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SIZE AND GELATINE.
The residue in the glue-pans is a mass of fibrous matter, called “skutch," which often contains enough fat to pay for another operation. The skutch is put into a boiler with enough sulphuric acid to dissolve the fibre (about 75 lbs. to a ton of skutch), and heated by high-pressure steam blown in it. Under this treatment the fibre dissolves, and so lets loose the fat, which rises to the surface.
Good glue should contain no specks, but be transparent and clear when held up to the light. The best glue swells without melting when immersed in cold water, and it resumes its former size on drying. The best method for use is to steep small pieces in cold water for twelve hours, then set it over a fire and gradually raise its temperature until it is all dissolved. Amber-coloured glue is that most esteemed by cabinet-makers.
Shreds or parings of vellum and parchment make an almost colourless glue ; old gloves, rabbit skins, and such like, are also used for making size and gelatine.
Size is a weak solution of glue allowed to gelatinise. To transform glue into the gelatine of the shops it is simply necessary to dissolve it in water and allow it to settle. Clarifying agents are also used to destroy the last vestiges of colour.
By the use of gelatine, elastic moulds are made capable of reproducing with accuracy, and in a single piece, the most elaborately sculptured objects of exquisite finish and delicacy.
A gelatine is made from what is called “picker waste” a picker is a band of buffalo hide used in driving the shuttles of power-looms. This gelatine or size is used for stiffening or dressing straw hats, silk, and other textile fabrics. The pieces cut off in making it are converted into gelatine for food purposes, but edible gelatine is also frequently made from sheep's trotters, old parchment, and waste pieces of glue.
There is a very large and fine collection of the glues and gelatines made in various countries shown in the Animal Products Collection, Bethnal Green, see also Cases 129 and 134.
BOILING DOWN CATTLE.
BOILING DOWN CATTLE.-Sometimes, in large slaughtering establishments abroad, in Australia, or South America, the whole ox or sheep is sent to the melting-pot to be boiled down, for want of demand for its flesh or facilities for preserving it.
In such cases, as for instance in the vast establishment of Mr. J. H. Atkinson, Collingwood, near Liverpool, New South Wales, 70 to 100 men are employed boiling down sheep and cattle :- As soon as the ox is killed, he is lifted for skinning by machinery, and when the hide, head, hoofs, &c., are removed, the carcase is let down on a chopping-block running on a tramway; it is then cut into convenient-sized pieces, without the necessity of the men handling or lifting the meat, and the trolley chopping-block run on the rails to the other end of the building, where the boilers are. The meat is then lifted from the choppingblock into the boilers by means of endless chains with hooks attached, passing over sheaves, and driven by steam. The boilers are large steam-tight double cylinders, and capable of holding upwards of fifty bullocks at a time. When filled with meat, the orifice in the top of the boiler is closed, and the steam is let on at a pressure of 15 lbs, to the inch. In about seven hours the whole mass of meat and bone is reduced to a pulp. The steam is then condensed, and the tallow floats on the surface. On a tap being turned, it flows into the refining-pans; and when the refining is completed, by turning another tap, it runs into large shallow coolers. These are only about 3 inches deep, but very wide and long, in order that as great a surface as possible may be exposed to the air. When sufficiently cool, by turning other taps, the 'tallow is filled into casks alongside, and these are run by means of a tramway on to the weighing-machine, and thence to the rail for conveyance to Sydney. The mass of pulp to which both bone and flesh have by the steaming process been reduced, is then removed from the boilers by means of an opening near the bottom, fitted with a steam-tight door. It falls into a powerful press, also running on the tramways, and strong
USES OF COW-HAIR.
pressure being applied, a large quantity of highly concentrated soup is extracted; the flesh and bone having by the pressure been made into enormous solid cakes, the trolley-press is run into the piggery, and the greaves given to the pigs. The concentrated gravy or soup is then placed in a peculiarly constructed boiler, and reduced by evaporation to such a consistency that, when cold, it becomes solid, previously to which, however, it is run into bladders. It is, when cold, semi-transparent, of a rich reddishbrown colour, and sweet to the smell and taste, almost like confectionery. The first shipment from Sydney of this concentrated soup to England, was made in June 1862. An average bullock will yield about 20 lbs. weight of this portable soup.
The above account applies to cattle which are wholly boiled down. The prime portions of the best beasts, however, instead of being carried on the tramway to the boilers, are run off to the salting-house. The process there need not be described, further than that every particle of bone is extracted previous to the meat being salted. The leaner portions, not suitable for the casks, are cut into strips, and made into what is known as charqui, or tasejo, a South American name for dried or jerked beef. Each bullock will yield on an average about 100 lbs. of charqui, and the market for it is understood to be practically unlimited.
I need not go into the details of curing the hides, drying and smoking the tongues, extracting the oil from the hoofs, preparing the horns and leg-bones for the English market or into the fellmongering, or sorting, washing, and scouring of the wool—for large numbers of sheep are slaughtered, as well as cattle. From the abundance of water, however, all these processes are carried on with a degree of cleanliness and an absence of offensive smells most surprising.
Cow-HAIR.—Besides the cow-hair collected at home, about 3000 tons are imported annually, chiefly from Germany and France. Russia ships about 64 tons.
Cow-hair used to be extensively employed for mixing with
USES OF COW-HAIR.
mortar for building purposes. It is now made into felt for roofing, and for clothing boilers and pipes of steam-engines. It is used for twisting into rope, and stuffing sofas and chair cushions. In some parts of Germany carpets are made of cow-hair. The demand for cheapness has stimulated the makers of inferior textiles and blanketing to mix cow-hair with wool. It is also used in the fabrication of horse-cloths and railway rugs, and ladies may be interested in knowing that the so-called cheap sealskins are made in the north of England from hair that used to go to the plasterers to bind their mortar, Wet cow-hair is sold at the tanneries for about 25. 6d. a bushel, and is washed and dried and the lime beaten out. White hair is worth nearly double the price of coloured hair. Plasterer's hair ranges from £5 1os. to £8 ios. the ton, washed cow-hair £ 10 to £u the ton. *
* The uses of cow-hair for felt and other purposes are shown both in the Animal Products Collection (Case 95) and in the Waste Products Collection at Bethnal Green Museum.