A. Lakin & Sons

If you’re a Chicago native you’re most likely familiar with the industrial corridor that’s bisected by Cortland Street.  You’ve either driven down it and honked at someone trying to get a glimpse of the foundry operation that is Finkl, or you’re the one that is coasting and being honked at.  The businesses on and around this street on gritty, old, and perfect.  Old brick buildings right next to corrugated steel siding and filled with people that work hard.  We’re neighbors to all these businesses, one of which is Lakin and Sons.

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Nick HorweenComment
Back to Bologna

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.

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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.

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Essex and Dublin

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.

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