Albert Lord Belden.

The fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea online

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Online LibraryAlbert Lord BeldenThe fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea → online text (page 29 of 34)
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to be greatly improved by smoking ; caribou meat is dry
and tasteless, but a small layer of fat immediately under
the skin on the back of the male is delicious; caribou
marrow-bone is also highly esteemed; the flesh of all
members of the deer family is very generally considered
excellent; but the venison epicure will eat it only after
it has been many days dead — and worse.

Hundreds of thousands of bison were killed solely
for their tongues.

Beaver flesh is eaten in the north ; beaver tail, which
is skinned and then roasted or baked, is said to be very
fine — ^none sold in market.

In by-gone ages certain wise monks officially de-
clared that the beaver is a fish, and could therefore be
eaten by the faithful on Fridays ; this decision is one of
the causes of the early extinction of the beaver in

Wolf ribs are eaten by some northern hunters, and
a few half-starved woodsmen.

Parts of the flesh of the badger make good bacon.

African sportsmen eat leopard steaks and roasted

Pemmican, mentioned in every frontier yam, is
made by Indian squaws, and consists of lean pieces of
buffalo and deer cut in strips and dried in the sun ; it is
eaten in the form in which it is dried or reduced to a


powder. One important ingredient, dried buffalo, is no
longer included in pemmican preparations.

Roasted muskrat is esteemed by many, not only in
rural districts but m large cities; supplies of this dark
red ifieat are regularly sold during the winter at Balti-
more and Philadelphia; it is purchased by private con-
sumers, and is served at some hotels and restaurants as
"swamp rabbit." If considered from the point of clean-
liness, it ought to be good, as the muskrat invariably
washes all its food, and is in every respect an exception-
ally clean animal.

In some sections the highly flavored flesh of the
skunk is eaten ; it may be assumed that hopeless hunger
long deferred is an essential prelude to a feast upon
roast skunk served under any name.

In China the domestic cat is baked, broiled, roasted
and stewed, and is pronounced delicate and distracting.
If the gods impose madness as a necessary precedent to
destruction, then furies and satyrs must as surely en-
chant the gastronomical senses preliminary to a feast
upon feline fragments, however fancifully fricasseed.

The little silver-grey moth, tinea pellion Ha, is an
important factor in the fur trade, and a terror to all
possessors of costly furs, in consequence of its natural
predilection for feasting upon prime peltries. Moths of
this genus have insatiable appetites, and if allowed to
remain undisturbed in a garment will continue to feed
until not a shred of fur remains; even when every pre-
caution is taken, the loss caused by moths is very great.


Fur moths first cut off the fur close to the skin and
then eat through the leather, perforating it completely,
continuing the process, if not discovered, until the entire
pelt is ruined; Every probable means has been used to
destroy the destroyer, but without attaining the desired
result ; the substances and materials used in the fur trade
to protect furs from the ravages of moths, include cam-
phor, tobacco, naptha, cedar chips, insect powder, oil of
turpentine, moth crystals, tar paper, and carbolized
paper; but none of these anti-moth remedies has been
found sufficiently effective to obviate the necessity for
frequently whipping the furs with round rods specially
made for the purpose.

Cold storage, which has been developed and per-
fected in recent years, provides the only reliably safe
method of moth-protection on a large scale; the moth
cannot live, or its eggs hatch, at a temperature below
freezing, and this condition is constantly maintained in
all up-to-date cold storage plants.

Owners of single garments, who prefer to care for
their own furs, may perfectly protect them in the follow-
ing manner: Beat and air the article thoroughly early
in the spring, before the moths have had an opportunity
to lay their eggs in the fur ; then place the garment in a
box having a close-fitting lid, wrap the box in three or
four coverings of sound, unbroken paper, and paste
down all the lapping edges, being particular to tightly
close every crack or opening — this is a thoroughly pro-
tective packing.


Owing to the great and exhausting demand in
recent years for fur-skins of every name, quality and
color/ and the consequent advance in values, practically
all skins in any degree resembling fur have within the
past few years been made up into garments to meet a
price demand and cater to the comfort of men and
women financially unable to purchase fine peltries.

