National Geographic : 1944 Jan
Tree, Spare that Woodman TFROM TIME IMMEMORIAL the Manchineel tree 1' has brought injury, and, according to legend death to natives of islands in the Caribbean. Early histories of these places contain forbid ding descriptions of its malignant powers. "So dire is the Manchineel that the very sun, darting its rays upon it, calls forth its dangerous odours and renders it unsafe to the touch ... The apples if eaten, are said to be certain death to anything but goats." Much of this is pure fantasy, but the fact re mains that juices of the tree cause severe inflam mation and acute conjunctivitis, if they come in contact with skin or eyes. An early authentic account of the tree was fur nished by Mr. Seemann, of His Majesty's good ship Herald, who wrote his report around 1850. Carpenters of his ship were rendered blind merely by cutting down one of the trees for lumber. When he investigated the case, his eyes, too, were affected, although he only gathered some of the tree's leaves and bright-colored, sweet smelling apples. Happily, all regained sight, but from then on they eyed the Manchineel from a safe distance. When Travelers Safety Engineers were assigned to guard the safety of workmen in the construc tion of projects in places where the Manchineel grows, they were confronted with this unprece dented problem and they minimized its menace with characteristic efficiency. They recommended the use of goggles to pro tect the eyes, gloves for the hands, and grease for tender areas of the skin. In the space of three months, the cases of Manchineel poisoning were reduced from 100 to zero. Safety Engineers of The Travelers Insurance Companies are not considered "cranky yankees" on their jobs. With sound reasoning based on ex periences and training, they daily are meeting and solving a variety of safety problems as diffi cult as that created by the Manchineel. The con tribution they have made to America's war en deavor by cutting down industrial accidents, and thus saving time, is a vital and personal one. MORAL: Insure in The Travelers. All forms of insurance and surety bonds. The Travelers In surance Company, The Travelers Indemnity Company, The Travelers Fire Insurance Com pany, Hartford, Connecticut.