This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Featherbone. A substitute for whalebone, made from the quills of domestic fowls; patented in 1882. The quills are slit into strips which are twisted, the resultant cords being wrapped together with fine threads and pressed flat. Featherbone made of enameled quills is largely used in the manufacture of buggy whips. It possesses a unique combination of qualities, being flexible, tough and fibrous, with the fibres intertwisted and at the the same time filamentous, consequently it has wonderful elasticity, strength and durability. Water, heat of the sun, or the action of climate do not injure it.