HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Occupational names connected to the leather industry
Badger:- A maker of bags.
Barke:- This interesting name is a metonymic (using one name for that of another) occupational name for a tanner of leather, and derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century word "be(o)rc", and Middle English "bark(en)" meaning to tan. It is also possible that there are some connections with the Anglo Norman French "bercher", an occupational name for a shepherd, but it is more likely to be a name connected with the tanning process.
Barker:- A person who tanned leather using the bark of trees, later the term was also used for a person employed to attract attention at fairgrounds by shouting details of the attraction.
Barkman:- Anyone who tanned leather using the bark of trees.
Basil/Bazil Worker:- A person who worked
with sheep and goat skins.
Beamster:- The man who worked at the beam in a tannery. The wet and heavy hide was thrown over the beam - a working table with a convex and steeply sloping surface of wood or iron or stone. Unhairing was carried out with the hide flesh side down, using a knife with a blunt concave blade to remove the hair, which then became a useful by-product for use in mortar, upholstery and cheap clothing. In later years (not sure when the change occurred) but clearly by the 1940's, the work in the beam house was done by unhairing, fleshing and checking machines. Fleshing (see under Flesher/Fleshmonger below) was a more skilful task carried out on the reverse (inner) side, using a sharp double-edged two-handled knife to remove the fleshings, which could themselves be processed elsewhere into glue and gelatin.
Bellows Maker:- A person who made bellows used for organs or blacksmiths fires.
Belly Roller:- Operated a machine which rolled and compacted fibres on the belly of cattle hides.
Benchman:- A shoemaker benchman cut the leather for boots and shoes. Also leather cutter for chairs.
Bend Trimmer:- Marks cutting lines on hides and trims ragged edges, thin areas, and brand marks from hides, using rule, pattern, knife, and chalk.
Bender:- Leather cutter. Marks cutting lines on hides and trims ragged edges, thin areas, and brand marks from hides, using rule, pattern, knife, and chalk.
Black Saddler:- A "black saddler" was a maker of cart, gig and other saddles in black leather, as distinct from a "brown saddler" who made riding saddles.
Boot / Shoe Clicker:- A trade aristocrat. This was one of the most skilled and best paid
jobs in the shoe industry. A lover of leather whose vast experience of the properties of hides and skins enables
him to pattern, choose and cut the pieces of leather used in the upper part of each shoe.
Because of his experience of the various colours, weights, grains and flexibility of the leathers, he ensures the smartness and durability of a shoe in which material is perfectly matched to function. The term comes from the sound made when carrying out the job.
Boot Closer:- The sewing, stiffening, lining and final shaping of the clicker's pieces around the last, are the responsibility of the closer, who cuts, skives and stitches the upper part of the shoe to ensure its strength and lasting distinction.
Boot Clicker:- Punched eyelet holes using a machine that clicked.
Boot Closer:- Worked in the shoe trade stitching together all the parts of a shoe upper.
Boot Finisher:- Put the finishing touches to boots.
Boot Fitter:- Fitted boots.
Boot Heeler:- Put the heels on boots.
Boot Knifer:- Cut up parts for boots.
Boot Maker:- Made boots.
Boot Repairer:- Repaired boots.
Boot Rivetter:- Rivetted boots.
Botcher:- A tailor or cobbler who mends and repairs.
Bottiler / Bottler:- A person who made leather containers for holding liquids e.g. wine flasks or water bottles. From the turn of the 17century it would more likely refer to a worker in a bottling factory for beer, soft drinks, water etc.
Braider:- Someone who made cord by twisting strips of leather.
Bridle Cutter, Harness:- Someone who cut the leather to make horses bridles and harnesses.
Brouge Maker:- A shoe maker.
Buckler / Bucklesmith:- Made buckles.
Buckle Tongue Maker:- Made the metal points that go in the holes of a belt.
Camar:- ("tanner" from the Sanskrit, Carmakara, or skin-worker) is a prominent occupational caste in India and Nepal. Camar is a Dalit sub-caste mainly found in the northern states, such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in Nepal at least north to the Himalayas. The traditional occupation of this caste was leather-working and tanning. Camars form the second-largest caste in India and are heavily active in politics. They are known to be one of the most highly influential groups among scheduled castes. Traditionally, their social status was very low in the Indian caste system because of the association with dead animals, but in modern days they are one of the most progressive castes in India.
