave above the head, or in any
position, to show the audience that no thread or string is connected
with the tongue of the instrument, but must keep up the motion of
playing as long as the sound continues to come.

Procure a jew’s-harp with a very flexible tongue, and cover the end with
a smooth ball of sealing-wax. Now place the instrument in your mouth
with its tongue pointed inward, and if your tongue is placed against the
ball of sealing-wax and suddenly pushed out, and as suddenly released, a
sound will be produced much as if it was pushed out in the ordinary way
with the finger.

After a time you will find it possible to produce different notes upon
it, and with some practice will find it as possible to play tunes as by
the common method.

It will now be seen that during the whole performance the music is
elicited by the tongue, and not by the finger as at first appears; the
placing the forefinger of the right hand to the mouth, and moving it as
if playing in the ordinary way, is simply a little _ruse_ to mislead the

The performer should so stand that the light does not shine too strongly
upon his face, and thus expose the absence of the tongue of the
jew’s-harp, and a complete mastery of the instrument in the inverted
position should be acquired before one attempts the trick in public.


                     A NEW WAY TO KINDLE THE FIRE.

There are many ways given for producing fire, but the following is the
most unique, and at the same time convenient, of all these various
methods, as it consists in simply blowing the flame from the mouth, and
so igniting the camp-fire or whatever else one wishes to burn.

To all appearances you fill your mouth with raw cotton, and then, taking
a fan in your right hand proceed to make the fire. First a stream of
blue smoke will be seen curling from your lips, and after a moment or
two a bright spark will appear in the mass of cotton in the mouth. This
spark is quickly followed by others until at last a clear bright flame
bursts forth.

Many of the audience may not believe that it is a genuine flame, but a
paper may be lighted from it and passed around the room, which will soon
convince the most skeptical that it certainly is _bonâ fide_ fire.

To perform this trick, procure from a chemist a piece of _amadon_ or
German tinder. This is an inexpensive material, brown in color, and soft
and silky to the touch. Tear off a small piece—perhaps as large as a
dime—and roll it in a small bit of cotton wool, having already _lighted_
one end of the tinder. Place this with other cotton in your hand, and
you are ready to produce all the fire your audience may demand.

First place the cotton which conceals the lighted tinder in your
mouth—it will not burn you—and then some of the loose cotton you have in
your hand; and remember to draw the breath in through the nostrils, but
_breathe it out through_ the mouth. This will fan the tinder and in a
moment light the cotton in front of it, so that the smoke will begin to
pass out with the breath; then the sparks will appear, and finally the
flame, as described above. While placing fresh cotton in the mouth, you
may take advantage of the fact that your hand is before your mouth to
let some of the burnt cotton fall out. By exercising a little tact your
audience may be mystified for a long time, and, in fact, will probably
be unable to guess the secret at all, unless you yourself divulge it to


                          A HOME-MADE COMPASS.

Break a knitting-needle in two pieces, and magnetize one of the pieces
by passing it two or three times over one of the poles of a strong
magnet. Insert this piece through a small cork. Fix an ordinary needle
in the end of the cork with the end projecting.


Break the other piece of the knitting-needle into two equal parts; and
having wound one end of each with thread pass the other end into the
cork, as seen in the illustration.

Next procure a small brass thimble, deeply indented, and balance the
cork upon it by dropping melted sealing-wax upon the thread-covered
ends, first on one side and then on the other, until the equilibrium is

A small round box is next needed, and having fitted the top with a disk,
like that seen in Fig. 2, cut the central hole large enough for the easy
movement of the cork.


Now place the thimble on the bottom of the box, holding it in place with
a few drops of glue. (Le Page’s liquid glue is best for this, as for all
occasions in which glue may be required in constructing the objects
described in this book.) Balance the cork upon it, with the needle-point
resting in one of the indentations on top of the thimble, the magnetic
needle having been temporarily taken out. Now adjust the cardboard disk
in place.

Lastly, insert the magnetized needle, and your compass is completed.

This compass can be made very useful upon the various excursions into
the woods which boys are always fond of taking, and, as a simple
mechanical toy, much amusement may be derived from it.

By presenting the south pole of the magnet to the north pole of the
compass, and jerking it quickly away, the momentum of the needle will
carry it around several times before the impulse is exhausted.

The same experiment may be tried with the magnetized blade of a

The magnetic needle does not point to the north pole of the earth, but
to a point called the magnetic pole. This variation, or declination, is,
from the Atlantic region of this continent, a few degrees westward of
the direct north.

The arrow indicates about the average variation; and if the compass be
so placed that the needle will rest directly over it, the line N. S.
will more nearly indicate the true north and south.

The card should be held in place not by glue, but by a few very short
pins (filed off and re-sharpened). Then if the needle is shaken from its
perch, the card can be removed to permit its re-adjustment.


                         HOW TO MAKE A CIRCLE.

Many of the operations described in this book require the making of
circles of various sizes.

Those readers who own a pair of dividers, especially if they are
furnished with a pencil-holder, will find this an easy matter. Those who
are not as fortunate may be glad to learn the following ready way of
describing circles accurately to any size desired.

One of the common substitutes for dividers is a loop of string or thread
passed around the pencil-point, and a pin inserted in the center of the
proposed circle. This is a tiresome and vexatious method, as it is
difficult to tie the loop at just the right length when a circle of a
specified size is to be made, the stretching of the thread adding to the
perplexity. The loop is also very ready to slip up and down on the
pencil or pin, making it altogether a matter of unusual good fortune to
obtain a satisfactory result.

The better way is to take a strip of stout paper or thin card, about
half an inch wide and a little more than half the length of the circle’s
diameter. A strip cut from a postal card will serve the purpose

Near one end of this make a hole large enough for the insertion of the
pencil-point. Toward the other end make a pinhole, the distance of which
from the first hole must be half the diameter of the circle required.
Stick a pin through this hole into the center of your proposed circle;
place the pencil-point in the other, and you can achieve your result
with accuracy and ease.


                          THE MAGNETIC CIRCUS.


This mechanical toy is comparatively simple in its construction, and
will serve as the foundation for one of the many Saturday shows, which
are so dearly prized by most of the bright, active boys in our land.

A good-sized soap-box serves as a table on which the toy is to rest. The
back is removed, and a hole cut in the top admits the passage of the
crank. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that the exposed surface of this
box should be papered, or covered with a cloth curtain, in such a manner
as to give it a decorative effect.

The attraction of a magnet or iron is the principle on which the
“circus” is made to work.

Procure or make from thin wood a box about a foot square, and five or
five and a half inches deep. Cut a hole through the central point of the
bottom, to allow of the passage of the crank.


Now from a board cut a round disk which shall revolve easily inside the
box, and pass through its center an axle which shall be long enough to
form a support for the ring-master on the top or stage, and extend down
through the top of the soap-box, where it ends in a crank by which the
whole machinery is worked. On the top of this disk, and a short distance
from the edge, fasten a common horseshoe magnet, which should be about
four inches long, and can be bought at almost any toy store for ten
cents. This must be fastened in an upright position by means of staples,
as seen in the illustration.

After the magnet is arranged so that it will revolve easily, fit the top
of the box with a stiff pasteboard cover, which shall just clear the
magnet; and mark upon this a circle which is to represent the ring of
the circus.


Out of stiff pasteboard cut the ring-master, and with a small nail or
strong pin fix him in place. Now from four thicknesses of pasteboard cut
out a horse and rider, something like that represented in Fig. 3, and
insert between the layers which form each forefoot, a nail, the head of
which extends slightly below the pasteboard. File these nail-heads so
that they shall be smooth and rounded. Glue the two layers together to
form the legs of the animal, and spread them slightly apart, as seen in
Fig. 4 (which gives an end view of the object), having already glued all
four layers to form the body of horse and rider.


Various horses of different colors, forms, positions, and with or
without riders, may be made in a similar manner; and elephants or other
animals may be substituted for the horses, and made to move around the
track, as if subject to the master’s whip. After the glue is dry, the
outside edges should be rounded and the roughnesses removed by the use
of a rasp and sand-paper.

The ring-master should be so fastened, facing the horse, as to turn with
each revolution of the axle.

The back of the box is fitted with a pasteboard or cloth screen, painted
to represent stage scenery, and supported on either side by uprights,
from the top of which float banners. For further decorations the twigs
of evergreen trees are added, those of the larch or spruce, or perhaps
best of all the small branches of the juniper or cedar tree, are best
for the purpose. When these tiny stage trees become brown and faded,
they can be easily exchanged for fresh ones, or may be painted with
green paint, if a new supply is not readily obtainable.

The front of the box may be papered with fancy wall-paper, or otherwise
decorated to suit the fancy of the maker; and the one who supplies the
motive power, or, in other words, turns the crank, should be kept out of
sight of the audience if possible. As the horses are not connected with
any visible motive power, the cause of their revolution will be
enveloped in a mystery which will add vastly to the entertainment of the
little folks.



Melt some tallow, and with it paint on the shell of an egg, making
letters, numbers, profiles, or any outline which your fancy may suggest,
or the fineness of the brush may permit. Then immerse the egg in strong
vinegar. After the lapse of a few hours, whatever is covered with the
lines of tallow will project slightly, the vinegar, which is mainly
acetic acid, having dissolved away the unprotected surface. By painting
with a fine brush an intricate scroll or vine pattern, carrying it all
around the egg, the result is very pretty, giving somewhat the effect of
carved ivory.


                       AN ARITHMETICAL CURIOSITY.

Write the nine digits in their order, and multiply them by 9; the result
will be composed of units, excepting the next to the last, thus:


Multiply by 18, instead of 9, and the product will consist of 2’s. By
27, and it will be 3’s. In this manner all the digits may be obtained by
multiplying by the multiples of 9; as 36, 45, 54, etc.



