A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 1.—Furriers, Skinners, Tanners and Leather Dressers

338.—Other Skilled Workers

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beam man, beamsman
(tanneries) general terms for any worker, e.g. bate shaver, flesher, frizer, scudder, unhairer (q.v.), who works at a wooden beam over which skin is stretched, scrapes flesh, hair, etc., from hides and skins, by hand, with knife.
beater (fur skins)
beats fur with cane under supervision of tubber (q.v.), after fur has been leathered and cleaned, to raise fur and give it fluffy appearance.
belly roller
a roller (q.v.) who passes belly leather, i.e., belly part of tanned hide, between rollers of machine to make it firm and smooth.
see blubberer.
see scourer (leather).
blower (rabbit fur)
tips rabbit fur, by hand, into hopper head of blowing machine, which blows it by compressed air over picking bands, thereby removing dust and separating fur into fine and coarse qualities.
blubberer, blubberman ; blabber
stretches seal skin on trestle or beam, and scrapes blubber from flesh side, by hand, with a two-handled knife.
(i) (fur skins) brushes tangled fur of pelts with hand brush, after they have been leathered;
(ii) (rabbit skins) brushes fur of rabbit skins with hand brush before operations of cutting, opening and pulling to disentangle fur.
removes thin layer from grain surface of hide, by hand or on emery wheel machine; cf. wheeler.
burrer ; buzzer
removes vegetable burrs and other foreign matter from wool or fur of skins, by passing them between rollers of a machine.
buzzer (skin yard)
see burrer.
carrotter, fur carrotter
(i) applies mercury nitrate to fur side of rabbit skin with a brush to dissolve natural grease of fur, and thereby cause minute fibre in fur to stand out separately;
(ii) fills trough of carrotting machine with mercury nitrate, which drips on to revolving brush of machine; passes rabbit skins under this revolving brush, in preparation for gatherer (q.v.).
classer, classifier ; examiner, hide sorter, leather sorter, shin sorter, sorter, warehouse sorter
examines hides and skins after currying and dyeing, and grades them according to quality; stamps them with metal die for purposes of identification; usually measures them, see measurer; checks grades and weights with invoice; sometimes also in charge of soak hearth and supervises soak men (333) (q.v.); also examines hides and skins on leaving factory, grading according to quality; ties up skins in bundles or directs labourers who bundle hides and skins; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., hide classer, skin classer, leather classer.
classer (fellmongery) ; shin selector
sorts skins or pelts into grades according to quality and length of wool or fur.
cleaner (fellmongery) ; grease scourer, washer
washes skins (with wool on) with soap and water, by hand, or in mangle rolling machine, for rug making; usually stands in tank and draws skins through water by hand or with long-handled hook.
cleaner (fur dressing)
tends revolving drums in which fur skins are cleaned with sawdust.
see flesher.
see trimmer.
see damper.
conditioner and piecer
combines work of damper and piecer (q.v.).
curer (skins) ; preserver
preserves skins by dressing with salt, alum, etc.
cutter, coney
see cutter, rabbit skin.
cutter, rabbit skin (fur felt) ; coney cutter
passes rabbit skins by hand under power-driven revolving bladed cylinders of machine, which cuts fur from skins; puts fur and skins in separate containers and passes fur to carrotter (q.v.).
cutter (tanning)
see rounder (leather).
damper ; conditioner, wetter-in
moistens leather to ensure even drying, in preparation for currying, shaving, or splitting.
see unhairer.
doler (glove leather)
pares flesh side of tanned glove leather with a special tool on a flat table.
dryer ; leather stover, stove hand (leather'), stover
stretches leather on boards with nails or iron clips on frames; hangs it on poles in drying room or places it on moving rack which carries it through drying rooms; controls power-drive of rack.
dryer (not drying sheds)
(i) tends revolving drums, in which washed or dyed skins are dried by expelling water centrifugally;
(ii) see turner.
