Glove , a covering for the hand (sometimes extending up the arm), with a separate sheath for each finger. Gloves are spoken of by Homer as worn by Laertes to protect his hands while working in the garden. Xenophon speaks of Cyrus going without his gloves. The custom of giving a glove as a pledge in concluding a contract is very ancient, and from this is supposed to have been derived the later custom of throwing down a glove as a challenge, which the opposite party accepted by picking up the glove and throwing down his own. This is traced in England as far back as the year 1245. In the middle ages gloves were an object of special regard; they were made in the most costly manner, ornamented with precious stones, and worn by kings and church dignitaries on ceremonial occasions. A glove was used in the ceremony of bestowing lands and dignities, and deprivation of gloves was a sign of degradation. It was her glove which the lady gave her faithful knight to wear in his helmet as a pledge of her favor. Down to the ! present time curious ceremonies have been associated with gloves, as the custom in some parts of Europe of taking them off when entering the stable of a prince or a great man, or else forfeiting them or their value to the servants.

In hunting, the same ceremony must be performed under the same penalty at the death of the stag. Glove money is a term of ancient use, meaning money given to servants to buy gloves. Embroidered gloves were first made in England in 1580, and the custom of presenting them to judges at maiden assizes is still continued. Presenting a pair of gloves for any favor rendered is a very old custom. - Gloves are made of a variety of materials. In cold regions they are of the warmest wool, or of the skins of animals with the fur on the outside. Thick buckskin, often lined with soft woollen, is also used, but in more moderate climes lighter qualities of leather, to the softest kid, are employed, and also worsted, cotton, and silk. The preparations of caoutchouc are applied to the same purpose, chiefly for the protection of ladies' hands in rough work, such as gardening. The art of glove making is carried to its highest perfection in the manufacture of kid gloves by the French, being one of the most important industries of the country. The English, who make excellent gloves of heavier varieties of leather, largely import the best Parisian gloves.

Woodstock and Worcester are celebrated for their fine leather glove manufactories, and kid and other gloves are also extensively made in London, Yeoville, Ludlow, and Leominster, generally, for the best qualities, of skins imported from France and Italy. Most of the cheaper kinds of so-called kid gloves are made from lamb, rat, and other thin skins. Sheepskin gloves, generally white, are made for the army. In 1871 England began to import opossum skins from Australia for glove making. Many first-class real kid gloves are manufactured in London, but they are generally sold as French. Great skill is required for the cutting of the skins to the best advantage; this process is performed with a pair of scissors after stretching and rubbing the skin upon a marble slab with a blunt knife. A skin is first cut longitudinally through the middle, and the single strip for the palm and back is next cut off from one end of the half skin. The pieces for the thumb, the gussets for the fingers, and other small pieces to be inserted, must all be worked out either from the same skin or from others precisely similar.

The nearly square piece cut off is folded over upon itself, giving a little more width for the side designed for the back of the hand; and upon this oblong double strip the workman, measuring with his eye and finger, marks out the length for the clefts between the fingers, which he proceeds to cut and shape. Making the hole for the thumb requires the greatest skill, for a very slight deviation from the exact shape would cause a bad fit when the parts are sewed together, resulting in unequal strain and speedy fracture. By improvements introduced by M. Jouvin, the thumb piece, like the fingers, is of the same piece with the rest of the glove, requiring no seam for its attachment. The cutting also is performed in great part by punches of appropriate patterns, and some of these are provided with a toothed apparatus somewhat resembling a comb, which pricks the points for the stitches. The seams are sewed with perfect regularity by placing the edges to be united in the jaws of a vice, which terminate in fine brass teeth like those of a comb, but only 1/12 of an inch long. Between these the needle is passed in successive stitches. When the sewing is completed the gloves are stretched, then placed in linen cloth, slightly damp, and beaten, by which they are rendered softer and more flexible.

The last operation is pressing. In 1866, while England exported 680,664 pairs of leather gloves of British make, it imported 10,619,220 pairs, of which 10,036,-092 were from France. In the same year England exported 315,180 pairs of cotton gloves, chiefly to the United States. But in 1868 Germany was not only competing with England in leather gloves in the London market, but it sent three fourths of the cotton and Lisle thread gloves sold in England, and for export had secured nearly the entire trade of the United States, which had formerly bought this class of goods in Nottingham and Leicester. In 1868 the value of gloves made in France was estimated at 50,000,000 francs, and the manufacture was increasing. - The chief branch of the manufacture carried on in the United States is that of buckskin gloves, a kind more peculiarly American than any other; and the most important seat of this business is at Glovers-ville, Fulton co., N. Y. Kid gloves are now made to some extent there and in New York.