Out of the fur pantheon, shearling is by far the oldest fashion trend that never falls out of favor. Don’t think so? Just go check out prehistoric cave paintings with their references to animal pelts worn on human shapes, or even 19th century North American trappers donned in buck skins and other pelts.
“Fur Trapper”, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837
Salvatore Ferragamo – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Burberry Prorsum Shearling Funnel Neck Aviator Jacket
Shearling might simply be the most democratic fur of all, the one type that defies generational differences and socio-economic divides. From “easy-going” to “hippy chic” to ultra-modern, shearling is making its mark on this fashion cycle.
Vivienne Tam – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Rick Owens – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Versace – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Bottega Veneta – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Whereas shearling was often used in a cruder finish in 1970s fashion, recently it has gotten the glam reboot. Designers are currently toying with both the woolen side and the leather/sueded side of the skins to great effect on the runways.
Helmut Lang – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Peachoo Krejberg – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
The leather side of the pelt is currently reworked into a full-fledged design component, now getting as much attention as the fur side. Some designers and couturiers opt to lacquer the leather, or even shave it into a textile-thin finish. Others go as far as merging two skins in one garment – combining mink with lamb leather, for example, for a truly unique and highly fashionable look.
DKNY – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Miharayasuhiro – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Brandon Sun – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Ermenegildo Zegna – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
Jean Paul Gaultier – Fall 2012-Winter 2013
A beautiful Sheared Black Rex Rabbit Cape Jacket from Marc Kaufman Furs in New York's Garment District
Check out Marc Kaufman Furs' new collection of Russian sable coats, mink strollers, fox jackets, Canadian lynx jackets, American lynx jackets, knit mink capes, and chinchilla coats or create or design your own mink coats, fox coats, or any type of furs. We custom make fur garments to your specifications.
We have a beautiful collection of unique designer furs for rent at every price range. If you are interested in renting a fur, come in and see what kinds of furs we have in stock and what’s available for fur rental in your size.
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212 West 30th St
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Marc Kaufman Furs in NYC ships your fur purchases to wherever you may be: Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, Buffalo, New York, San Francisco, California, Los Angeles California, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Missouri, Moscow, Russia, London, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Paris, France, Dubai, UAE, China; to all 50 States, and just about anywhere else in the World!
January 2013 appears to be return to normal weather patterns
Indianapolis Indians mascot Rowdie looks out of the windows of the JW Marriott as heavy snow flurries falls on Victory Field Thursday morning downtown Indianapolis. Rowdie was at the JW Marriott for the Hot Stove luncheon. / Matt Kryger / The Star
TOTAL ELEMENTS IN ARRAY: 10 TOTAL CHARACTERS IN ARRAY: 1288 TOTAL CHARACTERS IN PAGES: LAST PAGE CONTAINS: 1288 --> --> On the heels of a year that featured an extended drought and other weather extremes, January 2013 appears to be a return to normal patterns, a meteorologist said.
The month featured less snow than what’s typical, said Jason Puma, who works for the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, but the overall average for December and January combines to produce almost the exact average for the two months together.
At an inch and a half, snowfall for January was 7.1 inches less than the norm. But December featured 14.8 inches of snow — 7.9 inches above average.
The average temperature through Jan. 30 was 30.2 degrees, he said — two degrees above normal.
“We’ve seen a lot of normal things we see in Janaury,” Puma said. “We’ve had several days with single-digit lows and highs in the teens and low 20s. We’ve had a couple January thaws, all the way up into the 60s, and then cold fronts that brought us back down.”
On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Northeastside and other parts of Central Indiana got a dose of rough weather, however, when strong storms downed power lines, flooded roads and damaged homes. In Castleton, more than 1,000 Indianapolis Power & Light Co. customers were left without power for much of the day because of six 95-foot-tall wooden utility poles snapped by high winds.
Call Star reporter Bill McCleery at (317) 444-6083.
With the cold winter season of 2013, the fur coats have finally come out of the closet. This winter reminded the woman, they need their furs....