Chamber Master:- A shoemaker that worked from home as an outworker or selling direct.
Clicker:- A person who worked in the shoe trade cutting out the uppers, also the person who made the shoelace holes.
Clogger:- Made wooden shoes "clogs" — in England they were usually leather with thick wooden soles. (See also 'Clog Maker' Here).
Clout-leather:- Leather for shoe mending or used as a patch.
Clouter / Clower:- A person who made nails. Also another term for a shoemaker.
Cobbler:- A person who
mended shoes and boots. Cobblers have always been repairers, frequently
prohibited by law from actually making shoes. Some even going as far as
collecting worn out footwear, cutting it apart, and re-manufacturing cheap shoes
entirely from salvaged leather. Cordwainers have proudly distinguished
themselves from Cobblers since at least the Middle Ages. In 16th century London
the Cordwainers solved their conflicts with the Cobblers by merging with them
into the powerful authority of the Cordwainers Guild. (See
In 1287, cobelere described "one who mends shoes" and no one seems to knows its origin, but it was used to describe the cobblers as repairers or maker of shoes and frequently of other leather goods.
"The cobbler should stick to his last" (ne sutor
ultra crepidam) is from the anecdote of Gk. painter Apelles. [The quote is
variously reported: Pliny ("Natural History" XXXV.x.36) has ne supra crepidam
judicaret, while Valerius Maximus (VIII.xiii.3) gives supra plantam ascendere
vetuit.] The meaning "pie" is Amer.Eng. 1859, perhaps related to 14c. cobeler
On one occasion a cobbler noticed a fault in the painting of a shoe, and remarking upon it to a person standing by, passed on. As soon as the man was out of sight Apelles came from his hiding-place, examined the painting, found that the cobbler's criticism was just, and at once corrected the error. ... The cobbler came by again and soon discovered that the fault he had pointed out had been remedied, and, emboldened by the success of his criticism, began to express his opinion pretty freely about the painting of the leg! This was too much for the patience of the artist, who rushed from his hiding place and told the cobbler to stick to his shoes. [William Edward Winks, "Lives of Illustrious Shoemakers," London, 1883]
Codder:- Leather worker or saddler (late 16th century).
Collar Maker:- A maker of horse collars.
Cordwainers / Cordewanarius:- From Cordovan leather. At first they made many types of leather articles. In Middle Ages they specialised in shoes. Cordwainer is from the French word "cordonnier" and came to England in 1066 with the Norman invasion. After Cordoba fell in the 12th century English Crusaders brought back this alum-tanned goatskin (by the late 13th century a distinction grew in England between Cordwainers proper, called alutari, who used only alum "tawed" cordwain, and another class of shoemakers called basanarii, who employed an inferior "tanned" sheepskin which was prohibited for footwear apart from long boots). It was considered the highest quality shoe leather in Europe (originally made from the skin of the Musoli goat, then found in Corsica, Sardinia, and elsewhere, this leather was "tawed" with alum after a method supposedly known only to the Moors). Cordwainers work only with new leathers. A rather less sophisticated interpretation says a Wainer was a "maker" and Cord was short for Cordoba in Spain where the leather came from — hence a Cordwainer was a Shoemaker. Cordoban boots were soft and worn crumpled or with a kink. A large piece of leather shaped like a butterfly was stitched across the instep to hold the golden or silver rowel spurs. A soulette was a strap fastened under the foot, which also held the spur in position. In the twelfth century there were three terms used for the makers of medieval shoes: cordwainers (cordwanarii), corvesers (corvesarii) and cobblers (sutores). Both the cordwainer and the corveser made new shoes, while the cobbler either repaired old shoes or remade old shoes for sale. See Cordiner below.
Cordiner:- Originally a term used for a person who worked with Cordovan, a special soft leather from Spain. Later it became the term used for a shoemaker. See Cordwainers above.
Corwin:- Used for a shoemaker who used Cordovan leather.
