Interesting Facts About Leather

Facts about Leather
Leather has been used in a variety of ways since the dawn of mankind when it was primarily used to create clothing and shelter. Egyptian tombs provide us with a glimpse into the way leather was used in that culture. Paintings and carvings found there suggest that leather was being used in decorative items, clothing, and other practical purposes as far back as 1,000 BC. Since then, people have learned a lot of fascinating things about leather. The world has also learned to utilize leather for many innovative uses. It is a versatile material that can be used for utilitarian purposes, as well as decorative. Everyone is familiar with leather used in shoes, belts, purses, and even clothing items, but leather is often used in some less obvious ways and products.


Interesting Utilitarian Uses for Leather

Ancient man used leather in many practical ways. It was a material that was readily available, durable, easy to work with, and versatile. Archaeologists have found leather tanning tools and leather-related artifacts that date back to several centuries BC. These findings show that our ancestors used leather in their daily lives. Leather was most likely used as early foot coverings and clothing but is also thought to be used for creating tents or shelters. Interestingly, the tools used by these early people are very similar to many of the tools that are used on leather today.

In 13th century India, leather was used as currency. It was considered a viable option until talented citizens were able to reproduce the leather currency and flooded the market. This caused the leather currency to lose its value. Italy, France, and China have also used leather money.

In the seventeenth century, fashion houses in Italian cities such as Florence and Venice used leather as wallpaper. This practice was considered to be very stylish and was used by the wealthy. This type of wall covering is still being used today and comes in a variety of colors and styles.

Leather can also be used to create drinking vessels. This practice has been used since ancient times but was made famous by the British. It is a British tradition that dates back to the Medieval and Tutor periods. The tradition continues today. Leather drinking vessels are a popular English souvenir for tourists.

Another use for durable leather is in furniture. Leather sofas and chairs are very popular, not only for their elegant look but because of the longevity that the material offers. People appreciate the look and feel of leather, but also consider it a good investment.

Leather has been used in car seats since the horseless carriage was introduced. Today, leather seats are a sought-after feature in new cars. Even if car owners don’t have leather seats in their vehicles, they can purchase a variety of different styles and patterns of real leather seat covers to enhance the look and feel of their automobiles.

Many work gloves are made out of leather. This is partially due to the durability of the material. It is also a comfortable material to have against the human skin because it is soft and smooth. Leather can be very supple and will allow the hand unimpeded movement, which is necessary when working.

Motorcycle clothing is often made of leather. Because it is durable and flexible, the motorcyclist can not only move freely but can feel confident about the protection offered by the leather clothing.

Leather is also often used to make sports balls and other types of sports equipment. Footballs and baseball gloves, for instance, are made from leather. Of course, many athletic shoes are made from this material.

Leather has even been used in the world of medicine. In the 1960s, sheep leather was used for bed-ridden patients. The soft leather helped to prevent and even treat bed sores for extended stay patients. Additionally, leather was used throughout history to create braces for broken or sprained limbs, medical bags, medical ID bracelets, and other instruments.

Beauty products also benefit from leather. Collagen is a by-product of the leather tanning process. Collagen is used in make-up and other beauty products as it is good for the human skin and is thought to help prevent and reverse the signs of aging.

Interesting Decorative Uses for Leather

decorating with leather

Leather has been used in decorative art for many generations.

Leather, as an art medium, can be stretched and used for decorative pieces. It can be dyed into a variety of different colors. It can also be burned with special tools that create decorative designs on leather pieces.

Native American tribes used animal hides in so many of their utilitarian objects, but they are also known for their decorative leather pieces. Much of their clothing, including fringed leather vests, were made from the hides of buffalo and other animals. They also used leather to make musical instruments such as drums. Decorative shelters, boats, and masks were also made from leather. These items were usually decorated with a variety of berry juices, charcoal, and sometimes the blood of animals. The designs and motifs painted on or carved into the items often tell a story or represent the tribe in a variety of ways. Many of these decorative leather items are preserved in museums. Some modern tribes continue to use leather to produce decorative pieces for resale.

Artists throughout history have used leather as a canvas for their work or as a part of the work itself. Today, artists continue to use leather in their artwork.

Fun Facts About Leather

Many people are confused by the terms used to grade the quality of leather. Full-grain leather is of the finest quality. Full-grain leather does not have its imperfections sanded or buffed, leaving them for aesthetic purposes. Since the leather has not been buffed it is thicker and more durable. Fine furniture, elegant luggage, and briefcases, along with top designer handbags, wallets, and shoes are made from this grade of leather.

Top-grain leather is the most commonly used grade. It has been buffed and sanded to remove imperfections and is, therefore, thinner, more supple, and easier to use and manipulate. It is commonly used in most handbags, shoes, and other consumer products. After top-grain leather has been sanded smooth, a protective finish is applied. This finish gives it a smooth and shiny appearance.

Split leather, more commonly known as suede, is made when the top layer is removed, leaving the nappy and soft underskin. Suede is a popular material for clothing and accessories. It has a velvety finish that appeals to a lot of people, but it isn’t as durable as other leathers because it does absorb water more easily.

People have been dying leather since the twelfth century. Dyed leather is a popular material that is used for a variety of items from book covers and daily planners to boots and saddles. White is the most difficult color to achieve in leather goods. A poor-quality leather will break down while going through the process and will become hard and may even crack. Therefore a high-quality leather must be used when using dyes.


From ancient times, leather has been used in a variety of decorative and utilitarian ways. We have learned a lot about the material itself and how to manipulate it for our practical uses and how to decorate our bodies, homes, and lives. Whether mass-produced in a factory, or carefully tanned and stitched by an artisan, leather has found its way into our lives. As a society, we have become dependent on it for its usefulness and beauty. It appears that leather will not only be an interesting part of our past but will continue to be a part of the human story for future generations.

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