On Fri, 6 Jul 2001, Peter W.Redstone wrote:
> Hi folks! John Sankey wrote:
> >Do remember that modern 'felt' is post-WW2 acrylic, and
> that earlier
> >(wool) felt required mercury to make (hence the phrase 'mad
> as a
> >hatter' - they were all mercury-poisoned). The old reed
> organs of
> >Eastern Canada used leather.
> Horse feathers! The felt used in pianos (and in some
> harpsichords) is still wool. I don't know how it's processed
> these days, but I assure you it still comes from sheep -
> which _don't_ have to be killed to obtain it!
I'm not sure why hatters used mercury, but it certainly isn't required to
turn wool into felt, either--all you have to do to wool to get it to turn
into felt is put it in hot water and then grind it down on itself. This
is also how Tyrolean boiled wool jackts are made.
One of my non-musical interests is spinning and weaving, and there ws one
time that I bought a promising-looking wool-angora blend from a shop in
upstate New York. It _looked_ clean, but spinning it gave me pinkeye, so
I washed it, and it actually turned the wash water black. The stuff also
turned into something darned close to the consistency of felt, and I had a
real fun time prying the fibers I'd washed apart so that I could spin