19th c. “Recycled” Leather

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Charles Tomas Jacobi The Printers’ Handbook of Trade Recipes, Hints & Suggestions (London: Chiswick Press, 1891), 256.

Quite possibly too good to be true, but nevertheless a delicious conceit: “fashionable people” are unknowingly hanging reconstituted stinky old boots and shoes on their walls to imagine themselves “going away back to mediaeval times”. Note this embossed leather is also sold to carriage-top makers and bookbinders.  Because this type of leather is actually made of leather, it can be very difficult, sometimes, to tell it from the real thing, or an artificially grained split.

3 Replies to “19th c. “Recycled” Leather”

  1. I enjoyed this post! One of my husband’s stinky old leather boots is currently part of a bookbinding display at the University of Michigan. (It was the leather in that paring-knife photo I gave you at the GBW Standards conference.) Tawn O’Connor

  2. Who knows. A lot of these Victorian Parlor Bibles have had such incredible pressure applied when they were made it is sometimes even difficult to figure out what is embossed or genuine grain!

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