"Gut-spinning" is the twisting of prepared gut into cord of various diameter for various purposes - i.e. for ordinary catgut, for use in machinery, and for fiddle-strings. Hence in different establishments articles of different fineness and coarseness are prepared, from the most delicate fiddle-string to a thick catgut cable. Sometimes all these varieties are made in the same establishment. The first operation, however, in every instance is the "gut-scraping." For sausage-skins, the manipulation of the gut ceases here.

The gut used for the above purposes is the small intestine of sheep and hogs. It is said that the sheep's small intestine measures 25 to 30 yd., and the hog's about 20 yd. The guts are collected from butchers, and in some establishments they are received from the country, or, packed with salt in barrels, from Ireland. In some establishments dried guts previously scraped are received from abroad for further manipulation. For fine purposes, such as the making of fiddle-strings, only the best and freshest guts from the butcher can be used; but for coarser purposes, their condition as to freshness is less material, and sometimes they arrive at the works in an offensive condition. The scraping is more easily effected when the gut is not quite fresh.

The first operation in gut-scraping is to get rid of the contents of the gut. For this purpose, it is thrown into a tub of water, by which a man sits, and passes the gut between his fingers into another tub of water, pressing the contents along the cavity as he proceeds. In some works, water from a tap over which an end of the gut is slipped is run through the gut. This is repeated several times until the gut is quite clean. In one case the guts are then placed in brine for 8 or 10 days, and then for 3 or 4 days in cold water.

The process of scraping is, in the larger establishments, performed by women. A bench or table is provided, at which a woman sits and scrapes the gut with a wedge-shaped piece of wood as she passes it along the table before her. In some places the back of a knife is used for this purpose. By this process all the interior softer parts are detached and pass along the gut to the end, where they are discharged, the peritoneum of the gut, and probably a little of the muscular layer, being alone left. It is again thrown into water.

The further treatment depends upon the use to which the scraped gut is to be applied. When it is to be used for sausage-skins, the scraped guts are simply packed in barrels with salt. Such as are intended for making catgut or fiddle-strings are treated further.

In some establishments, scraped guts are dried for exportation. They are stretched over frames, dried in a chamber artificially heated, and then tied up in bundles. When dried guts are received, they are soaked in water to prepare them for spinning.

For making ordinary catgut, no further preparation is needed than sewing together lengths of scraped gut with a needle and thread. They then go to be spun by means of an ordinary spinning-wheel. The number of strands of gut spun into a cord varies with the thickness of catgut required. Catgut 1/2 in. thick will have as many as 700 strands of gut in it. When a length of catgut has been spun, it is dried by stretching it over pegs and exposing it (protected in some way from the weather) in the open air. Before drying, however, it is customary to bleach it by stretching it upon a frame and putting it for about 3 days into a chamber where it is exposed to the action of the fumes of burning sulphur.

The preparation of fiddle-strings is a very delicate operation, and for the finest violin strings requires the utmost care. The best scraped guts alone are used, and such as have any flaw in them are rejected. Each gut is treated separately. It is put into a clean earthenware pan containing a weak alkaline solution, and this solution is changed (a fresh pan being used each time) twice a day for 7 or 8 days, and each time the gut is transferred it is stripped through a ring formed by bending a strip of copper, or through a perforated brass thimble, the thumb being pressed upon the gut as it is passed through. After this treatment it is ready for spinning. The first strings of violins are made by twisting together 3, or better 4, such prepared guts. (Dr. Ballard.)

The external membrane removed in the scraping process is called filandre by the French, and is employed for the cords of battledores and rackets, as well as for sewing together the ends of intestines. The alkaline solution for treating the fiddle-string gut is commonly made of 4 oz. caustic potash and 4 oz. carbonate of potash in 3 to 4 gal. water. The so-called "bleaching " with sulphur fumes is intended rather as a preventive of putrefaction. The twisted and smoothed cords are often finally dried for an hour in a room heated to 180° to 200°; F. (82° to 93° C). Hatters' cords, for bowstrings used in one of the stages of felt-hat making, are made from the longest and largest sheep-gut, 4 to 12 strands being used, and the ordinary length being 12 ft. In France very strong cord is prepared from the intestines of horses, asses, and mules. The scraped gut is divided into 4 equal parts by drawing it over a fixed knob with 4 sharp edges; 4 to 8 of these strips are tied at the end with packthread, twisted together, and polished with dog-skin. This cord is used as a substitute for leather belting on light machinery.

About three-fourths of all the gut used in Europe is said to come from Italy. The superiority of the Italian article is ascribed to the leanness of the sheep, so that probably emaciated carcases yield the best strings. (Spons' Encyclopaedia.)

The putrefactive odours attending this business are a frequent cause of complaint. In no case did Dr. Ballard find a deodorant applied to such raw gut as comes in an offensive condition, nor to such as had been left to soak until offensive, for the convenience of ready scraping, nor even to the offensive refuse of the process, for the purpose of destroying their bad odour. But that the use of a chemical agent for the prevention of putrefaction in the fresh guts is admissible, and even successfully practised in seme establishments in France, is shown by the following translated abstract from De Freycinet's report on trade sanitation: -