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Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, A

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_IX" id="CHAPTER_IX"></SPAN>CHAPTER IX.</h2> <h3><span class="smcap">Hats, Stockings, Shoes, Gloves, Leather, Furs, and Ink.</span></h3> <p><b>Of what are Hats made?</b></p> <p>Of felt and wool. Dress hats for men's wear, were formerly made of beaver-fur, but the increasing scarcity of this article led to the introduction of silk plush as a substitute, and the result is that beaver is entirely superseded, and plush is used altogether. They possess many advantages over the beaver hat, as they are light, glossy, and durable. Hats are also made of straw, plaited and sewed together.</p> <p><b>When did Hats come into general use?</b></p> <p>The first mention made of hats is about the time of the Saxons, but they were not worn except by the rich. Hats for men were invented at Paris, by a Swiss, in 1404. About the year 1510, they were first manufactured in London, by Spaniards. Before that time both men and women in England commonly wore close, knitted, woollen caps. They appear to have become more common in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is related, that when Charles the Second made his public entry into Rouen, in 1449, he wore a hat lined with red velvet, surmounted with a plume or tuft of feathers; from which entry, or at least during his reign, the use of hats and caps is to be dated; and from that time they took the place of chaperons and hoods, that had been worn before in France.</p> <p><b>Where is Rouen?</b></p> <p>In the province of Lower Seine, in France; it was formerly the capital of Normandy.</p> <p><b>Describe the Castor, or Beaver, and its habits.</b></p> <p>The Beaver has a broad, flat tail, covered with scales, serving as a rudder to direct its motion in the water; the toes of its hind feet are furnished with membranes, after the manner of water-fowl; the fore feet supply the place of hands, like those <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_71" id="Page_71"></SPAN>[71]</span>of the squirrel. The Beaver has two kinds of hair, of a light brown color, one long and coarse, the other short and silky. The teeth resemble those of a rat or squirrel, but are longer, and admirably adapted for cutting timber or stripping off the bark from trees.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Membranes</i>, thin, flexible, expanded skins, connecting the toes of water-fowl and amphibious animals, and thus enabling them to swim with greater ease.</p></div> <p><b>Where do Beavers usually fix their habitations?</b></p> <p>Their houses are always situated in the water; they are composed of clay, which they make into a kind of mortar with their paws: these huts are of an oval figure, divided into three apartments raised one above the other, and erected on piles driven into the mud. Each beaver has his peculiar cell assigned him, the floor of which he strews with leaves or small branches of the pine tree. The whole building is generally capable of containing eight or ten inhabitants.</p> <p><b>On what does the Beaver feed?</b></p> <p>Its food consists of fruit and plants; and in winter, of the wood of the ash and other trees. The hunters and trappers in America formerly killed vast numbers for their skins, which were in great demand, as they were used in making hats, but as the only use they are now put to is for trimming, and for men's gloves and collars, the demand has fallen off.</p> <p><b>Of what are stockings made?</b></p> <p>Of cotton, silk, or wool, woven or knitted. Anciently, the only stockings in use were made of cloth, or stuff sewed together; but since the invention of knitting and weaving stockings of silk, &amp;c., the use of cloth has been discontinued.</p> <p><b>From what country is it supposed that the invention of silk knitted stockings originally came?</b></p> <p>From Spain, in 1589. The art of weaving stockings in a frame was invented by William Lee, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge, England.</p><p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_72" id="Page_72"></SPAN>[72]</span></p> <p><b>Explain the signification of M.A.</b></p> <p>Master of Arts, a degree of honor conferred by the Universities.</p> <p><b>What are Shoes?</b></p> <p>A covering for the foot, now usually made of leather. In different ages and countries, shoes have been made of various materials, as raw skins, rushes, broom, paper, silk, wool, iron, silver, and gold.