egger and washer
see tawer.
emery wheel buffer
a buffer (q.v.) using an emery wheel machine.
see classer.
general term for any person employed in fellmongery trade, e.g., washing sheep skins, painting pelt side of skins with chemicals to facilitate subsequent pulling, pulling, wool from skins, sorting wool into grades, fleshing skins, i.e., removing flesh and fat, drying the wool after pulling.
flesher (fur skins), hand flesher ; cleaver
uses single-edged knife having two projections, which is driven into an upright post; sits behind post, drawing fur, by hand, across blade of knife, thus removing superfluous flesh and fat; or (heavy skins) throws skin over short heavy trestle or beam; scrapes flesh and fat with a two-handled knife; sometimes damps (liquors) skin with a wet cloth to facilitate opera-ion of fleshing.
flesher, machine; fleshing machine operator
draws fur, by hand, overexposed portion of power-driven revolving circular knife, to remove superfluous flesh and fat; damps skins as above; sometimes does work of machine shaver (q.v.); cf. beam man.
smooths flesh side and raises nap on grain side of hide with emery wheel machine; cf. wheeler.
stretches sheep skins, intended for mats or rugs, on wooden frames, by tying pebbles with cord at intervals round sheepskins, thereby preventing their cockling while drying.
a beam man (q.v.) who scrapes or pushes tissue from certain kinds of leather, by hand, with a two-handled knife.
fur dresser
general term for workers engaged in process of preparing fur skins, ready for subsequent manufacture into rugs, garments, etc., including beater, cleaner, curer, flesher, nailer, puller, stretcher, unhairer (q.v.).
gatherer ; locker
collects locks of fur, i.e., fur shorn from each separate rabbit skin, from cutter (q.v.); sorts locks into grades; rolls up each lock separately, and packs them into separate bags.
grease scourer
see cleaner (fellmongery).
hangs sheepskin on a pole or . perch; scrapes flesh side of skin with moon knife, i.e. circular knife with wooden handle, to reduce to an even surface; brushes it all over with scurfer, i.e. wooden tool coated with coarse emery grit, to remove roughness after scraping; cf. percher.
attaches cords to skins, chiefly seal, around edge; ties them to hoops or frames larger than the skins, stretching them to fullest extent; removes skins when stretched.
layer-out, layer man
lays skin of chamois leather on bench; places heavy weights on it, pulls edges to get skin to approximately square shape; in case of tougher skins first stretches them over a stake, i.e. short wooden trestle, in which is fixed vertically a blunt steel blade; piles stretched skins in bundles of 30, called kips, and ties up with tape; cf. layer-out (333).
locker (felt hats)
see gatherer.
machine hand, machine man, machinist
general terms for any person operating a machine, e.g., roller, splitter, slubber, striker (q.v.).
(i) passes skin or hide, by hand, between teeth of measuring machine, which automatically records area on indicating dial;
(ii) guides pointer of an areometer round edge of skin or hide, notes area automatically recorded on indicating dial; work usually done by classer or sorter (q.v.).
mould maker, gold beater's
prepares, from skin of animal gut, small square mould for interleaving sheets of gold for beating, cf. gold heater (298); washes skin in water; scrapes smooth with hand knife; again washes; cuts to shape by hand.
nailer, leather; nailer-on ; strainer
nails or clips hides or skins on straining boards or frames; hangs boards or frames in heated chamber to dry.
offal roller, offal finisher
a roller (q.v.) who passes "offal leather," i.e., low grade parts of hide, such as belly, cheeks, tail, etc., through rolling machine to harden and polish.
opener and puller (rabbit skins)
slits rabbit skins with hand knife; removes fat with another knife; turns skins fur side out; stretches them by hand and either lays them, fur upwards, on bench and scrapes off down, i.e., long top hair with sharp knife, or passes skins into pulling machine which removes down.
