History of Leather Processing/Manufacture



Aitkin, A. (1832) ‘On tanning and leather dressing’, Transactions of the Society of Arts vol.???, 199 


Anon ‘A day at a leather factory’, Penny Magazine (1837) and special supplement (May 1842)


Azéma, Jean-Pierre (2004) Moulins du cuir et de la peau, Editions Creer [industrial archaeological and ethnological study of tanning and chamois production in France from the 12th to the 20th century]


Bodman, M. (2008) Devon Leather. An Ouline History of a Lost Industry: Nineteenth Century Tanners and Tanneries, Leat Press


Boucherat, T. (2012) ‘Experimental archaeology – tanning of a European bision hide using ochre’, Bulletin of primitive technology 44, 19-29


Bravo, Giuseppe A. (1964) Storia del cuoio e dell’arte conciaria, Turin, Associazione Italiana dei Chimico del Cuoio


Bravo, Giuseppe A. and Trupke, Juliana (1970) 100,000 Jahre leder,  Basel, Birkhauser


Cheshire, E. J. (2007) ‘Cuir Bouilli: an Experimental Investigation’ Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, vol. XIX, No.2 (September), 48-67


Clarkson, L.A. (1974) ‘The English bark trade 1660-1830’, Agricultural History Review 22, 136-152. This article can be read online at http://www.bahs.org.uk/22n2a3.pdf


Clarkson, L.A. (1965) ‘English economic policy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the case of the leather industry’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 38, 149


Clarkson, L.A. (1960) ‘The organisation of the English leather industry in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’, Economic History Review 13, 245-256


Clarkson, L.A. (1966) ‘The leather crafts of Tudor and Stuart England, Agricultural History Review 13, 25-39. This article can be read online at



Deré, A. (2008) 'L’art des gainiers-furreliers', Histoire et Images Médiévales 19 (April/May), 72-79 [investigations into the Cuir Bouilli method]


Dobson, C. (2003) ‘As tough as old boots? A study of hardened leather armour, part 1: techniques of manufacture’, Art and Arms, Florence, City of the Medici, International Arms and Armour Conference Proceedings May 30th – June 1st 2003, 55-77


Driel-Murray, C. van (2002) ‘Ancient skin processing and the impact of Rome on tanning technology’ in F. Audouin-Rouzeau and S. Beyres (dir.) Le travail du cuir de la préhistoire à nos jours (XXIIe rencontres internationales d’archéologie et d’histoire d’Antibes), Antibes, 251-265


Elnaggar, A., Leona, M., Nevin, A., and Heywood, A.(2017), 'The Characterization of Vegetable Tannins and Colouring Agents in Ancient Egyptian Leather from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art', Archaeometry 59, 133–147. [contains colour photos of the grain patterning of  leather from crocodile, camel and snake – along with that from goat, sheep, cow/calf and deer.]


Garley, A.M. (2009) Concise Shoemaking Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oakham, self-published [extracts can be seen on this web page, from which the dictionary can also be ordered:




Gräf, J. (2011) 'Die Entwicklung der Gerberei am Übergang von der Spätantike zum Frühen Mittelalter' [Tannery development at the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages] in T. Panhuysen (ed.), Transformations in North-Western Europe (AD 300-1000), Proceedings of the 60th Sachsensymposion, 19-23 September 2009, Maastricht. Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung 3, Stuttgart, 37-46


Groenman-van Waateringe, W., Kilian, M. and van Londen, H. (1999) ‘The curing of hides and skins in European prehistory’, Antiquity 73, 884-90


Harris, S. and Veldmeijer, A. J. eds. (2014) Why Leather? The Material and Cultural Dimensions of Leather, (Proceedings of an ALG conference held in 2011)


This book is available in electronic format and can also be browsed online for free at http://www.sidestone.com/library/


Hughes, Annabelle (1998) Hell for Leather: Tanners and Tanning in Horsham, E. Sussex, 1520-1741 Published privately


Klek, M. Native American Buffalo Robes: a study of their role in Plains Indian societies and a guide to traditional tanning techniques (152pp, ISBN 978-3-8334-8926-6 available at www.bod.de)


Klek, M. (2007) Leder Felle und Pelze: eine praktische Anleitung zur uralten Kunst der Hirngerbung Braintanning manual (76pp, ISBN 978-3-8334-7894-9 available at www.bod/de)


Klokkernes, T. (2007) Skin processing technology in Eurasian reindeer cultures. A comparative study in material science of Sàmi and Evenk methods – perspectives on deterioration and preservation of museum artefacts, Oslo, Museum of Cultural History. "The objective of this study is to characterise and identify skin processing technology in Eurasian reindeer cultures and to study the impact these methods and tanning substances have on the preservation potential of the artefacts”


Loosemore, J. (1998) Where They Have Trod: Story of Sussex Shoemakers, Lewes, CGB Books


Massu, Otis T. (1899) ‘Aboriginal skin dressing’, Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution xliii, 553-587


McGregor, A. (1998) ‘Hides, horns and bones’ in Cameron, E.(ed) Leather and Fur: Aspects of Early Medieval Trade and Technology, London, 11-26


Mould, Q. (2011) ‘Have we got leather waste from a tannery?’ In Thomson, R. and Mould, Q. (eds.) Leather Tanneries: the archaeological evidence, London, Archetype, 33-38


