Leather is an important part of what Hattast-ique does. Leather hats are our specialty and recently we started a new brand of custom handmade leather hatbands, Mad Zack’s Hatbands! Let’s delve into some history of leather itself.
Leather has been used for centuries by humans and is one commodity that has not gone out of style throughout history. It has been used for tents, shoes, clothing, weaponry, shields, parchment for writing, and musical instruments. These are just a few examples of how it has been used. Leather can be dated back to the days of the Egyptians around 1300 B.C. The Romans used leather from clothing to weaponry and shields. In the 14th Century the use of leather was combined with wood to make furniture.
Leather is comprised of animal hides that are a by-product from hunting and breeding animals for meat. The tanning process became very useful as the hides would get hard in the colder temperatures and would rot in warm temperatures. The tanning allowed the leather to be preserved. The rudimentary method involved using animal fats to help reduce the rotting and hardness caused by different temperatures fluctuations.
Greeks can be credited with developing the first tanning formulas to allow the hides to be used to a greater degree. They provided the first vegetable tanned leather using certain tree barks and leaves soaked in water to preserve the leather. Another method that was used was smoking the leather with green leaves and branches. The vapors released tanned the hide. In the 18th and 19th century the need for softer more pliable leather lead to the developments of new tanning methods. The use of chromium salts was introduced in the 1850s. The use of Chromium salts has increased the production and decreased the time to tan the leather from months to days. It has also allowed for the diversity of color of the leather.
The history of leather creates an appreciation for an item that has evolved with us and remains today. So the next time you slip on your shoes or a Hattast-ique leather hat, maybe take a moment to think about the journey of your particular item, pretty amazing to think about!