pares marks on surface of skins, in preparation for shaving or splitting; usually done by hand flesher (q.v.).
pelt sorter (sheepskins)
places skins in lime pits for degreasing; withdraws skins with long-handled hook and sorts out into grades for tanning purposes.
scrapes hides or skins with moon knife (see grounder), or more usually with crutched stake, i.e., long-handled scraping tool; works on heavier leather than grounder.
piecer, piecer-in
strokes leather, while partly dry, with wooden tool to correct any tendency to dry hard; damps dry parts with swab if leather is not in correct state of humidity.
passes hides and skins into a pinner machine, having bladed cylinder which flattens and stretches them.
pit shedman
general term for workers in drying sheds; includes dryer, and labourers (339) (q.v.).
see curer (skins).
puller (fellmongery), wool puller
plucks out wool, by hand or machine, from sheepskins, which have been painted with depilatory to loosen wool, and sorts wool into different qualities.
puller (fur dressing), fur puller, skin puller
removes odd patches of long hair on rabbit, seal, nutria, beaver, etc., by pulling against hair, wearing thumb staff and using tooker, i.e., small knife; removes pieces of bone from tails, etc.
puller-over (fur skins)
pulls pelt side of certain fur skins over fixed knife to raise flesh to facilitate process of fleshing.
roller, roller man, roller-off, roller-on
adjusts space between rollers by means of screws; switches on power-drive of machine; passes leather between rollers for smoothing and strengthening.
roller and squarer (hat leather)
passes, by hand, skins intended for hat leathers through rolling machine, and trims or "squares " them with hand shears.
roller, butt
a roller (q.v.) who rolls butt leather, i.e., heavy leather from prime parts of hides; uses heavier type of machine than belly roller (q.v.).
rounder (fellmongery)
trims off shanks and ragged pieces from sides of sheep skins, after dyeing and drying, in preparation for manufacture into rugs.
rounder (leather) ; cutter
trims hides or skins, by hand, with knife, at any point in manufacture; usually also cuts them into various parts, e.g., cheeks, faces, shoulders, bellies, leaving butt or thickest section, which may be sub-divided into sections called bends.
rounder, warehouse
a trimmer (q.v.) trimming finished hides in warehouse.
scourer (fellmongery)
see cleaner.
scourer (leather) ; bloomer, stoner
works leather by hand with slicker, i.e., small stone hand tool, removing bloom developed during vegetable tanning process.
scourer, machine
a scourer (q.v.) who removes bloom by passing leather through scouring machine.
scraper, skin scraper
scrapes leather, or skin side of pelt, with slicker, i.e., small hand tool, to remove superfluous moisture after scouring.
scrubs hides with brush after they have been scoured, preparatory to scraping.
(i) a beam man (q.v.) who scrapes skins by hand with two-handled knife after puering, or bating, to remove dirt, pigment, hair undergrowth and roots;
(ii) passes skins under revolving brush of a machine or between bed of machine and blunt-edged blades of revolving bladed cylinder; switches on or off power-drive of machine.
smooths flesh side of leather or skin by shaving by hand or with machine rotary knife.
shaver, bate
a shaver or beam man (q.v.) who removes major inequalities from flesh side of hides and skins, by hand, with shaving knife; sometimes removes superfluous hairs from hides and skins by same process.
shaver, machine
shaves layer from thick skins or from part of skins, e.g., bears' heads and shoulders, holding them against revolving power-driven circular machine knife; sometimes done by machine flesher (q.v.).
shedman, shed worker
general terms for skilled and unskilled workers in drying sheds and warehouse, e.g., dryer, oiler (335) (q.v.).
sheep skin mat maker
cures pelt side of skins, rubbing in alum and salt water, by hand; places skins in revolving drum containing grease solvent to degrease them; washes them, by hand, with brush, soap, and soda water; places skins in hydro extractor to drive out excess of water by centrifugal force; hangs them in drying chamber ready for framer (q.v.).
skin dresser
rubs salt, alum, or other preservative on flesh side of hides or skins before leaving slaughterhouse for tannery.
general term to denote a worker skilled in the curing and dressing of fur skins.
skin selector
see classer (fellmongery).