Count the knuckles of the hands, with the spaces between them; all the
months with thirty-one days will fall on the knuckles, and those with
less than thirty-one in the spaces. Thus, beginning with the forefinger
of the left hand, July will come on the knuckle of the little finger;
then beginning with August on the forefinger of the right hand, December
will be reached at the knuckle of the third finger.


                      SOME ELECTRICAL EXPERIMENTS.

Considerable amusement may be derived from the electrical phenomena
manifested by a sheet of stout brown paper, when friction is applied to
it. Having warmed such a sheet, and rubbed it with the dry palm of the
hand, or some woolen fabric, giving six or eight smooth, steady strokes,
with considerable pressure, and all in one direction, away from the
body, then place a bunch of keys in the center of the paper, and lift it
by the ends; a spark of electricity may now be taken from the keys.

If ordinary unglazed paper be immersed in a mixture of equal parts of
sulphuric and nitric acids, then well washed with plenty of water and
dried, it becomes extremely electric. If placed on a wooden table, or,
better still, on a waxed cloth, and rubbed with the hand, it attracts
feathers, pith-balls, fragments of paper, or other small light objects.

When suddenly stripped from the waxed cloth in a darkened room, the
entire surface will have a luminous phosphorescent appearance. A spark
can be taken from it by holding the finger about half an inch from the
surface. If placed against the wall it will adhere to it and keep its
place for several minutes.

This paper retains its electrical properties a long time. When weakened,
it is sufficient to slightly heat it to restore all its energy.


                           THE ELECTROPHORUS.


This instrument, whose name, derived from the Greek, means _bearer of
electricity_, consists of two parts; first, a cake or disk of resin, or
of shellac and wax, these substances being melted and poured into a tin
mold; second, a disk of brass, or sometimes of thin, well-dried wood,
covered on each side with thin sheet-brass or even thick tin-foil. This
should be fitted with a glass handle, to insulate it; a stout, round
bottle of moderate size will answer. The cake of resin is rubbed
vigorously; a surface of fur is the best to use for this, such as a
cat-skin or fox-tail. The disk is then taken by the handle and rested on
the cake, and its upper surface touched a moment with the finger; then,
on withdrawing the disk from the resin, a bright electric spark can be
obtained from it. By resting it once more on the resin, again touching
and withdrawing it, another spark may be elicited, and so on for eight
or ten successive trials.

The scientific explanation of this phenomenon is, that negative
electricity is excited in the cake by friction. When the disk is
applied, the electricity does not pass into it from the cake, but is
_induced_ in the disk by the law of electrical polarity; the lower
surface being covered with positive electricity, while the negative is
repelled to the upper side, from which it is drawn by the finger. Then,
when the disk is lifted, the spark of positive electricity may be drawn.

If the construction of the instrument just described appears too
formidable a task to my young readers, perhaps they may yet be inclined
to experiment with



Take a lacquered iron “tea-tray;” cut a sheet of stout brown paper so as
to fit the flat part of the tray, and fix two strips of paper at each
end by means of sealing-wax. These strips serve as handles by which to
lift the paper, and the sealing-wax, being a non-conductor, prevents the
electricity from passing off. The tray is also insulated by placing it
upon two tumblers.

The sheet of paper is now heated quite hot, placed on a wooden table,
and rubbed with a hard and very dry clothes-brush. Then it is lifted and
placed on the tray.

The paper is negatively electrified; it induces a similar state in the
lower side of the tray, which should be touched a moment with the
finger; then lift the paper from the tray. An electric spark can now be
taken from the latter.

The strips by which the paper is lifted can be brought together, and
held by the thumb and finger of one hand, leaving the other free to take
the spark. The paper may now be replaced. By touching the lower surface
of the tray, and lifting the paper as before, another spark may be
obtained, and so on for several times, if the air be dry.


This piece of apparatus, also called Pfeiffer’s electrophorus, is
composed of a thin sheet of ebonite, measuring about six by eight
inches. A small sheet of brass, about five by three inches, is fixed on
one side. With this, electricity may be evoked with unusual readiness.

It is placed flat on a wooden table, and rubbed successively on both
sides with the open hand; if lifted in the left hand, and the right hand
is presented to the brass, a spark will be received.


                             A LEYDEN JAR.


This may be made as follows: Fill a plain glass tumbler two-thirds full
of shot; insert the bowl of a spoon in the shot, leaving the handle
projecting. Hold the tumbler in the hand, and bring the handle of the
spoon near to the electrophorus—previously prepared for action—so as to
receive its spark. On repeating this a few times, the electric fluid
will be accumulated in the “jar,” and the many small sparks may be
obtained as one large one, by approaching the finger to the spoon, still
holding the tumbler in the other hand.

This idea may be varied by using a large wide-mouthed bottle or small
jar, instead of the tumbler, and covering the outside nearly up to the
top with tin-foil. If that rare treasure, a bullet-mold, is to be had, a
ball may be formed on the end of a stout wire, and used instead of the
spoon, the end with the ball being the projecting one, thus making an
article corresponding more nearly to the regular professional pattern.


                            THE PITH DANCER.


This fastidious little skipper never dances except to piano music. It is
fashioned from pith, cork, or other light material. Generally it has a
human head and body; but when we consider its dancing extremities, we
must regard it as a quadruped, or even a tripod, as the case may be; for
it stands on three or four stout hog’s bristles. These may be borrowed
from the floor-brush, and should be even at the lower ends, that the
dancer may stand erect. It should be painted in a gay and conspicuous
manner, to compensate for its diminutive size, and a mantle of colored
tissue-paper may add to its consequence. When the image is complete,
stand it on the sounding-board of the piano, which should be operated
with vigor. The dancer will respond to the lively notes with edifying
briskness and vivacity.


                          THE OBEDIENT BOTTLE.


Fashion a shape like a small bottle, out of pith, paper pulp, or some
other light substance. Cut a bullet in two, and fasten the base of the
bottle to the flat portion of one of the halves. A straight piece of
large wire, the length of the bottle, should be provided, and a hole
made down through the center of the bottle, into which it will slide
readily, and remain with the end out of sight. This hole may be made
with greater ease before attaching the bullet. This object can be made
to yield apparent obedience to the commands of its maker. If he orders
it to remain upright, he will place it on the table without inserting
the wire, when nothing but constant pressure will induce it to lie
prostrate. Then, taking it into his hands, and skillfully introducing
the wire while the attention of the observers is directed elsewhere, he
next orders it to lie flat; and, as the weight of the wire overbalances
it, it will tumble over as often as it is set up.

The bullet should be covered with thin paper as smoothly as possible,
and the whole affair painted, to better conceal the _modus operandi_.


                          THE IMMOVABLE CARD.

If a card, such as an ordinary visiting card, is turned down about a
quarter of an inch at each end, at right angles to the rest of the card,
and then placed on a table so as to rest on the turned edges, you may
safely challenge most persons to blow it so as to make it turn over on
the other side. It would naturally seem easier to overturn a card so
prepared, than one whose shape remained unchanged; but whoever tries it
will find that the facts are otherwise.

The card can be overthrown, however, by blowing on the table, toward the
card, as the stream of air is then reflected against its under side.


                            A TRIPLE BRIDGE.


This may be constructed by means of three table-knives, in the manner
illustrated in the figure. Three goblets or tumblers will serve as the
piers; these are to be arranged in a triangle, a little farther from
each other than the length of the knives. Lay two of the knives on the
table, with the blades crossing each other. Then pass the blade of the
third knife over the uppermost blade of the other two, and under the
undermost; then take them up and place them with the ends of the handles
on the rims of the glasses. The bridge now sustains itself, and if a
moderate weight be placed upon it, it will be all the firmer.


                     AN ILLUSTRATION OF “INERTIA.”

Inertia is defined as the tendency of a body to persevere in its state
either of rest or motion. It is generally used in the sense of
persisting in a state of rest. Among the many illustrations of this
property of matter, is one which figured in the text-books of thirty or
forty years ago, and which the boys of that time adapted to their
amusement by constructing the apparatus here illustrated.

It consists of three parts: the board which forms the base, a post about
six inches high, and a strip of stout whalebone, or dry, elastic wood.

The board should be as much as seven-eighths of an inch in thickness,
and the elastic strip or spring should be firmly inserted in an inclined
slit cut through the board. The places of the spring and post should be
so adjusted to each other, that when the latter is secured solidly by a
good-sized screw passing up through the board, the former will press
with its upper end against the top of the post (as shown by the dotted
line) with some degree of force.


The top of the post should be hollowed slightly, to retain the ball; and
the appearance of the whole will be improved by a coat of shellac or

Now place a card on the top of the post; and if it is sufficiently
level, a marble or bullet may be induced to remain on it, directly over
the column; if not, a large bean, a spool, or a coin, will prove more
tractable. Draw back the spring with the thumb and finger, as in the
illustration; let it go _suddenly_, and it will snap the card away,
leaving the superimposed object resting quietly on the top of the

The same principle is sometimes illustrated by balancing a card on the
finger, placing a coin on the card, and snapping away the card with the
other hand, the coin remaining on the finger.

Another way is to pile up a small tower with “checkers” or “draughts.”
By a quick blow with a ruler, one checker may be knocked from between
the others, without overturning the tower.



Perhaps one evening of this ever delightful season might not be more
entertainingly spent than in witnessing an exhibition of some feats in
_Magic_, if any lad of the company could become sufficiently expert in
the art to render them with a fair amount of skill.

There are many of these mysterious tricks performed by the professional
“Thaumaturgist” or “Prestidigitateur,” but as most of them require a
complicated or expensive apparatus, I shall only call your attention to
such as are comparatively simple, and require but few “aids” or
materials for their fulfillment.


