Actually, we know leather, which is used to make a variety of articles; including footwear, automobile seats, clothing, bags, books bindings, fashion accessories and furniture, to be a flexible and long-lasting material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins.
A wide variety of animal species are used to make leather-most notably cattle, ensures most durable and desirable leathers, but also pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, snakes, sting rays, seals, emus, deer, kangaroos, horses, cats are dogs.
The cow providing 65% of total leather is always staying at the perch in leather and dairy industry which is illustrated as a byproduct from the meat and dairy industries. In leather industry, cattle are playing a vital role from the very ancient time indeed.
Where is leather produced?
Basically, China is staying at the perch for production of leather. Along with China, Italy, India, Brazil, Korea and Russia are also working in acquiring animal hides and shipping it to other countries for further processing.
In the processing stage, hides are kept in freezing and countries with well tanning technology process the leather to provide it a smooth finish and glossy look. After the processing is done, these counties re-export these leathers to other countries for making other products.
History of Leather
With leather nowadays a number of products are made including footwear and clothing etc. In ancient time, people used to prey animals for food, then made clothing, footwear and crude tents from the hides.
Ancient Egyptian wall paintings, artifacts and tombs indicate that at that time leather was used for sandals, clothes, gloves, buckets, bottles, shrouds for burying the dead and also for military equipment. Greeks also showed many use of leather notably vegetable tanned leather which is found going through their history.
From the medieval period to now, there has been a wide variety of use of leather in different fields. With the advancement of technology, the innovation in the leather industry has been highly increased.
Different variety of use of chemicals, processing with updated and latest technology has increased the craftsmanship and aesthetics in leather-made products.
Types of Leather
65% percent of world’s total leather comes from cows. Cowhide, heavier than others, is the most desirable and long lasting as well as widely used. Sheepskin comes after cowhide producing 15% of world’s total leather.
The next one comes Pigs hide producing 11% create a much denser leather. We also get hide from Goat skin provides 9% of total leather in the entire leather industry. Another type of leather is known as exotic leather comes from snake, alligator and crocodile skin indeed.
Types of Tanning
Tanning is done in two ways worldwide known as chrome tanning and vegetable tanning. Chrome tanned leather is leather produced using a solution of chemicals, acids, and salts to dye the hide.
It’s cheap, quick and mass produced, typically requiring little skill from the tanners. On the other hand, vegetable tanning refers to leather that is tanned with oak and spruce bark. Also quebracho, tara pods, olive leaves, rhubarb, roots or mimosa are common.
These substances are placed in a pit along with the skins and hides. As these tannins are originated from plants, the leather is called vegetable-tanned leather.
Leather being a long-lasting material attracted the mind of people and because of this it is being used world in different products including car seats, footballs, horses’ saddles and others.
Leather for being a byproduct, industrialists is easily acquiring it in a wide range for making several products that make us satisfied. Vegan leather even being known as eco-genial alternative, some types of vegan leather are yet harmful to people.