National Geographic : 2011 Nov
FLASHBACK NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ISSN 0027 9358 PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, 1145 17TH ST. NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20036. ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP: $34.00 U.S. DELIVERY, $38.00 TO CANADA, $49.50 TO INTERNATIONAL ADDRESSES. SINGLE ISSUE: $7.00 U.S. DELIVERY, $10.00 CANADA, $15.00 INTERNATIONAL. ALL PRICES IN U.S. FUNDS; INCLUDES SHIPPING AND HAN DLING. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT WASHINGTON, DC, AND ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, PO BOX 63002, TAMPA, FL 33663. IN CANADA, AGREEMENT NUMBER 40063649, RETURN UNDELIVERABLE ADDRESSES TO NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, PO BOX 4412 STN. A, TORONTO, ONTARIO M5W 3W2. UNITED KINGDOM NEWSSTAND PRICE £4.99. REPR. EN FRANCE: EMD FRANCE SA, BP 1029, 59011 LILLE CEDEX; TEL. 320.300.302; CPPAP 0710U89037; DIRECTEUR PUBLICATION: D. TASSINARI DIR. RESP. ITALY; RAPP IMD SRL, VIA G. DA VELATE 11, 20162 MILANO; AUT. TRIB. MI 258 26/5/84 POSTE ITALIANE SPA; SPED. ABB. POST. DL 353/2003 CONV L.27/02/2004 N.46 ART 1 C. 1 DCB MILANO STAMPA QUAD/GRAPHICS, MARTINSBURG, WV 25401. MEMBERS: IF THE POSTAL SERVICE ALERTS US THAT YOUR MAGAZINE IS UNDELIVERABLE, WE HAVE NO FURTHER OBLIGATION UNLESS WE RECEIVE A CORRECTED ADDRESS WITHIN TWO YEARS. PHOTO: RALPH STOCK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STOCK Pearl Strivers A car's old gas tank and some garden hose compose a homemade helmet for this Mississippi River pearl diver. Notes with the photo claim the apparatus enabled the man to "go down 70 feet, and remain down one and a half hours." He would have needed that much time to find anything. When this photo was taken in 1938, the Mississippi's population of pearly mussels had already been largely depleted for use by button factories. For them, the mussels' shells proved more valuable than the gem sometimes inside. One bivalve could yield 24 buttons punched from its halves---and some six billion buttons were produced in the U.S. in 1916 alone. Though most pearl-button factories did not survive the 1940s rage for plastic buttons (not to mention zippers), the end of the harvests did not bring the Mississippi's mussels numbers back. Dozens of its species are now classified as endangered or threatened. Some might say they're as rare as pearls. ---Margaret G. Zackowitz O Flashback Archive Find all the photos at ngm.com.