As it is necessary for any boy or girl who intends to become an expert
sleight-of-hand performer to be a successful _palmer_, this is naturally
the first lesson to be learned. Indeed, very few of the tricks performed
by an expert prestidigitateur would be effective without its use.

To explain this art is difficult, although it is an easy matter to show
how the thing is done. By the aid of an illustration may be seen,
however, the final position of the coin, or how it is held while it is

If possible, balance a half-dollar on the tip of the second finger of
the right hand; but if not at first easily accomplished let the coin
rest on the tips of the second and third fingers, steadying it, in this
position, by touching it lightly with the thumb. Close the hand quickly
and the coin will rest in the palm. Then, by throwing the thumb forward,
the ball of the thumb will hold the silver piece on one side, and that
part of the palm which lies between the second and third fingers holds
it securely on the other.


Practice this well, and be sure you can depend upon yourself to
accomplish it perfectly with the left as well as the right hand, before
you try any of the following tricks in the presence of a critical


Borrow of your audience two half-dollars and lay them on your table.

Next shake your sleeves and let your friends see that you have no coins
hidden about you. When they are convinced that such is the case, pick up
one half-dollar with the thumb and second finger of your _right hand_.
Palm this in your right hand while you _pretend_ to pass it to your
left, of course making a motion with the _left hand_ as if it received
and still held the coin.

The right hand will then _seem_ to be empty, although still holding the
half-dollar. Next pick up the other coin with the right hand, and place
the hand behind you, being careful to keep the left well in front, and
always in sight of your audience. Make some few remarks concerning the
difficulty of the trick, and at last pronounce the magic word “Pass”; at
the same time clink the two coins together, as if one had hit the other
in the meeting. Then bring the right hand forward, and, opening it and
the left at the same time, show that the coin has actually left the
latter and entered the former, as you promised it should do.


Twenty pieces of money are necessary for this trick; and two-cent
pieces, or quarters, are perhaps the most convenient sizes to use. Of
these, borrow fifteen from your audience, the other five have at hand,
but concerning which your friends are to know nothing.

Having borrowed them from the company, count out five, and give them to
one of your audience, while to another you give ten, and after having
seen that the latter counts his carefully, take those given to the
first, mutter some cabalistic nonsense, and order them to pass into the
hands of the one who has the ten pieces. Finally, request him to count
them again, when, strange to relate, he will find that he has fifteen,
instead of the ten pieces which he was supposed to have.

The trick is performed in this manner: Upon receiving the money, throw
it upon a plate or box cover—the plate is the best—and passing it to the
first person, request him to take five of the pieces away. Now give the
remaining money, with the plate, to the second, and ask him to drop each
coin as he counts it, on the plate, that all may know he has counted

Then comes the only difficult part of the trick. Ask the one who has
counted the coins to hold both his hands, while you pour the money into
them, and taking the plate in your left hand, pour the contents into
your right, where you have already _five more palmed_ (the five the
audience have not seen). Now pour the fifteen into the hands of number
two, and impress upon him the importance of keeping his hands well
closed over the money. This will prevent his noticing that an addition
has been made. Take the five from person number one, and pretend to
place them in your other hand, but instead palm them. Do your talking
and command the money to pass. If you have taken proper care in palming
your coins, the audience, as well as the one holding the money, will be
greatly amazed by the trick.


In almost any performance of this kind, the audience, especially if of
one’s intimate friends, are anxious for the performer to try again
whatever strikes them as strange or mysterious, being of course on their
guard to watch certain movements, at points in the performance which
they had scarcely noticed before.

So it is very unsafe to try any trick over again immediately after it
has been once performed, or in fact during the same evening; although
perhaps it might be safely done if a number of different ones
intervened. If beseeched to try it “just once more,” make as graceful an
excuse as you can, and suggest in its place something equally


For this trick, seven half-dollars are required, and are concealed in
the right hand by “palming,” as the five two-cent pieces were hid in the
former trick.

First, borrow of one of your audience a tall silk hat, promising to
return it “as good as new” at the end of the performance. Let the
audience examine it to see that the owner is not in league with
yourself, and then, walking to the back of the room, place it upon a
table. While walking toward the table, with the back toward the
audience, palm your coins, which should be held in some convenient
pocket, readily accessible when the moment comes for using them.

Next, turn to your audience, having your coins well concealed in your
right hand, and request some one to lend you _six_ half-dollars; but
immediately, under the pretense of disliking to trouble them, step
forward, and, excusing yourself for the liberty, take a coin from the
folds of a lady’s dress, by simply letting one of those concealed in
your hand slip to the end of your fingers. If you have had sufficient
practice in “coining” you will find no difficulty in doing this, and
your audience will be inclined to believe you actually found the money
secreted in the fabric, although they may believe you had some hand in
placing it in its hiding-place.

If you have been thus far successful, go to the hat, and, calling
attention to the fact, drop the half-dollar into it; then, as if you
imagined some one was doubtful whether the coin was really in the hat,
make some remark to the effect that if they do not believe you dropped
it you will do so again, at the same moment thrusting your hand down to
the crown to take it in sight again.

At the moment the hand is in this position, carefully place the six
half-dollars on the bottom, and let one remain in the palm. Pick up one
of these six, and holding it high, let it drop, being careful, however,
that it does not hit the other five.

The coin in your hand you proceed to take from any unusual place which
may occur to you—the window curtain, portière, a gentleman’s beard, or a
lady’s coiffure, are those most naturally suggested. As soon as you take
a half-dollar from its hiding-place, you pretend to place it in your
left hand, and from there command it to pass to the hat, but in reality
you palm it in your right where it is ready for the next position from
which you desire to take it. Proceed in this way until you have gathered
in six half-dollars.

As these have been lying quietly in the hat during all this time, you
have no anxiety about sending them there, and must simply avoid going
near it while apparently filling it with the money. When the last silver
piece has been sent to its destination, request the audience to select
some one of its members to count the money in the hat, and see that none
has been lost in its flight hence. It will, of course, be found all
right, and great will be the curiosity to know how you placed it there;
but do not allow yourself to be influenced into trying it a second time,
for with the close watching you will undergo your secret will be


The hat may well be called “inexhaustible,” for all manner of things may
be made to come from its prolific crown, and in such profusion, that a
receptacle of double its size would hardly contain them.

If two boys have learned the art of palming well, they may assist each
other, and, if at all ingenious, invent a variety of tricks for an
evening’s amusement.

The following is but a suggestion, which may be varied by different

Let them borrow from the audience two tall silk hats, and place them
upon chairs standing some distance from each other. Each having provided
himself with a small rubber ball—the one resembling the other as nearly
as possible—they are ready to proceed. The hats were of course empty
when passed to the stage, but as the first boy takes his place, back of
the chair which contains a hat, he should glance down into it, and with
surprise, draw out a ball which he has had concealed in his right hand,
show it to the audience and then pretend to put it in his left hand, but
instead _palm_ it in the right; at the same time extending his left
toward his partner. The second boy stretches out his right arm as if to
receive the ball, and at the moment his hand touches the fingers of No.
1, he lets that which he has been palming in his right hand slip down to
his fingers, as if he had just received it from his friend. Now,
pretending to change it to his left, he palms it, as No. 1 has done, and
finally drops his left hand, which is supposed to hold the ball, into
the hat in front of him, at the same time giving the side or crown a rap
with one of his fingers, to imitate the falling of the ball. This same
thing may be repeated indefinitely, until you have balls enough to stock
the village. When you see the audience is beginning to tire, let No. 1
say, “My hat is empty; shall I help you count the balls in yours?” No. 2
nods assent, and looks down, as if expecting the hat to be full. He must
then pretend great surprise, and taking up the hat must turn it upside
down, gently shake it—remembering it is borrowed—and with the audience
wonder what has become of all the balls.

Eggs, small lemons or oranges, little china dolls, and a number of small
toys may be substituted for the rubber balls above given.


This trick is one of the easiest, while at the same time one of the most
pleasing, of the magician’s arts. In it an egg, apparently without any
impulse beyond that which resides within itself, travels over a hat, and
after reconnoitering it in its every nook and corner, passes gracefully
over to another, and commences its journey of discovery around the
second in much the same manner it has traversed the first.

Two hats are borrowed from the audience, and a dish of eggs is placed
upon the table by their side, when the performer requests the lady
stationed at the piano to give some music, and the exhibition commences.
The egg which is used is merely a shell, the inside having been sucked
or blown out through tiny holes made at either end. A slender silken
thread is tied to the upper button of the performer’s waistcoat, while
attached to the other end is a small piece of wax or other sticky
substance. Just before the performance commences, show the dish of eggs,
and then pass away from them and back of your audience, to show that
they (the eggs) are in no way attached to your person.

As the music strikes up, walk to the table, take the shell from the
dish, making it appear that you had no choice, but took the first one
you chanced to touch, and place it inside the hat, at the same moment
pressing the bit of wax to its side.

As the egg is _in the hat_ it is necessary for it to pass out upon the
outside surface. To do this the hat is slowly moved downward until the
egg is even with the brim; then by careful management and a little
practice, the effect is produced of the egg walking up the hat instead
of the hat being lowered to the egg. You may now take the egg in your
hand and, holding the hat with the crown upward in a horizontal
position, place it beneath the egg, and turn it slowly away from
yourself. The effect will be that the egg is traveling up hill. By
placing the other hat close to the one upon which you are performing,
and slowly drawing it under the egg, the latter will appear to pass over
to the crown of the second hat, and very much the same movements may be
repeated on this as on the first.


