South Africa SIG #SouthAfrica OUDTSHOORN AND THE OSTRICH FEATHER INDUSTRY #southafrica


E Goldstein <eligold@...>
 

I found the following information at the site mentioned below:

"Oudtshoorn is located in an arid region relieved by flowing rivers and
irrigated agriculture, called the Little Karoo. During the Victorian Era,
Oudtshoorn was the center of the ostrich feather industry for the world's
fashion markets. The women of Europe and America adored elaborate hats
decorated with prime ostrich feathers. This generated vast wealth for the
ostrich barons and the revenue that poured into this region helped build
"feather palaces," several of which survive. After World War I, with the
popularity of the automobile, the demand for large feathery hats
disappeared. Because of the low head room in hard tops, and the impossible
combinations of convertibles and feathered hats, high fashion gave way to
sensibility. The ostrich traders went bankrupt. Today, demand for ostrich
feathers comes >from the theatrical world (boas) and house cleaners (feather
dusters). Ostrich skins are used for expensive shoes, hand bags and purses,
commanding prices comparable to the highly prized (in some circles!) skins
of baby crocs. Ostrich steaks are in demand in Europe. Ostrich meat is red
meat, but leaner than chicken. The massive hollow ostrich eggs (with a
capacity equivalent to 27 hen eggs) provide "canvasses" on which local
artists paint, everything >from "cave drawings" to Mickey Mouse. "

http://www.mgmtconsult.com/journal__page_9.htm

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