(i) shaves or skives leather, by hand, with knife, reducing to an even thickness;
(ii) passes leather beneath bladed cylinder or under emery wheel of skiving machine.
passes hides or skins into machine having bladed cylinder to scour them.
passes hides or skins into a slugging machine, having bladed cylinder, which stretches and flattens them.
sorter, hide sorter, leather sorter, skin sorter, warehouse sorter
see classer.
splitter, splitting machine feeder
passes leather into splitting machine, which splits leather into two portions, i.e. flesh side and hair side; works under supervision of chief splitter (331) (q.v.); sometimes specifically designated, e.g., hide splitter; cf. splitter, pelt.
splitter, pelt
passes hides and shins in wet flaccid state into splitting machine, using great care; at intervals brings knife into contact with emery wheel grinder in machine to sharpen blade.
see scourer.
stover, leather stover
see dryer.
stove hand (leather)
see dryer.
see nailer, leather.
stretches fur skins, by hand, on table or bench, across a rope or across knee, to remove wrinkles, extending skins with great care to fullest extent, and to bring up fat in preparation for fleshing, see flesher.
striker, striker-out
(i) lays wet hide or skin on a slate or marble slab or table, and rubs it with a hand "slicker " tool, of stone or steel, to stretch, it, drive out excess of moisture, smooth it, and to close grain;
(ii) sets rollers of a machine (resembling a mangle) in motion by working a treadle or by switching on power-drive, and passes skin or hide between revolving rollers, to stretch and smooth them; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., butt striker, belly striker; cf. offal striker.
striker, offal
passes offal leather, i.e., made from bellies and shoulders of hides, into power-driven striking-out machine, fitted with bladed cylinders which revolve and smooth out wrinkles developed during tanning.
table hand, table man
general terms for worker on hides and skins on a table, including damper, oiler (335), striker (q.v.).
tan worker
general term to cover skilled and unskilled workers in tan yard.
tawer ; egger and washer
treats skins with alum, by hand, to produce soft, white leather for gloves, etc.
trimmer ; clipper
removes ragged edges of hides or skins, by hand, with strong shears in limeyard, tanyard, or in warehouse.
stands in tub and treads small skins, smeared with bate, to soften and "leather " them.
turner ; dryer
turns over rabbit and other skins that are drying in open air, to hasten their drying.
unhairer (furs)
moistens certain kinds of skins, e.g., seal, beaver, nutria, with a wet cloth; heats before fire to open pores of skin; places heated pelt on a support and pushes knife over it, causing long coarse hairs to fall out; then pushes small knife over fur to level and smooth surface.
unhairer (tannery) ; dehairer
(i) a beam man (q.v.) who spreads hides or skins on wooden beam; scrapes hair, by hand, with two-handled knife;
(ii) passes hides or skins from lime pits, between unhairing machine, removing hairs.
washer (fellmongery)
see cleaner (fellmongery).
see damper.
wheeler, emery wheeler (pelts)
finishes flesh surfaces of dressed pelts on emery-covered wheel, cf. Suffer; may also remove thin layer from grain side, cf. buffer; cf. whitener and wheeler (hides and skins) (334).
wheeler, colour
an emery wheeler (q.v.) who raises nap on chamois leather with emery wheel, generally wheeling before and after colouring.
wheeler, wet
grinds hides or skins, while wet, on emery wheel or other high speed wheel to remove unevennesses from flesh side.
wool dryer
dries wool, after washing, in blast of warm air, or by laying out on floor of heated kiln.
wool washer
washes wool by hand in series of troughs containing soap, alkali, and warm soft water, or in washing machine.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.