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6   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

SUPPLYING THE DEMAND

 

Confronted with this condition of a decreasing supply and

A Domestic   an increasing demand, the fur trade has done its utmost

Fur-Bearer to bridge the gap by encouraging the use of furs of domestic animals, by diverting a part of the demand to serviceable but less costly furs and preparing imitations of the more costly varieties. About thirty years ago, Russian furs came into vogue, when Persian lamb broad-tail and astrachans began to be used extensively. This development is of great significance, as the demand for the above-mentioned furs has in-creased enormously in recent years and the supply to-day is greater than ever because they are produced by domestic animals bred intelligently under a husbandman's care. If the marten, mink, fox and otter had been domesticated a score or more years ago, it is probable that the production of their fur would have served already as a counterpoise to the monopolies enjoyed by Russia and Germany in the production and dressing of astrachans and Persian lambs.

When the perennially fashionable sable, ermine, chin-Popularizing chilla and silver fox did not supply the demand, the Less Costly Furs Persians, broadtail and seal became more costly.

Gradually, too, from its plebeian rank of coat lining at fifty cents a skin mink was adopted into the select family of valuable furs, closely pre-ceded by marten and, latterly, followed by fisher and cross fox. To take the place of mink as a coat lining, muskrat or musquash was chosen, sharing this promotion with the less valuable marmot and hamster of Europe. To supply the demand for a medium-priced black fur of beauty, a common animal, the skunk, has been chosen. The black domestic cat, known to the trade as `genet', is also utilized to meet the demand for black furs, while northern hares are extensively manufactured into `Baltic fox' or `white fox' or `black lynx.'

When the fur dressers and dyers produced a clipped and Renaming dyed muskrat skin that resembled sealskin almost perfectly, Furs it was found that it would not sell under its real name be-cause it was a common fur, used largely by the poorer classes. Consequently a name was invented for it and this popular and high-priced fur is now sold as `Hudson Bay seal'. The fur of the coney, a very cheap and common animal in France. is the raw product in producing `electric sealskin', `clipped seal' and `Baltic seal'. Raccoon, when first introduced, was cheap and was in little demand, but when given the name `Alaska bear' and `silver bear' it immediately came into favour. Skunk, which is an excellent fur of a dark hue, though beauti-


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