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Old Oct 10 2010, 11:50 AM   #1
Dreamin of Dragons
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Default Dragon Hide Oil?

After spending quite a bit of time perusing this forum, I am amazed at all the details of Pern life that have already been covered (and absolutely love it!). But while working on my fanfic, I came up with a question I can't find answers to here.

Have I missed a discussion on hide oil? (I did search.)

What is it made of? Something like olives? I'm trying to imagine how many olive trees would be needed to press enough olive oil for all the dragons on Pern. Or how many acres/hectares would be required to produce enough corn for corn oil.
Or could it be from some natural oil coming up from the soil? Like a petroleum?
Fish oil is just too disgusting, and hardly spicy smelling, but in a pinch, I suppose.

Who makes it? Would a particular Craft Hall make all the oil? Or would each Weyr make their own?

Is it thick and goopy like Crisco or lard, or thin and watery like olive oil? I've seen fan fiction that hints both ways.
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Old Oct 10 2010, 12:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

I always thought it was rendered animal fat. Something from DD about using oil from the kitchens to oil the fire lizards' hides.
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Old Oct 10 2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

In Dragonsong Menolly first uses fish oil, then rendered fat from a wherry, which seems to be the type of thing the dragonriders use - making it into a kind of ointment that can be rubbed in.

With the amounts that must be used, especially on young and growing dragons (adult dragons seem to be oiled only on special occasions or if they get itchy spots), it must be well in demand! I wonder if Holders store fat to include as part of their tithes.
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Old Oct 11 2010, 09:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

this is a question i've wondered about a lot myself!

* yes, the young hatchlings and dragonets would need skin care, though i dont think i've ever heard of any Terran creature that needs such care. brushing brings up the natural oils of most animals, birds have an oil duct at the base of their tail, and get tiny amounts from it to spread through each feather as they preen. but to actually brush buckets of oil on huge dragons daily? the amounts blow my mind! some things in the books dont take quantities into consideration, such as the place where firestone is kept. the amounts per dragon per fall, the amount kept ready to use/in reserve....thats gotta be way more than just the 'the shed', as its often referred to.

* as for what the oil is- could be plant based, could even be coal oil-i was reading yesterday about the famous pacer, Dan Patch, and the book said that he was brushed with coal oil daily in summers, as a treatment for flies and mosquitoes! i think that a byproduct of some plant would be most likely, but the quantity needed is still a sticking point (no pun intended! often wondered how the riders kept themselves and dragon clean with oil all over it!) i was just reading something in Wikipedia, and sharing it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_the_Fall_%28book%29

Economic considerations

The Dragons are portrayed as very large creatures; the largest described in the series, the gold queen dragon Ramoth, was described as being about forty-five feet (as large as the largest Tyrannosaurus rex ever found) or thirteen and one half meters (as large as a jet plane - dragon size is an ongoing debate among fans) in length. She would be the largest flying being, and among the largest predators, ever known. The massive amount of food which must be consumed by several thousand such creatures is staggering, particularly at the height of a Pass, when they fly against Thread at close intervals. The area of grazing land required to support nearly 3,000 dragons each consuming three to four cattle (or herdbeast) a week has been compared to the whole Mississippi basin with a sustainable herd.

The economic strain on an agrarian society by the dragons would thus be nearly unsustainable, and can only grow worse when the requirements of the sedentary and usually luxuriously-sustained Weyrfolk are included. However, Pern has been able to meet this strain during each Pass successfully, though the Ninth Pass saw considerable discontent, and a full record of all passes has not yet been provided.

Anne McCaffrey informed people several years ago that the "meters" measurement is a mistake and the dragons are supposed to be measured in feet; she had erroneously thought meters to be another term for feet, but has since been corrected. Also, while the largest dragons need to eat three to four herdbeasts a week, greens and blues (the smallest dragons) would only need to eat one or two.

Considering that about 50% of the dragons are greens, that would make the strain on Pern's resources much easier to handle.During the second Long Interval (a time when the Red Star failed to pass close enough to the planet to bring the incursion of Thread) before the Ninth Pass, however, unpopularity with the only remaining inhabited Weyr, Benden Weyr, had grown to such a point that the Holders were willing to risk combat on highly disadvantageous terms to end the tithe of materials which traditionally supported the Weyrs. This is a further suggestion of the general strain and potential unpopularity of the severe burden inflicted by the Weyrs, a burden that ultimately remains entirely necessary until the end of the Ninth Pass.


so, the answer is....

dunno! but with a choice between fish and plant, plant based oil would be easier to make , and not smell obnoxious. dragons are always mentioned as smelling 'spicy'-their own scent, or from the oil? who knows!
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Old Oct 12 2010, 12:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

""so, the answer is....

dunno!""

