What is leather ?
Leather is a by product of meat industry. Its a natural soft, supple and durable material created by tanning and finishing of the animal raw hides. Most common lethers are cow, buff, sheep and goat. Leather can be produced at manufacturing scales ranging from artisan to modern industrial scale. Leather is used to make a variety of products, including garments, footwear, automotive, clothing, bags, belts, fashion accessories, leather goods, furniture and in endless items. It is produced in a wide variety of types and finishes and stylized by a wide range of techniques in tanneries as well as in export companies.
What is leather made of ?
The hides of mammals are composed of three layers- Epidermis, a thin outer layer. Dermis, the thick central layer, it is a subcutaneous fatty layer. This dermis or corium is used to make leather after the two sandwiching layers are removed. Fresh hides contain around 70 percent water by weight and 30 to 35 percent protein.
- Animal raw skins and hides are treated with salts, chemicals in the initial stages to preserve them and then after tanning and finishing, these are made suitable for the use as leather clothing, shoes, various footwears, handbags, wallets, purses, for upholstery, tools, tool bags, and many sports equipments, and many more products. We commonly use term hide & side, to define the tanned skins of larger animals like cow and buffalo etc. But for the smaller animals e.g. lamb, sheep, goat, calf, goatkid etc. we refer it as skin.
- The entire process to change the raw skin to soft supple leather, which could be used to make finished goods is known as tanning, which converts the otherwise delicate skin to a stable and non decay supple material. Regular tanning agents include vegetable tannins (from sources such as tree bark), mineral salts (such as chromium sulfate), and animal oils. Actually, leather tanning is the science of using chemicals, acids, bases, salts, enzymes, and other various tannins to dissolve fats and non fibrous proteins and to strengthen the bonds between the collagen fibres.
- Common leathers come from cattle, including cow, buff, calves, sheep and lambs, goats and kids, pigs etc. Others are horses, mules, zebras, and aquatic animals such as seals, walrus, and alligators. Besides skins of diverse animals or exotic leathers as ostriches, snakes, python, lizards, eels, fish, and kangaroos have also been used.
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