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provide yourself with tow, cotton, thread and twine; also, the stuffing forceps, a pair of pincers, file and wire cutters. With the aid of the forceps supply the various muscles of the face and head, by inserting cotton both through the mouth and eyelids. Take annealed wire of the proper size, and cut from the coil six pieces : No. 1, two or three inches longer than the total length of the body; Nos. 2 and 3 for the forelegs; Nos. 4 and 5 for the hind legs; each of these should be two, or even three inches longer than the limbs they are to support; No. 6, for a support to the tail, of the same proportionate length as the others.
With a large pair of scissors, cut fine a quantity of tow, and with this, and the aid of the long forceps, stuff the neck to its natural dimensions. Taking wire No. 1, bend in it four small rings, the distance between the two outer representing the length of the body taken from the skin (Fig. 31, a), leaving one long end for a support to the head and neck (6). Mould tow about that part containing the rings, and by winding it down with thread, form an artificial body, resembling in form and size the natural one taken from the skin. Sharpen the projecting end to a fine point with the file, and insert it up through the cut tow in the neck, and thence through the skull; the skin should then be pulled over the body. Wires Nos. 2 and 3 should then be placed in position, by inserting them through the soles of the feet, up within the skin of the leg, and through the body of tow, until they appear upon the opposite side. With the pincers bend over the end of each, forming a hook; the wires must then be pulled backwards, thus fastening the hooks firmly into the body. The loose skin of the limbs should then be stuffed with cut tow, taking care to imitate the muscles of the living subject. Nos. 4 and 5 can be fixed in position after the same manner, except if the animal is to rest entirely upon its tarsi (as in
the case with the squirrel when feeding), then the wire must be inserted at the tarsal joint instead of the sole of the foot. If any depressions appear in the skin they must be stuffed out with the cut tow. Wire No. 6 should now be inserted at the tip of the tail, and forced down within the skin, hooking it into the body in the same manner as the leg wires. Stuff the tail to its proper dimensions, with cut, tow, and carefully sew up the incision along the abdomen. Having prepared a board about three-quarters of an inch thick, pierce in it two holes at a proper distance apart for the reception of the leg wires (four holes would be needed if the animal were to stand upon all extremities); these must be drawn through upon the under side until the feet of the specimen rest close upon the upper surface, then they should be clinched, taking care that the wire does not protrude above the surface of the board as it renders the support unsteady. The different joints of the limbs can now be imitated by bending the wire at the proper points ; also, curve can be given to the back, and the tail can be set into proper position by simply bending the wires into the required shape. The eyes should now be placed in their position, a little putty having been previously inserted within the eyelid to serve as a cement. Care should be taken in arranging the eyelid, for the expression depends altogether upon this point. Clip off any superfluous wire which may extend above the head with the wire cutters The specimen should then be placed in some locality free from moisture and allowed to dry thoroughly, when it is complete for the cabinet.
In mounting quadrupeds of large size the following formula should be pursued :-Procure a bar of wood, an inch thick and two inches broad, of a length equal to the distance between the shoulders and thighs; this should be placed within the skin, three holes having been previously made at one end, and two in the other, with a gimlet, for the reception of the various wires. This is used as a
substitute for the central wire or body support. Having sharpened a piece of wire large enough to firmly support the specimen, force it down through the skull and neck, passing it through the gimlet hole at a (Fig. 32); when it appears on the under side bend the end into the form of a hook with the pincers, and drive it firmly into the wood. Next, the foreleg wires, well sharpened, should be forced up through the soles of the feet, and fixed into the bar of wood at b and c, in the same manner as the head support. Do the same
with the hind leg wires, fastening them at the lower part of the bar, as at d and e. Lastly, the tail support should be placed in position, fastening it to the wooden bar at the point f. This completes the framework. A quantity of hay or moss should now be procured, and it is of the utmost importance that it should be thoroughly dry, otherwise the specimen is liable to mould. Commence filling the neck, Keeping the wire in the centre of the material, and stuff downward to the forelegs; these should then be restored to form, taking care to imitate the muscles of the shoulder. In working down the body place the hay or moss between the bar of wood and the skin to avoid all stiff appearance; always place the stuffing material evenly within the skin, and never use pressure, as a fresh skin can be easily expanded far beyond its natural dimensions. Having reached the hind legs, imitate faithfully, by stuffing, all the natural muscles. When this part has been completed, sew up the various incisions; attention should be paid to separating the
hairs, and not to take any of them in along with the thread. Imitate the joints of the limbs by bending the wire at the proper points, and place the specimen upon the board, draw the wires through the holes with the pincers, and clinch them upon the under side. The specimen will then assume an erect position. The orifices of the eyes, mouth and ears, should be filled with cotton saturated with the preservative, and the artificial eyes put in while the eyelids are yet pliable. The lips can be secured in their proper position by means of pins, and the nostrils distended to their natural size, with pellets of cotton inserted within. In the larger mammalia the orifices of the head should always be anointed with spirits of turpentine. If any irregularities appear in the skin, they must be pressed down and modelled into shape with the hand. The muscles of the various parts of the body can be exactly imitated by making casts of plaster of Paris, and fitting them within the skin in lieu of other stuffing material.