</p> <p><b>What nation wore Shoes made of the bark of the papyrus?</b></p> <p>The Egyptians. The Turks always take off their shoes, and leave them at the door, when they enter Mosques or dwelling-houses. The same custom also prevails in other Eastern nations.</p> <p><b>What is a Mosque?</b></p> <p>A Mahomedan church or temple.</p> <p><b>What is meant by Mahomedan?</b></p> <p>Belonging to the religion of Mahomed, the warrior and prophet of Arabia and Turkey, who was its founder. He was born at Mecca, a city of Arabia, in 571; and died in 631, at Medina, a city situated between Arabia Felix and Arabia Deserta. His creed maintains that there is but one God, and that Mahomed is his Prophet; it enjoins the observance of prayers, washings, almsgiving, fasting, sobriety, pilgrimage to Mecca, &amp;c.</p> <p><b>What do the appellations of Felix and Deserta signify?</b></p> <p>Arabia, a country of Asia, lying on the borders of the Red Sea, is divided into Petr&aelig;a, Deserta, and Felix; Petr&aelig;a, signifying the Stony; Deserta, the Desert; and Felix, the fortunate or fruitful.</p> <p><b>What is Leather?</b></p> <p>The skins of various animals, as oxen, cows, calves, &amp;c., dressed and prepared for use.</p> <p><b>How is the Leather prepared?</b></p> <p>By tanning; that is, steeping the skins in an infusion of tan, by which they are rendered firm, durable, and, in a great degree, impervious to water.</p><p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_73" id="Page_73"></SPAN>[73]</span></p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Infusion</i>, a liquor made by steeping anything in water, or other liquids, without boiling.</p></div> <p><b>What is Tan?</b></p> <p>The bark of the oak-tree, &amp;c., ground by a mill into a coarse powder.</p> <p><b>What is Lime?</b><SPAN name="FNanchor_5_5" id="FNanchor_5_5"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_5_5" class="fnanchor">[5]</SPAN></p> <p>A white, soft, friable, earthy substance, prepared from marble, chalk, and other lime-stones, or from shells, by burning in a kiln.</p> <div class="footnotes"><p><SPAN name="Footnote_5_5" id="Footnote_5_5"></SPAN><SPAN href="#FNanchor_5_5"><span class="label">[5]</span></SPAN> For a further account of it, see Chapters<SPAN href="#CHAPTER_XIII"> XIII</SPAN>. &amp; <SPAN href="#CHAPTER_XVI">XVI</SPAN>.</p> </div> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Friable</i>, easily powdered.</p></div> <p><b>For what is it used?</b></p> <p>Its greatest use is in the composition of mortar for building; it is also much used by tanners, skinners, &amp;c., in the preparation of leather; by soap-boilers in the manufacture of soap; and by sugar-bakers for refining sugar.</p> <p><b>What is a Kiln?</b></p> <p>A fabric of brick or stone, formed for admitting heat in order to dry or burn materials placed in it.</p> <p><b>Of what are Gloves made?</b></p> <p>Of leather, silk, thread, cotton, worsted, &amp;c.</p> <p><b>What skins are generally used for Gloves?</b></p> <p>Those of the chamois, kid, lamb, dog, doe, and many other animals.</p> <p><b>What are Furs, and how are they prepared?</b></p> <p>Furs are the skins of wild animals, dressed with the hair on, and used as apparel, either for warmth, ornament, or distinction of rank or dignity.</p> <p><b>Name a few of the principal furs in use.</b></p> <p>The fur of the ermine, an animal inhabiting the cold regions of Europe and America, is highly valued, and much used for ornamental purposes. In summer, the upper part of the body is of a yellowish-brown color; the under parts white, slightly tinged with yellow. It is then called a <i>stoat</i>. In winter, the <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_74" id="Page_74"></SPAN>[74]</span>fur is closer and finer, and is of a snowy white color; the tip of the tail is black throughout the year. In Europe the fur is much used for ornamenting the state robes of sovereigns and nobles. The sable is another animal much prized for its rich fur; it is a native of Northern Europe and America. The skins of the marten, found in North America, as well as in Northern Asia and the mountains of Kamtschatka; and also of the bear, fox, raccoon, badger, lynx, musk-rat, rabbit, hare, and squirrel, which are all procured in North America, are valuable. One of the most valuable descriptions of fur is that of the seal.</p> <p><b>How is it procured?