Borrow a quarter or half-dollar from your audience, and ask the owner to
place some mark upon it by which it may be identified. Wrap this in the
corner of a handkerchief, and give it to some one to hold. Next take a
ball of yarn, and having placed it in a tumbler, ask some other person
in your audience to hold his hand over the top of the tumbler in such a
way that the ball will be kept in place, and the yarn will run smoothly
through the fingers. Hold one end of the yarn some distance from the
tumbler, or near where the coin is held, and inform your audience that,
as your dispatcher is in good working order, you will proceed to send
the coin your friend has in his hand into the very center of the ball of
yarn. Take the opposite corner of the handkerchief from the one holding
the money in your right hand, and having counted one, two, three,
command the coin to pass, at the same instant snatching the handkerchief
from your friend’s hand. Next commence to unwind the ball, being careful
to keep some distance from the tumbler while so doing.


As the yarn is nearing its end, the silver piece will drop upon the
bottom of the tumbler, and nothing is left for you to do but to request
the owner of it to step forward and see if it is the one he lent you.

In this, as in many of the tricks you have already learned, very little
preparation is required. First, a coin of the same denomination as the
one borrowed is sewed in a corner of the handkerchief. The ball is wound
upon a stick of a particular shape, which is drawn out when the coin is
to be substituted in its place. This stick should be about two and a
half inches long, one and a quarter inches wide, and an eighth of an
inch thick, rounded off at one end, and scraped until it is perfectly

When winding your ball, be careful to have the rounded end of the stick
in the center of the ball, and the other end projecting slightly on one

After you have procured your coin, palmed it, and given the handkerchief
containing the other into the hands of some person to hold, go for your
ball, which should be at some distance from your audience, that you may
have time to draw out the stick and insert the coin in its place, while
you are walking back to the table upon which is your tumbler.

The trick is now done, but the audience must be kept ignorant of the
fact, while your conversation and subsequent acting should shroud it in
all the mystery possible.


A few years ago I had the good fortune to see a famous magician perform.
Many and wonderful were the things he did, and at times it seemed as if
other than human skill must be aiding him in his craft.

Among others, he gave the following trick, which was as enthusiastically
applauded as many of the others. It had for me no element of
strangeness, as I was already initiated into its secret. Since it has
ever been a favorite in the little amateur performances we have from
time to time been in the habit of giving, I hope it may gain a wider
popularity in the larger circle of friends to whom I am about to
disclose it.


To the public it appears as follows: A plain gold ring is borrowed,
placed in a handkerchief, and given to a person to hold. A small stick
is held by two others, in such a position that its center is hidden by
the handkerchief; each person holds an end. The magician commands the
ring to pass, at the same moment snatching the handkerchief, a corner of
which he has taken, away from the one holding it—when behold! the ring,
which a moment ago was in the spectator’s hand, is now whirling around
the stick, which it evidently has just reached.

It is performed as follows: When the ring is taken from its owner, it is
palmed, and not placed in the handkerchief, as one is led to suppose,
the handkerchief being supplied, as you probably have already guessed,
with a ring which is sewed in its end. In passing the stick to the
holders, you have simply to pass it through the right hand, in the
center of which your ring is palmed, and, of course, through the ring
itself. Then, holding it until it is hidden by the handkerchief, is not
difficult to do. When you first take up the stick, be sure and use your
left hand, so that you will have it ready to pass through your ring
without any awkward or suspicious movements. Finally, pulling the
handkerchief suddenly and quickly across the stick, causes the ring to
whirl upon it very much as if it had just dropped in its place. It is
always well, when performing with the handkerchief, to have a second and
similar one in your pocket, to show in case suspicion should be aroused
concerning it.


Supply your table with a candle in a light candlestick, and a glass of
water. When ready to perform, request some one of your audience to lend
you a half-dollar, suggesting at the same time, that a new bright coin
would best suit your purpose. Have it marked that the owner may be sure
of its identity.

If nothing but dull coins are to be found, have a small bottle of
ammonia at hand, and holding the piece in your hand, pour a few drops of
the liquid upon it; let it stand a few moments and then wipe with a bit
of cloth. Treat both sides in the same way, and brighten up the edges in
like manner. All this while you may be talking of this treatment, as if
it were intended to render the metal more fusible, but be careful not to
mention what the fluid is, or for what it is really intended. This
treatment is, of course, not necessary in the case of new coins, in
which case it can be omitted.

When the silver is bright, and presents the appearance of a new coin,
take it between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, look at it
carefully, and then pretend to drop it into your left hand, but instead
palm it in your right.

Now continue to move your left hand as if working the coin around in it,
keeping up a continual flow of small talk during the whole performance.
The difficulty of melting silver, the amount of heat required, and the
comparative hardness of different metals, forming good subjects, with
which you will become familiar before your public exhibition.

To render the idea of palming an apparent impossibility, take up the
candle in your right hand. This will render the holding of the coin less
troublesome, and appear to your audience as a conclusive evidence that
the half-dollar is in your left hand.

After you have pretended to place the coin in your left hand, do not for
an instant forget to appear as if it really was there, and keep that
hand always in sight of your audience.

Having taken the lighted candle in your right, hold the left hand above
the flame, and move the fingers as if allowing the silver to pass down,
drop by drop, into the candle itself. If, just before this, previous to
taking the candle, you could catch up the glass for a drink and drop a
spoonful of water into the hollow of your left hand, the dropping of it
into the candle-flame would add to the impression of melting silver. You
can wet your hand slightly in many natural ways, as no one would imagine
the water had anything to do with the trick. Continue to pretend to drop
the silver, until it would naturally be gone; then, without removing
your hand, open it and announce that the half-dollar is melted, and can
be found in the candlestick; assuring the donor that he need not be
alarmed, as you can bring it out as it was before it went in, if he will
but have patience.

Put the candlestick down upon the table, and pretend to pick out bits of
silver from the various parts of it with the right hand, placing them as
they are gathered in the palm of the left hand. At a convenient moment,
when the right is exactly above the left hand, drop the half-dollar into
it, and the trick is done. But it would not do to let the audience know
this, so you must continue to work the left hand as if molding the coin
in shape, blowing with the mouth into the palm as if cooling the heated
mass; toss it from hand to hand as if to cool it more rapidly, and
finally return it to the spectator from whom it was borrowed.


The young performer will find but little difficulty in performing this
simple sleight-of-hand trick successfully. A lighted candle, a small
stick, or magic wand, and a piece of thin cambric or muslin about six
inches square, are the materials required.

Place the lighted candle on your table, and the wand on another table or
shelf some distance from the former with the bit of cambric behind it.

Now borrow of some lady present a handkerchief, a gentleman’s being
inconveniently large. Take the handkerchief by the center, pull it
carefully between the fingers and thumb of left hand, and advance toward
the candle.

Just as you are about to burn it, stop and say, as if in answer to some
remark overheard, “Oh, no, I have not changed the handkerchief. See!”
and at the same time allow another inspection of it.

Suggest now to its owner, if, in case her handkerchief is burned, she
would like it restored again to its proper condition; and, upon her
answering in the affirmative, announce the necessity of the magic wand
for that purpose. Walk to the spot where the wand is lying, and take it
up, managing to pick up at the same time between the left thumb and
forefinger the bit of cambric; the center of this piece should be
pointed outward so that it may be readily pulled out at the desired
moment, the remainder being neatly rolled up and palmed under the thumb.
This piece should have been rolled up with the central point slightly
projecting when first placed on the shelf, and the performer should
manage to turn his back toward the audience for a few moments when
taking up the wand.

Place the wand in one of your coat pockets as you advance toward your
candle, and again take the handkerchief, putting it this time into the
left hand, and pull up the small piece of material, completely hiding
the center of the real handkerchief between the second and third fingers
and the palm of the hand.

The portion of the cambric extending beyond the thumb and forefinger may
now be safely burned, and the audience may be sure the handkerchief is
burned, as you can make some display of rolling it up in a ball, taking
care, however, to separate the burned piece from the real article. Now
take the wand from the pocket, and at the same time manage to drop the
small semi-burned piece of muslin unperceived into the pocket; touch the
handkerchief with the wand, and, after some magic word or words, return
the handkerchief to the owner to be examined, remarking that you hope
not even an odor of smoke is noticeable about it.

Whenever displaying feats in magic, it is better for the performer to go
forward among the audience if he has anything to show or have examined,
than to allow the latter to come to his portion of the room. His table
has often some things upon it which if seen near by would do much toward
dispelling the mystery connected with his works.

A wide space should be left between his table and the front row of
spectators, as he often has occasion to step between the two in some of
his feats.

The lights also should be judiciously arranged, so as not to shine too
directly upon his hands or person, or even upon his table. Always have
everything you can possibly need in some easily accessible place, and in
just the position most convenient to be taken.

Decide beforehand what tricks you will perform, and in just what order
they are to be given. Of course, all the materials are not to be spread
on the table at the commencement of the entertainment, as they would be
in the way, and confuse you in your first acts; but they should all be
at hand, and while articles are being examined which have passed through
the various vicissitudes in a former trick, you can utilize the time
when the attention is thus carried away from yourself to gather together
and properly place the materials for your next feat.

Never be induced to perform a trick a second time, unless nearly a whole
evening’s performance intervenes. Even then it is pretty sure to be


Take a piece of clothes-line, six or seven yards long, and pass it among
your audience for inspection. While it is going its rounds, have your
hands securely tied with a handkerchief, which should be passed around
the wrists and knotted on one side.

When the rope is returned to you, drop one end between your arms, or
inside the handkerchief, and request some one to take both ends of the
rope and pull, to make sure your hands are firmly tied. It would now
seem impossible to get the rope off, unless the hands were untied or the
ends released. After two or three rapid motions, however, the rope drops
to the floor, while your hands remain tied as at first.


