The stem of the rush, an example of the monocotyledons referred to in Chapter 2, consists of cellulose micro-fibrils embedded in an amorphous matrix of hemicellulose, pectin and small amounts of protein. Rush has been used since ancient times in the middle east (4000 BC Egypt). Rush furnishings include products of the common bulrush (Scirpus lacustrus), marsh flag (Juncus effusus) and cattail (or reed Typha latifolia). Both fresh water and salt water ('Dutch') varieties are used. A paper product -fibre rush - is made in imitation of these materials and has been available since the First World War. In 1917, Marshall Lloyd developed a loom to weave fibre mesh in large sheets. This mechanization brought Lloyd Loom furni ture into the marketplace. In this type of furniture, the fibre mesh is often sized and strengthened by a central wire.
Rush, as a commercial product, is harvested biannually in late summer/autumn. The harvested rush is normally dried and bunched into 'bolts' for transport, though some workers prefer to use the green product. A bolt is about 3 m tall, 100 cm in diameter and weighs about 2.5 kg. This amount is sufficient to seat about three side chairs. Before use, the dried rush is moistened, laid end (butt) to tip and twisted together to make an even coil for weaving. The technique, described in detail by Brown (1984) and Danssy (1979), requires frames of the dowel railed type, often with raised corner posts. There are regional differences in technique between the Anglo and Scandinavian traditions. A type peculiar to Normandy employs sedge with a corn overwrapping. Rush will keep but care must be taken to ensure good air circulation to prevent mould growth.
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