Marc Kaufman Furs NY
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Not many people realize this fact, but there are a couple advantages to wearing fur. Activists in the animal rights in movement might strongly disagree, but wearing fur can be beneficial to both humans and animals. Granted this is not always the case, it is important to give the practice of wearing fur the credit it deserves. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the main benefits of wearing fur. Hopefully we can answer the question of "is wearing fur really that bad?"
It is a simple fact of life that all living things will eventually die. Turning an animal’s fur into clothing for humans ensures that none of the animals biological material will not go to waste. If a fur coat was not made from the deceased animal, it’s fur would simply go to waste. It is hard to argue that making a fur coat from the animal will have any significant negative effects, assuming the animal population is being hunted responsibly.
The Eskimos have recognized the effectiveness of wear fur and have employed this practice for centuries. The ability of fur to retain heat is unmatched by any synthetic materials available today, despite our advanced technology. When protection against extreme cold is needed, a large fur coat is almost always the best option.
Let’s face it, looking good is an essential part of being happy today. If an animal needs to die to make us feel good about ourselves, then so be it. Being at the top of the food chain has its perks and this is not something we should feel bad about. Fur clothing benefits the creative motors of the fashion industry and helps boost the self esteem of the over-privileged class of society.
We hope this helped you gain a better understanding of the benefits of fur clothing.
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued. Historically it had a large impact on the exploration and colonization of Siberia, northern North America and the South Shetland and South Sandwich Islands. Today the importance of fur trade has diminished and is currently centered around fur farms and authorized wildlife hunting, but remains controversial due to the cruelty involved and conflicts with the tourism industry. Several animal rights organizations oppose the fur trade, while supporters often cite their methods as not being cruel, that the animal populations are abundant and their rights to practice a traditional lifestyle should be respected. The use of fur on some items today has been partly substituted by synthetic imitations.
Russian fur trade
Before the colonization of the Americas, Russia was a major supplier of fur-pelts to Western Europe and parts of Asia. Fur was a major Russian export as trade developed in the Early Middle Ages ( 500-1000 AD/CE ), first through the Baltic and Black Seas. The main trading destination was the German city of Leipzig.
Originally, Russia exported a majority in raw furs of the pelts of martens, beavers, wolves, foxes, squirrels and hares. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Russians tamed Siberia, a region rich in many mammal species, such as Arctic fox, lynx, sable, sea otter and stoat (ermine). In the search for the prized sea otter (pelts first used in China), and, later the northern fur seal, the Russian Empire expanded into North America, notably Alaska. Between the 17th and second half of the 19th century, Russia was the largest supplier of fur in the world. The fur trade played a vital role in the development of Siberia, the Russian Far East and the Russian colonization of the Americas. To this day sable is a regional symbol of Ural Sverdlovsk oblast and Siberian Novosibirsk, Tyumen and Irkutsk oblasts of Russia.
The European discovery of North America, with its vast forests and wildlife, particularly the beaver, led to the continent becoming a major supplier in the 17th century of fur pelts for the fur-felt hat and fur trimming and garment trades of Europe. Fur was a major source of warmth in clothing, critical prior to the organization of coal distribution. Portugal and Spain played major roles in fur trading after 1400s with their business in fur hats.
Siberian fur trade Merchants and boyars of Novgorod had exploited the fur resources “beyond the portage”, a watershed at the White Lake that represents the door to the entire northwestern part of Eurasia, from as early as the tenth century. They began by establishing trading posts along the Volga and Vychegda river networks and requiring the Komi people they encountered to give them furs as tribute. Novgorodians expanded farther east and north, coming into contact with the Pechora people of the Pechora river valley and the Yugra people residing near the Urals. Both of these native tribes offered more resistance than the Komi and killed many tribute collectors throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries. As Muscovy gained more power in the fifteenth century and proceeded in the “gathering of the Russian lands”, the Muscovite state began to rival the Novgorodians in the Far East. During the fifteenth century Moscow began subjugating many native tribes. One strategy was to exploit the antagonisms between tribes, notably the Komi and Yugra, by recruiting men of one tribe to fight in an army against the other tribe. Campaigns against native tribes in Siberia were minimal until they began on a much larger scale in 1483 and 1499.
