The leather industry is one of the oldest industries in the world and has existed for thousands of years. The main reason for this is the toughness, resistance, abundance and versatility of an age-old product. Apart from their regular uses in apparel, footwear and accessories, leather has also been used for other applications (some which will seriously blow your mind).
Hence, we have compiled a listicle of 10 amazing facts about leather that might just surprise you a little :
1) The leather industry generates more than 53.2 Billion US$ worldwide annually
Just to put that in perspective, this figure is more than the overall value of commodities such as rubber, cotton, coffee, tea and sugar combined. You will know why, once you read fact number 4. Of this, India contributed 1.42 billion US$ in trade and export.
Let’s just let that sink in for a while.
2) Leather was once used as a wallpaper
We cannot really imagine what leather on a wall would have looked like or felt like but we sure know that this could have been possible. The animal-hide product has been recognized as a symbol of quality, status and chic for millennia.
Howeve, for now we’ll just stick with paint, thanks !
3) Leather changes its texture based on the environment
As leather contains pores, it changes in texture and appearance depending on what environment it is in. In a fairly humid environment, leather becomes softer as it soaks up the moisture that’s in the air so therefore, a dry environment makes the leather much tougher. It also lasts longer if it is kept away from water for a longer duration
So it’s always a good idea to keep your leather items in a suitable environment. Here are some tips to care for the leather in your car.
4) An average person is wearing four articles made of leather everyday
Think about it. When people get ready for work every morning, they wear their clothes, maybe put on a belt (or not), wear their shoes, put on their watch strap and of course carry their wallet or a purse which 8/10 times is made out of leather. This is the single most used commodity on the market, in the world.
5) White Leather is the most difficult to produce
Leather in general is a very coarse and hard material. But this characteristic also has a downside to it as not all hides are easy to dye. Especially in case of white leather as the the dye is prone to cracking and does not set.
Don’t be surprised if you walk into a leather store and wonder why the white products are more expensive than their differently coloured counterparts
6) Salmon leather is actually a thing
Generations of Siberians and scandinavians have been using Salmon leather for centuries. Having originated in Siberia, the ancient art of manufacturing Salmon leather has always been around and is more eco-friendly because of the use of the vegetable tanning method. However Salmon leather never gained in popularity due to the dwindling numbers of wild Salmon in certain areas of the world and the wide availability of animal skin.
However, some countries like Iceland and Norway carry out the process intensively and sustainably.
7) Golfers used leather golf balls in the 19th century
Golf has been around for quite some time and the nobles who played the sport got fed up with using wooden balls because of the damage they would receive every time a ball was struck. Wooden golf balls were replaced by leather balls filled with feathers inside.
It didn’t stay around for very long but sure did make for a really classy putt.
8) Leather has Insane physical properties that make them ideal for upholstery
If you have always been wondering why people always prefer leather seats, then there are reasons apart from just the cosmetic aesthetic. This highly versatile material has natural insulation properties, resistance to tear, abrasion and puncture and the permeability to water vapour. Honestly, leather furniture and seats are still kind of irreplaceable.
Don’t you think so ?
9) Leather was used by sailors in sailboats and ships for ages
Among other things leather also has excellent air retention properties. So much so that sailors preferred using them on their sailboats in medieval times. The Veneti were seafaring people of Celtic descent who were the most famous among these. The leather sails were particularly useful for the ruggedness and tensile strength while navigating rough Atlantic waters.
10) Leather is a naturally renewable resource
Leather has been around for centuries and is made from the skins of deceased animals without the need for the use of expensive synthetic materials. It has always been eco-friendly and that is something that will never change especially with the advent of biodegradable leather in the 21st century.
It’s a win-win!