First, do not have your hands tied so tightly that you cannot move them;
this can be arranged by holding them slightly apart while they are being
tied. After the rope has been pulled by the holder, it is somewhat
relaxed; and then, by rubbing it between the wrists a loop may be
formed, into which the second finger may be slipped. The whole hand is
now readily thrust through, and only a jerk is necessary to send the
rope upon the floor. In performing this trick, work as quickly as
possible, that your movements may not be easily followed.


Although the winter season is now well upon us, and its reigning king,
Jack Frost, jealous if we but mention the “camp-fire,” has covered its
very site with ice and snow, we need not fear incurring his displeasure
by the following exhibition.

Procure an old silk hat if possible, and pass it among your audience for
inspection. Have upon the stage, or at your end of the room, a table,
with a drawer open at the back. In this drawer have a small cake in the
tin in which it was baked. Let it be made in a patty-pan if convenient.
Beside this cake have a small tin cup, which will fit rather tightly
into the mouth of a china jar you have also provided. On the top of the
table have an unlighted candle, the jar, which should be porcelain if
possible, a basket containing a few eggs, a pitcher of water, some
flour, and a box marked sugar. The hat, after having been examined, is
returned to you; and the cake, along with the cup which is to receive
the eggs and flour, are put into it. This is effected as follows: Take
the cake and cup in your left hand, keeping it down behind the table,
and your hat in the right hand; bring the cake and cup up to the edge,
and immediately cover it with the hat, which you begin brushing with
your right. Keep up a running discourse all the time, so that the
movement will seem natural, and not be suspected. In a moment or two
partly withdraw the left hand, and grasping the brim of the hat, turn it
upside down upon the table. If the tin is not in a good position to
catch the eggs and flour which you are to drop into it, palm a penny and
pretend to find it in the hat, chiding your audience for carelessly
overlooking it, remarking that although a useful thing to have, it is
not exactly a proper ingredient for cake. Of course, while pretending to
pick up the coin, you can arrange the tin cup on top of your cake in the
middle of the hat. Be sure that it stands firm.

Now proceed to break one or more eggs, and drop the contents into the
hat, taking especial care that they drop into the cup. Next throw in a
spoonful of sugar, and then pour a few drops of water and one or two
spoonfuls of flour into the jar, and stir well with a spoon. Pour the
contents of the jar into the cup, and then, under pretense of draining
the last drop into the hat, force the jar down over the cup, and work it
around until the cup is well pushed up into the mouth of the jar. It is
needless to add that you must pretend all the while that you are
scraping or shaking out the mixture. The jar can now be taken out and
carelessly placed behind the sugar-pail or any other object, to prevent
the edge of the tin cup from being seen.

The trick is now completed, the only necessary thing to do is to keep up
the acting until the cake is supposed to be finished.

First, stir it well by moving the spoon around quite actively in the
hat; then light the candle, and, informing your audience that the cake
is ready for baking, take the hat in one hand and hold it over the
candle for a minute or two, occasionally glancing in to see if it is
doing well.

In a short time announce that it is baked; and after blowing out the
candle, take the cake from the hat, turn it out upon a plate, and
placing a knife by its side, pass it to some one to cut, and politely
request your friends to try it, and judge upon the efficacy of your
camp-stove. If the hat was borrowed, return it with thanks to its owner,
and congratulate him upon having such a useful article always on hand.


In most, in fact all, of these exhibitions, it is absolutely necessary
that one should keep a sober countenance while performing. No matter how
hard your audience laugh, do not allow the shadow of a smile to flit
across your face. If you do it will take away much of the effectiveness
and half the mystery, from whatever you are doing.

I once had a young friend, a quick bright boy, who was very successful
in palming, and in many of the other elements in sleight-of-hand tricks,
but he had a ridiculous and unconquerable habit of laughing whenever his
audience laughed, and, in fact, of sometimes anticipating the laugh, and
commencing before his friends saw anything worth laughing about.

He was of course not successful, and was never watched with as much
interest as his brother, who, although not as clever, was as sober as a
judge from the beginning to the end of the performance. No amount of
hilarity in the audience affected him in the least. If he found it was
impossible to make himself heard, he stood still and waited; but always
with the same quiet, calm countenance he would have worn had he been
walking up the aisle of a church. Learn to command your countenance, as
one of the most important requisites of a successful magician.


Many years ago this trick was exhibited in a show-window on Broadway,
but as probably most of the people who then saw it have long since
forgotten how it was performed, I give the following account:

Two ropes, each about three yards in length, are given to the audience
to examine, which of course are pronounced perfect; then they are passed
through the sleeves of a coat, in such a way as to suspend it; the ends
are then given to two boys to hold. The performer then places his hand
inside the coat, and having requested those who are holding the ends of
the rope to pull, the coat falls to the floor, having in some mysterious
manner worked off the ropes.


Of course, the whole secret of this trick depends upon the arrangement
of the ropes, which are of themselves perfect. After they have been
examined, and are returned to the performer, he pretends to measure
them, and while so doing manages to bend each rope double; that is, he
brings the two ends of each together; while still holding them he
contrives to slip a small elastic band over the center of one, and
bringing the middle of the other alongside of it, he slips the band over
both, thus tying them together, as shown in the illustration.


Now holding this juncture carelessly in his left hand, over which arm a
coil or two of the rope is thrown, he passes the ends marked _A_ through
one sleeve of the coat, and the end marked _B_ through the other, and
these are the ends he gives to the two persons to hold.

If he now slips off the rubber band, the coat will fall; but each person
will have both ends of the same rope in his hand, and the mystery would
be easily solved. To remedy this, however, the performer, under pretense
of making the trick still more difficult, takes an end from each of the
holders, and proceeds to tie a single loop, as seen in the illustration,
thus reversing the ends, which he then returns to them.

Of course, when the band is taken off, each person has but one end of
either rope in his hand.


Tie together the ends of a piece of string about two feet long; pass it
thus tied through a button-hole of your coat. Hitch the two ends on your
thumbs, and catch up with each little finger the upper string on the
thumb of the opposite hand; then, stretching the hands apart, the string
will appear in a very complicated tangle. If the hold of the right thumb
and left little finger, or _vice versâ_, be then loosed, and the hands
quickly separated, the string will come away from, and appear as if it
had passed through, the outside edge of the button-hole.


Take a piece of string about four feet long; hold the ends, pointed
upward, between the first and second finger and thumb of the left hand,
and the first finger and thumb of the right hand, letting the remainder
of the string hang down in a loop. Now bring the right hand close to the
left, crossing at right angles that end of the cord held in the left
hand, and continue to pull until half the length of the string has
passed the left hand, at the same time slipping the third finger of the
left hand between the two parts of the string.

The first finger and thumb of the right hand should then seize the
string at a point just below the little finger of the left hand, the
third finger of that hand at the same time drawing back the string
toward the palm of the hand.

The part of the string now held horizontally between the two hands is
only the continuation of the end held in the left hand, though it will
appear to be the middle of the string.

This piece of the string some one of the audience should be invited to
cut, and thus apparently divide the string in halves, although in fact
he only cuts off two or three inches.

Place all the ends of the string between the teeth, withdraw the short
piece with the tongue, and show the remainder, apparently as the string
was at the commencement.

Of course, the string must not be measured, or the trick will be


                           A MINERAL GARDEN.

Fill a clear glass jar—a fruit jar will answer the purpose—with sand, to
the depth of two or three inches; insert a few pieces of sulphate of
iron, sulphate of copper, and sulphate of aluminum, so that they will be
barely covered with the sand.

Now fill the jar to within about three inches of the top with a solution
of silicate of soda, commonly known as “water-glass,” which can be
procured at most large city drug stores. This should be diluted with
three times its bulk of water before it is poured in; and care should be
taken not to stir up the sand and disarrange the chemicals.

After standing about a week, the silicates of the various bases will
appear in a luxuriant and variously colored growth, resembling

Now the silicate solution may be displaced with clear water, which
should be poured in very carefully, so as not to break or disturb the
vegetation. This permanent miniature forest will be found to present a
very attractive appearance, and as no pruning or weeding are required,
the young gardener will probably feel that his trouble is well repaid.
Its development from day to day will be watched with interest by all the
members of the household, although it will be of especial value to the
invalid, to whom any new and interesting object to watch is a blessing

Another pleasing and ingenious device I insert for the benefit of this
class of my readers, wishing, in the meantime, that it might be in my
power to make their in-door life so bright and full of interest, that
they would forget the more active sports of their sturdy brothers and
sisters, or at least cease to regret their enforced confinement. This
little affair I shall call


This sparkling ornament will almost make itself, so little trouble is

You have only to half fill a tall glass tumbler with water, and put in
half a teacupful of table salt, then let it stand.

As the water dries out, put in a little more, adding salt also in due
proportion; and keep this up for five or six months.

By degrees an incrustation of crystals will fill the tumbler, and spread
gradually down the outside; extending and thickening till the whole
vessel is covered with an irregular glittering mass, which might well be
the work of the ice-sprites in the kingdom of Jack Frost.

As the crystals approach the bottom of the tumbler, the latter should be
set in a saucer; when the tiny stalactites have enveloped this also, the
vase is complete.

Should it be desired to enhance still further the decorative effect of
this by the use of color, a blue tint can be communicated by adding a
little indigo blueing to the salt and water. Should other colors be
desired, almost all of those employed in coloring alum crystals (see
page 25) may be used with equal success in this case. By adding
different colors at different times, a variegated effect may be

The gradual growth of the crystals, and enlargement of the mass, is a
very interesting spectacle.



