As evident from the history record, animal hide was used in different cultures and civilizations as far back as 1300 B.C. Historical evidence shows that the Egyptians have already started using leather by this time. Leather was also used by the primitive society of Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. Each of these primitive societies has its own unique method of turning animal hide into leather products. Some primitive societies were even using animal hide to fabricate containers for keeping wine.
The Greek made use of leather for the fabrication of garments around 1200 B.C during the time of Homeric Heroes. It was later adopted by the Romans. The Romans used leather in the fabrication of the heavy leather shirt used as protective armour for their soldiers.
However, during these initial times, there was no defined means of preserving leather. The animal hide used in those times where very crude. But in the course of history, the methods for softening and preserving leather were discovered by man. How man discovered these method was not known. It was believed that these methods were discovered either through trial and error method or by accidents. Some of the methods that were used in those days for the preservation of leather were smoking, greasing and the use of extracts from the barks of trees. However, the tanning of leather which has been improved on in the contemporary era started with the Hebrews. But when this act was discovered, it was not disclosed to everybody. It is an act that people held secretly and then passed it on to their children.
However, the tune of the music changed with the advent of European civilization. The trade guilds of the Middle Ages brought tanners together. During this time, licenses were given to people so that they will practice leather tanning.
Significant improvement was made in the tanning of leather in the 19th century. Tanning with the extracts from the barks of some trees known as vegetable which has been used was replaced by another method of tanning known as the chrome tanning. Chrome tanning is the use of chemicals for the tanning of animal hides. Though the vegetable tanning has not completely gone into extinction until now, the chrome tanning is widely used. Greater percentage of leather used today for the fabrication of leather accessories were all gotten from chrome tanning process.
Today, there are quite a number of tanneries where one can buy leather accessories as much as one wants. If you want to make use of leather for anything at all, it is important that you understand the type of leather you are buying and also the type of animal hides used in the fabrication of the leather. Below are some of the types of leathers that you can buy.
- Suede Leather: This is a kind of leather produced by sanding the animal skin.
- Full Grain Leather: As the name suggests, this type of leather is still as it was when it was gotten from the animal skin, only the hairs have been removed.
- Top Grain Leather: This is when the full grain leather is split. The top part of it is what is known as top grain leather.