A durable material, prepared from the skins of sheep and goats, but chiefly the former, and employed for writing upon, the covers of books, and various other purposes. The skin is stripped of its wool, and passed through the lime-pit. The skinner then stretches it on a frame, perforated longitudinally with holes furnished with wooden pins, that may be turned at pleasure, like those of a violin, to stretch the skin like a drum-head. The skin being thus sufficiently stretched on the frame, the flesh is pared off with a sharp instrument; it is then moistened with a rag, and white chalk, reduced to a fine dust, strewed over it; then, with a large pumice-stone, the workman rubs over the skin, and thus scours off the remains of the flesh. They then go over it again with an iron instrument, moisten it as before, and rub underneath with pumice-stone, without any chalk; this smooths and softens the flesh side very considerably. They drain it again by passing over it the iron instrument as before. The flesh side thus drained, they pass the iron on the hair side, then stretch it tight on the frame by means of the pins, and go over the flesh side again with the iron; this finishes its draining: the more the skin is drained the whiter it becomes.
They now throw on more chalk, sweeping it over with a piece of lamb-skin that has the wool on; this smooths it further. When dried it is taken off the frame by cutting all round. The skin thus far prepared by the skinner, is taken by the parchment-maker, who first scrapes or pares it dry on the summer (which is a calf-skin stretched in a frame) with an iron instrument like that above mentioned, only finer and sharper; with this, worked with the arm from the top to the bottom of the skin, he takes away one-half of its thickness; and the skin thus equally pared on both sides, is rubbed with the pumice-stone to smooth it. This last preparation is performed on a bench, covered with a sack stuffed with flocks, and it leaves the parchment fit for writing upon. Vellum made from the skin of sucking-calves possesses a finer grain than parchment, but prepared in the same manner without being passed through alum water.