Q. 4380. Preparing and Dyeing Seal Skins.

Manufacturer and Builder 7, 1890

Can you inform me where I can find a description of the mode of preparing and dyeing seal skins for garments?
— S. V. San Francisco, Cal.

Answer. The mode of preparing the seal skin, and of dyeing it the rich brown color that is so much admired, is a trade secret. It is generally understood that all the skins taken in Alaskan waters, which afford the world's supply, are sent to England to be dressed and dyed, and the exact methods followed are carefully kept secret. One importantt feature of the treatment they receive is intended to effect the removal of the long, coarse outer covering of hair with which the skin is furnished, and this is said to be accomplished by taking advantage of the circumstance that the long coarse hairs are more deeply rooted in the skin than the finer and exceedingly thick coat which characterizes the seal skin as we know it in its finished condition. To effect this removal of the coarse material, the skin is carefully scraped from the flesh side, until the roots of the coarse hair are exposed and cut; the coarse hair can then readily be pulled out, leaving the fine fur unaffected. We do not think it would be very difficult to domesticate this industry, for it should not be very troublesome to work out the details of treatment and make a product quite as good as the English one.

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