A glossary of terms that we sometimes use or find particularly helpful
This term is used to distinguish the embossed alligator grain which is put on various types of leather, such as calf, sheep, or side upper, from the genuine reptilian leather. Terms such as “alligator calf” are not permitted by the Federal Trade Commission.
Term applied to vegetable-tanned sheep or lambskins, uncolored.
Term used to distinguish leather going into waist belts from Leather Belting, employed for transmission of power in machinery, Belt leather is usually considered a subclass of fancy leather. It is made of various materials, of which cattlehide is the commonest for men’s belts. Sheep and goat skins are also used for women’s belts. Often specially treated on the flesh side to obviate a lining.
For manufacture of leather belts for transmitting power in machinery. Made from the butts of high-grade cattle hides.
Sides or skins finished by folding with grain side in and rubbing the surface together under pressure of a cork-surfaced instrument known as o hand-board. Machinery is now also used. The effect is sometimes imitated by embossing. Also called “box” or “willow” finish.
Bookbinding leathers are made of skivers, cattlehide buffings and splits, cowhide, sheepskin, goatskin, calfskin and sealskin.
General term applied to leather from deer and elk skins; used for shoes and gloves, and to some extent in clothing. Leather finished from the split or under cut of deerskin must be described as “split buckskin”. Only the outer cut of the skin from which the surface grain has been removed may be correctly defined as “genuine buckskin.
Term to describe cattle side-upper shoe leather, with grain surface buffed to simulate genuine buckskin. Some- times designated by proprietary trode nomes, such as “Nubuck,” “Rybuck,” etc.
Leather tanned from domesticated land and water buffalo of the Far East (not the American bison).
A very light cut of grain portion (about one-half), token from the surface of cattlehide. Usually produced in the manufacture of upholstery leather and used for bookbinding and fancy leather goods. Also an operation to produce a fine nap on leather by the action of an emery wheel.
Leather made from the skins of the young of cattle.
Term commonly applied to all glove ‘end garment leather mode from sheepskins, with natural grain retained. Should be correctly confined to leather from South African hair sheep. Genuine capeskin from South Africa is a fight, flexible, fine grain, durable leather, generally superior to wool sheepskins of the same or other districts. When used to designate other than the South African cape skins it should be qualified as “Domestic Capeskin”, “Spanish Copeskin”, etc. should never be applied to skiver.
Term covering leathers mode from hides of cows, steers, bulls and kipskins; sometimes includes colf- skins.
A soft leather originally made from the skins of the Alpine antelope, or chamois, but ot the present time from the fleshers or under-split of sheepskins, oil-dressed, suede finished, principally used for cleaning and polishing pur- poses and for gloves and garments.
While originally the name of an animal, the name has been used to include certain finishes or tanning processes and is applied to oil-tanned, suede-finished sheep skins or fleshers.
A tanning material made from the wood of the chestnut tree and used in tanning heavy leathers such as sole, belting and harness.
At the present time chrome is the ruling method of tanning with a mineral agent. The processes used differ somewhat but all employ one or more salts of the metal chromium, principally chrome sulfate and bichromate of potash or soda. This process is used for tanning practically all the shoe upper leather made in this country, such as kid, calf and side upper.
Name covers material for leather coats, hats and breeches. Leather coats are made chiefly of sheepskins, tanned either with or without the wool. Short-wooled skins are known as “’shearlings.’’ Clothing leather includes Jerkin Leather made of sheepskins, wholly or partly vegetable- tanned, which was largely manufactured during World War I for sleeveless leather coats for soldiers. The finer sheepskin garment leathers, both suede and grain, are tanned with chrome, alum, or a combination of the two. Cottlehides and horsehides are also used for clothing leather, especially for heavier garments worn by out-of-door workers for protection against cold winds. Buckskin is often used for riding breeches.
Tonnage of two or more agents, such as chrome and vegetable.
Name originally came from the city of Cordoba, Spain, noted for its fine leather manufacture during Arab civilization. Now is generally applied to leather from the shell of horse-butts, used for shoe uppers and puttees, distinguished for its non-porosity and long-wearing qualities. Considered the finest shoe leather.
Term specifically applied to leather made from hides of cows, although it is sometimes loosely used to designate any leather tanned from hides of animals of the bovine species.
The rubbing off of coloring or finishing materials from leather on to other materials.
Genuine suedes, finished on the flesh side, from which the grain has subsequently been removed by splitting or abrading, The distinction between a flesher and a degrained is the difference between splitting before and after tanning.
Trade term applied to white sheep and lambskins, generally fleshers, tanned by the formaldehyde and alum process, giving a soft-finished, supple leather; produced in a variety of shades but commonly in white. Called French, English or American doeskin according to country of manufacture and the tonnage. Real doeskin is rarely used.
