Ostrich-feathers have been valuable articles of trade since the earliest European settlement at the Cape. They form the basis of an industry concentrated around the town of Oudtshoorn, and in parts of the Eastern Cape. See also ostrich.
[1786G. Forstertr. ofA. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H.I. 130Ostriches, the birds whose feathers our luxury occasions to be brought from the remotest plains of Africa, I likewise saw today in their wild state, at the southernmost promontory of this quarter of the globe.]
1866E.L. PriceJrnls (1956) 194Sebele asked Roger to add up..the price of the house in feathers, & other things.
1866E.L. PriceJrnls (1956) 195Instead of 300 pounds sterling (or 1,800 feathers) he had thought it was to be 300 feathers only.
1877De Mosenthal & HartingOstriches & Ostrich Farming 195It is by no means uncommon to meet a..Hottentot boy with three or four first-class feathers stuck jauntily through his ears, or fastened in his woolly head.
1877De Mosenthal & HartingOstriches & Ostrich Farming 198The average length of a really good feather is about two feet, and eight to nine inches wide.
1955G. Aschman inSaron & HotzJews in S. Afr. 130The immigrants themselves learnt to sort feathers just as they quickly learnt the names of all the different types of feathers.
1956P.J. Botha inF. GoldieOstrich Country (1968) 55Palatial twenty bedroomed..mansions built in the town and district of Oudtshoorn by many feather-rich farmers.
1968F. GoldieOstrich Country 50Critics declared that tame feathers would not curl, and would be of little value in competition with wild feathers.
1968F. GoldieOstrich Country 53The disastrous feather slump of 1914 brought many ostrich farmers and others dependent upon the sale of feathers to ruin.
1973G.J. Broekhuysen inStd Encycl. of Sn Afr.VIII. 396Feathers are still required for dusters and for ornamental purposes.
1983Flying Springbok Jan. 52Ostrich farms were established in the late 19th century boom when zealous feather hunters threatened to wipe out South Africa’s wild ostrich population.
1989Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 227The new industry inevitably attracted great numbers of commercial operators, most of them reasonably honest, but some, especially among the itinerant feather-buyers, decidedly crooked.
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