Besides the Novgorodians and natives, Muscovites also had to contend with the various Muslim Tatar khanates of Siberia. In 1552, Ivan IV took a great step towards securing Russian superiority in Siberia when he sent a large army to attack the Kazan Tartars and ended up obtaining the territory from the Volga to the Ural Mountains . It was at this point that the phrase “ruler of Obdor, Konda, and all Siberian lands” was included in the title of the Tsar of Muscovy. Even so, problems pursued in 1558 when Ivan IV sent Grigoriy Stroganov to colonize land on the Kama and subjugate and enserf the Komi living there. Stroganov soon came into conflict with the Khan of Sibir whose land he was encroaching on. Ivan told Stroganov to hire Cossack mercenaries to protect the new settlement from the Tatars. The band of Cossacks was led by Yermak Timofeyevich who fought many battles that eventually culminated in a Tartar victory and the temporary end to Russian occupation in the area. In 1584, Ivan’s son Fyodor sent military governors (voyevodas) and soldiers to reclaim Yermak’s conquests and officially annex the land the khanate of Sibir held. Similar skirmishes with Tartars took place across Siberia as Russian expansion continued.
Russian conquerors treated the natives of Siberia as easily exploited enemies that were inferior to them. As they penetrated deeper into Siberia, traders built outposts or winter lodges called zimovya where they lived and collected fur tribute from native tribes. By 1620, Russia dominated the land from the Urals eastward to the Yenisey valley and to the Altai Mountains in the south, comprising about 1.25 million square miles of land. Furs were destined to become Russia’s largest source of wealth during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Keeping up with the advancement of Western Europe required significant capital and Russia did not have sources of gold and silver, but it did have furs, which became known as “soft gold” and provided Russia with hard currency. The Russian government received income from the fur trade through two taxes, the yasak (or iasak) tax on natives and the 10% “Sovereign Tithing Tax” imposed on both the catch and sale of fur pelts. Fur was in great demand in Western Europe, especially sable and marten, since European forest resources had been over-hunted and were extremely scarce. Fur trading allowed Russia to purchase goods that they lacked from Europe like precious metals, textiles, firearms, lead, sulphur, and tin. Russia also traded furs with Ottoman Turkey and other countries in the Middle East in exchange for silk, textiles, spices, and dried fruit. The high prices that sable, black fox, and marten furs could generate in international markets spurred a “fur fever” in which many Russians moved to Siberia as independent trappers. From 1585 to 1680, tens of thousands of sable and other valuable pelts were obtained in Siberia each year.
The primary way for the Muscovite state to obtain their furs was by exacting a fur tribute from the Siberian natives, called a yasak. Yasak was usually a fixed number of sable pelts that was required of every male member of a tribe at least fifteen years old to give to Russian officials. Officials enforced yasak through coercion and by taking hostages, usually the tribe chiefs or members of the chiefs family. At first Russians were content to trade with the natives, exchanging things like pots, axes, and beads for the prized sables that the natives did not value, but greater demand for furs led to violence and force becoming the primary means of obtaining the furs. The largest problem with the yasak system was that Russian governors were prone to corruption because they received no salary. They resorted to illegal means of getting furs for themselves, including bribing customs officials to allow them to personally collect yasak, extorting natives by exacting yasak multiple times over, or requiring tribute from independent trappers.