Corvister:- Involved in leather tanning, curing, processing, manufacturing trades.
Currier (Cuhreur, Cunreur):- One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb, also one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease.
Deacon:- The skin of a
newborn calf; a very small calfskin.
Drawn Grain:- Shrunken, shrivelled, or wrinkled grain surface of leather.
Fellmonger:- Dealer in hides and skins. One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making. Also recycled inedible animal parts for glue, fertiliser; horn, bone, gut etc. By the end of the sixteenth century, the trade of the fellmonger began to develop to the detriment of the gloving trade. A fellmonger took the sheepskins from the butcher or farmer, removed the wool from the skin and sold the wool to the textile trade and the pelt to the whittawer or glover. Previously this trade had been controlled by the whittawers. As the wool was more valuable than the pelt, care was not always taken with the quality of the skin.
Fewster:- Made wooden saddle trees — the “frame” upon which a leather saddle is constructed. (Also called: saddle tree maker.)
Flesher ⁄ Fleshmonger:- Tannery worker. This is the next step following on from the Beamster. The Flesher would use a sharp double-edged two-handled knife to remove the fleshings, which could themselves be processed elsewhere into glue and gelatin.
Frot:- To soften leather by rubbing.
Girdler:- Maker of leather belts and girdles, mainly for the army.
Glover:- One that makes or sells gloves.
Glutaraldehyde Leather:- Leather tanned with glutaraldehyde, usually in combination with other tanning agents, to make the leather more resistant to deterioration under moist conditions.
Hamberghmaker / Hamberow:- Horse collar maker.
Heelmaker:- A person who made shoe heels.
Hided:- Made of twisted hide•jacked, hardened, as in leather•kench, a box to hold salted seal skins.
Kiddier:- Dealer in young goats and skins.
Knacker:- (1) Harness. (2) Dealer in old and dead animals — "Knacker's yard".
Lace Roller Operator:- Tends machine that winds leather belting or shoelaces onto cardboard or wooden spool, also cuts leather from roll, using knife.
Laster:- One who worked or shaped shoes on a last (the mould of the human foot made of wood and used to shape footwear).
Leather Cutter:- Person who cuts leather. Leather cutting is a highly skilled job. Being a natural material, the aim is to keep wastage to a minimum while preserving all the natural character of the hide in the piece being made. Leather has naturally occurring characteristics, hallmarks of its origin for exmaple, healed and open scarring, tight and open grain, growth marks and neck wrinkles. These occur in all hides, however their numbers and severity differ from hide to hide. Like the grain in timber every hide is unique. Cutting leather is therefore a highly skilled job. The cutter must also be able to appreciate what characteristics of the leather are desired.
Leather Drawer:- One who draws leather.
Leather Dresser:- Person who dresses leather.
Leather Seller:- One who sells leather.
Leather Sewer:- A sewer of leather.
Lederer:- Leather maker; from the German.
Lorimer/Lormer:- Maker of horse gear; bits, spurs, stirrup-irons and other horse furniture.
Malemaker:- Maker of "Males" or travelling bags.
Moellon:- A wax for
Mulled:- Treated to make softer.
Ooze Leather:- Term applied to vegetable tanned suede leather.
Pannus Corium:- Leather for footwear uppers.
Parmentor:- A parchment maker.
Patten Maker:- Clog maker or the person who made wooden soles (pattens) to fit under normal shoes to protect from wet and muddy ground.
Pelterer:- A worker with animal skins.
Pelliparius/Peltarius:- Skinner, one who worked with animal skins.
Perchemear:- Parchment maker.
Picker Maker:- Made the "Pickers" —
strong, leather attachments fitted to each side of a weaving loom, to drive the
shuttle across the loom. Pickers were strong leather attachments made of
cow/buffalo hide fitted to each side of a weaving loom, and used to drive the
shuttle across the loom. That's why there was 288 pickers to a gross instead of
James Fielden is credited with being the inventor of the “modern” picker. He made the first one whilst sitting at his own hand loom, from a bit of flat wood and two small pieces of leather. He made these and sold them for 1˝d a pair. People bought them either direct from James or from the grocers' shops. Pickers were made later in all forms and shapes and by machine, and James was one of the first to produce them in this way.
