Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/742

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�A shoe made of shark skin. It seems a good deal like any other shoe, doesn't it? And it is, except in cheapness

��THIS is a new kind of shark story. Heretofore, all we have heard of sharks are harrowing tales of their vicious attacks on man. We now can sit back and smile with satisfaction at the sight of these tigers of the sea expiating their crimes by cutting down the cost of living. The shark is no longer our implac- able enemy. It is a servant that will supply us with uncountable millions of feet of leather.

As soon as they are caught the sharks are skinned by slitting the hide up the back. All the flesh is trimmed from the hide. Then the skins are laid on the floor, skin side down, and the flesh side covered with a layer of salt. Skins are piled in stacks three or four feet high.

In Juneau, Alaska, the fishermen place shark skins in a brine bath for eight days before packing them. When they are taken out of the brine tanks they are dried and salted just as fresh skins are treated. All skins must be salted from three to five days before they are packed for shipment. Thick skins require a longer period of salt- ing than do thin ones.

The skins are packed in any serviceable way. Second-hand sugar or flour barrels answer admirably. If the hides are torn by nail points their value is greatly les- sened. For this reason fishermen have to be careful in removing the flesh from the skin. A single slip of the knife may ruin a fine skin.

Tanning fish skins is a slow and compli- cated process, as in fact, is all tanning.

��Leather from the Sea

Our old enemy the shark helps to reduce the cost of living

By A. M. Jungmann

��The method now being used was invented artd patented by Kristian Bendixen, of Denmark.

Bendixen soaks the salted skins in fresh water until the salt is removed. Shark skins are stretched on frames and dried. The scales or spikes are scraped off with a tanner's knife. Next the skins are softened in lukewarm water and worked over a beam. The hides are then ready for a three-day bath in another special solution. When that is finished they get another three-day bath in a solution of water and slaked lime. Now comes a short bath of water and hydrochloric acid.

This is followed by bating the skins in a mill containing water, poultry dung and a chemical bating compound. Once more they get a lukewarm water bath followed by another bath in a solution of hydro- chloric acid and water. Next they are treated with a solution of salt and tanning material. Finally they receive a six-hour bath of sumach and water.

The next step in making fish-hide leather is to color the skins, smear them with oil, dry them, damp them again, smooth them out well, polish and bleach them. After this they are rubbed well with

���The shark hides are laid over a beam and scraped with knives to remove all bits of flesh


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