A purely trade term for cattlehide shoe leather of a special tannage and finish. Genuine elk leather is designated by the term “buckskin”. “Smoked elk” or “elk side” leather is well known in the leather trade as cattlehide shoe leather, and should be qualified as “elk-finished cowhide”, “elk-finished kip”, etc.
Finished by stomping designs on hides or skins with etched, engraved or electrotyped plates or rollers. Used extensively on fancy pocketbook leather, upholstery and bag leathers and splits and also on shoe-upper leather. These designs may be an imitation of the natural or conventionalized grain of skins of different animals as well as of an artificial nature.
Term used to describe a light-weight leather generally used for facing seams, and binding the edges of shoe uppers. Also applied to light weight smooth calf and lamb, and skivers, of which the inner surfaces of billfolds and wallets are frequently mode.
Term used to describe leathers, made from hides and skins of all kinds, which gain commercial importance and value primarily because of grain or distinctive or unusual finish, whether natural or the result of processing. Such processing may be graining, printing, embossing, ornamenting including finishing in gold, silver, aluminum or like effects), or may be any other operation affecting or enhancing the value of leather through the production of a grain or distinctive or unusual finish thereon.
Very heavy, firm and dense vegetable-tanned sole leather, used by shoe repairers.
Term used to describe suede-finished flesh side or under-cut of sheepskin, split before tanning. See “chamois.”
A method of tanning by using a formalin solution in the manufacture of white leathers and washable glove leathers.
As name implies, the original “French Kid” was made in France and since it was a distinctive finish, the term in time was applied to a special class of leather made in other countries. Today it means leather tanned from kidskin by an alum or vegetable process. In the glove trade it is usually called “Real Kid,
Term applied to the outer surface or grain portion of a hide from which nothing has been removed but the hair. Typically reserved for the highest-quality hides.
(1) the leather going into utilitarian or work-gloves and made of a variety of hides and skins, of which the most important are horsehides, cattlehides, calfskins, sheepskins and pigskins; and (2) the leather going into dress gloves, including those for street, riding, driving and sports wear. The latter is tanned from deer, pig, goat, kid end Mocho skins.
Term commonly applied to of! glove leather made from sheepskins, with natural grain retained. Should be correctly continued to leather from South African hair sheep.
A leather finished with grain surface intact, not removed as in the cose of buckskin.
Term commonly applied to chrome-tanned grain glove leathers from goot or lambskins of wool or hair types. This is an instance of the public deceiving itself as the name clings to the product merely in popular use and is never used by manufacturers except for stock actually made of immature goatskins, In the glove industry goatskin leather is generally referred to as “real kid”.
Name given to grain sheep or lambskin glove leather, made with a chrome, alum or combination tannage, and drum-colored. Made from domestic, New Zealand or South American sheepskins.
Pigskin leather as used in the glove trade is obtained from the skins of carpinchos and peccaries, and is chrome tanned. Its principal characteristics are that it is tough and durable and suitable for dress gloves, driving and other sport gloves. A small quantity of this leather is formaldehyde tanned for white dress gloves, The skin often shows scars and scratches received during the life of these wild animals. Domestic pigskin is a tight-fibred skin suitable only for work gloves.
Term to indicate the outer or hair side of hide or skin in cases where it is split into two or more thicknesses, or to unsplit skins which are finished on the grain side.
Any leather on which the original, natural grain, through any method, process or manipulation, has been changed or altered to any degree.
A self-explanatory term sometimes so defined as to include collar and saddlery leathers. Harness leather, including the related items mentioned, is practically all made of cattlehides, vegetable-tanned, except for a considerable item of pigskin used for making saddle seats.
Leather, usually sheepskin or calfskin, used for sweatbands in hats.
When used to describe tanned leather, it refers to a pelt from one of the larger animals ‘cattle, horse, etc.) in its entirety, containing the whole superficial area of the covering of the animal from which it was taken.
Purified, shredded raw hide used as a reagent in the determination of tannin vegetable tanning materials.
This term designates leather made from the hide of either horse or colt.
A collective term sometimes used for the cattlehide leathers, vegetable, chrome or combination tannages, special stuffing being provided, employed in pump valves, as piston packing, and so forth.
Materials so made and finished as to resemble leather. Included are coated fabrics, rubber and rubber compositions, and plastic materials, Term connoting genuine leather should not be used in trade names, as for example “plastic calf”, “plastic leather”, “compoleather”, “leather lyke” or “leatherette”.
In general trade and popular usage it has come to refer to shoe upper leather tanned from either gost or kid skins and to glove leather tanned from goat and lambskins, See “Glove Leather” and “French Kid.”
Skin from an animal of bovine species in size between a calf and motured cow, weighing in green-salted cast iron from 16 to 25 pounds. This term includes skins from calves which have grown larger than the size usually slaughtered for veal, and from certain breeds of undersized cattle which may have reached maturity. The term is also used to designate a pack of 30 finished chamois skins.