Had a good laugh at that! But thanks. I think your next statement may have provided a clue, though.

Seeing how dragons eat so many herd beasts and wherries, it would make sense to use the rendered fat, especially from the beasts cut for dragonets. And perhaps fat from the kitchens (meat that has been seasoned) would provide the spicy scent.

??

I dunno either, but little things like this kinda bug me sometimes.
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Old Oct 12 2010, 04:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

Remember that one doesn't have to coat the entire dragon (or lizard): just the cracks.

Judging by Menolly's experience in the cave, the usual area is the belly. So this wouldn't leave stains on the rider's clothing.
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Old Oct 12 2010, 10:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

That would be a LOT of rendering. And has the potential to smell very, very bad.

(Not to mention that the way the ADULT dragons eat wouldn't really leave anything TO render. You have to cut the fat off the meat carefully and make sure there's no gristle or any other junk in it or it's going to end up stinking.)
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Old Oct 12 2010, 12:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

You know how everyone on Earth (or at least in the southern US) is always saving their bacon grease?

Now we know where that grease goes to.

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Old Oct 12 2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

I thought they were saving it for when they ran out of gasolene
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Old Oct 12 2010, 04:24 PM   #10
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Red face Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GHarris View Post
You know how everyone on Earth (or at least in the southern US) is always saving their bacon grease?

Now we know where that grease goes to.

GH
We used it for butter, when we were camping when I was a kid.

I just recall something from DD they used fish oil as its base, and I'm not feeling the best, my mind is getting a head of my fingers. at myself.

In DE/RSR we see that the beasts are all ready skinned and ready to be cut into dragon size bits.
The use oil on the hands, are making them soft.

They do show daubing oil on old scars and patchy hide just before Threadfall in Moreta.

Jaxom is taking care of patchy spot on Ruth hide, WD

More later folks.
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Old Oct 18 2010, 07:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

We know its in a pot, cream to dab on finger, for in WD a dry patch that Ruth can't reach.
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Old Oct 26 2010, 08:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

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Originally Posted by GinnyStar View Post
We know its in a pot, cream to dab on finger, for in WD a dry patch that Ruth can't reach.
That would be OK for emergencies. But dabbing some oil/cream on a finger to oil a dragon's hide?

Uh, I don't think so. Dragons are big. I couldn't imagine "dabbing" something on a horse, let alone a dragon which is quite a bit larger.

However, I'm sure someone does have a vegetable-oil producing business.

(How hard is it to make petroleum jelly?)
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Old Oct 26 2010, 10:18 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

Well, for starters you'd need a good supply of petroleum. The Pernese are an innovative and practical people. I always assumed the oils were basically a mix of whatever was most available. I'd imagine they'd use various vegetable oils and augment them with whatever fish and animal fats were available at any given time and location. In a pinch, maybe even a gob of bacon grease.
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Old Oct 27 2010, 03:01 PM   #14
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2cent Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

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Originally Posted by Sandi View Post
Well, for starters you'd need a good supply of petroleum. The Pernese are an innovative and practical people. I always assumed the oils were basically a mix of whatever was most available. I'd imagine they'd use various vegetable oils and augment them with whatever fish and animal fats were available at any given time and location. In a pinch, maybe even a gob of bacon grease.
I would think that wherries, and other would be used. Like after the skin is taken off for the dragonets like Dragonseye/Red Star Rising. Or by the sea, fishes.

They used in White Dragon to open the long unused doors at Landing. Spot oiling for a patch that wasn't feeling right, dry on Ruth other wise flexible hide.

Moreta, for a special event, and rub in well after bathing her queen, and before Threadfall we see riders dabbing oil on newer scars to make them more flexable.

A large pot/jug of oil, for it take two kids to carry it.
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Old Oct 27 2010, 09:15 PM   #15
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

Would there be any kind of natural pools of oil that could be used?
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Old Oct 28 2010, 03:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyDeerskin View Post
this is a question i've wondered about a lot myself!