Russian fur trappers, called promyshlenniki, hunted in one of two types of bands of 10-15 men, called vatagi. The first was an independent band of blood relatives or unrelated people who contributed an equal share of the hunting expedition expenses and the second was a band of hired hunters that participated in expeditions fully funded by trading companies who employed them. Members of an independent vatagi cooperated and divided all necessary work associated with fur trapping, including making and setting traps, building forts and camps, stockpiling firewood and grain, and fishing. All fur pelts went into a common pool that the band divided equally among them after Russian officials exacted the tithing tax. On the other hand, a trading company provided hired fur trappers with the money needed for transportation, food, and supplies, and once the hunt was finished, the employer received two-thirds of the pelts and the remaining ones were sold and the proceeds divided evenly among the hired laborers. During the summer, promyshlenniki would set up a summer camp to stockpile grain and fish and many would do agricultural work for extra money. During late summer or early fall the vatagi would leave for their hunting ground, survey the area, and set up a winter camp. Each member of the group would set at least 10 traps and the vatagi would divide into smaller groups of 2-3 men who cooperated to maintain certain traps. promyshlenniki checked traps daily, resetting them or replacing bait whenever necessary. The hunting strategies of the promyshlenniki were both passive and active. The passive approach involved setting traps while the active approach involved the use of hunting dogs and bow and arrows. Occasionally hunters would also follow sable tracks to their dwellings and string nets around them and wait for the sable to emerge.
The hunting season began around the time of the first snow in October or November and went until early spring. Hunting expeditions lasted two to three years on average but occasionally even longer. Because of the long hunting season and the fact that passage back to Russia was difficult and costly, many promyshlenniki chose to stay and settle in Siberia beginning around the 1650s-1660s. From 1620 to 1680 there were a total of 15,983 trappers active in Siberia.
North American fur trade
Main article: North American fur trade The North American fur trade was a central part of the early history of contact between European-Americans and the native peoples of what is now the United States and Canada. In 1578 there were 350 European fishing vessels at Newfoundland. Sailors began to trade metal implements (particularly knives) for the natives' well-worn pelts. The pelts in demand were beaver, sea otter and (in the 1870s) buffalo, as well as occasionally deer, bear, ermine and skunk.
Fur robes were blankets of sewn-together, native-tanned, beaver pelts. The pelts were called castor gras in French and "beaver coat" in English, and were soon recognized by the newly developed felt-hat making industry as particularly useful for felting. Some historians, seeking to explain the term castor gras, have assumed that coat beaver was rich in human oils from having been worn so long (much of the top-hair was worn away through usage, exposing the valuable under-wool), and that this is what made it attractive to the hatters. This seems unlikely, since grease interferes with the felting of wool, rather than enhancing it.  By the 1580s, beaver "wool" was the major starting material of the French felt-hatters. Hat makers began to use it in England soon after, particularly after Huguenot refugees brought their skills and tastes with them from France.
Early organization Captain Chauvin made the first organized attempt to control the fur trade in New France. In 1599 he acquired a monopoly from Henry IV and tried to establish a colony at the mouth of the Saguenay River (Tadoussac, Quebec). French explorers (and Coureur des bois—Étienne Brûlé, Samuel de Champlain, Radisson, La Salle, Le Saeur), while seeking routes through the continent, established relationships with Amerindians and continued to expand the trade of fur pelts for items considered 'common' by the Europeans. Mammal winter pelts were prized for warmth, particularly animal pelts for beaver wool-felt hats, which were an expensive status symbol in Europe. The demand for these beaver wool-felt hats was such that the beaver in Europe and European Russia had largely disappeared through exploitation. In 1613 Dallas Carite and Adriaen Block headed expeditions to establish fur trade relationships with the Mohawks and Mohicans. By 1614 the Dutch were sending vessels to secure large economic returns from fur trading. The fur trade of New Netherland, through the port of New Amsterdam, depended largely on the trading depot at Fort Orange (now Albany), where much of the fur is believed to have originated in Canada, smuggled by entrepreneurs who wished to avoid the government-imposed monopoly there. England was slower to enter the American fur trade than France and Holland, but as soon as English colonies were established, it was discovered that furs provided the best way for the colonists to remit value back to the mother country. Furs were being dispatched from Virginia soon after 1610, and the Plymouth Colony was sending substantial amounts of beaver to its London agents through the 1620s and 1630s. London merchants also made attempts to take over France's fur trade in the St Lawrence. Taking advantage of one of England's brief wars with France, Sir David Kirke captured Quebec in 1629, and brought the year's produce of furs back to London. Other English merchants also traded for furs in the St. Lawrence in the 1630s, but these were officially discouraged, and soon ceased as France strengthened its presence in Canada. Meanwhile, the New England fur trade expanded, not only inland, but northwards along the coast into the Bay of Fundy region. London's access to high quality furs was greatly increased with the capture of New Amsterdam, whereupon the fur trade