Photos by Grant Legan.
Next week we'll be headed back to Bologna to attend Lineapelle. We go over every October to show what we've been working on over the past year. We'll be in Hall 22, at our agents booth (Brizzi Agenzie).
In the past we've been able to catch up with customers and friends alike. This year, we will sadly miss seeing our friend, the artisan, Stefano Bemer, who passed away earlier this year.
During the the first half of the 1940's our factory was busy doing what many factories in the U.S. were doing - supplying goods and materials for use by our troops. For us, that quite obviously meant leather. We supplied two main leather types during this time; Mechanical leather and Chromexcel. Mechanical leather is a specialized, dense, and extremely durable tannage utilized to make hydraulic and pneumatic seals and packings. C.W. Marsh is one of our oldest customers, and we supplied them (and other manufacturers) with leather that was used for many applications, including vehicles. While "leather is better," this industry has largely moved into the realm of synthetics.
Back in October, before we visited Lineapelle, we were able to make a quick stopover in Florence. We walked. A lot. For at least part of the day, we actually knew where we were going, and that was to visit the shops owned and operated by Stefano Bemer.
One of the challenges for us as tanners is to keep coming up with "new" leathers. When we're developing a leather it is usually because there is a customer that is asking for something specific. Typically, the resulting leather ends up being a variation of an existing leather that has been designed and tanned to meet certain aesthetic and performance characteristics. These demands change all the time and range widely - a leather needs to change to be waterproof, cementable, breathable, stronger, burnishable, softer, firmer, shinier, duller - the list goes on and the combinations are endless.