Those gigantic beasts which roam about the forests of tropical countries, such as the elephant, giraffe, etc., have to be mounted upon wooden models. Perhaps the method cannot be better illustrated than by giving an account of the manner in which an elephant was mounted at the Jardin du Roi, at Paris, as related by Capt. Thomas Brown, F.L.S., in his work entitled "The Taxidermist's Manual :"
“ The dead elephant being extended on the ground, the dimensions were all taken and correctly noted at the time. M. Lassaigne, cabinetmaker to the establishment, invented a large rule for that purpose, which was somewhat like a shoemaker's size-stick. The different curves of the back, belly, neck, etc., were taken by bars of lead, of three-quarters of an inch in thickness. This metal is much better adapted than any other for that and similar purposes; as it has no elasticity it retains any shape into which it is put. M. Demoulins made a drawing of the animal from these measurements, on the wall of the workshop where the model was constructed, of its natural size. The elephant was placed upon its back by means of four-corded pulleys fastened to the platform. An incision, in the form of a double cross, was then made in the lower side, the central line reaching from the mouth to the anus; the two cuts were made from the left leg, on both sides, to the opposite right legs. The trunk was
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longitudinally opened on its under side; the soles of the feet were now taken out to within an inch of their edge, and the nails allowed to remain attached to the skin. This was effected by the aid of a chisel and mallet, and was one of the most difficult operations of the whole. Several persons wrought at a time at the operation of skinning, and four days were necessary to effect it. When removed from the carcass, the skin was weighed, and found to be five hundred and seventy-six pounds. It was extended on the ground, so that the cutaneous muscles of the head and other parts might be cut away from its interior. The skin was then put into a tub, and covered six inches deep with water which had been saturated with alum. The model which was to fill the skin was made as perfect as possible in its shape. To insure this, models were made of half the head in plaster, as also a fore and hind leg. This strueture was made of linden wood, and so ingeniously constructed by. M. Lassaigne, that almost the whole parts could be separated. He opened a panel on one side of the body, whereby he introduced himself into its interior, so that he might make its parts more perfect within. Even the head and proboscis were hollow, which rendered this stupendous model so light that it could be moved from one place to another with comparative ease. The model being completed, the alum water, in which the skin had been all the time immersed, was now taken out and made boiling hot, and in that state poured on the skin, which was then allowed to soak in the warm liquor for an hour and a half, when it was taken out, still warm, and placed upon the model, which was accomplished with some difficulty. But judge of their own mortification when it was found that the model was rather too large. To diminish the woodwork they foresaw would run the risk of putting its parts out of proportion. It then occurred to them that the best thing to be done under these awkward circumstances was to take off the skin again, and reduce its thickness with knives; they removed all the internal thickenings which came in their way. In this operation five men were occupied for four days, during which time they cut out one hundred and ninety-four pounds weight off the internal surface. During this process the skin had dried, and required again to be immersed in cold soft water; after allowing it to remain twenty-four hours to soak, it was then put on the model, and found to cover it completely; the edges were brought together and secured with wire nails, deeply driven home, and large brads. Except at the edges, the nails and brads were only driven in half way, to keep the skin down to the different sinuosities and hollows until dry, when they were again all pulled out. The alum with which the water was saturated gave the skin an ugly gray appearance from crystallization. But this was soon remedied, by first rubbing the skin with spirits of turpentine, and afterward with olive oil. By the admirable and well executed contrivance here adopted, a specimen has been mounted with all the appearance of life, which, with a little attention, may resist for ages the influence of time.”
[To be Continued.]