The list includes what are termed "Galloway" coats,
gloves and mittens, which are made of the hides of cows,
bulls, calves, and horses old and young. Galloway is
the name of a small breed of horses originating in Scot-
land, and small hornless cattle native to the same coun-
try; the articles of apparel made and sold as Galloway
are manufactured in the United States, chiefly in the
middle west and moderately in New York State, and
have their source of being, not in imported stock, but
quite exclusively in the hides of domestic cattle killed for
food — mainly private stock — and incidentally used as
clothing, either as mementos, or because of limited cost
of manufacture.

These cow and calfskin garments are protective and
durable, and where worn, in the open country, are im-
pressively attractive.

Galloway garments are mainly made on order for
individual consumers, owners of the departed bovines
and equines ; this fact accounts for the thrilling phrase in
advertisements soliciting personal orders, inserted in
country papers by makers of Galloway apparel, viz.:
"Let us tan your own hide, and make it up into a coat or



We have noticed in the announcement of a western
firm, as a 19 17 "first timer," an offering of ladies' fur
sets in "summer weasel," the brown skins hitherto
counted worthless by first-hand buyers of raw furs.

The skin of the woodchuck, another discard, is likely
to get an advanced position in price lists and emporiums,
though the supply will never be other than insignificant.

Trench rats have been accorded a niche in the realm
of fur utility, but their reason for being does not presage
extreme popularity. Reference to the trenches serves as
a reminder that several governments are important
buyers of furs for service in those dismal depths, and
active destroyers of existing fur supplies, and thereby
the creators of new values.

Prairie dogs, or American marmots, abound in the
plains in the southwest, from Montana southward to
Mexico, congregating in large villages of their own,
shared only with rattle snakes. The prairie dog is from
eight to ten inches in length, has a rather coarse coat of
fur varying from greyish to reddish brown; the furred
tail is tipped with black. The fur has been used for
making gloves and carriage robes, but has never been
important owing to size and poor quality of the pelt. It
is a burrowing animal, undermines large sections of
country and is destructive; efforts are being made to
exterminate it by poisoning. Wolves, panthers and wild
cats are also poisoned to hasten their extinction.

Solomon 5* iHanne

In 1888 a manufacturing business in popular furs
was established by Solomon J. Manne and J. Silberlust,
under the firm name of Manne & Silberlust, with a
factory on Bleecker Street, New York.

The firm continued actively engaged until 1891,
when the partnership was dissolved, Solomon J. Manne
continuing alone at 11 Bond Street. In 1892, becoming
quite ill, Mr. Manne discontinued business and spent
some months recuperating at Colorado Springs. The
latter part of that year he returned to New York and
resumed manufacturing, but his health again failing in
1893, he gave up mercantile pursuits and sought recovery
in a sojourn at Asheville, North Carolina. At this time,
and in consequence of his inability to successfully con-
duct business under great physical disability, he sus-
pended payment of his obligations — plainly merely sus-
pended payments, for the record shows that in 191 3 he
paid every debt in full.

Mr. Manne re-engaged in manufacturing in 1894,
admitting into partnership his brother, Sigmund Manne,
under style : S. J. Manne & Brother. The firm continued
progressively engaged in the manufacture of fine furs
until 18 1 2, in which year Sigmund Manne retired with
a competency.

Following the withdrawal of the junior member of
the firm in 1912, the business was incorporated under
title, S. J. Manne & Brother, Inc., the incorporators and
officers being: Solomon J. Manne, president and treas-


Solomon J. iWanne


urer; Henri L. Verschoore, vice-president; Baruch M.
Scheller, secretary.

S. J. Manne & Brother, Inc., have made an enviable
name for themselves as alert manufacturers and effec-
tive creators of fur models of high worth, styles which,
like certain books, are by common consent classed as
"best sellers." All the more desirable peltries prevailing
in fashion as the years come and go are employed by
them in producing the exceptional in ladies' coats, scarfs
and muffs to meet the requirements of prominent re-
tailers throughout the country.

February i, 191 3, the business was removed to 48-
56 West Thirty-eighth Street, New York, where it has
been continuously conducted with notable success.