Click thumbnails above to see more detail
Shade Picker Works
He and William Holt, his nephew, produced a machine for making harder pickers from compressed leather, and they set up a manufacturing business. First, in a work shop at Inchfield Fold, Lancashire. James then moved his business to Clough Mill, and by 1851, he was employing 14 men and 3 boys at his workshop in the mill. His brother Robert continued at Inchfield and between them they employed over 50 workers in 1852. James purchased freehold his home, workshop and other hereditaments at Clough Mill. When he died in 1855, aged 57, he was a very rich man. James directed that his business at Clough Mill be sold after his death. His brother Robert continued in the picker making business until his own death 19 years later. See Picker Leather.
Pointmaker:- Made the tips
of laces; involved in leather tanning, curing, processing or manufacturing
Pointman:- Made the tips of laces; involved in leather tanning, curing, processing or manufacturing trades.
Portmanteau Maker:- A maker of leather trunks for clothes, etc., opening into two equal parts.
Pouchmakers:- Involved in leather tanning, curing, processing, manufacturing trades.
Purefinder ⁄ Pure gatherer:- Old women and young girls who collected dog droppings for use in the tanning industry. Dog droppings were used in the tanning leather for the glove industry, apparently the white variety was the best kind and was reserved for making kid leather! The "dry limy-looking sort" fetched the highest price at some yards as it possessed more of the alkaline, or purifying properties. Others preferred the dark moist quality. It appears the preference for a particular kind suggested to the finders of the Pure the idea of adulterating it. This was effected by means of mortar broken away from old walls which was mixed up with the whole mass. In some cases, however, the mortar was rolled into small balls similar to those found. It appears that there was no business or trade, however insignificant or contemptible, without its own peculiar and appropriate tricks. Dog dung contains pancreatic enzymes which were used in solution to attack the non-collagenous proteins in skins or hides. This was a purifying, rather than a curing step, to clean the material prior to tanning. This also means that biotechnology has been used in the leather industry for at least 5000 years. Treating skins with dog dung was always called "puering", and the use of infusions of bird guano was called "mastering". Happily, the dung treatment is now obsolete, and nowadays the same general process is called "bating", and typically involves manufactured bacterial or pancreatic enzymes.
Rag and bone-pickers also collected what was called "pure" – or dogs' dung – as well. Their habits and mode of proceeding were nearly similar to the rag and bone-pickers proper, with the exception that the latter was a regular trade. The parties following it picked up but few rags or bones, and only such as were of the best quality. What they looked for mostly was the "pure." Some of the regular collectors of this article had been mechanics, and others, small tradesmen. They were a superior class of persons to the mere rag and bone-pickers, and those who had a good connection and the right of cleansing certain kennels, obtained a very fair living at it, earning from 10s.(50p) to l5s.(75p) a week. These, however, were very few. The majority had to seek the article solely in the streets, and by such means they could obtain only from 6s. to 10s. a week. The average weekly earnings of that class are thought to have been between 7s.(35p) and 8s.(40p).
The "pure" gatherer, after he had been his rounds, made the best of his way to some tanner in Bermondsey, to whom he was in the habit of selling the article. He sold it to the tanner by the stable bucketful, and got from 8d.(3˝p) to 10d.(4˝p) per bucket for it. It was used for the purpose of cleansing sheep and calf skins after they were taken out of the "lime-pits." A man generally picked up about a bucketful in the course of the day.
The "pure" pickers, were generally to be found in London all the year round, with the exception of the hay season, the corn harvest, and hop-picking time, when a very large portion leave London.
Riempie:- Leather strip used in chair backs, etc.
Saddle Tree Maker:- Made the wooden frames around which the saddle was formed with leather.
Saddler:- One who makes, repairs or sells saddle or other furnishings for horses.
Sadler:- Made saddles.
Seal / Seales:- Maker of seals or saddles.
Semi Lorer:- Made leather thongs.
Shagreen Casemaker:- Worked with shagreen leather.
Shoe Finder:- Sold cobbler's tools.
Shoemaker:- A person who made shoes.
