Raccoon skins are the great staple for Russia and Germany, where, on account of their durability and cheapness, they are in demand for linings for coats, etc. Among the Bear skins, those of the black and grizzly are extensively used for military caps, housings, holsters, sleigh robes, etc,
The fur of the Lynx is soft, warm and light, and is commonly dyed of a beautiful shining black. It is used for the facings and linings of cloaks, chiefly in America.
The Fisher yields a dark and full fur which is largely used in fashionable winter apparel.
The skin of the Marten, is richly dyed and utilized in choice furs and trimmings.
The Mink, like the two foregoing, belongs to the same genus as the Russian Sable, and its fur so much resembles the latter as to be sometimes mistaken for it. It is one of fashion’s furs, and the hair of the tail is sometimes used in the manufacture of artist’s pencils.
The Muskrat produces the fur most worn by the masses, and is largely exported into Germany, France and England. It is estimated that over six millions of muskrat skins are annually taken in America, and of that number one-half are used in Germany alone.
The skin of the Otter is at present classed among the leading fashionable furs in this country. They are dyed of a deep purplish black color, and are made into sacques, muffs, etc. It is also used by the Russians, Greeks and Chinese. It is mostly an American product, but is also procured to some extent in the British Isles from a smaller variety of the species.
The skins of the Wolf are chiefly used for sleigh robes and such purposes. The fur of the Rabbit is mainly employed in the manufacture of felt, and is also utilized for lining and trimming. The business of breeding rabbits for their fur has been introduced into the United States, and large numbers have been successfully raised in Danbury, Conn., for felting purposes connected with the manufacture of hats.
[Page 286] The fur of the Wolverine or Glutton, finds a market for the most part in Germany, where it is used for trimmings and cloak linings.
The Skunk furnishes the fur known as Alaska Sable, which forms one of our staple pelts, many thousands being annually exported to Poland and the adjacent provinces.
The Badger yields a valuable and fashionable fur, which is also extensively used in the manufacture of artist’s brushes; a good “badger blender” forming a valuable accessory to a painter’s outfit. Shaving brushes by the thousand are annually made from the variegated hair of the badger.
The Opossum yields a fur in very common use among the masses, and the skins of the domestic Cat are utilized to a considerable extent in the manufacture of robes, mats, etc. The fur of the Puma and Wild Cat are also employed in this form, and may often be seen handsomely mounted and hanging on the backs of sleighs on our fashionable thoroughfares. Among the small game the skins of Squirrels are used for linings, and the soft, velvety fur of the Mole is manufactured into light robes, and very fine hats, and in theatrical paraphernalia is sometimes employed for artificial eyebrows.