Owing to their habit of sleeping during daylight
hours and roaming abroad only at night which precludes
the chance of their being seen alive by but few, fur-bear-
ing animals live their lives in a haze of apparently im-
penetrable mystery, the source of considerable interest,
many diverse opinions, varied views and misconceptions.

Because of the mystery in which their lives are in-
volved, necessarily enveloped for their protection and
perpetuation, many tales are told regarding their man-
ner of living, physical and mental characteristics, fail-
ures and achievements, and much more — tales in numer-
ous instances true to nature, but more often mere out-
givings of a redundant imagination.

The facts, plainly told, are more interesting and
illuminating, than the wildest exaggerations, meant to
be entertaining, which fail to be impressive because of
their manifest unreason.


The olfactory nerves are marvellously alert in all
fur-bearing animals, and become operative second only
to the act of breathing ; all are born in dark dens, many
with closed eyes, and consequently discover their initial
breakfast and several subsequent repasts by the sense of
smell. This sense, naturally powerful, is unquestiona-



bly greatly developed, as are the other senses, in the
course of the life of the particular animal in consequence
of its experienced utility; but it is not developed to an
equal degree in animals of all species, or in all of the
same species. The dog, which is most highly trained,
has a keener sense of scent than any of the wild animals,
none of which places more than partial dependence upon
the sense of smell, seemingly considering sight and hear-
ing more efficient.

Many trappers believe that a fox which has never
seen a man or at the most not more than once and then
at a considerable distance, can detect the odor left by hu-
man hands upon a steel trap set several hours before the
fox visits it, and that the sly animal cannot be caught in
a trap thus tainted with human scent. In order to notice
an odor, human or inhuman, so lightly and remotely im-
pressed upon steel the fox with the most acute sense of
smell would have to sniff the metal at close range ; actu-
ally touch it with the tip of its nose, and in so doing
would, nine times out of ten, spring the trap and get
caught, not by a foot, the usual way, but by the nose.

Trappers who believe this human scent legend, as-
sert that traps should be set only with gloved hands ; but
no one has arisen to state at what period or in what man-
ner the fox acquired a definite knowledge of human
scent, or learned to effectively differentiate it from the
odor of an old and variously used glove.

The sense of smell, being the primary active sense,
is undoubtedly of extreme importance to practically all
animals, but observation impresses the conviction that
its efficiency is considerably exaggerated. It is not cred-
itable to human intelligence to suppose that scent from


the foot of a rabbit or fox lightly touching the ground
for not more than a second of time should remain for
hours in sufficient strength to be readily perceptible to
another and unlike animal. While we are certain that
this remarkable foot-odor remains for some time and is
noticeable to animals, the dog and others in whom the
sense of smell is highly developed, we are equally sure
that the sense of smell is not the only faculty essentially
exercised by the pursuer in tracking the pursued — the
eyes of the former are importantly depended upon in the
chase, particularly in patient, plodding hunters such as
the hound — felines, which crouch and surprise, chiefly
rely upon the sense of sight ; speedy hunters depend upon
ears and feet; preying animals of every species, and
those preyed upon, use to the utmost every sense, sinew
and muscle.

During the fear-inspired run for life the feet of the
fleeing fox or hare make distinct impressions, marks and
scratches in the soft ground, damp leaves, moss and
grass over which they pass, which impressions and
marks are fairly visible to the keen sight of the trailer,
and the senses of smell and sight operating concurrently
enable the pursuing hunter to trace the course of its
quarry almost unerringly. The observing sportsman has
noticed that at times even his most dependable dogs have
lost the scent in rocky places, or rather large areas cov-
ered with very dry leaves ; the odor of the feet of the rab-
bit or fox was not lessened or otherwise affected during
the rapid passage of the animals over these places; the
scent may have been more quickly dissipated, but was
lost, as the dog "following the track" best knows, be-
cause the bounding feet of the escaping animals left no


characteristic mark upon the surface of the rocks or ex-
tremely hard ground, and made no particular change,
scratch or form, in the "lay" of the very dry leaves,
which might not have been effected by a passing zephyr.

