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.
Pillow. A soft cushion filled with down, feathers, curled hair, or other yielding material, used to support the head during repose. Feathers are almost universally used in northern countries in the manufacture of pillows, but in warm climates the heat which they generate is found to be uncomfortable. In India, China and Japan, pillows are made of pigskin' sheepskin and goatskin. The ends are of wood, cut almost square, with the sides slightly hollowed out, making the pillow case concave. The ends are joined together and permanently held in place by three or more small bamboo sticks or slates. The skin is drawn over this frame, fastened at both ends, and is then carefully dried. It is then colored, ornamented and varnished. The pillows vary in size from 3x3x12 to 6x6x18 inches. After they have been used several times, they are very easy and comfortable. As they are hollow, the air-chamber keeps them much cooler than are pillows made of feathers, down or straw. They have another peculiarity. The high tension of the skin converts them into sounding boards and enables a person lying upon one to hear sounds otherwise inaudible. A skin-pillow of high tension and fine quality of skin will enable the ordinary person to hear the ticking of a watch 5 feet away, and to understand a conversation carried on in whispers 18 feet away.