The Origin of Leather Use

One of the oldest professional crafts that is still used today is sewing skin together using needles from animal bones and threads made from animal intestines and muscles, especially sheep. Some of the first skin users were Eskimos and North American Indians. They kill animals for food and make leather clothing using animal skins and bone needles to sew skin together.

Most all the information to date has been gathered by various researchers’ findings. Theories are based on small pieces of information over a long period of time.

Today most animals are killed primarily for food. The skin and leather industry are left over products that evolved into the Leather industry as we currently know it. Without using the skins it would create a major pollution and environmental problem either by burning or burying the residue in a landfill. Most all domestic animals are protected by law and are not part of the food chain. Leather skins are available only from other countries. The animals are killed by poachers and skins sold on the black market all over the world.

The hunter gatherers, in the stone age, killed for food and used the skins for protection. The use of animal skins actually goes back to the days of the ice age. In that time about the only pointed items for killing the animals were flints also used to scrape the inside of hides as well as fur and hair on the outside. People that work with animal hides are aware of the fact that it shrinks when it gets wet and over time begins to have a horrible smell. People would wrap the skins around them while they moved around sewing it together to prevent it from falling off some were even used to sleep on.

The process of tanning and softening leather was probably an accident. After someone dropped some skin in water that a fallen tree had discolored the water and changed the color of the piece of skin as well as making the skin softer. Therefore tanning came about and some similarities of this process are still in use today. The North American indian made their clothing from deer skin and sewed it together into a form of tunic and trousers. Sometime ago in northern Canada a body was found, thought to be a trapper that had died from exposure to the elements. He had in effect died from exposure, however, test and examinations showed he had died several thousand years ago and was wearing trousers and a tunic made from goat skin.

There is very little evidence to suggest any type of leather goods or workers. Leather artifacts at that time consisted primarily of straps for arrows and scabbards for swords. As time passed more people were wearing some type of shoes and boots. Saddles for the horses created shoemakers and saddlers.

In the early times, young men believed to be of Greek origin, carried a leather water bag over their shoulders. They wore a leather toga with a leather bag around their waist believed to be for small game or birds for food along the way. Leather goods did not evolve until travel started to become common. And in those days moving was uncommon with most people remaining where they were born or very close.

Leather products today are very varied and have many daily uses from shoes and boots to leather coats, jackets, etc. Leather is worn by most motorcycle riders and all types of outdoor sports enthusiasts. Leather is also widely used in the fashion and apparel clothing industry and the use of leather continues to grow and offers greater product variety for everyone.