The trapping of beavers is an old even millennium tradition. Up until today fur industry and fur trades continues to shear and skin beaver fur for fashion and warmth reasons. For a long time Native Americans used this type of fur as a barter, but with the discovery of this new world everything changed. Beaver pelts from 17th century were shipped to France and Great Britain. Europeans were fascinated with this new clothing material. For a while this constant trapping and hunting of beavers led to the endangerment of this species, but within years fur trade declined, because Europeans began to think of the agriculture sector’s growth. Still today there are some over-populated areas where trapping of beavers aren’t limited. Today fur is more of the fashion value rather than a barter.
The use of beaver pelts
Out of beaver fur pelts craftsmen are making hats, coats and they use some material for trimming and lining of other garments. Beaver’s underfur in other words wool or duvet is made out of barbed hair. This material forms luxurious and durable felt. Since 1830′s beaver pelts and silk hats were at the top of fashion. It’s not ease to remove the wool from beaver’s skin, which is also useful as leather. During 18th and 19th century everyone who was anyone had to wear hat out of beaver hair. Such hats were called cocked hat, the Naval hat, the Continental hat, the Wellington, the Paris Beau, the Regent and etc. Most of those hats were the army type. Just like Cossack hat, such hat out of beaver’s fur were considerate as militaristic.
Beaver pelts in fur trade were used and divided into fur coats and parchment. Fur coats or Coat Beaver were made and for a long time worn by natives without a goal to trade it. The inner side of the coat had to be rubbed with animal marrow. To finish the coat it had to be sewed into robes. Natives used to wear these coats for several moths so the long guard hair tend to fall out, roots loosened, while the skin of the coat got oiled so as pliable.
Parchment or castor sec out of beaver pelts had to be dried instantly after skinning. Europeans used a specific combing in order to remove beaver’s guard hair. The fur trades to St Lawrence Valley used this type of combing and they bought only Parchment pelts.
During the years the trapping so as skinning methods changed. Craftsmen began to shear beaver fur in order to make it softer and more luxurious. Americans had to match their rivals in Europe. Thus the millennium of beaver trapping changed the way we look at animal fur fashion. As industry and trade of fur changes, so does the making of beaver coats and pelts. Even Oscar Wilde sported that beaver coat in the age of romance.
Even if beaver coat looks absolutely fabulous, the most valuable part is beavers inner fur. This type of fur is perfect for hats felting. For example in Canada beaver hat was more valuable than fresh skin pelts.
Loose that fake fur coat and hat and exchange it in the old barter of beaver hair.