A fox when closely pursued by a hound will, if the
opportunity offers, cross a stream at a place where the
opposite shore is more or less "stony"; we assume that
it does this to break the line of scent, but reynard doubt-
less merely seeks a path upon which no tell-tale marks
can be imprinted. Does a fox know so much ? If it ap-
prehends one-half, and it seemingly does, it surely knows
the other half !

A wily fox in making a long leap from soft ground
to a hard surface, or a fallen tree trunk, has often been
able to secure a hiding place within reach of the pursu-
ing dogs; more than one rabbit by remaining quiet in
its "form" in the meadow has escaped the notice of a
hound passing within a yard of its retreat — surely the
scent of the whole animal is greater than that of the
lightest touch of its feet alone. Footprints remain fairly
visible to eyes capable of seeing them long after the scent
has disappeared — the same is true of finger prints. If
success in the chase depended wholly upon scent, com-
paratively few animals would be caught; the fact that
speeding feet patter at least part of the time where no
impression can be made largely accounts for the perpet-
uation of many species of furry animals.

A giant may have, as asserted, smelled the "blood
of an Englishman," and thus have discerned his pres-
ence; but according to the truer-to-nature record foot-
prints in the sand led Crusoe to discover Friday — and
the odor of a fleeing fox is said to be exceedingly delicate


compared with that of a Friday in his native atmos-
phere. The tips of the noses of fur and hair-bearing
animals are bare, entirely devoid of fur or hair, a provi-
sion of nature whereby their sense of smell is increased
in efficiency; if furred to the tip the fur would retain
the odors of the many substances into which the nose is
frequently plunged, making it impossible for the animal
to distinguish any particular scent, or escape the misery
of smelling many smells continuously.


The external ears of quadrupeds show marked dif-
ferences in set or position ; in some species the ears point
backward, in others forward, and in a number extend
directly outward at approximately right angles with the
sides of the head; these are the lines in which the out-
ward ears are naturally set, but each of these positions
may be assumed by all fur-bearers at will, as their ears
are mobile within the range of half a circle. These
characteristics are essential to the perpetuation of the
several species of animals, for while all prey and are
preyed upon none has been sent into the world without
being given a fair chance to escape sudden and complete
destruction. The species which secure their prey more
definitely in the chase than by the exercise of cunning,
have their ears naturally pointed forward so that t!iey
may the more readily catch the sound of the pattering
feet of the creature they are pursuing, which not only
runs in the open but frequently turns to the right or the
left and dodges behind bushes, stumps or other objects
offering concealment. The animals pursued, particu-
larly those which are hunted as food by other animals


but which do not hunt for a livelihood, have their out-
ward ears pointed backward, an evident provision of na-
ture designed to enable them to readily hear every sound
made by the eager feet of their invisible pursuers, from
whom they are strenuously seeking to escape.

We may note that the rabbit in its wild dash for life
has its ears pointed backward, while the ears of the pur-
suing lynx are turned straight forward ; it is not to be
understood, however, that the ears of the rabbit, or the
lynx, or any other wild creature are immovably fixed in
the positions noted, for the various voracious creatures
frequently approach their prey from in front evidently
by chance rather than from choice; all animals which
have their ears distinctly turned backward have the
ability to turn their ears forward, and thus detect sounds
of an approaching foe, and they do so frequently though
mainly depending for protection against frontal attacks
upon their wonderfully keen eyesight.

It need not be doubted that the power to note the ap-
proach of an enemy by the sense of hearing only essen-
tially aids the pursued in effecting its escape ; and equally
that the forward trend of the ears of the pursuer, where-
by it is enabled to detect sounds made by the fleeing
quarry augments its prospects of success in the chase;
this remarkable power of hearing should be regarded as
a developed rather than an innate faculty, the mobility
of the ears being nature's contribution. The rabbit that
will not use its backward-pointed ears as well as its for-
ward-glancing eyes, may never deliberately or carelessly
run into danger, nor will it long escape the greater peril
lurking in its rear.


Incidentally it may be observed that the human
mind, which "grows by what it feeds upon," surely
dwarfs by feeding upon husks when propitious pabulum
is available.

