The smell and feel of good leather in modern times is synonymous with luxury. By today’s standards, leather is seen as a fashion statement, from clothing to leather furniture like couches, and even bedroom sets. But take something like leather artifacts dating back to 2200 BC and they take on a whole new meaning. Greek soldiers, specifically cavalry, wore a muscle cuirass made of bronze or boiled leather. For them, it was better than nothing at all and it was lightweight.
How Is It Made?
Leather can be made from the hide of pigs, sheep, goats and even crocodiles but cowhide is certainly the most common. When those aforementioned animals are used for meat, the hide can then be removed and cleaned.
In order halt the process of decomposing, the hide has to be salted, brined or frozen. If it is not, you will have wasted all your time and effort. They will stay in the preferred method until further notice. Before the preserving method, a lime bath might be necessary for removing any hair that was not removed during the cleaning process.
Moisture from all the processes will ultimately swell the hide to a 4mm thickness where it will then be cut into two separate layers. Different parts of the hide actually offer different quality leather goods. The higher quality will be used for full grain leather. If you have seen leather bags with lots of spidering “cracks” then you are seeing full grain leather. If your shoes are made of leather, chances are those shoes were made with the more lower quality hide. The same can be said about leather furniture sets for living rooms or dining rooms. Full grain leather furniture will be far more expensive than average leather furniture that has been sanded to look smooth.
Regardless of what it is used for, leather has withstood the test of time and continues to be an incredibly diverse product. Its history of protecting the skin of ancient ancestors has evolved to one of luxurious items, like home furniture. It continues to be a popular option for stylish men’s leather jackets and even for a woman’s purse. Its use has expanded from a container for water to be used as the aforementioned layer of armor. When you lay down in your leather bed, or sit on your leather home furniture, just remember that leather, a luxurious commodity now, was used at one point to save someone’s life.