of that colony (now called New York) fell into English hands. The English fur trade entered a new phase in 1668. Two French citizens, Radisson and Groseilliers, had traded with great success west of Lake Superior in 1659-60, but upon their return to Canada most of their furs had been seized by the authorities. Their trading voyage had convinced them that the best fur country was far to the north and west, and could best be reached by ships sailing into Hudson Bay; and their treatment in Canada suggested that they would not find support for their scheme from France. They first went to New England, where they were able to find local support for at least two attempts to reach Hudson Bay, both unsuccessful. Their ideas had reached the ears of English authorities, however, and in 1665 Radisson and Groseilliers were persuaded to go to London. After some setbacks, a number of English investors were found to back another attempt for Hudson Bay. Two ships were sent out in 1668. One, with Radisson aboard, had to turn back, but the other, the Nonsuch [disambiguation needed] , with Groseilliers, did penetrate the Bay. There, trading natives were contacted, a fine cargo of beaver skins was collected, and the expedition returned to London in October 1669. The delighted investors now sought a royal charter, which was obtained the next year. By it, the Hudson's Bay Company was established, and was granted a monopoly to trade into all the rivers that fall into Hudson Bay. From 1670 onwards, the Hudson's Bay Company sent two or three ships into the Bay every year, brought back furs (mainly beaver), and sold them, sometimes by private treaty but usually by public auction. The beaver was bought mainly for the English hat-making trade, while the fine furs went to Holland and Germany. Meanwhile, in the English southern colonies (established around 1670), the deerskin trade was established based on the export hub of Charleston, South Carolina. Word spread amongst Native hunters that the Europeans would exchange pelts for European-manufactured goods that were highly desired in native communities. Axe heads, knives, awls, fish hooks, cloth of various type and color, woolen blankets, linen shirts, kettles, jewelry, glass beads, muskets, ammunition and powder were some of the major items exchanged on a 'per pelt' basis. Colonial trading posts in the southern colonies also introduced many types of alcohol (especially brandy and rum) for trade. European traders flocked to the continent and made huge profits off the exchange. A metal axe head, for example, was exchanged for one beaver pelt (also called a 'beaver blanket'). The same pelt could fetch enough to buy dozens of axe heads in England, making the fur trade extremely profitable for the European nations. The iron axe heads replaced stone axe heads which the natives made by hand in a labor-intensive process, so they derived substantial benefits from the trade as well.
Socioeconomic ties Often, the political benefits of the fur trade became more important than the economic aspects. Trade was a way to forge alliances and maintain good relations between different cultures. The fur traders, men of social and financial standing, usually went to North America as young single men and used marriages as the currency of diplomatic ties, marriages and relationships between Europeans and First Nations/Native Americans became common. Traders often married or cohabited with high-ranking Indian women. Fur trappers and other workers usually had relationships with lower ranking women. Many of their children developed their own culture, now called métis. Their descendants of mixed European and Native American parentage developed their own language and culture. They have been recognized as an ethnic group in Canada. These groups formed a two-tier society, in which descendants of fur traders and chiefs achieved prominence in social and economic circles. Lower-class descendants formed the majority of a separate Métis culture based on hunting, trapping and farming. Because of the wealth at stake, different European-American governments competed with each other for control of the fur trade with the various native societies. Native Americans sometimes based decisions of which side to support in time of war upon which side provided them with the best trade goods in an honest manner. Because trade was so politically important, it was often heavily regulated in hopes (often futile) of preventing abuse. Unscrupulous traders sometimes cheated natives by plying them with alcohol during the transaction, which subsequently aroused resentment and often resulted in violence. In 1834 John Jacob Astor, who had created the Pacific Fur Company, which became the largest American fur trading company, [dubious – discuss] retired after recognizing that all fur-bearing animals were becoming scarce. Expanding European settlement displaced native communities from the best hunting grounds. Demand for furs subsided as European fashion trends shifted. The Native Americans' lifestyles were altered by the trade. To continue obtaining European goods on which they had become dependent and to pay off their debts, they often resorted to selling land to the European settlers. Their resentment of the forced sales contributed to future wars. After the United States became independent, it regulated trading with Native Americans by the Indian Intercourse Act, first passed on July 22, 1790. The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued licenses to trade in the Indian Territory. In 1834 this was defined as most of the United States west of the Mississippi River, where mountain men and traders from Mexico freely operated. Early exploration parties were often fur-trading expeditions, many of which marked the first recorded instances of Europeans' reaching particular regions of North America. For example, Abraham Wood sent fur-trading parties on exploring expeditions into the southern Appalachian Mountains, discovering the New River in the process. Simon Fraser was a fur trader who explored much of the Fraser River.