Shoesmith:- A cobbler, a person who repaired shoes.
Skin Dresser:- An obsolete bookbinding term for the workman who shaved or pared leather.
Skinner:- A dealer in hides.
Snobscat:- Snob, one who repaired shoes.
Souter:- Shoemaker or cobbler in Scotland.
Spetch:- A leather patch for mending leather items.
Spurrer:- Maker of spurs.
Spurier:- A maker of spurs.
Tan Bark Stripper:- Collected tree bark for use in the tanning of leather.
Tannator:- Tanner; curer of animal hide into leather.
Tanner:- Tanned (cured) animal hides for leather making. Still used.
Tanner's Beamsman:- Draped part-cured skins over a Tanners Beam, a flat slab of wood or stone, to scrape off the remaining flesh, fat and hair.
Tanney:- A leather worker.
Tawer ⁄ Tawyer:- Made white leather.
Vamper:- Made up the upper part of a boot or shoe covering the instep and sometimes extending over the toe.
Wet Glover:- Leather glove maker.
Whipcord Maker:- A person who made whips.
Whipmaker:- A person who made whips.
Whitear:- Hide cleaner.
Whitamer:- Involved in leather tanning/curing/processing trades.
Whittaw:- (1) Made saddles and harnesses. (2) Tanner of skins with alum to produce white leather.
Whittawer:- A maker, worker and seller of leather goods such as purses, belts and gloves. One who treats leather to retain its natural colour and make it soft and pliant; often specifically a saddler or harness maker. (The word is made up of two parts: whit from 'whitleather', a type of leather of a white or light colour; and tawing, i.e. dressing with alum and salt, so as to retain the natural colour.) The traditional difference between the tanner and the whittawer was that the tanner took cattle hides and tanned them using a vegetable, oak bark tannage, whereas the whittawer took the skins of other animals and processed them using only alum and oil. The tanner used relatively fresh hides from animals slaughtered for food, but the whittawer often used casualty skins recovered from animals that had died naturally. By the Tudor period the whittawer was also using vegetable tanning to produce bazils/basils (these were rough tanned sheepskins used for shoe linings).
Glossary of leathercraft terms
Applique:- A decorative element composed of beads, embroidery, metal, painted fabric or leather that is applied to a handbag's surface.
A small handbag with a narrow shape, resembling a loaf of French bread.
Bal:- A laced shoe in which the quarters meet and the vamp is stitched over the quarters at the front of the throat.
Bloom or Spue:- This is a white substance that appears on leathers. There are two principal reasons for the development of a bloom on the surface of leather micro-biological agents, i.e. the growth of fungal or bacterial colonies and crystallisation of material emanating from within the leather. It is catalysed by temperature and humidity changes and is often evident on garments or leathers after shipping. This is a processing problem due to either natural fats or free fatty acids as a result of an inappropriate combination of processing chemicals or even salt migration. Broadly, these deposits may be subdivided into salt spues and waxy spues. The classical method of differentiating is by applying a local source of heat, for example a match flame, which will usually cause a waxy spue to melt and disappear, at least temporarily, whereas a salt spue will be unaffected.
Blushing:- Dulling or mottling of the finish of the leather resulting from condensed moisture during the drying of the finish. Also referred to a lacquer bloom.
Boarded:- Also called Box or Willow finish.
Boiling:- A water-forming technique in which leather is immersed for a short time in boiling water, causing the leather to bend and pucker. When dry, the leather is extremely hard, though brittle.
Bouncer:- Western saddle makers and English saddle makers use a bouncer or "smasher", but, they use them in different ways. The western saddle maker will use the bouncer to help form the inside curve of the groundseat in the cantle pocket, or to work the leather into the gullet of the swell. They will also use the bouncer or smasher when they are "blocking" the skirts to the tree bars. Blocking is a type of forming, where you are basically moulding the leather to the shape of the saddle tree bars, to make the saddle more comfortable for the horse. It's also used by English saddle makers when using wool flocking to stuff the panels to compress it to the correct degree of firmness.
Break:– A description of how the grain of leather reacts when it is folded back against itself. A “fine” break is considered desirable.
