Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/597

This page needs to be proofread.

Speaking of "Catgut


��The sheep is guilty: it is the only animal that makes a racket after it is dead

��WHERE'S the cat farm from where we get our supply of catgut ? The answer is: There isn't any cat farm. Cats' intestines can't be profit- ably utilized. If not cats, then what furnishes the raw material for musical instrument and ten- nis strings? The answer is: Sheep. Every part of the ani- mal is utilized, even the soft and mellow tones of his bleating voice, which are preserved in the intestines that string the tuneful violin.

As soon as the sheep intestines are graded they are divided into narrows about eight yards in length. These are sent to the string factory, where they are thoroughly cleansed and chemi- cally treated. It takes from twenty to twenty-four sheep to produce the strings for one ten- nis racket. A single violin string monopolizes the entrails of a

����Removing impurities from the gut strands by washing and scraping them and running them through wringers on wash- tubs. It requires a skilled workman to prevent tangles


��Drying the string on frames. This is one of the last operations before polishing, and takes from two to six days

��whole sheep, however big.

From the time the raw material leaves the animals until it is made into strings, twelve to sixteen days are required in the manufactur- ing. The intestines of some sheep are lighter in color than others, but the light or white strings do not possess any better tone quality or durability than the darker ones.

After the gut is split by running it over a safety- razor blade, the strands go through another machine which removes impurities. Following this they are re- peatedly run through wring- ers on wash tubs. From four to fifteen of these strands are used for one music string, being spun into strings, twisted, and polished off with emery paper.

�� �