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A PROMISING INDUSTRY., Issue 7976, 3 August 1889
A PROMISING INDUSTRY.
A member of our staff lately paid a visit to Messrs Arthur M'Donald and Co.’s establishment in Bond street for the purpose of inspecting the fur cutting department recently started by them. Upon entering the store piles of rabbitskins are to be seen in various directions, all in the process of manufacture. Around tables with a trough in the centre are seated a number of girls and young women actively engaged preparing the skins, which go through the following interesting process :—First, the skin is cleaned of fat, dirt, shot (if any),blood, etc.; it is then opened out and the tail and outside edges removed; next comes_ the process of damping and pressing until the skin is perfectly level and smooth, to attain which the skins require to be in a small press for a day or sc. The skins are then “ plucked,” which means that the coarse hair which grows on the top is palled off with knives until nothing is left on the pelt but the delicate fur. It then undergoes the process of “carrotting” (a mixture of acids). It is then taken and put through a machine known as the “brusher,” which again cleanses the fur of all impure matter. Then comes the wonderful catting machine, which removes the fur in a fleece, and cute the pelt into thin threads not unlike hemp in appearance. These tiny fleeces are then handed over to the sorters, who place the various qualities in brown paper (with tissue paper lining) bags ; next comes the packing into zinc-lined cases, and the fur is ready for export. The coarse hair is used for stuffing mattresses, etc., and the pelt makes a splendid gelatine, while the fur is ultimately made into felt hats, etc. It is claimed that by doing this work In the colony instead of shipping the skins that
K great saving is made, for it is not'; an uncommon thing for shippers of skins to be sadly disappointed in their returns for skins which they considered of prhne quality, they only realising in the London- market comparatively low prices. TW reason,- we understand, for this is that the skins have not been properly cleaned and otherwise dressed before baleing up, and it has been proved that even when every particle of fat has been removed that the fur on the skins deteriorates fully 10 per cent, while in transit, for there: Is a natural oil in their pelt which works it» Way to the fur when tho skins are subjected! to the heavy pressure necessary when they are packed. As labor such as is required for this business can be obtained, and is obtained, quite> as cheap as in England, there is no reason: why the industry should not be a success* especially as the work under notice is ' managed by an experienced operator; and further, it would give employment to a .large number of young people, who would otherwise probably be unable to find employment, The work of plucking could easily be done by inmates of the Industrial School and Benevolent Institution, and considerably swell the receipts. As Mr M'Donald put it, the industry is only in its infancy; and we understand that his firm commenced the trade here not altogether with the idea of going deeply into the fur-cutting line, but more for the purpose of ascertaining by practical experience several important facts connected with the proper classification of skins for export. In conclusion, we wish Messrs Arthur M‘Donald and Co. every success in this undertaking.
A PROMISING INDUSTRY., Issue 7976, 3 August 1889
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