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soob lom (สูบลม)

Thai name for a bellows, i.e. a device designed to deliver a strong blast of air, which in Thailand is typically cylindrical in shape and made from wood or bamboo, which consists of a hollow cylinder with a small vent, usually a circular hole, located on the side, at the bottom, which is otherwise closed off, while the top is open. The cylinder is fitted with a long stick to which a round, disc-shaped sucker is attached, akin to a piston. By pulling the stick up and driving it back down through the shaft, the air caught in between is compressed, but because of the outlet at the bottom, it escapes through the opening, emitting a blast of air. By repeating this action, the air pumped out can be used to fan a flame. Soob lom are usually used in pair in order to create an ongoing flow of air, by pushing the plunger of one bellow down, while that of the other is simultaneously being pulled up. Usually, a hollow tube is connected to the outlet at the bottom in order to direct the air pumped out more accurately (fig.). The shape of the soob lom is reminiscent to that of the Chinese fish drum, often depicted in art (fig.) and in Chinese called yugu. Pronounced soop lom and also simply referred to as soob. See also TRAVEL PHOTOS.