Candle Touch:- Term used to describe leathers with an "oily" touch.
Carving:- Designs are cut into the leather, then all edges are bevelled to make the design stand out. Also called incising.
Chrome tanning:- A tanning process using salts of chromium to make leathers that are especially supple and suitable for bags, garments, etc.
Combing leather:- The name applied to the leather used on the combing rolls of cotton machinery and manufactured of calfskin or side leather.
Conditioning:- When leather is dried after retanning, dyeing and fatliquoring the fibres tend to stick together and the leather is hard. The fibres are separated and the leather softened by staking. Staking is best done at about 18% humidity and so a little humidity has to be put into the dry leather. This is most commonly done by a water spray and then piling the leather long enough for the moisture to even out. Adjusting the moisture content before staking in this way is called conditioning.
Croupon:- Untanned whole cattlehide with belly and shoulder cut off; comparable to a butt bend in tanned leather.
Cuir-bouilli:- (kweer-boo-ee) A flat piece of leather is soaked, moulded over a form, and dried in an oven so that it will harden and retain the moulded shape.
Cut Edge Work:- In "cut edge" articles such as wallets the edges of the leather are left showing, in contrast to turned edge work, where the edges are turned over and glued down. Cut edge work is less time consuming to produce and such articles therefore tend to be cheaper. The edges are usually finished by being stained and rubbed smooth.
Drenching:- A process for reducing the plumped fibres of a hide or skin. It accomplishes approximately the same purpose as bating and basically in the same way, that is, through soaking in a fermenting solution. Some authorities however restrict the term bating to the process using ferments of manures and the term drenching to that using damp sawdust, bran, middlings, or a solution of lactic acid or some other chemical having a similar action.
Dyeing:- Colour is given to an entire leather surface or to parts of a design.
Embossing:- A decorative technique in which a design is raised in relief, working with modelling tools on both hair (grain) side and flesh (inner) side.
Flesh side:- The side of the leather that was closest to the musculature of the animal; the inner side.
Frigorifico Hides:- Hides from South American freezing plants. Usually cured in brine, and later salted. before shipping.
Frizzing:- A process for removing the grain by liming, to facilitate penetration of oils from both sides of the pelt.
Green Salting:- A process of curing hides in which they are treated with salt on the flesh side and stacked in piles to cure for a period of ten days or more.
Glue-resist:- A decorative technique in which a removable glue is applied to the leather before it is dyed. The dye cannot penetrate the glue protected areas.
Kela:- The mechanical process that adds a second colour or sauvage-look to hides (sauvage is a top grain, semi-aniline leather having a marbled or creased appearance). This is an additional step in the finishing stage, in which a relief roller, or spray equipment, creates a marbled look and increases the finishes character. The name Kela is derived from the name of the manufacturer that made the original machine. Other names describing the same look are Tache, High Lighted, Effect Coat or Two Tone.
Kip:- A term of Dutch origin, used for the hide of a small variety of cattle (the zebu) found in tropical countries eg India. The leather has traditionally been used for cheaper small leathergoods.
Laminating:- A technique of bonding layers of leather together under pressure for strength, thickness or visual effect.
Lasting:- A water-forming process in which the damp leather is forced over a mould and clamped or nailed into place until dry. When dry, the leather retains the moulded shape.
Matadero Hides:- Hides from Argentina corresponding to city butcher or small packer hides of the United States.
Nude finish:- A leather that is usually vat dyed, but has little or no protective coat.
Ooze Leather:- Term
applied to vegetable tanned suede leather.
Pasted:– A leather that has undergone a drying process where hides are hand-applied to a frame using a starch-based paste and then sent through a hot air dryer.
Plated:– A leather that has had heat and pressure applied by a large, mechanical press.
Pasting:- A method of
drying where wet leather is pasted onto a glass or steel plate and then allowed
to dry in controlled conditions - often a tunnel with various chambers adjusted
to fit the planned removal of moisture. Mostly used with side leather. Holds the
area well, but if not well retanned the leather can feel hard and empty. There
is a danger of the paste damaging the grain or interfering with the finish.
