Bernard R Armour.

Fur dressing and dyeing online

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President of

American Aniline Products, Inc.

New York. N. Y.



80 Fifth Avenue
New York


Copyright, 1919
American Aniline Products, Inc.


m 20 1919


TO determine the proper method of dressing
and dyeing a skin, the dyer should know how
long it has been off the animal's back and where
such animal lived. For he must vary his formula
according to the type and condition of the skin.
Furs that are greasy require treatment with soda
which will place them in condition to take the
dye readily. Those that are dry must be fat-
liquored so that they will be soft and pliable after

The process preliminary to the actual dyeing is


Opossum, raccoon and skunk are very greasy
pelts. Therefore, the grease is first scraped from
the flesh side; then they are drummed for several
hours in damp saw-dust; next put in a mixture
of damp saw-dust and salt over night. Next day
the skins are moved to the fleshing room and the
excess flesh is scraped off. Now they are pickled
in a bath of sulphuric acid and salt so the skin
will be converted into soft, pliable leather. At
the same time, this pickling bath plumps (or fills
out) the leather and care must be taken that the


leather is not made too thick, for, if too plump,
the leather will not be adapted to the scissors
and the needle of the garment maker.

The skins are then dried and again drummed in
damp saw-dust. As all the natural grease has been
removed from the skins, it is necessary to replace
the natural with artificial grease in order to make
it soft and pliable. Therefore, they are next put
in a tramping machine containing grease, and
such grease is tramped or pounded into the leather.
The skins are then drummed again several times
in damp saw-dust to remove all grease from the hair.

As minks, wild-cat, Australian opossum, marmet
and wallaby are not as greasy as opossum, raccoon
or skunk, it is unnecessary to scrape the grease
from the pelts. Otherwise, the dressing is the same.

Rabbits are first soaked in water two or three
days, then fleshed, then pickled in a mixture of
alum and salt and are then ready for the dyeing


It is here that the fur and the dyer establish
their point of contact. The colors used for fur
dyeing are not colors in the accepted sense — but


oxidation colors. That is, they are products
which develop on the fibre when treated in con-
junction with such oxidizing agents as ferric
chloride, permanganate of potash, bichromates,
peroxide of hydrogen or any metallic salts. They
permit of the dyeing of furs in a cold or lukewarm
bath to yield fast brown or black shades ranging
from the lightest tan to the deepest blue black.
Should by any chance the temperature of the
dye-bath be increased over 100° F. the hair will
be singed and the leather burnt and the entire
fibre of the skin destroyed. Of late, however,
the more technical dyers have been able to over-
come the singeing of the hair by brushing with a
solution of glycerine. The hair, however, will
return to its singed state in a few months. K
the leather is not too far gone, a brushing with
egg yoke, sulphonated cod oil and glycerine will
overcome the brittleness to a slight degree. The
tensile strength of the leather, however, is
practically lost.

The products used in the following recipes are
known as :

Fur Brown P, yielding an intense reddish brown.
Fur Brown 2 G, yielding a yellowish brown.


Fur Black, yielding a dead black.

Fur Blue X, yielding a blue black.

Fur Black D B, yielding a blue black with an

intense blue tone.
Fur Black D D, yielding a very deep blue.
Fur Grey B, yielding a slightly bluish grey.

It is impossible to give general recipes suited
exactly for every kind of fur, for, as before men-
tioned, the properties vary according to the
quality of the skins.

For instance, a recipe worked out to produce
satisfactory results with foxes would produce
most unsatisfactory results with rabbits. There-
fore, the proportions can be determined only by
trial. However, you will note peroxide of hydrogen
is used in the following formulas, and a very good
basis for the application of hydrogen peroxide
in proportion to color has been found to be 10 to 1.
When in doubt use this ratio, for it can be varied
when necessary. Also note that without excep-
tion the dyestuff must be thoroughly dissolved
before adding the hydrogen peroxide, and unless
otherwise specified, the proportions given are
based on a two-gallon dye bath.

All skins are mordanted before dyeing with such


products as bichromate of potash, bluestone,
copperas, verdigris, caustic soda, potassium chlor-
ate, etc., and as usual, the methods vary according
to the type and quality of the skin. Certain
easily dyed skins are dyed without this mordant,
but there is an element of risk that the color will
not be very level or even.


