Mr Monkey in Stockport

"It's hot, wet and very dangerous!"

Mr Monkey on the edge of a planking kettle

In the early days of hatting, a planking kettle like this was used to turn a collection of fluff squeezed between wicker sheets and laced with nitrate of mercury, into a conical felt hat. The water bubbling away is hot, and laced with vitriol (that's sulphuric acid) and eight people would spend all day with their hands in this stuff. Oh, yes, and the kettle is made of lead.

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Copyright Rik Shepherd and Mr Monkey. This page last modified 18 January 2002