Domestic animals which have long enjoyed immun-
ity from the fury of ancient enemies, have their visible
ears set forward, backward, or nearly at a right angle
from the head; but in all the faculty of mobility is


The eyes of animals chiefly active in the clear light
of the day are generally dark, as noted in the horse, seal,
deer and others, including many birds; the exceptions
seem to be those which in seeking their food or prey de-
pend largely upon the sense of smell or wholly upon the
sense of sight, including some of the felines, the eagle,
hawks and other carniverous birds, all of which have
rather bright eyes, some being brightened with yellow,
white or red rings.

Nocturnal animals usually have bright eyes, in some
specimens the eyes being intensely bright, flashing yel-
low or red when observed in the dark ; this brightness is
markedly noticeable in members of the cat family, the
owls, herons, and others.

Animals which cannot be strictly classed as either
diurnal or nocturnal, the burrowers, hibernating and
amphibious animals, generally have dark eyes. In the
lives of all fur-bearers the first active sense is smell ; and
in birds in the nest, is hearing; but when the furry and
feathered folk set out to hunt that they may live, the
sense of sight becomes of vital importance, is developed


to a degree surpassing human comprehension. The
eagle, hawk and vulture soaring at vast heights in cloud-
land note the location of their prey and provender in
lake, or ocean, or on land, and unerringly descend to it.
In radiant day and rayless night sight is the su-
preme protective sense enjoyed by natural fur-bearers
and feather-wearers, but instead of being solely depend-
ed upon, is made to work together in harmony of action
with all the senses and faculties in sustaining life.


The sense of sight possessed by animals, however
great, is not infallible, and would be of little avail except
for one condition — motion.

A hawk soaring over a field will not note the differ-
ence between a stump and a sleeping bear, in fact may
not specially observe either, but a moving mouse will
catch its attention and cause it to descend in an instant.

A muskrat swimming on a pond in a usually unfre-
quented marsh will not distinguish a man from a post or
dead tree so long as the man remains perfectly motion-
less, but the instant he moves, though only a hand, the
muskrat will disappear beneath the water.

A heron flying across a bay will cause the small fish
to run into deeper water, but the same heron may stand
motionless in the water for a few moments and the fish
will return toward shore and swim all round the big
bird which by a swift stroke can catch one fish after

Even the cunning fox will approach within strik-
ing distance of a man who stands perfectly still, but will
flee from another however leisurely moving five hundred


yards distant. A flock of quail will lie quietly in a
clump of small trees very near which a hunter is passing
so long as he continues to move on, but the instant he
stops they rise at terrific speed; they evidently gauge
the possibilities of danger due to the moving object,
but when it ceases to move are unable to longer control
their fear.

The opossum seems to have quite perfectly sensed
the condition ; owing to the fact that its range of vision
is quite limited the opossum is often surprised by its
enemies, and in such instances, escape by running being
impossible, the animal feigns death, manifestly under-
standing that if it remains absolutely motionless it will
be passed by unobserved. It has long been generally
supposed that the opossum played dead because it knew
or believed that the creature menacing it, no matter how
hungry, would not eat a dead animal, or one not self-
caught — an untenable view, unless we are willing to
freely affirm that the opossum thinks, reasons and mar-
vellously imagines, as no carnivorous brute, though only
moderately hungry, could be so easily deceived; where-
as the most cunning beast unless it had seen the opossum
before it lay down as dead would fail to notice it while
it remained quiescent. Every hunter knows how diffi-
cult it is at times to find a dead bird, though he very care-
fully noted the spot where it fell ; and on the other hand
how readily a wounded bird is found because of a slight
movement of its head or wing.

An Esquimaux will spend hours in a patient en-
deavor to approach a seal dozing upon the ice near an
opening at the edge of the water into which it is sure to
disappear if alarmed ; the seal frequently raises its head


and carefully scans the surrounding ice field, and at such
moments the Esquimau, who has not for an instant
ceased to watch the seal, becomes perfectly motionless ;
the seal may note the hunter as a dark object upon the
ice, but detecting no motion will resume its spookless

Online LibraryAlbert Lord BeldenThe fur trade of America and some of the men who made and maintain it, together with furs and fur bearers of other continents and countries and islands of the sea → online text (page 29 of 34)