Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.
Industrially, tallow is not strictly defined as beef or mutton fat. In this context, tallow is animal fat that conforms to certain technical criteria, including its melting point, which is also known as titre. It is common for commercial tallow to contain fat derived from other animals, such as pigs.
Tallow is used in the steel rolling industry to provide the required lubrication as the sheet steel is compressed through the steel rollers. There is a trend towards replacing tallow based lubrication with synthetic oils in rolling applications for surface cleanliness reasons.
Tallow is also the primary ingredient in Proofide, a leather dressing made especially for Brooks leather bicycle saddles, in combination with cod oil, vegetable oil, paraffin wax, beeswax, and citronella oil.
Tallow, along with beeswax was also used in the creation of lubricant for Civil War ammunition used in the Springfield Rifle Musket.