A patent has recently been issued in England to J. P. Booth, for an improved method of treating short tan-yard hair, or hide hair, by purifying, stiffening, and dyeing the same, and thereby rendering it applicable as an elastic stuffing, whether alone or in combination with other materials, for mattresses and other articles. To purify the hair it is boiled in a solution composed of soda of commerce, quicklime, and water. But before applying the purifying process, and for the purpose of imparting stiffness to the hair, and also of adding to its bulk, the hair is immersed in a glutinous solution, produced by boiling down " fleshing" in water, or dissolving glue therein. The hair is thus caused to absorb a portion of gluten, which will add considerably to its elastic quality. The desired color is imparted thereto in the usual manner of dyeing. When thus prepared, the short tan-yard hair, or what is known in the trade as " pig hair," mixed with the tail and mane hair of horses, or the tail hair of cows, may be applied with advantage to the stuffing of cushions, seats, and other articles, according to the quality of stuffing desired to be produced.
This article was originally published with the title "Preparing Hair for Stuffing Beds and Cushions" in Scientific American 13, 43, 340 (July 1858)