The sea otter, one of the richest and rarest of furs, especially for men's wear, is an exception to this unhairing process, which it does not require, the hair being of the same length as the wool, silky and bright, quite the reverse of the case of other aquatic animals.
Formerly the fur was only used for hatters' felt, but with the rise in prices of furs these skins have been more carefully removed and-with improved dressing, unhairing and silvering processes-the best provides a very effective and suitable fur for ladies' coats, capes, stoles, muffs, hats and gloves, while the lower qualities make very useful, light-weighted and inexpensive linings for men's or women's driving coats.
A large number of skins, after unhairing, is dyed seal colour and used in America.
Unlike other aquatic animals the skin undergoes no process of unhairing, the fur being of a rich dense silky wool with the softest and shortest of water hairs.
It was also at one time used in dyeing and calico-printing, and for the unhairing of skins, &c.; but safer and equally efficient substitutes have been found.