Along with prostitution the tanning of leather is one of the oldest professions on earth and approximately half of all footstools sold today are upholstered in leather. But where does the leather we use come from and what are the origins of this multi million-pound industry?
The origins of leather production can be traced back to the stone-ages. The first leather was created almost by accident by Neanderthal man. As the early hunter gatherers prepared their prey, the first part of the preparation was to skin the animal. They soon discarded the skin and not long after noticed that skins left in moist areas when combined with the foliage from leaves had exhibited certain characteristics. They lasted longer before they began to decay and retained their features longer than other skins. The plant extracts eventually became known as vegetable tanning and is still practised today in a similar form. According to the Bible Simon the Tanner was plying his trade as long as 2000 years ago.
Leather making advanced slowly over the ages, with more modern refinement of chemicals slowly improving the quality of the leather produced by the early tanners. It wasn’t until the 19th century that more dramatic changes were introduced. In the mid 1850’s, Frederick Knapp presented his ideas on tanning with chromium sulphate. Chromium sulphate with its higher hydrothermal stability soon became a favourite of leather makers across the globe and is today the most popular product used in the tanning process.
Progress in the research and development of organic chemistry utilised in the chemical industry have seen much more rapid advances in the technology used in the leather making process, leading to much more advanced leather products.
Various footstool ranges offer leathers finished to differing quality standards and specifications. Hard wearing leathers are most appropriate in the contract market whereas softer, more vibrant shades are upholstered to form pouffes, cubes or ottomans on offer to the general public.
Our customers agree that a leather footstool is an excellent household investment and will be of great use for many years to come, using some of the finest Italian leather, hand-upholstered onto our locally sourced timber frames, for long lasting comfort. Explore our full range today.