I. Tanned leather.
Heavy Sole Leather Manufactured From American.
Circassian Bull And Buffalo Hides.
Half-Tanned Sole Leather.
This leather must be flexible and comparatively light, and is therefore generally manufactured from the hides of calves, young cows, barren cows and heifers.
1. Russia leather.
This article is prepared from all the above mentioned raw materials except calfskins. After washing and scraping, the hides are treated with ash. then washed, passed through the stamping mill, pared, pressed, tanned in weak liquor and then in ooze, and by sprinkling; it is either white, red or black. The best hides are used for the white leather which, when tanned, is smeared on the flesh side with a mixture of birch tar and seal grease. The red Russia leather is prepared in the same way, but when dried is coated with a solution of alum and dyed with red sandalwood. The black leather is dyed after tanning with some salts of iron and then smeared on the flesh side with a mixture of birch tar and calf grease. This smearing is repeated, if the so-called tarred Russia leather is required. All this class of goods undergoes various finishing processes to give the requisite appearance. These finishing operations are frequently repeated several times ; the dried hides are softened, kneaded, pared with a paring knife, stuffed and rolled upon grained boards to impart a given design to their surface, either fine or coarse shagreen, striped or fancy patterns ; if however a smooth or polished surface is required the face is rubbed with glass or stone. When finished the hide is slightly greased with seal grease or tallow. Black tarred goods are smeared with a mixture of tar and grease. Smooth or small grained white Russia leather is principally used for soldiers boots and cartridge pouches, trunks and bags. Red grained Russia leather is sold in Asia and also exported in considerable quantities to western Europe, where it is much prized by foreigners who call it Russia leather and use it for making a variety of small articles, such as purses and cigar cases, for which Vienna is particularly famed. Black Russia leather is dressed smooth or grained and is used by harness makers, trunk makers, coach builders, and also for making ordinary boots and shoes.
2. Dressed calf leather and calfskins.
Both these varieties are used for making light boots and shoes and numerous other articles. The raw material in both cases is the hide of young calves, and the processes of manufacture are the same as those of Russia leather, the only changes being those necessitated by the smaller size of the hides. Calfskin is made from the hide of milk calves and is easily recognized by the colour of the flesh side ; it is tender, soft, flexible and strong, and is therefore more valued than ordinary calf leather; much of it is sent abroad.
3. Horse hides.
The rump part of large horse hides is close and hard and is used for sole leather. The smaller hides are used for making white and black Russia leather, known as Hamburg leather. The hides of milk stallions are used instead of calfskins. The manufacturing processes are the same as those of Russia leather and calfskin. Horse hides are not so highly prized as those of horned cattle. Different kinds of leather are also made from goatskins, sheepskins and lambskins, the following being the principal varieties.
This may be leather made of goatskin or sheepskin. Goatskin morocco was formerly exported in large quantities to China, but the demand for it there has now greatly decreased, and it is principally used for shoemaking in the interior of Russia. Goatskins are so strong and hard that a strong potash treatment is required to get rid of the hair ; they are worked up with dog dung in a rotating cylinder, and in tanned liquor. For tanning, the skins are sewn face outwards into bags, into which the tanning liquor is poured and then covered with fine willow bark, arbute or sumach. When tanned the skins are dyed, dried, pressed and rolled on grained boards or else smoothed with stones, the grained quality being that used in China whilst the smooth skins are used in Russia.
5. Ordinary morocco.
This leather is usually made of sheepskins and lambskins, especially merino sheepskins. In order to avoid damaging the hair whilst removing it, lye sweating chambers and jellies are used, and the morocco is tanned the same as soft leather and then dyed and dressed. Sheepskin morocco is less durable than goatskin morocco and is not suitable for shoemaking.
6. Lambskins, common or merino.
This quality is prepared in the same way as small, barren cow hides, and is used for making gauntlets, women cheap shoes, and underwear.
7. Sheepskins dressed in the wool.
This leather is used for coats, jackets, collars and the like; it differs in the age and breed of the animal and in the way of dressing. The tanned skins are the most highly prized and the best are from the morlings and Romanov sheep.
II. Tawed leather.
There are three varieties of tawed leather, the difference being in the processes used in their manufacture ; namely, that treated with flour is called German curried or Hungarian and Kalmuck tawed leather. This article may be manufactured from sheepskins, lambskins, goatskins and calfskins; it has a certain advantage over tanned leather in supporting a greater breaking strain and can therefore be used for belting and harness, but as it is not waterproof it requires to be well greased....
III. Shamois leather.
This variety is made of the skin of deer, elk, buck, camel, goat, sheep and calf, the first three being the best. After the usual processes of steeping and depilating the skins are saturated with oil, then rolled repeatedly and exposed to the air to oxidize the oil and remove the excess, then finally dried and stretched....