I have a German textbook (1948) in front of me: I suppose in those days, right after the war, they had to turn every beast into leather, they even list dog leather. There are three types of Horsefront listed: Chrome Horse Leather, Horse Sport and Horse Chevreau, In all three cases they call the grain ‘semolina like’ (grieslig
), the texture lose and the leather only suitable for "cheap footwear, trainers and slippers".
There certainly still is (not only has been) a strong dislike of horse leather in Europe.
Tony Gaziano of GazianoGirling:Cordovan! It’s big in the USA but used for all the wrong reasons. It has a treatment on top of it which in my mind makes it look like rubber, and it cannot breathe that well either. Cordovan is 3 to 4 mm thick which causes countless headaches to shoemakers. Cordovan also looks too rustic for everyday shoes. But customers keep ordering it in oxfords and full brogues. If it is suitable for anything, it would be a chukka boot or plain derby with a rubber sole, and that’s it.http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/...ine-mens-shoes
It is only in the last years, that shoemakers (bespoke and industrial) have been forced (kicking and screaming, I presume) by customer demand to work with shell cordovan. Prior to that, they would refuse to touch it, primarily claiming it was unstable and tended to split during lasting and with wear. (I remember Mr Wildsmith telling me, maybe 12 years ago: “Shell is rubbish, it splits!”).
Originally Posted by DWFII
Horse fronts are used regularly for linings in Europe and the US..especially in the Orthopedic Trade.
John Lobb is using ‘horse’ as front lining (the back is usually self lined). Although that might have been historically leather from a horse, it is no longer. ‘Horse’ as lining material is a bovine bottom split with an artificially created grain. The handle is rather like chamois (window cleaning) leather, extremely soft and the colour is almost white. (Normally the bottom split is an absolute no-no for quality leather.)