The fur trade and economic anthropology Economic historians and anthropologists have studied the fur trade's important role in early North American economies, but they have been unable to agree on a theoretical framework to describe native economic patterns. John C. Phillips and J.W. Smurr tied the fur trade to an imperial struggle for power, positing that the fur trade served both as an incentive for expanding and as a method for maintaining dominance. Dismissing the experience of individuals, the authors searched for connections on a global stage that revealed its “high political and economic importance.” E.E. Rich brought the economic purview down a level, focusing on the role of trading companies and their men as the ones who “opened up” much of Canada’s territories instead of the role of the nation-state in opening up the continent.
Rich’s other work gets to the heart of the formalist/substantivist debate that dominated the field or, as some came to believe, muddied it. Historians such as Harold Innis had long taken the formalist position, especially in Canadian history, believing that neoclassical economic principles affect non-Western societies just as they do Western ones.  Starting in the 1950s, however, substantivists such as Karl Polanyi challenged these ideas, arguing instead that primitive societies could engage in alternatives to traditional Western market trade; namely, gift trade and administered trade. Rich picked up these arguments in an influential article in which he contended that Indians had “a persistent reluctance to accept European notions or the basic values of the European approach” and that “English economic rules did not apply to the Indian trade.” Indians were savvy traders, but they had a fundamentally different conception of property, which confounded their European trade partners. Abraham Rotstein subsequently fit these arguments explicitly into Polanyi’s theoretical framework, claiming that “administered trade was in operation at the Bay and market trade in London.”
Arthur J. Ray permanently changed the direction of economic studies of the fur trade with two influential works that presented a modified formalist position in between the extremes of Innis and Rotstein. “This trading system,” Ray explained, “is impossible to label neatly as ‘gift trade', or ‘administered trade', or ‘market trade', since it embodies elements of all these forms.” Indians engaged in trade for a variety of motivations. Reducing these to simple economic or cultural dichotomies, as the formalists and substantivists had done, was a fruitless simplification that obscured more than it revealed. Moreover, Ray used trade accounts and account books in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s archives for masterful qualitative analysis and pushed the boundaries of the field’s methodology. Following Ray’s position, Bruce M. White also helped to create a more nuanced picture of the complex ways in which native populations fit new economic relationships into existing cultural patterns.
Richard White, while admitting that the formalist/substantivist debate was “old, and now tired,” attempted to reinvigorate the substantivist position. Echoing Ray’s moderate position that cautioned against easy simplifications, White advanced a simple argument against formalism: “Life was not a business, and such simplifications only distort the past.” White argued instead that the fur trade occupied part of a “middle ground” in which Europeans and Indians sought to accommodate their cultural differences. In the case of the fur trade, this meant that the French were forced to learn from the political and cultural meanings with which Indians imbued the fur trade. Cooperation, not domination, prevailed.
Present There are about 80,000 trappers in Canada (based on trapping licenses), of whom about half are Indigenous peoples.
