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What is leather? and Bridle Leather.

Leather, also known as our “second skin”, has been greatly endeared throughout the development of the human race. Precisely because it is a natural organic material, it has a pleasurable texture and it is fun to watch it transform and age over the years, alongside its user. “Bridle leather” is a traditional type of leather in the United Kingdom that allows one to experience all of these charms to the fullest. Here we will compare it with other types of leather, as well as look into its features and history.

HistoryHistory

Leather

Leather is purported to have been utilized
by humans to protect their bodies since nearly
2 million years ago in the Palaeolithic era.
Over time, we developed tanning
and treatment technologies
as leather goods
beame a favourite
commodity.

Bridle Leather

Originating in Britain,
bridle leather hasa history
that spans over 1,000
years. This leather had both
beauty and strength,
and was used for the
harnesses of horses
ridden by the British gentry.

Animal SkinsAnimal Skins

Cow

cow
Cow leather is the representative variety of leather. There are many different sub types such as “calf”, “steerhide” and “cowhide” which are different in terms of how fibrous they are, as well as the age and gender of the cow from which they originate. Each type has its own characteristics that is suited towards various uses like bags, footwear or wallets.
※The raw hide used for bridle leather.

Horse

horse
“Cordovan” is horsehide that has been shaved from the haunches of the horse and then polished. It’s marvellous lustre has led to it being referred to as “the diamond of leather”. Exceedingly solid cordovan is often found in satchels and footwear.

Pig

pig
Pig leather is called “pigskin”, and is said to be the only variety of leather capable of being produced domestically with 100 percent self-sufficiency. As it is very porous, pigskin is known for possessing great breathability, as well as being thin and lightweight. Pigskin is put to use in goods such as gloves, furniture and clothing.

Tanning

tanning

Tannin Tanning

A technique discovered by the British in the 19th century that involves immersing hide in a tannin solution extracted from plant bark over the course of many months. Though it requires much time and labour, this process does not detract from the original look of the leather, making it possible to enjoy aging and transformative changes over time.
※This is the tanning process used for bridle leather.

Chrome Tanning

A technique of tanning hide using metal that appeared in the 1900s. Since chrometanning results in both durability and a supple finish, this process is often used for the leather in automobiles
and sofas.Though chrome
tanning does not allow the
much enjoyment of leather
changing over time, it is popular due to being more cost and time efficient than vegetable tanning.

Though chrome tanning does not allow the much enjoyment of leather changing over time, it is popular due to being more cost and time efficient than vegetable tanning.

Finishing

Waxing

In this process the leather is tanned with vegetable tannin, and then coated with beeswax or a fat such as beef tallow. Occasionally the wax permeating the leather will rise up to the surface as a white powder referred to as “bloom”. The charm of waxed leather is its great durability and the beautiful lustre it takes on the more it
is used.
※This is the finish used for bridle leather.

finishing

Embossing

This is the process of using
a high-pressure heat press to add
unevenness and give the surface of
the leather a textured look.
Major motifs include crocodile and
lizard. A feature of embossed leather
is its ability to conceal damage.

Enamelling

This process involves coating the surface of the leather with urethane resin known for the classy look it produces that fits well in formal settings.

Though enamelled leather is simple to care for as it is tough, water-resistant and doesn’t get dirty easily, the material does not age or change much over time.