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The Wood Cross Sections of Hermann Nördlinger (1818–1897)

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Hermann Nördlinger (1818–1897), forestry professor in Hohenheim, Germany, published a series of wood cross sections in the years 1852 to 1888 that are introduced here to the modern wood anatomist. The sections, which vary from 50 to 100 μm in thickness, are mounted on sheets of paper and their quality is high enough to observe microscopic details. Their technical perfection is as remarkable as the mode of distribution: sections of 100 wood species were presented in a box together with a booklet containing wood anatomical descriptions. These boxes were distributed as books by the publisher Cotta, from Stuttgart, Germany, with a maximum circulation of 500 per volume. Eleven volumes comprise 1100 wood species from all over the world. These include not only conifers and broadleaved trees but also shrubs, ferns and palms representing a wide variety of woody structures. Excerpts of this collection were also published in Russian, English and French. Today, volumes of Nördlingerʼs cross sections are found in libraries throughout Europe and the United States. Thus, they are relatively easily accessible to wood anatomists who are interested in historic wood sections. A checklist with the content of each volume is appended.


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