Hello Richard, haven't heard from you in a while. You know, the water powered mills weren't just for grain and sawmilling. Water also powered many of the early factories. The water turned pullies that turned belts that turned machinery. And the belting, it was primarily the hides of buffalo. Nowadays, we have all sorts of rubberized materials that are made into industrial belting, but in the late 1800's it was mostly buffalo leather that powered the machinery of America. I'd never really thought of it much before, but I read the following. It made me think.
"After the Civil War (1860-1864) the buffalo also became an important resource for thousands of commercial hunters who needed employment in a time when cash and jobs were scarce. Industrial growth in the United States and Europe during the 1870s was driving demand for machinery belts made of leather, and the extension of railroads after the Civil War made it easier to transport buffalo hides to the industrial eastern markets. Selling of buffalo hides opened up foreign markets in England and Germany, where buffalo leather machine belts were helping factories produce much wanted and needed consumer goods." That's from a website about Texas history, http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/redriver/images/rr-whosebuffalo.pdf
When you hear of the buffalo herds being hunted for their hides, you never really think about what use all that leather was put to. Hope to hear from you, Richard. Me? I'm still hewing cabin logs. I'm to the point where I can hew a 20' white pine log in a little over 4 hours, hew it to a fine finish, but it's 4 hours of hard work. I love it. I think you know what I mean, too.