</b></p> <p>By hunting the animals, which is the employment both of natives and settlers from other countries; the hunters sell the skins for money, to a company established for the purpose of trading in furs, or more frequently exchange them for clothes, arms, and other articles. The Alaska Commercial Company of San Francisco is granted by the United States Government the exclusive privilege of catching the fur seal.</p> <p><b>What is Alum?</b></p> <p>A kind of mineral, of a strong, sharp taste. It dissolves both in cold and boiling water, but best in the latter. It is of some use in medicine; a principal ingredient in dyeing and coloring, neither of which can be well performed without it, as it sets and brightens the colors, and prevents them from washing out. It is also extremely useful in many arts and manufactures.</p> <p><b>Are there not different sorts of this material?</b></p> <p>The principal kinds are native alums: <i>viz.</i> those prepared and perfected underground by the spontaneous operations of nature; as the roch, commonly called rock alum, from Rocha, in Syria, whence it is brought.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Spontaneous</i>, unassisted by art.</p> <p><i>Orientals</i>, inhabitants of the Eastern parts of the world.</p></div> <p><b>What is Ink?</b></p> <p>A liquor used in writing on paper or parchment, made of <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_75" id="Page_75"></SPAN>[75]</span>copperas, galls; and gum arabic<SPAN name="FNanchor_6_6" id="FNanchor_6_6"></SPAN><SPAN href="#Footnote_6_6" class="fnanchor">[6]</SPAN> mixed together. There are likewise several plants that may serve for the making of ink, as oak-bark, red roses, log-wood, &amp;c. It is also made from an infusion of oak galls and iron filings: there are also many other ways, as well as materials, employed in the making of this useful article. Ink is the name applied to all liquids used in writing, of whatever color they may be, as red, blue, &amp;c., though black is the most used for common purposes. The ink of the ancients seems to have been of a thick, oily nature, unlike the modern ink; it consisted of nothing more than a species of soot, or ivory black, mixed with one fourth of gum.</p> <div class="footnotes"><p><SPAN name="Footnote_6_6" id="Footnote_6_6"></SPAN><SPAN href="#FNanchor_6_6"><span class="label">[6]</span></SPAN> See <SPAN href="#CHAPTER_XI">Chapter XI</SPAN>.</p> </div> <p><b>What is Copperas?</b></p> <p>A kind of vitriol. Copperas is the name given to green vitriol, which is a preparation from iron. The blue vitriol is a sulphate of copper, and the white vitriol a sulphate of zinc.</p> <p><b>For what is Vitriol used?</b></p> <p>In the making of glass, to color it; in many arts and manufactures; and in medicine.</p> <p><b>What are Galls?</b></p> <p>Excrescences formed on a kind of oak tree in certain warm climates; perforations are made by an insect into the bark of the tree, whence issues a liquid which hardens by exposure. They are used in dyeing, making ink, and other compositions. There are two sorts of oak galls in our shops, brought from the Levant, and the southern parts of Europe.</p> <p><b>What does the word Levant signify?</b></p> <p>A country to the eastward. It is applied to the countries of Turkey, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, &amp;c., which are washed by the eastern part of the Mediterranean.</p> <p><b>Is the Ink used in Printing the same as writing Ink?</b></p> <p>No; it is more of the nature of paint, being thicker and more glutinous: it chiefly consists of a mixture of oil and lamp<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_76" id="Page_76"></SPAN>[76]</span>black, or some other ingredient, according to the color required; and is remarkable for the ease with which it adheres to paper that is moistened.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Glutinous</i>, gummy, resembling glue.</p></div> <p><b>What is Indian, or Chinese Ink?</b></p> <p>An admirable composition, not liquid like our ink, but solid, and made into cakes somewhat like the mineral colors we use in painting. It is made into all sorts of figures, usually long, and about an inch thick; sometimes gilt with the figures of birds, flowers, &amp;c. To use this ink, it must be rubbed with water, on stone or earthenware, till it produces a beautiful, liquid, shining black. It is used in drawing, &amp;c., and is brought from China. It is composed of lamp-black and size, or animal glue, or gum, to which perfumes and other substances are sometimes added.</p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>
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