LEATHER. - The leather principally used for polishing, in the manufacturing towns of Sheffield and Birmingham, is the beast hide, or the leather of the ox as prepared for the soles of shoes, which is much softer and open in the grain before it is hammered as for the soles of shoes. The hide is usually cut into parallel pieces or strips, which are glued around the edges of wooden disks; then constituting buff wheels if charged with emery, and polishers if dressed with crocus; and the leather is also fixed on straight sticks known as buff sticks.
The leather varies much in thickness, that about the neck of the hide being sometimes nearly an inch thick, and very soft, this part being designated as bull neck, a material for which the thick hide of the sea cow or sea horse is. frequently substituted.
Occasionally the curried hides of the horse, and other leathers used in making harness, are employed for buff wheels; and in the metropolis in particular, the thick huff leather of old regimental belts is much employed for similar uses, hut although cheaper it is softer and far less durable. Wash leather, prepared from sheep skins split in two, is also much used in polishing, but mostly after the manner of a dusting cloth, or to prevent the hand touching the goods.