When speaking of Christmas presents in an earlier portion of this book,
I unintentionally omitted three quite interesting and easily made
puzzles, which are always pleasing sources of amusement to the young
folks, and sure to while away many half-hours on stormy days. Such
presents are always valuable additions to the nursery closet, and in an
indirect way are as gratifying to mamma and nurse as to the little
recipient himself. The first of these is called the


This puzzle consists of twelve irregular pieces of stiff pasteboard or
wood, which are to be arranged in the form of an octagon.

Although these pieces can be cut from pasteboard, they are more lasting,
stronger, and better every way if made of wood. White holly, such as is
employed for brackets, is a nice material to use.


With a jig-saw cut four pieces in shape like that represented in Fig. 1,
four like Fig. 2, and four more like Fig. 3; rub the edges down with
sand-paper, and, if you like, paint each set a different color. When the
paint is dry, varnish them.

Pack them in a small pasteboard box, which you can neatly cover with
paper—any fancy color will do—and you will find your little brother or
sister will be as well pleased with them as with many toys which have
come direct from the store.

Another puzzle of the same character as this is


In this, as in the Octagon, the pieces composing the cross may be made
of pasteboard, but are better and stronger if made of the white holly or
other thin “bracket wood.”


Cut three pieces—with the jig-saw, of course—in shape like Fig. 1, one
piece like Fig. 2, and one like Fig. 3.

These pieces may be of any size, but relatively each one must correspond
with the sizes and shapes indicated in the diagram.

Paint as fancy may dictate, after smoothing the edges off with
sand-paper. Pack in a box treated like that used for the “Octagon

The last of these interesting puzzles is known as the


Of the pasteboard or white holly cut out eight squares of whatever size
desired; divide four of them into halves by cutting them from corner to
corner, so there are in all twelve pieces.


The puzzle is to form a square of these twelve pieces. The illustration
shows how this is done.

When these puzzles are given to the little folks, no “key” should
accompany them, but the children should try to put them together without
help. If, however, you find they begin to lose interest, show them the
first step, and encourage them to try to finish it by themselves.

There are great differences in children in this respect; some
persevering and unwilling to be helped at all, while others become
discouraged at the smallest obstacles and refuse to try. The latter
should be encouraged by a little help, care being taken, however, that
they do a considerable portion of the work themselves.

No doubt this “indolence,” as it is sometimes erroneously called, is
generally due to a weak physical condition, rather than to inferior
mental powers. A child of this temperament, instead of being ridiculed
by his more vigorous companions, should be encouraged and stimulated to
action; and such games or puzzles as those contained in this book are
just the things to accomplish this end.


                           A SIMPLE FOUNTAIN.

Take a bottle holding eight or ten ounces, and insert a tube in the
cork. A fine glass tube or even a pipe-stem will answer.

The tube should reach nearly but not quite to the bottom of the bottle,
and should fit air-tight in the cork.

Fill the bottle about three-fourths full of water, and blow with
considerable force down the tube. Upon removing the mouth, the water
will spurt out, forming a miniature fountain; which will continue to
play as long as any water remains in the bottle.


                         THE FAN FROM NAGASAKI.

A few months ago, a friend who had been for several years a resident of
Japan, came home to America for a visit, and brought with her a bright
little son and daughter, neither of whom had ever set foot on our
American shores before. The children were delighted with their American
cousins; and evidently could not find words strong enough to sound the
praises of the new games and sports which they were constantly learning.

Their lives had been spent with Chinese or Japanese nurses; and although
kind-hearted and devoted as my friend assured me these people were, the
little exiles must have had a sorry time of it in their foreign
play-room, when compared with our own boys and girls. The respect and
almost reverence with which they regarded Jack, the most daring
scapegrace in our family, would have been very amusing had it not been
pathetic. What Jack did was always marvelous in their eyes, and into
many an unsuspected trap they were beguiled by his mischievous pranks.
They were what most of you boys and girls would call very green, when
they first reached us, but under Jack’s tuition, I fear that next
winter—in fact, at the very time you are reading this—perhaps they will
be trying the same tricks upon their innocent Japanese nurse that Jack
tried upon them.

It will not be strange if that long-suffering personage does not in his
secret heart have less respect for this illustrious nation than he has
been wont to have before.

But if so ignorant in most things, these children were very ingenious
and uncommonly happy in making things of paper.

One rainy morning, about a week after they came to us, I had occasion to
go into the nursery for something, and was quite surprised to find the
children busily engaged in folding paper. Edith had brought down some
rice-paper from her trunk, and with the help of her brother, was
fashioning all sorts of odd things from it; while the younger members of
my own family were looking on with intense interest.

I left the room, after watching them for a few minutes, but an hour
later, upon entering it again, found them still employed in the same

It seems that their nurse had been in the habit of teaching them many
Japanese arts to keep them still while under his charge. Their nurse was
a man, strange to say, as very few female servants are employed in
either China or Japan, and now they in their turn were teaching these to
us. I confess the graceful, pretty things they were making had quite a
fascination for me, and I even left off what I had been doing, and
became a pupil with the youngsters. I took up the article which they
were just beginning to learn, and, following my little teacher’s
directions, I made what I have styled “The Fan from Nagasaki,” because
my little instructress was born and lived in that city, and learned her
art from a native Jap, and not because the fan itself, if it can
strictly be called a fan, came from that region.

The children called it by a delightfully odd Japanese name, which you
would find it hard to pronounce even if I should invent a way of
spelling it.

Edith used Japanese or rice paper for those she made; but we found a
stout quality of brown wrapping-paper, not too stiff, answers nearly as

If brown paper is used, a rectangular piece about two feet long, by one
and a half feet wide, is a good-shaped piece to use.

Mark off each of the edges which measure eighteen inches into six equal
parts, each division being of course three inches long (see Fig. 1). Now
double the paper on the line at _x_, and you have a shape like Fig. 2.
Fold the uppermost half under at the line _a a_, and again outward at
the line _b b_; then fold the under half in precisely the same manner,
and your paper is like Fig. 3.


Upon examining the edge _a a a_, two openings between the folds will be
seen; whereas at the edge _b b b_, three openings will be found. The
hand has next to be placed in the middle of these three openings, and
the paper spread out toward the right and toward the left; that middle
fold lying flat or unfolded for the time being. Another figure is now
made like Fig. 4. Now commencing at one end of this long strip, crinkle
it the whole length as you would a lamplighter top, making the folds
even, about a quarter or half an inch wide. Be careful not to make these
folds wider than this, as the fan does not work as well when they are
wide. Yon have now a figure like that seen in Fig. 5; and if your folds
have been carefully and firmly creased, your paper is prepared to make
all sorts of strange shapes. I think Edith told me her nurse could make
sixty-five different forms from a similarly folded bit, and most of
these she was able to reproduce; but as it is some time since the
children left us to visit other friends, and I have not given the
subject a second thought till now, I find I have forgotten how many of
the more intricate ones were formed. Perhaps with the directions for
these my readers will catch the _knack_, as we Yankees call it, and can
improvise some forms unlike any of these, for themselves. Whatever you
succeed in making, you may be quite certain that the Nagasakian nurse,
away off on the other side of the earth, is ahead of you, and has made
the same form before; for his sixty-five must include about everything
one could possibly fashion from its folds.

In Fig. 6, the lower edge of Fig. 5 is held between the thumb and
forefinger of the left hand, while the top is spread out like a fan. For
Fig. 7, take Fig. 6, insert the fingers at _a_, and pass them round to
_b_, raising the paper outward. Fig. 8 is a continuation of 6 and 7, as
the upper layer of the overhanging edge in Fig. 7 is raised by passing
the finger under it at _c_, and bringing it out at _d_.

Fig. 9 is a reverse of Fig. 8. Catch the paper by the part now
uppermost, pinch that part well together, and loosen the part which was
confined in Fig. 8.


It must be remembered that every time the fan is changed, the paper must
be pinched into its original form, Fig. 5. It will now be necessary to
make that change. After creasing the folds firmly in place (Fig. 5),
lift up the upper part _a_, bring the lower plaits _b_ well together,
and hold them for the handle. With the disengaged hand, arrange the
upper part in the form of a sunshade. Another form may be got by raising
the upper layer of the sunshade cover, a species of cup or goblet. By
drawing out _b_ until it is at right angles with the upright, the goblet
form is nearer correct.

Now reverse the paper, and spread out the lower part so that it may
represent the body of a wine-glass; that which in Fig. 10 was the top of
the sunshade, is now the foot of the glass, as seen in Fig. 11.


The Chinese lantern (Fig. 12) is as easily made. Open out all the paper,
and twist it around; catch it now by the central part, and by
compressing the central folds well together, these wheels are produced
(Fig. 13).

The hat, or cup and saucer (Fig. 14), is readily made by opening the
paper out again, and catching it at the two ends.

We now come to a new form of subjects, so the original form (Fig. 5),
must once more be reverted to. If the paper is caught at both ends, it
can easily be folded so as to form Fig. 15, and a table-mat may be made
by drawing it out like Fig. 16.


A “nappie” dish, oval in form, and resembling Fig. 17, may be made from
Fig. 16, by simply raising up the sides _a_ and _b_. By pressing the
paper inward, Fig. 18 is obtained. Fig. 19 is made by drawing the paper
out again, and letting it loose at the end. Thus you see, by pulling out
some parts and drawing in others, a quantity of things could be made
other than these I have shown. It would be quite interesting if every
boy and girl who reads this, would try on some rainy day to see how near
to the sixty-five he or she could come. If two or three friends in the
same neighborhood should unite their forces, and count all which are
unlike, without reference to the maker, they might not fall so far short
of the illustrious Japanese—I wish I could remember his name—after all.



Boat making and sailing are most fascinating pursuits, and we do not
know but the old saying, “When a man has taken to boat-sailing, he is a
sailor to the end of his days,” is to a certain degree applicable to the
boy who intelligently fits out his tiny craft, and sends her on little
voyages across the neighboring pond.