Maritime fur trade
Main article: Maritime fur trade The maritime fur trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska. The furs were mostly sold in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain, and other Chinese goods, which were then sold in Europe and the United States. The maritime fur trade was pioneered by the Russians, working east from Kamchatka along the Aleutian Islands to the southern coast of Alaska. British and Americans entered during the 1780s, focusing on what is now the coast of British Columbia. The trade boomed around the turn of the 19th century. A long period of decline began in the 1810s. As the sea otter population was depleted, the maritime fur trade diversified and transformed, tapping new markets and commodities while continuing to focus on the Northwest Coast and China. It lasted until the middle to late 19th century. Russians controlled most of the coast of what is now Alaska during the entire era. The coast south of Alaska saw fierce competition between, and among, British and American trading vessels. The British were the first to operate in the southern sector, but were unable to compete against the Americans who dominated from the 1790s to the 1830s. The British Hudson's Bay Company entered the coast trade in the 1820s with the intention of driving the Americans away. This was accomplished by about 1840. In its late period the maritime fur trade was largely conducted by the British Hudson's Bay Company and the Russian-American Company. The term "maritime fur trade" was coined by historians to distinguish the coastal, ship-based fur trade from the continental, land-based fur trade of, for example, the North West Company and American Fur Company. Historically, the maritime fur trade was not known by that name, rather it was usually called the "North West Coast trade" or "North West Trade". The term "North West" was rarely spelled as the single word "Northwest", as is common today.
The maritime fur trade brought the Pacific Northwest coast into a vast, new international trade network, centered on the north Pacific Ocean, global in scope, and based on capitalism but not, for the most part, on colonialism. A triangular trade network emerged linking the Pacific Northwest coast, China, the Hawaiian Islands (only recently discovered by the Western world), Britain, and the United States (especially New England). The trade had a major effect on the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest coast, especially the Aleut, Tlingit, Haida, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Chinook peoples. There was a rapid increase of wealth among the Northwest Coast natives, along with increased warfare, potlatching, slaving, depopulation due to epidemic disease, and enhanced importance of totems and traditional nobility crests. The indigenous culture was not overwhelmed however but rather flourished, while simultaneously undergoing rapid change. The use of Chinook Jargon arose during the maritime fur trading era and remains a distinctive aspect of Pacific Northwest culture. Native Hawaiian society was similarly affected by the sudden influx of Western wealth and technology, as well as epidemic diseases. The trade's effect on China and Europe was minimal. For New England, the maritime fur trade and the significant profits it made helped revitalize the region, contributing to the transformation of New England from an agrarian to an industrial society. The wealth generated by the maritime fur trade was invested in industrial development, especially textile manufacturing. The New England textile industry in turn had a large effect on slavery in the United States, increasing the demand for cotton and helping make possible the rapid expansion of the cotton plantation system across the Deep South.
The most profitable furs were those of sea otters, especially the northern sea otter, Enhydra lutris kenyoni, which inhabited the coastal waters between the Columbia River to the south and Cook Inlet to the north. The fur of the Californian southern sea otter, E. l. nereis, was less highly prized and thus less profitable. After the northern sea otter was hunted to local extinction, maritime fur traders shifted to California until the southern sea otter was likewise nearly extinct.  The British and American maritime fur traders took their furs to the Chinese port of Guangzhou (Canton), where they worked within the established Canton System. Furs from Russian America were mostly sold to China via the Mongolian trading town of Kyakhta, which had been opened to Russian trade by the 1727 Treaty of Kyakhta.
Beaver Wars Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade Fur brigade Harold Innis and the Canadian fur trade History of Siberia List of fur trading post and forts in North America Manuel Lisa Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye René Auguste Chouteau Rocky Mountain Fur Company Science and technology in Canada Trapping
How ironic that after years of arguing with my mother over the coat, I had finally accepted it from her with a satisfied grin, only to face my daughter’s horror. Once again, sandwiched between the generations.
