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100   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

ever, that only personal ownership of the fur-bearers would ensure nearly 100 per cent. of the pelts marketed being prime.

The fur moth also causes immense losses. Modern refrigeration, however, has solved this problem by providing cold storage chambers for furs stored in the warm season.

 

 

All seal and Persian lamb skins go through a process of

Dyeing   dyeing. Seal skin, after the water hair is plucked, is of a
of Furs

drab colour, but expert English dyers make it a dark-brown-

ish black. As German dye excels in fastness of colour and in leaving the skins supple after treatment, the Persian lamb skins are mostly dyed in Germany. The French are very skilful in `topping' where the overhair is made to imitate sable. Latterly, the Germans have developed a large trade in `pointed fox,' which is an ordinary cheap fox dyed black, and afterwards `pointed' by sewing in white hails. The German dyed article is quite durable in colour; but it, again, is imitated by furriers in America, who colour with ordinary black dye and glue in badger hairs. In a few months the difference in the quality of the dye used is revealed. Good dyes—such as those developed in England for seals and in Germany for lambs—are likely to remain trade secrets.

The dressing and dyeing of furs in Canada is nearly all performed by one firm which handles about 2,000,000 skins annually. The work-men and experts are largely German and other Europeans and have received their training in the old world. The dressing and dyeing of furs in America is steadily improving and the proportion shipped to Europe is decreasing.

 

 

The natural colours must be of a certain quality to Esteemed Natural be highly esteemed. Thus pure white ermine is cost-Colours her than the gray or yellowish-white kinds. With white furs, it is the purest and, with black furs, it is the densest that are most desired. A brownish colour in a silver fox is very objection-able (although common in most districts), while a bluish cast is decidedly to be preferred. In fact, it is almost axiomatic that a bluish cast, instead of a rusty or brownish, is preferred. It is the brown cast of Hudson Bay marten that makes it inferior to the Russian sable, which often has a bluish-brown colour. The predominance on the market of brown or rusty coloured skins can be readily accounted for when it is remembered that most `springy' skins are brownish, no matter how blue-black, or blue-brown, or blue-gray they were when prime.

The modern art of dressing and dyeing furs is a great im-

Dressing   provement on pioneer methods, especially in dyeing and

Furs   finishing. For giving suppleness and durability, the pri-


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