History of Tanning CHROME TANNING VEGETABLE TANNING OTHER TECHNIQUES
The history of tanning goes back to prehistoric times; traces have been found in the ancient Sumerian civilization as far back as 7000 BC. Hunter-gatherers realized that animal skins could be used to protect them from harsh weather and from the cold, but also as a means of camouflaging themselves while hunting. They soon realized that skin (being an organic material composed of proteins) tends to rot and stink after a few days, and that these unpleasantries could be avoided by exposing the skin to a campfire or soaking it in water with leaves and tree branches. This process also made the skin more durable. These two techniques are the ancestors of tanning with aldehydes and vegetable tanning with tannins: the first being smoke from fresh wood and the second by using all sorts of plants. A third technique discovered soon after was that of liming: if the skins were soaked in water with firestones (which had succumbed to liming by the heat of the fire) they would lose their hair or fur much easier and therefore could be used in many different ways. Alums were also used (namely aluminum), though only a limited amount of skins were tanned this way because, while having a pleasant white color, they were not water resistant.
Even today these four methodologies, though much more refined, are at the base of modern tanning. Water, lime, tannins and plant aldehydes remained man's favorite techniques for centuries with minimum variations in processing; still taking many months and a lot of manual labor.
It was only from the second half of the 1800s that tanning became involved in a real industrial revolution. The invention of the drum radically changed the speed and dexterity of manufacturing processes. A drum is a device composed of a cylinder which spins on its own axis; skins were inserted with water and necessary chemicals. The drum was then made to spin at differing speeds and for different lengths of time. The rotation by mechanical action allowed the chemicals to penetrate deep into the skins like never before, speeding up the tanning process and improving the quality of the finished product. And like that, tanning went from an exclusively artisan production to an industrial one.
The discovery of tanning with chrome at the turn of the 20th century gained immediate popularity and became widespread in no time. It was found that the trivalent chromium compounds had particular tanning properties: they bind to the skin in a stable way preventing any possibility of rotting. Chrome tanning only takes a few hours, not days. It is also an extremely versatile technique as it can be used on almost any type of leather (except shoe soles), it's inexpensive and durable. The majority of these products (85-90%) tanned worldwide are tanned using chrome.
Other tanning techniques have since come about in recent years; one worth mentioning is Nuti White Leather Tanning as it creates a flexible, ecological and allergy-free product with all of the positive characteristics of chrome-tanned leathers.
Advancements and breakthroughs in chemistry and laser technology have perfected the tanning process in every aspect, which produces today, as thousands of years before, one of the most essential materials to mankind.
Nuti Ivo Group is able to guarantee that Nuti White Leather tanning is effectively a processing system that produces leathers 100% free of heavy metals (including Chrome). Furthermore, all "Nuti White Leather" leather products are guaranteed 100% metal-free at the termination of all of the phases of refinishing and coloring.