Howdy Forum! I'm working on a science fair project with my boy and we've chosen to explain tanning(E-Z100)as our project. One of the requirements is that we show 3 different trials on our subject. I know some people believe that simple salting is all thats needed for preservation so thats #1. #2 will be actual tanning. I thought for #3 I'd use the oil that some believe is all you need. The product is something you can get from the store but I don't remember what it is. I believe it's used for shoes. I thought about getting into brain tanning but reconsidered thinking it might be to much for the general public. We will present how the leather can be used for mounts,clothing, and even shelter. Anybody have any other angles we might cover? And can anyone tell me who were the first people to actually tan hides for an actual purpose and what the dates might be. I'm thinking probobly the Native Americans. Any other tidbits that might spice up this project would be appreciated. Thanks crew! Peace- Jeff F.
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Neat's Foot Oil.....this is not an endorsement....LOL.
Tanning goes back thousands of years....The Romans tanned extensively for a number of centuries BCE. Vat tanning processes date back at least 5000 years B.C. to the ancient Assyrians, Phonecians, Egyptians and other Mediterrean cultures; and at least that long in Asia.
Prior to tanning by processes with which we are familiar, a method called "smoke" tanning existed. Folks assume that smoke tanning, a method by which hides were preserved by hanging over fire smoke, was probably discovered by accident. Historians also assume that vegetable tanning was probably discovered by ancients after finding preserved skins in pools of forest water which contained high tannin content....(Those historians assume a lot, huh?)
Another primative method of tanning was "formaldehyde tanning" where hides were hung over fires built with green foliage and shrubs which preserved skins by saturation of vapors from the "tanning" fires.
Among artifacts found in Egypt are numbers of fine leather goods, such as gloves, adornments, and other products which would indicate that their tanning procedures were capable of producing high quality leather product for use in manufacture of those items.
The Native American process of brain tanning was not unique to this continent, to the best of my knowledge. If one believes that the native Americans migrated to this continent via Beringea, then perhaps that tanning method is more than 10,000 years old. At least one author postulates that the method came about by way of hunting rites where the brain of an animal was rubbed onto the hide to impart it's spirit or something to the hide user.......Who knows?
Perhaps if Al Gore had been around then, he might have invented the internet long ago and we would all be much better off where knowledge of our ancestor's ways and means are concerned.
Neats foot! Thats what I was looking for. I figured you might have a little history layin around in yer archives and of course, correct. Thanx- Jeff F.
I didn't read the entire post at first, Jeff. I looked at it a bit later and then added the history portion. There used to be a web site maintained by the ALCA folks (The American Leather Chemists Association)which contained a lot of process histories and a great glossary of tanning terms and procedures. The site also had a forum where you could post questions such as yours to be answered by, I suppose, experts. I tried to access the site some time ago and it was temporarily down.
The best source for leathermaking data is a site maintained by the British Leathermakers Consortium.......don't recall the URL, but I have been led there several times during searches about vegetable tanning processes.
Glad I could help.
Genesis 3:21, God made skins to cover Adam and Eve. That means He must have been the one to invent brain tanning...how else could someone have ever figured out to use brains? Wow, tanning has been around a while.
Now the ladies are gonna kill me...gulp!
that you LIKE the ladies...Hmmm, I don't suppose it's our brains that you admire though...