If the sailing is to be done on water of any depth, there is one caution
we should like to give at the very outset: _Learn to swim before you
sail her_. No mere pleasure is worth risking one’s life for, and
accidents will happen even to the most careful boys.

After this, you may play on or near the water with as much safety as on
the land.

Aside from the pleasure, one learns an extremely useful lesson in making
a miniature model yacht, and in sailing her. A certain familiarity with
the rigging, and the looks of the thing, will thus be obtained, and if
your fingers have patiently set up shrouds and stays, and rove the mimic
halyards, they will be less at sea with the ropes and stays of a real

Many boys living near the sea, and accustomed every day to see vessels
lying at anchor, or sailing in and out of the harbor, have very hazy
ideas concerning the rigging of any kind of craft. Well I remember in my
early days of being obliged to run down to the wharf to see where to
attach my topmast. Whether it belonged forward or aft of my mast I had
not the slightest remembrance, and yet scarcely a day went by without my
seeing a vessel in some form or other.

Boys are not the only persons, however, who look at things and do not
see them. The power of minute and careful observation is a rare quality,
and the majority of people go through life without forming the habit, or
indeed dreaming they have not made the best use of their sight.

For the benefit of the boys who belong to this class, and those less
fortunate ones living inland where yachts are unknown, I write this

In several of our large cities, ponds are set apart for the especial
purpose of sailing toy vessels. They are the exclusive property of the
boys, and any fine afternoon in season, and frequently out of season, if
the ice does not interfere, crowds of boys may be seen sitting on the
edges of these “lakes,” intently watching the graceful fleet as it skims
lightly over the water. The sixty-acre lake in Prospect Park, Brooklyn,
and Conservatory Lake, Central Park, New York, are both set apart for
the owners of these miniature yachts; and it is wonderful how many older
people, as well as the boys themselves, take interest in this amusement.


The building and sailing of tiny yachts is carried to a much greater
extent in England than in this country. There the Prince of Wales is
deeply interested in the sport, and has instituted a “Royal Yacht Club,”
presided over by himself, which has regular yacht regattas. These
regattas take place on Serpentine Lake, in Hyde Park, every summer, and
are considered quite important events. The yachts belonging to this club
are very elegant affairs, one of them being valued at $5,000, yet none
of them are over five feet in length.

We do not expect our boy readers to emulate their British cousins, but
with the following simple directions we feel confident they can, with a
fair amount of skill in the use of tools, and careful labor, make a very
respectable miniature yacht, which shall be correct as far as she goes
in both form and rigging.

In the fashioning of a miniature boat, the hull is the first thing which
claims our attention; and in making this, two elements are to be
considered, rapidity and stability.

The rapidity or ease with which a vessel moves through water, is gained
by a narrow hull—that is, narrow in proportion to its length—which, to
be sure, renders the vessel somewhat unstable; but this instability may
be overcome by loading the keel with lead. There is danger, however, of
carrying this to too great an extent, by lowering the vessel so much
that the friction against her sides more than counteracts the fine
proportions of her build. Hence a skillful designer reconciles these two

There are two types of model recognized in yacht building: First, the
English cutter model, which is narrow, and quite deep in proportion to
width, with its keel heavily weighted to secure the necessary stability.
This model is best adapted to rough cruising in strong winds and heavy
seas, such as prevail on the English coasts.

Second, the American: This, our model, is much wider, or, in nautical
phrase, has much more beam in proportion to length and depth. Indeed, it
is often so shallow as to merit the term “skimming-dish,” ofttimes
applied to this class of vessels.

These boats are usually fitted with center-boards, which can be lowered
or raised according to the need of the moment, instead of the deep keel
of the English model, American vessels having the advantage of smoother
water in which to make their cruises. The sheltered surface of Long
Island Sound and the bays which adjoin it at either end, afford
excellent sailing grounds for those owned in New York and the vicinity.

For the toy boats our boys may desire to make, a medium between these
two types will probably be found preferable in practice.

The center-board may be ruled out at once, as both itself and the well
in which it plays would require more time and patience in their
construction than most boys would care to give.

It is much better to have your boat too wide than too narrow, as a
capsize is far more disconcerting to the average young yachtsman, than a
slight inferiority of speed.

For a sloop yacht, the greatest width should be about one-third the
length; and the point of greatest width, or beam, should be somewhat
nearer the stern than bow.

Probably the best way to make a toy yacht is to procure a piece of wood,
which is about three times as long as it is wide and deep, and whittle
out your hull as your judgment or fancy may dictate; keeping in mind a
few essential points, however, to insure ultimate success.

First, draw a line from the middle point of one end to the middle point
of the other end of the top of the block; this will serve as a guide to
the bow and the center of the stern. Care should be taken not to make
your vessel too blunt at the bow; as a sailor would say, “the lines at
the bow should be _fine_ when they meet the water.”

The elegant appearance of the boat is increased by giving an overhang to
the stern, instead of running it up vertically; and if the young builder
is confident in the use of his tools, a sheer, as it is called, of the
lines at the top, or the gunwale, will add greatly to the grace of its
appearance. For the benefit of those who do not understand the meaning
of the word sheer, it may be explained that it is the gradual and
graceful downward curve from bow to stern, noticeable in the bulwarks of
vessels when seen from one side.

It is perhaps superfluous to add that great care should be taken to have
each side of the craft alike, for if a preponderance of weight is on one
side, the vessel will tip; while if the curve is unequal, she will not
sail evenly.

The hollowing out of the inside is most conveniently accomplished with a
sharp gouge and mallet, while the hull is secured firmly in a vise. When
this is finished, a hole should be made in the bottom to receive the
lower end of the mast, and care should be taken not to bore _through_
the hull, as it would be difficult to stop the ingress of water through

We have now come to the keel, which must be firmly attached to the hull.
The best way to do this is to drive three slender brass screws through
the bottom of the boat, with ends projecting from one-fourth to one-half
an inch along the line of the proposed keel. Make a temporary box around
these, inclosing a space equal to the length and breadth of the keel,
with strips of thin wood, such as cigar-box wood; strips of heavy
pasteboard may answer the purpose sufficiently well. In either case this
mold should be firmly attached to the hull, in such a manner that after
casting the keel it may be readily removed. Perhaps the best way to
accomplish this is to paste it in place by means of narrow bands of
stout paper. The inside of the mold must be rubbed with oil or lard to
prevent the lead from adhering to its sides. This lead must be melted
over a very hot fire, so that it will not cool too rapidly upon entering
the mold, in which case it would not hold together as well. When cold,
the mold may be detached, and the keel will be held firmly in place by
the three screws.

The deck should be made of thin board, cut so as to accurately fit the
top of your hull. If a sheer has been given to the bulwarks, it is of
course much more difficult to fit the deck accurately, as it should
follow the curve. It will very likely be found necessary to _steam_ the
board used, to make it sufficiently flexible. It will be possible to use
stout pasteboard for the purpose, if both sides and edges are given a
couple of coats of paint, which treatment should also be applied to the
inside of the hole for the mast.

This hole should be placed very slightly farther astern than the hole
already mentioned, made in the bottom of the vessel. The effect of this
will be to give the mast a slight _rake_. This is always the case with
the masts of a schooner yacht, but builders of sloop yachts occasionally
omit the rake and “step” the mast in a vertical position.

The _bowsprit_ may be fastened by two staples made of small wire, and
driven down over it. One is driven down into the stem, or extreme
forward point of the hull, and corresponds to what is called the “gammon
iron” in a full-sized craft; the other secures the “inboard” end of the
bowsprit, or that which is nearer the stern. This end is called the
heel, and should nearly reach the mast. The outer end should project
beyond the hull to a distance of nearly one-third the latter’s length.

The rudder can be whittled from a thin piece of wood, in the shape shown
in the figure; the upper part or head is round, and passes up through a
hole in the overhang. The top of this rudder-head is squared off to fit
the hole in the end of the tiller or helm. The rudder is “shipped” very
much as a barn-door or window-blind is set in place. Suitable hinges for
the rudder of a toy boat can be made of pins from which the heads have
been filed. Two pins may be bent double for staples, and inserted into
the “stern-post” of the vessel; while two others bent at right angles
may be driven into the rudder, the projecting ends hanging down through
the staples. The rudder should turn with sufficient friction to hold its
place, at whatever angle it may be set. The hollow of the boat should
not extend back into the overhang, as water might enter it through the

The mast is composed of two parts or pieces; the lower part is what is
always understood when the “mast” is spoken of. The smaller piece,
fastened to the upper end of the mast, is called the topmast.

The “mast,” which extends above the deck to a distance equal to about
three-fourths the length of the hull, passes through the hole in the
deck already mentioned, and rests firmly in the hole made for it in the
bottom of the hull.

The lower end of the topmast is lapped on in front of the upper end of
the mast, as seen in the figure, and may be secured in place by two
loops of fine brass wire.

The spars of next importance are those which stretch the mainsail. The
larger is called the “boom,” and extends along the lower edge or “foot”
of the mainsail; while the other, which is called the “gaff,” is secured
to its upper edge or “head.” The boom is equal in length to the mast;
the usual meaning of the word is here intended, _i. e._, the lower part.
The gaff is a little over one-half the length of the boom.

The mast and topmast taper slightly toward their upper ends, while the
gaff is nearly the same size throughout its entire length. The boom
generally swells a little, being somewhat larger in the middle than at
either end.

The boom and gaff are adjusted to the mast by a “jaw” on either side,
forming a crotch, which keeps them from slipping off. Builders of
miniature yachts will, however, probably find it more convenient to
whittle the ends of the spars in the form of a crotch than to attach
jaws as separate pieces.

Other smaller spars which enter into the equipment of racing craft, will
be mentioned in speaking of the sails.

