Tallow, the solid fat of various terrestrial animals, chiefly quadrupeds, which has been separated from the membranous cellular tissue by melting. The ruminants, particularly oxen and sheep, furnish the tallow of commerce. Russia, South America, and Australia furnish the largest proportion. That is esteemed best which is procured from animals that have fed upon dry fodder; hence that of Russia, where animals feed for eight months upon dried grass, is especially valued. Texas and particularly southern California formerly furnished large quantities to commerce. Formerly tallow that had been simply "tried out" or "rendered" was extensively used for candles; very little is now so used, but instead of it the stearine which has been separated from the other constituents is made into candles, which are of more uniform quality and higher melting point. (See Stearic Acid.) Tallow is also largely consumed by soap manufacturers (see Soap), and in the dressing of leather. Tallow consists of several compound acid radicals united with the basic radical of glycerine. Of these, stearine is found in largest quantity, with more or less of palmitine and oleine, depending upon the kind of tallow.

In the process of soap making the tallow is decomposed, the potash or .soda combining with the stearine, etc, and setting glycerine free. - Vegetable tallow is obtained in China in great quantities from the solid sebaceous covering of the seeds of. Stillingia sebifera, a tree that is extensively cultivated in that country. (See Tallow Tree.) The tallow, which is brittle, white, opaque, and tasteless, is preferred to animal tallow for making candles. It is regarded as nearly pure stearine. In the United States, the wax-like covering of the berries of the myrica cerifera is in some localities used for the same purposes as ordinary tallow, under the name of bayberry tallow. It is hard, of olive-green color, and has a fragrant spicy odor. It is also used to a limited extent in pharmaceutical preparations.