* yes, the young hatchlings and dragonets would need skin care, though i dont think i've ever heard of any Terran creature that needs such care. brushing brings up the natural oils of most animals, birds have an oil duct at the base of their tail, and get tiny amounts from it to spread through each feather as they preen.
I tend to consider the fact that these are genetically modified creatures being fed by humans as reasons for them needing to be oiled. Their prolonged and/or rapid growth doesn't occur with their smaller cousins. And as for food, do they normally have access to such a large steady supply of food in the wild? (To consider their belly stretching trauma.)
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Old Oct 28 2010, 11:34 AM   #17
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2cent Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

the more i think of this, the more i think the oil would have to be rlalativly light(not thick, like vaseline. a good idea, the riders and haress would slp around too much. too messy too, on clothes, and the dragon would pick up dirt as it landed/took off/ playedin the bowl). a balance would have to be found between keeping the skin softned, and not skidding the rider off the other side and underneath. i had a greyhound as a service dog once, and to make him even more beautiful, i bought Show Sheen...stuff that has silicon in it and oils in it, for shine and healthy coat. what i didnt think about was the floor...my mom stepped on it and went flying! i've doen this myself..in hindsight, should have done it outside o the grass.

but yes, the pernese certainly had black oil, but you sure wouldnt want to put that on you dragon. the famous pacer, Dan Patch, in the days he pulled a wagon for a store, was coated with black oil, nose to tail, to keep off fliew and such.the oil got all over everything, including other wagons he passed. soi cant see this kind of oil being used

Quote:
Originally Posted by GinnyStar View Post
I would think that wherries, and other would be used. Like after the skin is taken off for the dragonets like Dragonseye/Red Star Rising. Or by the sea, fishes.

They used in White Dragon to open the long unused doors at Landing. Spot oiling for a patch that wasn't feeling right, dry on Ruth other wise flexible hide.

Moreta, for a special event, and rub in well after bathing her queen, and before Threadfall we see riders dabbing oil on newer scars to make them more flexable.

A large pot/jug of oil, for it take two kids to carry it.
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Old Oct 28 2010, 01:14 PM   #18
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I tend to consider the fact that these are genetically modified creatures being fed by humans as reasons for them needing to be oiled. Their prolonged and/or rapid growth doesn't occur with their smaller cousins. And as for food, do they normally have access to such a large steady supply of food in the wild? (To consider their belly stretching trauma.)
I suspect that the native sea-life contains the best oils to keep the wild ones healthy from the inside. Though I also have visions of some itchy young firelizard finding a dead fish on the beach and rolling on it to squeeze out its oil!

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Old Oct 29 2010, 09:16 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Eriflor View Post
I suspect that the native sea-life contains the best oils to keep the wild ones healthy from the inside. Though I also have visions of some itchy young firelizard finding a dead fish on the beach and rolling on it to squeeze out its oil!
And remember that Menolly did have to oil her fire lizard fair.

Of course, she was feeding them a lot, so they may have grown faster than those fire lizards that had to find food on their own. Of course, the little queen may have assigned her fair to find sources of oil to lubricate the newly hatched fire lizards.

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Old Nov 5 2010, 10:52 PM   #20
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I think we need another expedition to P.E.R.N. to observe them in the wild. ;-)
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Old Mar 1 2020, 10:40 PM   #21
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Default Re: Dragon Hide Oil?

It could be dragon oil is locally based and could be from a variety of ingredients depending on what's on hand. Those Holds near productive waters could use fish oils, those with coconuts, almonds, jojoba, peanuts, argan, sunflowers, etc. would have those and I assume all would have some amounts of animal fats so that the more rarer oils (like maybe argan) would have a base of animal fat mixed in.

So you could scratch and sniff dragons from different Weyrs and get a nice variety of scents

Alternatively, maybe there are a few specialists on Pern who make a specific "dragon oil" recipe.
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Old May 24 2020, 05:38 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Altair View Post
It could be dragon oil is locally based and could be from a variety of ingredients depending on what's on hand. Those Holds near productive waters could use fish oils, those with coconuts, almonds, jojoba, peanuts, argan, sunflowers, etc. would have those and I assume all would have some amounts of animal fats so that the more rarer oils (like maybe argan) would have a base of animal fat mixed in.

So you could scratch and sniff dragons from different Weyrs and get a nice variety of scents

Alternatively, maybe there are a few specialists on Pern who make a specific "dragon oil" recipe.
That sounds about right. Also, I think in at least one of the books, there's mention of a type of Pernese bush that's rich in oil. I can't remember which one though.
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