Pelt:- This word means, strictly speaking, any kind of skin (Latin pellis, related to the German felle, a skin, and the English word fell, now preserved only in fellmonger). The word is somewhat loosely used in the leather industry, but its only common applications nowadays are to sheepskins in two or three slightly differing senses: (1) to the skin proper, to distinguish it from the wool that grows on it; (2) to de-wooled sheepskins, as a pickled pelt or a fellmongered; or (3) in some countries to a woolskin bearing the shortest recognised staple.
Pull-up:- A pull-up leather is one which, when pulled tight, produces a brilliant burst of colour. Pull-ups are full aniline leathers that have received an oil and/or wax application. When the leather is pulled, the oil and/or wax separates, causing the colour to become lighter. Pull-ups can have varying thicknesses.
Roan:- An unsplit sheepskin which has been tanned with sumach and has had the wool removed, frequently used for small leathergoods in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has often been dyed a distinctive maroon red colour and embossed with an "oat" grain.
Saddle stitching:- A two-handed stitching method using a needle at both ends of a single thread. It produces a uniform stitch on both sides of the leather.
Scudding:-One of the preliminary processes preparatory to tanning. After bating or drenching the excess fermenting materials, together with dirt, fatty matter, hair follicles, short hairs and glandular tissue, are worked out of the hide or skin. Mostly done by hand using a blunt two-handed knife over a curved beam. Can be done by machine.
Shamoying:- A process used in preparing certain kinds of leather, which consists in frizzing the skin, and working oil into it to take the place of the astringent (tannin, alum, or the like) ordinarily used in tanning.
Shell:– The subcutaneous,
highly dense fibre structure found in the backside of a horse or mule.
Slicking:– The hand scraping of excess dye from a piece of leather.
Stamping:- The technique of using hand-made or commercial metal stamps to make impressions on damp leather, lends itself to simple designs and all-over geometric patterns. The skill lies in the exact alignment of the impressions and the use of a constant striking force.
Split:- The inner layer of the leather cut from the top grain portion.
Stocks:- A wooden device previously used in oil tannages especially for chamois. Two wooden hammers pound the oil into the leather prior to hanging it in a hot room for the oil to oxidise. The hammers are driven by an eccentric wheel. This process is now done in drums where the temperature and humidity can be carefully controlled.
Suede:- A type of leather in which the flesh side is buffed smooth. Suede splits are buffed on both sides.
Swabbing:– Also referred to as "padding". The process of hand applying base coats of dye to a piece of leather.
Table Run or Tannery Run:- Terms used to describe leather which has not been sorted or graded before being sold.
Tawing:- Different types of leather were produced by using different impregnation agents. Impregnation with alum, a process called tawing, produced the very soft kid leather particularly favoured in glove manufacture. The fine chamois leather required a great deal of preparation and hence was expensive. The outer surface of skin had first to be removed by "frizzing" which produced a softer more pliable texture, and then oil was beaten into the skins by machines similar to those used in fulling. (Fulling was performed by pounding newly woven cloth with mechanised hammers, whilst soaking in a solution containing Fuller’s earth. Prior to mechanisation this process was undertaken by the laborious method of treading the cloth in a tub by the bare feet of "walkers".)
Temper:– The term used to
refer to how soft or stiff a leather is.
Toggled:– A leather that has been stretched and dried on a frame using clips or clamps, known as toggles.
Tooling:- General name given to several related techniques of working vegetable-tanned leather to create effects of low relief: carving, stamping, embossing, etc.
Top-grain:- The outer surface of the hide, still possessing the original grain surface; the hair side.
Vegetable tanning:- (or oak bark tanning) A tanning process using extracts of tannic acid, that makes strong leathers suitable for belts, bags, etc., and that can be water-formed.
Water-formed:- (wet-formed) A technique in which leather is dampened to make it more pliable, and worked freehand or over a mould or last. When dry, the leather will retain its shape
Wiley Mill:- A mill for
grinding leather, consisting of a chamber with a hopper at the top for inserting
the leather. The chamber contains a motor-driven rotor with four blades equally
spaced around its circumference, and six blades in motion pass very close to the
fixed blades. There is a screen at the bottom of the chamber through which the
ground particles of leather fall into a receiver.