A collective term for many types of leather used in connection with machinery, textile equipment, and other purposes which are more or less indicated by the terms. Such specialty leathers are explained more definitely under the specific designations or uses.
Term applied to the distinctive grain or vegetable-tanned fancy goatskin, brought up by boarding or raining, to which the name is properly restricted. The name originally indicated leather from Morocco, later was applied to all goatskin leather. Its application to any but fancy goatskin is incorrect, but has been so commonly used in the post thot it has become necessary to use the word “genuine” to define the true leather. As o commercial classification “Morocco Grain” is applied to embossed imitations of the natural goot grain ‘on other kinds of leather,
Leather tanned from the bork of the ak tree, although the term is often applied to leather tanned with oak extract in combination with other types of tanning materials.
The process of tanning with animal oils, which is used in the manufacture of certain soft leathers, particularly chamois and certain kinds of buckskin. Fish oils are generally used.
Term used to indicate weight or substance of certain kinds of leather ‘such as upholstery and bag and case leather’. In theory it is based upon the assumption that one square foot of leather will weigh a certain number of ounces and will uniformly be of a certain thickness; hence, a three-ounce leather theoretically would be one square foot of leather which would weigh three ounces. In practice, this varies because of the specific gravity of various tanning materials used and for that reason a splitter’s gauge has been adopted which controls the commercial thickness of leather when sold by the square foot. An ounce is equivalent to 1/64th (.0156) inch in thickness.
A popular term which has passed into trode usage as a name for the finish produced by covering the surface of leather with successive coats of doub and varnish, each of which is carefully dried. The name is often loosely applied to any leather with o varnish finish, but the best usage of the trade restricts it principally to shoe leather, leaving the terms “enameled” and “japanned” to describe fancy and upholstery leathers produced by the same or closely similar processes. In the shoe trade the bulk of patent leather used is made from cattlehides (known os “patent sides”) of kips, although horse~ hides and coltskins (known os “patent colt”), kidskins and calfskins are also used.
Leather tanned from pig and hog skins and used for numerous purposes. Pigskin glove leather is not tanned from domesticated pigs. See “Glove Leather”.
This is the usual American name, which has spread largely to other English-speaking countries, for cattlehide that has been dehaired and limed, often stuffed with oil or grease, and has sometimes undergone other preparatory processes, but has not been tanned, Rawhide is used principally for mechanical purposes: for belt lacings and pins. loom pickers, gaskets, pinions, gears, and also trunk binding, luggage, etc. Some rawhide is tanned with hair left on.
Some as “combination-tanned”.
Term to describe sheepskins, full substance, not split. Formerly meant sumac-tanned sheepskins as distinct from “Bosil,”” which was vegetable-tanned,
A pebbled pattern embossed usually on cottle- hide or calf leather made to resemble the heavy leather with @ coarse grain which originated in Scotland.
Genuine sharkskin leather is made from the top grain of hides of certain species of sharks and is used princi- polly in shoes, belts, wrist-watch straps, luggage, fine leather goods and for industrial purposes. It has varying, natural grain markings, or fine, smooth mesh-like grain similar to pinseal. The term “sharkskin leather should not be applied to other leathers, such as horse butts, embossed with a shark grain.
This term is self-explanatory and includes a large variety of leathers. Includes (1) Sole Leather, made from cattlehides and to a smaller extent from horsehides and buffalo hides, which covers both the superior grades, used for outer soles of shoes and the lighter grades and offal (heads, shoulders and bellies), used to a greater or less extent for heels, insoles, toecaps, counters, etc.; (2) Upper Leather. made principally from calfskins, goatskins, cattlehides, horsehides and other classes of animal skins, going into shoe uppers; and (3) miscellaneous shoe leathers, including welting, lining stock, tongue stock, facing stock, etc.
Leather made from the hides of steers, usually a heavy leather for soles, belting, etc., although the term is sometimes used to cover any cattlehide leather, especially in the fancy leather goods trade. The term has been used also to designate an embossed grain with a two-tone finish used for personal leather goods.
A finish produced by running the surface of leather on a carborundum or emery wheel to separate the fibers in order to give leather a nap. The grain of leather may be suede-finished but the process is often applied to the flesh surface, The term “suede” is usually applied to chrome or alum-tanned leather while “ooze” is applied to vegetable tanned suede. The term “suede” when used alone refers to leather only. The term denotes a finish, not a type of leather.
A general term for leather used in traveling bags and suitcases, It does not include the light leathers employed for women’s handbags. The staple material for bag and case leather at present is leather made from the hides of animals of the bovine species, but heavy goatskins are also used.
A general term for leathers used for furniture, airplanes, buses and automobiles. The staple row material in this country consists of spread cattlehides, split at least once and in many cases two or three times. The top or grain cuts go into the higher grades, and the splits into the cheaper.
A generic term to cover the process of making leather by the use of tannins obtained from barks, woods or other parts of plants and trees, as distinguished from “mineral tannages”.