Sheep and Goat Leather Entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica MDCCCLXXXII

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Sheep Lambskin and Goat Leather

          In the tanning of sheep and lamp skins the general operations outlined above in the case of goat skins are necessary. Previous to tanning, the prepared skins are submitted to hydraulic pressure, to expel the oleaginous matter with which sheep skins are richly impregnanted. Sheep skins tanned, generally with beech bark in the United Kingdom, and uncoloured are known as bails. Roan Leather is sheep skin tanned in sumach, coloured and dressed throughout in the same manner as imitation morocco, excepting that it s finished smooth and glassed. Skivers are split grain sides of sheep skins tanned in sumach, and similarly finished, - the flesh split being shamoyed for inferior qualities of shamoy or wash leather. Skivers from their thinness are quickly tanned through in a sumach liquor, and in no case are they sewed into bags, as is most commonly the case with entire sheep and goat skins. The splitting machine used for split sheep skins has two rollers, the lower one of gun-metal and solid, and the upper made of gun-metal rings, while between the two rollers, and nearly in contact, is the edge of the sharp knife, to which an oscillating movement is given by a crank. When a skin is introduced between the two rollers, it is dragged through against the knife edge and divided, the solid lower roller supporting the membrane, while the upper one, being capable of moving through a small space by means of its rings, adjusts itself to inequalities in the membrane ; where this is thin the rings become depressed, and where it is thick they rise up, so that no part escapes the action of the knife. Skivers are finished white, or in colours in variously lined or diced patterns, and in imitation grain, and are principally employed for hat and other linings and various purposes in which they meet little strain or tear and wear.