The Feather Dealer

Ballinrobe's Pop-up Museum

By Averil Staunton

The Ballinrobe feather dealer employed many local people, usually women, who plucked and sorted feathers for a variety of uses. This would have been a busy workshop with lots of chat, laughter and sneezing.

Goose feathers, because of their high down quality were popular for filling ticks (a linen or cotton bag) and mattresses, pillows and for insulating garments and stuffing the cushions and chairs of the wealthy. Up to 50 pounds of feathers; (a lot of plucking) was required for a bed!

Until the 1820’s quills were required for writing and this was another small source of income for the feather dealer.

The dealer would also have catered to the millinery industry by buying in peacock and ostrich feathers, which were very expensive and also a few from rarer birds. The rarer the feathers on one’s hat, the higher the wearer’s social standing! Feathers on fans died out with the onset of World War 1.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Feather Dealer' page
This page was added by Averil Staunton on 02/02/2014.