When making tans or browns, it is advisable to
mordant the skins before dyeing with ^ ounce
to 1^ ounces of the bichromate of potash and
^ ounce to \yi ounces of cream of tartar accord-
ing to the depth of shade required. The skins
are immersed in this bath at about 75 F. and kept
there for about twelve hours, or better still, over
night. After mordanting rinse lightly or whizz.
The skins are now ready to be entered into the
actual dye-bath.

A solution of:

y^ ounce Fur Brown P
1 gill hydrogen peroxide
y^ tumbler ammonia


produces a light reddish brown, after the skins
remain in the bath about six hours.

1 ounce Fur Brown
}^ ounce Fur Black
^ ounce pyrogallic acid

1 pint hydrogen peroxide
}i tumbler ammonia

produces medium to dark brown shades, according
to the length of time the skins remain in the dye-
bath. After three hours a beautiful medium
brown is obtained, while the shade gradually
becomes darker until at the end of twelve hours
you have a full, rich, dark brown. After dyeing, the
skins are rinsed for several hours in running water.

Pyrogallic acid produces a rich yellowish shade,
but is only used for toning purposes.

It should be noted that in such combinations
as the last, that since Fur Brown produces an
intense reddish brown, pyrogallic acid is added to
throw the brown on to the yellow side, and the
Fur Black is used to darken the shade.

Of course, these combinations given above can
be changed to produce most any shade of tan or



Fur Black is best employed by mordanting with
bichromate of potash and cream of tartar in the
same proportions as used for the tans and browns
and then dyeing in a bath of:

}i oz. to 1>^ ozs. Fur Black
1 gill to 1 pint hydrogen peroxide

for about twelve hours at 75° to 80° F., rinsed, etc.
Fur Blue X without a previous mordant dyes
angora a deep blue black with an admixture of
black in the following proportion:

^ ounce Fur Blue X

^2 ounce Fur Black

1 pint hydrogen peroxide.

The dyeing operation is the same as for Fur Black.

For this class of dyeing (angora) the recipes
mentioned for Fur Black and Fur Brown may also
be recommended; though, of course, solutions
must be varied according to shade requirements.

Furs such as marmet or opossum, for example,
are best killed before dyeing either with lime or a
soda solution. They may then be rinsed and mor-
danted with a solution of ^ to 1}^ ounces of


copperas and }{ ounce cream of tartar and then
dyed as above. While such skins can be dyed
without a mordant, such a mordant as that given
above greatly improves the finished material.

Fur Black D B and Fur Black D D are employed
only when particularly blue shades of black are
desired. For these brands, however, as in the case
of Fur Blue X, it is essential that the skins be
mordanted or killed before dyeing.

Full shades of black of a bluish cast will be
obtained by adding >^ to ^ ounce of Fur Black D B
or Fur Black D D or Fur Blue X and 1 gill to
1 pint of hydrogen peroxide to the regular Fur
Black formula.


For the dyeing of silver grey or any of the bluer
shades of this extremely delicate color, a mor-
danting is first necessary with Bluestone, or in
conjunction with copperas or with verdigris.
The skins are then rinsed or whizzed and the
following dye-bath prepared:

1 ounce or 2 ounces Fur Grey B (depending
upon depth of shade desired)


1 pint to 2 pints hydrogen peroxide

3<4 tumbler ammonia.
The skins remain in this bath for at least 3 or 4
hours longer, if necessary, depending upon the
nature of the skins.

For the dyeing of taupes, or the redder shades
of grey the same process is followed as above with
the addition to the dye-bath before immersing
skins ]4 ounce Fur Brown 2 G, or the same formula
as for silver greys except the mordant in this case
would be }4 ounce bichromate of potash and ^2
ounce cream of tartar and then finished as for the
grey shades. For extremely red shades of taupe,
simply an addition of Fur Brown P is necessary
to the dye-bath.


Certain hairs of furs will not take fur dyes in a
bath. These must be tipped. For tipping a
black shade. Fur Black only is suitable. It
is used in the proportion of % ounce Fur Black
to 1 pint of water and 1 pint hydrogen peroxide;
the latter being added directly before using.

