Film ID:
YFA 5304



Visitor Tabs


This is a film made by the UTF (United Tanners Federation?), to promote the sale of leather goods.  It highlights the desirability of leather and its many uses as well as documents each stage of the process a leather hide goes through in a tannery before it is ready to be made into goods.

Intertitle – Leather has been used from time immemorial for making footwear.  To-day its other uses are innumerable, as for example, in leather upholstery, bags and trunks, and clothing.  The leather with which your car and armchair are upholstered was once browsing peacefully beside a stream.

Cows are shown grazing in a field, with geese going by on a river.

Intertitle – Hides arrive at the tannery and are graded according to quality.

A group of workmen are sorting out hides into different piles.

Intertitle – They are soaked in water for cleaning and then immersed in a solution of lime to loosen the hair.

The hides are dragged into the tanks using long poles with hooks, and then pulled out.

Intertitle – The hair is now removed by means of an “unhairing machine” with a travelling rotary blade passing over the surface. Any hair left on the hide is removed by hand.

The hides are thrown into the machine, where they are scrapped, and then get further scrapped by hand using a curved blade.

Intertitle – Next the “fleshing machine” removes surplus flesh from the inner side of the hide.

This is shown being done.

Intertitle – Hand trimming, selecting and weighing.

Men trim off the edges of the hides using wide blade knives.

Intertitle – The hide, being too thick for upholstery leather, is split into two layers.  It passes through a “splitting machine” which has an endless band knife . . .

The hide is fed into the machine.

Intertitle – . . . and emerges in two separate layers.  It is the best part of the hide, the upper or outer layer, known as the “grain” which is used for upholstery, while the lower layer is known as the “flesh”, and is tanned separately for other purposes.

The hide is pulled out of the machine.

Intertitle – The tanning process now begins with the immersion of the “grains” into pits containing solutions of tan liquors.

Hides are pulled over to the pits.

Intertitle – They pass through many different pits until the process of tanning is complete.

The hides, attached to poles, are pulled from one pit to another.

Intertitle – In the drying sheds.  Here is the end of the tanners’ work in producing “rough split hides”.  They are “staked” by means of a circular knife to make them pliable before being sent to another factory for “finishing”.

The hides are taken by trolley to the drying shed and hung up and scrubbed down to get surplus water off.  They are then lowered in a bundle onto a flat wagon.

Intertitle – The hides are “shaved” to ensure an exact uniform thickness . . .

A line of men, each with a separate machine, passes a hide through the machine. 

Intertitle –  … and then put into rotating “fat-liquoring” drums for impregnating with oils preparatory to being coloured and finished.

One man throws hides into a drum while another pulls them out.

Intertitle – The “setting machine” squeezes out the surplus moisture, and smooths out the hide.

Two men put the hides through the roller, like a giant mangle.

Intertitle – Stretching on frames to re-acquire their natural shape . . . the hides are then placed into a kiln to dry.

The hides are laid out on frames to which they are tied and stretched.  The frames are then taken off and lined up in an upright position.  

Intertitle – The hide is now ready to receive any shade of colour, which is applied by means of a spray gun, or by hand.

The hides are sprayed inside cubicles, while others are laid out flat and covered by hand. 

Intertitle – Embossing.  By the use of this machine any required fancy design can be printed on the surface of the leather.

A hide is laid flat on a plate which is then raised up in the machine and is printed on.

Intertitle – Antique effect on leather.  This effect is obtained by applying a different colour to the embossed grain of the hide and then rubbing off the surface, leaving the secondary colour in the crevices.

Two men emboss a hide as it is laid out flat.

Intertitle – Passing through the “graining machine” to soften and final finishing by hand.  The leather is now ready for use.

A leather hide is placed into a machine which passes it through two moving plates.  The hide is then continually rolled by hand on a bench. 

Intertitle – Leather has a multitude of uses to-day.  Here is a small selection from a well-known leather goods’ manufacturer.

A sample of leather goods is on display, including bags, suitcases and a rugby ball.

Intertitle – No upholstery material wears so well as leather. This chair was used by Dr Johnson 160 years ago.  Note the excellent condition of the original leather.

The chair is shown.

Intertitle – Leather upholstered furniture is unsurpassed for comfort, hygiene, and durability, yet distinctive in appearance.

A woman sits reading a book on an armchair in a living room with a three piece leather suite. She gets up, goes to a mirror and puts on a hat, before collecting her leather gloves and handbag.

Intertitle – And what is more “chic” than leather clothing?

She emerges from her old country house, followed by the chauffeur, carrying a leather bag.

Intertitle – Off for the week-end.  Note how the luxurious appearance of the car is enhanced by its leather upholstery.

She gets into her car, fully displaying its interior, and drives off.

Intertitle – Leathers for upholstery and other purposes can be produced in any required design or colour.

A selection of leathers is shown.

Intertitle – Before the age of motors the dignity of the road was graced by the “four-in-hand”, leather harness contributing considerably to its smartness.

A coach pulled by four horses passes by.

Intertitle – Leather luggage is strong and durable, and has a distinctive appearance which appeals to the discriminating traveller.

A porter loads a train carriage with several leather cases and the train pulls out of the station.

Intertitle – Leather has already stood the test of ages, while its increasing uses have made it more popular than ever to-day.  After all, there’s nothing like leather.

The film ends with a man in his back yard beating a boy over the bottom with a leather shoe.