Wearing fur was foreign to Jill. When I was a child, I thought nothing of seeing a woman in a fur coat. I have a picture of my grandmother walking down the street with a fox’s head and torso around her neck. Those who could afford fur in those days could brave the Canadian elements in a garment that was light in weight and exceptionally warm. Before the advent of down-filled coats, fur was the best protection against frigid winters.
I remember sleepy trips home on snowy nights, lying without a seat belt across my mother’s lap in the front seat of our sedan, rubbing my face in her seal coat. The silky texture swayed across my face like the soothing comfort of warm water.
Every so often, when home alone, I would steal into the closet and nuzzle my face in the coat. Once or twice I tried it on, and stood on my toes pretending I was a princess.
The fur business was part of my family. My uncle was a furrier and a labour organizer in the furriers’ union. It was a proud and skilled profession. He gave me a white rabbit-fur muff to keep my hands warm when I was 5. When I was a teenager, he gave me a suede hat with fur trim. The wind blowing up my miniskirts and through my fishnet stockings counterbalanced the warmth around my head, though I had trouble hearing through the hat and seeing around the trim.
In 1969, for my 16th birthday, my parents gave me an outlandish, oversized, striped brown-and-white muskrat coat with big brass buttons and a brass link belt. My tactless and feeble grandmother whacked me with her cane and told me I looked like a bear.
Then came the years of protest against wearing fur. I came to understand the cruelty of killing animals, especially in an age when man-made materials kept you just as warm. Never prone to extremes, I was baffled by the protests that inflicted harm: Throwing red paint at people was going too far, I thought. Encouraging violence against people to discourage violence against animals seemed over the top. But I got it; it was an age of protest.
I try to see both sides of any argument. These are personal choices. Leather shoes are okay for some and not for others; eating meat is okay for some and not for others. Is it all right to raise beef for food and leather, yet wrong to raise a ranch mink for warmth? I stopped wearing fur. I didn’t stop eating meat. I didn’t abandon my love of leather goods.
My mother bought this coat in the 1980s, when she was trying to rebuild her life after a financial misfortune, while at the same time dealing with my father’s illnesses. Diabetes, heart disease and ministrokes had left him worn down.
At 58, Mom opened a second-hand store in Markham, Ont. She and Dad gathered cast-off clothes from wealthy homes in Toronto’s Forest Hill and Post Road areas on Sundays, then picked over, priced and sold them in the store. It was hard physical work. Mom was the “front” man. Dad helped as much as he could, retreating to a cot in the basement when he needed to rest.
Sensitive to cold, and wanting to maintain her dignity, Mom bought a fur coat at The Bay. Family connections to the fur industry were long gone, so she satisfied herself with the formerly unthinkable retail. The coat was not of the finest quality, but it gave her a sense of accomplishment. She wore it as a badge of survival. The store closed after my father died, when Mom was 70.
Each year, she managed to migrate to Florida. The coat went in and out of storage. She needed warmth, it needed cold. Year after year, she asked me to take it, but I always refused, suggesting she give it to someone else. “You’ll appreciate it when it’s cold next winter,” she would warn. “Wear it to walk the dog.”
I had always been that overdressed kid with a scarf around my mouth arriving at school in a sweat. Perhaps not taking the coat was an act of rebellion as an adult for my inner child.
But one year I changed my mind after coming to the poignant realization that it was her way of looking after me when she was gone.
After years of mother/daughter friction, I had to finally and unconditionally accept her love and allow her to mother me in her own way.
At first, I couldn’t imagine putting it on and stepping out the front door even though the days of being splattered with red paint appear to be over. It just felt strange to me. The coat hung in the closet, and went in and out of storage, until my mother was gone.
One week after she died on Christmas Day, I put on the coat to go for a walk in the snow. It was warm and light. It felt right to wear it.
After a couple of years, I had it remodelled. My daughter slipped it on and broke into a smile.
We share the coat now. Occasionally, we both rub our faces in the fur and think of my mother’s love still keeping us warm.
Lynn Pearson lives in Toronto.