Nimmo, M., Paris, M. and Rissotto, L. (2008) Cuoio dorato e dipinto [Gilt and painted leather], Rome, Instituto Centrale per il Restauro.  255 page report, in both English and Italian, summarising two decades of work on gilt leather artefacts in a number of Italian cities


Parrott, J. (2009) The Largest Tanyard in the Kingdom: Three Centuries of the Tanning Industry in Wantage, Wantage, Garden Shed Publications


Porter, C. (1998) 'The Colouring of Alum-Tawed Skins on Late Medieval Books' in Dyes in History and Archaeology 16/17: Papers presented at the 16th meeting (Lyons, 1997) and 17th meeting (Greenwich, 1998), J. Kirby (ed), 199-203


Püntener, A. G. and Moss, S. (2010)'Ötzi, the Iceman and his Leather Clothes', CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry, vol. 64, no. 5, 315-320 [considers specifically how the Iceman's fur and leather clothing and shoes could have been tanned]


Rahme, Lotta (1991) Skinn garvning och beredning med traditionella metoder,   ISBN 91-63-14522-7


Rahme, Lotta (1998) Preparation and Tanning by Traditional Methods, The Caber Press, ISBN 1-887719-11-3


Rahme, Lotta and Hartman, Dag (2006) Fiskskinn : garvning och sömnad med traditionella metoder, ISBN 91-631-4523-5


Rahme, Lotta (2014) Traditional Tanning; Leather and Furskin, Sigtuna, Lottas Garfveri [a revised version and new translation of the earlier book: Skinn garvning... - see above]


Ravari, Georges (1981) Histoires et techniques des metiers du cuir et de la peau, Graulhet, Editions de Roucatel


Reed, R.  Ancient skins, parchment and leathers, London, Seminar Press


Richards, M (2nd edition 2004) Deerskins into Buckskins: How to Tan with Natural Materials, Backcountry Publishing, ISBN 0965867242


Riggs, J (2nd edition 2003) Blue Mountain Buckskin: A Working Manual for Dry-Scrape Brain-tan, Backcountry Publishing, ISBN 9780965867214


Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou, E. (2009) Tanning in Cyprus from the 16th to the 20th Century.  From traditional tanneries to modern industries, Nicosia, Cyprus Research Centre, ISBN 978-9963-0-8114-1


Thomas, S. et al. (1983) Leather manufacture through the ages, Northampton, East Midlands Industrial Archaeology Conference


Thomson, R. (1978) ‘The Industrial Archaeology of Leather’, Leather 76, 189-193


Thomson, R. (1981a) ‘Tanning - Man’s First Manufacturing Process?’, Trans. Newcomen Society 53, 139-156


Thomson, R. (1981b) ‘Leather Manufacture in the Post-Medieval Period’, Post Medieval Archaeology 15, 161-175


Thomson, R. (1983) ‘The Nineteenth Century Revolution in the Leather Industries’ in Beswick, J.A. and Thomson, R. eds., Leather Manufacture Through the Ages, East Midlands Industrial Archaeology Conference, Northampton


Thomson, R. (1985) ‘Chrome Tanning in the Nineteenth Century’, Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists 69, 93-98


Thomson, R. (1986) ‘Chromgerbung im 19 Jahrhundert’, Leder 36, 190-196


Thomson, R. (1991a) ‘The English Leather Industry 1790-1990: the Case of Bevingtons of Bermondsey’, Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists and Chemists 75, 85-93


Thomson, R. (1991b) ‘A History of Leather Processing’ in Leather: Its Composition and Changes with Time, The Leather Conservation Centre, Northampton


Thomson, R. (1991c) ‘The History and Technology of Transport Leather Production’ in Conservation of Leather in Transport Collections, UKIC


Thomson, R. (1992a) ‘Leather for Clothing’ in Proceedings of Leathercraft Group Symposium, ICOM, London


Thomson, R. (1992b) ‘Leather and Society’ in Proceedings of First Waterer Commemorative Seminar


Thomson, R. (1996) ‘The Manufacture of Bookbinding Leathers in the Nineteenth Century. The Beginning of the Rot?’ in Preprints of the International Conference on Conservation and Restoration of Archive and Library Materials, Erice


Thomson, R. (1997a) ‘From Pottery to Skivertex: Alternatives to Leather’ in Preprints of the Third International Symposium, Conservation, a Changing Science, ARSAG, Paris


Thomson, R. (1997b) ‘When Did Chrome Tanning Start?’,  Leather Conservation News 13, 1-3


Thomson, R. (1998) 'Leather Working Processes' in Cameron, E. (ed) Leather and Fur, London, 1-9


Thomson, R. (2002) ‘Post Medieval Tanning and Problems Caused by Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Bureaucrats’ in Le Travail du Cuir de la Préhistoire à Nos Jours, Editions APDCA, Antibes


Thomson, R. (2003) ‘The Nineteenth Century Revolution in the Leather Industry and the Rise in Chrome Tanning’ in Mil Años de Trabajo del Cuero,  Litopress, Cordoba


Thomson, R. and Mould, Q. (eds.)(2011) Leather Tanneries: the Archaeological Evidence, London, Archetype [papers from the Archaeological Leather Group’s conference at Walsall Leather Museum in 2008, entitled “Have we got a tannery?”]


Turner, J. (2009) Cuir Bouilli Technique - An Historical Method of Hardening Leather Online article available here:





Welsh, Peter C. (1864) Tanning in the United States to 1850, Washington, Smithsonian Institution