The _standing rigging_ is now to be considered; this consists of stays
and shrouds. “Shrouds” are ropes which lead from near the head of the
mast to either side of the vessel, where they are fastened into the
_chain-plates_. These are strong iron bands firmly bolted to the
timbers. The shrouds of the model yacht, however, can be attached to
copper tacks driven into the sides. They—the shrouds—are tied around the
mast just below the point where the lower end of the topmast ends.

In “real” yachts these shrouds end in loops which encircle the mast, and
rest upon, or are held in place by blocks called “hounds” attached to
either side. But young ship-builders will probably find it will answer
all purposes to make a slight notch on either side of the mast, at the
point indicated.

A sloop yacht has usually two shrouds on either side, while in a large
ship there are four or five, making, as is known, a good-sized ladder.

The “fore-stay” runs from the same point on the mast to the top of stem.

In case the reader may be ignorant of the meaning of nautical terms, it
may be well to say here that by “stem” is meant the piece of timber in
the hull placed farthest forward, also called “forefoot” and “cutwater.”
The “fore-stay” may be passed through the staple already mentioned,
which fastens the bowsprit to the hull. The jib-stay passes from
mast-head to outer end of bowsprit.

The topmast-stay runs from the top of the topmast to the forward end of
the bowsprit; here it is sometimes passed through a hole in the end, and
brought down to the forefoot, near the water line.

The bob-stay runs from the end of the bowsprit to the stem, and acts as
a brace to offset the strain of the “headsails,” or the sails in front
of the mast. In a large yacht it is necessary that this stay be very
strong; and in such cases it is often a substantial strip of iron or

A yacht has, also, what are called “backstays,” which run on either side
from head of “topmast” to points on the sides somewhat abaft, or back of
the places where the shrouds are attached.

There are also “cross-trees,” with “topmast shrouds” leading from them
to the top of the topmast; but these, as well as the backstays, may as
well be dispensed with by our juvenile naval architect, as a
complication of unnecessary cords is to be avoided on a miniature craft.

We must now take up the sails, the most important of which is the
mainsail. The shape of this may be sufficiently well understood from the
figure. The edge next the mast is called the “luff,” while the outer or
longer side opposite to this is called the “leech.” The upper and lower
edges are called respectively the “head” and “foot.” The lower after
corner of this sail is called the “clew,” the lower fore corner the
“tack,” while the upper after corner is called the “peak.”

The “mast-hoops” are attached to the “luff” and run up and down the mast
as the sail is raised or lowered. In vessels of miniature size, these
may be supplied by small brass curtain rings. The “foresail” also runs
on small rings or loops which slide on the forestay. The jib, in like
manner, is attached to the “jib-stay”; the “jib-topsail” or “flying-jib”
to topmast-stay.

It may be well to dispense with the forestay, and to enlarge the jib so
as to occupy the additional space thus given, as the work will be less,
and the appearance quite as good.

It now remains to consider the “gaff-topsail,” which occupies the space
between the topmast and the gaff. This sail is set in quite a number of
ways; in a sloop yacht it is usual to stretch it on two light spars,
which are contiguous to mast and gaff.

Beside these, racing yachts in light winds carry a “balloon jib,” which
is simply an extremely large jib-topsail; and a “spinnaker,” which is
used in going before the wind. It is shaped like a large jib, and is
spread by means of a small spar extending along its foot, called the
“spinnaker boom,” so that it may take the wind on the side opposite the

These sails are spread by means of _running_ rigging. First, the
_halyards_, by means of which the sails are hoisted. The mainsail
usually has two halyards, one line being attached to the gaff near where
it touches the mast, which is called the “throat halyards.” The other is
smaller, encountering less strain, and is termed “peak halyards,” as it
raises that part of the sail after the luff has been hoisted.

The gaff-topsail of a regular yacht also has two halyards, one of which
raises the edge next the mast, and the other draws its foot out to end
of gaff.

The “jibs” are each raised by one “halyard” attached to head or upper

In a small boat like that we are considering, one halyard for each sail
will be amply sufficient. In fact it is a frequent practice to keep the
sails permanently spread; which has this in its favor, that they are
much smoother, much less wrinkled, than when furled between cruises.

The “topping lift” is a line which leads from the head of the “mast” to
the outer end of the “boom,” which it keeps from falling on deck when
sail is lowered.

The _sheets_ are not sails, as the reader not conversant with nautical
expressions would suppose, but ropes, or lines, which keep the sails in
their proper position in respect to the wind. The _main-sheet_, which
controls the mainsail, is attached to the boom at a point just above the
stern, to which the other end is led. Here it is fastened to a cleat.

The sheets of the headsails are fastened to their “clews” or lower aft
corners, and led to cleats near foot of mast. In large craft the sheets
are passed through a number of pulleys in order to secure sufficient

In addition to the rigging already mentioned, many other ropes might be
enumerated, such as the “downhauls,” “outhauls,” “spinnaker brace and
guy,” “bowsprit shrouds,” etc., but as has already been said, the less
confusion of cords in a miniature craft, the better.


                           A SCHOONER YACHT.


In this the length should be greater in proportion to its other
dimensions than in the sloop yacht. The mainmast should be stepped a
little abaft the middle point of the hull. The foremast is stepped about
midway between the mainmast and the stem, and should be very nearly as
high as the mainmast. The foretop-mast, however, should be decidedly
shorter than the maintop-mast.

The bowsprit of the schooner yacht should be somewhat thicker and
shorter in proportion than that of the sloop yacht, and is lengthened to
the desired extent by means of a small spar resting on its top, which is
called the jib-boom.

The forestay comes down to the bowsprit head, instead of to the stem.
The jib-stay runs from the mast-head to the jib-boom, through which it
passes a short distance from the end of the latter. The topmast stay
extends from the upper part of the topmast to the end of the jib-boom.
The two latter stays pass from the jib-boom to the “martingale,” a short
spar, which has a hook at its upper end. This hook passes through an
iron ring on the under side of the head of the bowsprit.

The martingale extends downward toward the water, while the stays pass
through it, or through iron loops affixed to either side, and are
fastened to the stem or the upper part of the bows.

As in the sloop, one or more stout bobstays connect the bowsprit head
with the stem.

The two masts are braced together by means of certain stays, of which
the most important is the _spring-stay_, which connects the mast-heads.
Two other stays extend from the maintop-mast to the foremast head. (See


The mainsail and its gaff-topsail are similar to those of the sloop, but
the foresail is much smaller, as it must pass between the masts in
tacking, and varies little in breadth from head to foot.

A schooner yacht has a maintop-mast staysail, which is used in racing,
and comes down nearly to the deck. Its sheet is rove through a block at
the after end of the boom, whence it is brought back to the stern and
“belayed” to a cleat.

“Belaying” is the nautical term for winding a rope on a cleat or
belaying pin; which is done as a boy winds his kite string, on each end
alternately, in figure-eight style.

The fore gaff-topsail is not provided with spars or booms at its edges,
but has rings along its luff, like those of the lower sails, which run
on the foretop-mast.

The sails of a large vessel have ropes called bolt-ropes, sewed entirely
around their edges, which may, of course, be dispensed with in the sails
of the miniature yacht, as they will be sufficiently strong without such

The reef-points are short lengths of small rope, arranged at equal
distances from each other, in rows parallel to the booms; they pass
through the sail and hang down on either side. There are usually two
rows of these on the foresail, and three on the mainsail, while the
larger headsails are also provided with them.

Before the sails are put on or _bent_, it will be advisable to paint the
yacht. A coat of paint should have been given to the inside of hull as
well as under side of deck, to prevent the wood from becoming
water-soaked in case of leakage.

Custom has rigidly prescribed the colors for the exterior of a yacht,
above the water line; either black or white, with a narrow gold line
below the gunwale, being universally employed. Below the water line
greater latitude may be given to individual taste; either dark green,
brown, or black, may be used, according to the preference of the owner.

The greatest pains are taken to keep the bottom of a racing yacht in the
smoothest possible condition. It is usually covered with black-lead and
polished to the utmost degree. This treatment is often renewed three or
four times in the course of a season.

The mast should not be painted, but stained a bright yellow, with a
little raw sienna in oil. When dry it should be shellacked; in fact, the
latter will form a good coating for the painted surface of the hull as
well. If the shellac be thick, it may of itself stain the mast to a
sufficient extent, but in that case—if thick—it should not be used on
the white hull. The short space where the mainmast and topmast overlap
each other should be painted the color of the hull. The bowsprit should
be the color of the hull, and the jib-boom stained like the masts. The
deck may be painted with white, to which enough sienna has been added to
give it a buff tint.

The prow, or upper portion of stem just below the bowsprit, is usually
carved and gilded; and the stem is occasionally decorated in like
manner; but although there seems to be no limit to the increasing
richness and elegance of the interior of our American yachts, the
tendency of the time leads more and more toward a severely plain and
quiet treatment of the exterior.

A yacht always carries a little triangular flag at the topmast-head
called the “burgee.”

A schooner yacht, of course, flies two of them, one at each mast-head.
These are simultaneously hauled down at the moment of sunset. A national
flag, called the “ensign,” is generally hoisted at the peak of the

These instructions apply equally well to the papier-maché boats
described at page 90, which have the advantages of lightness and ease of


                          Transcriber’s note:

Formats of index and Notes have been regularised.

Index, full stop inserted after ‘ib.,’ “plants for fresh-water aquarium,

Index, ‘3’ changed to ‘320,’ “Cross puzzle, the, 320”

Index, ‘miscroscope’ changed to ‘microscope,’ “Objects, some, for solar
microscope, 225”

Page 266, full stop inserted after ‘book,’ “in this book.) Balance”

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