To produce brown shades by tipping. Fur Brown


is used in combinations. With solutions of 1>^
ounces to 5 ounces per gallon a single tipping will
produce an intense brown of a depth which formerly
was obtainable only by a long tedious process.
After tipping, the skins are placed in pairs, hair
side inward and allowed to remain that way for
several hours, after which they are put in a cool
place to dry.


A good soda bath for killing is made up by dis-
solving 2 pounds of sal soda in about 1^}4 gallons
(100 pounds) of water. The skins are washed in
this cold for one to two hours. A good soap bath
is obtained by dissolving 1 pound of soap in 12^
gallons (100 pounds) of water and adding 1 pound
of ammonia. The skins are washed in this for
one to two hours and afterwards rinsed in cold

For a lime bath dissolve 15 pounds of powdered
sal ammoniac and 4^ pounds of sulphate of
alumina to 50 gallons of hot or boiling water. To
this add a solution of milk of lime which is made
by adding 50 pounds of quick lime to 100 gallons
of water. The milk of lime may be kept in a


well-stoppered earthenware vessel, but should be
stirred before using.

To treat furs with this lime bath the hair side
is painted with a brush, and the operation is
repeated twice or as often as is necessary to remove
the grease in the hair. The skin should then be
dried in a shady place as direct sunlight and too
intense heat rob the hair of its elasticity and
make the leather hard. The chalk dust remaining
after the skins are dried is removed by beating
and brushing.


Dyed furs possess the disagreeable property of
staining lighter materials with which they come
in contact. This may be remedied by the fol-
lowing inexpensive process, which will make the
colors absolutely fast.

The skins that have been dyed by steeping
should be treated in a fresh bath to which has been
added 1/60 ounce to 1/20 ounce of bluestone per
gallon for light shades, or 1/12 ounce bluestone
for dark shades. After a bath of six to eight hours
the skins are then rinsed and dried. For skins that


have been tipped use a 5 to 10 per cent, solution of
bluestone, varying the strength according to the
depth of the shade. This is applied with a brush
after which the skins are dried and tumbled in
sand or saw-dust. If the application is correctly
carried out and care is taken to vary the strength
of the solutions according to the depth of the
shade treated the tone of the dyeings will not be
affected. The use of too strong solutions in tip-
ping will change the shade entirely.


The rapid development in the production of
fur colors in this country is one of the achievements
due to the war. Before the war no fur colors
were produced in America, for the simple reason
that the selling price was lower than the possible
minimum cost of manufacture. Germany sold
to this country her surplus of such intermediates
at or below cost. It is probable that she will
resume this practice after the war. In that case
American manufacturers will be obliged to drop
the making of fur dyes. The ad valorem duty
of 15 per cent, and the special duty of 2>^ cents a


pound imposed by the Tariff Law on this class of inter-
mediates will not afford any effective protection.

It is argued by competent people that, in order to
possess a thoroughly self-contained industry, not
dependent in any essential upon foreign supply,
this country must produce all the materials that
go to the making of her finished articles. There is
no questioning the desirability of such a condition.
But it must remain impracticable as long as
American producers in any line are not secured
against a species of foreign competition which it is
impossible for them to meet.

In August, 1914, there were no fur colors made
in America. In October of that year we put up
our plant, and in December we began to manu-
facture. We have succeeded in duplicating practi-
cally all the German fur dyes without substituting;
and today the demand for American fur dyes is
being satisfactorily supplied. Created to meet an
emergency, this particular feature of the American
dyestuff industry will assuredly disappear when
the emergency ends unless proper protection is
accorded this branch of the industry. The question
remains whether in the best interests of the industry
it is well to allow it to disappear.


In England we have reports to the effect that
the AniUne color manufacturers will receive the
protection of an absolute embargo on all German
made colors for a number of years after peace
has been declared. Whether that will prove
effective it is impossible to prophesy at the present
time. This clearly shows, however, that the
British Government is alive to the critical position
in which the dyestuff manufacturers would be
placed should such destructive German com-
petition be permitted as existed prior to the war.
This country, no doubt, will realize the importance
of such a key industry as the Aniline color manu-
facture represents and adopt such equitable
measures as will be found necessary.


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Online LibraryBernard R ArmourFur dressing and dyeing → online text (page 1 of 1)