How did people make leather 100 years ago?

fez-1691608_640Karel, one of two main characters in my American Gold novel which takes place during 1911 – 1913, worked in the leather trade in the Czech Republic.
tannery-505200__340 Tanneries were not the most pleasant places to work because of the smelly materials and acids used in the process.

Other people in the area avoided getting too close, and towns sometimes required tanneries to be a required distance outside of town. Early zoning ordinances, perhaps?

I don’t know all the jobs my grandfather might have done. My mother told me that the job of scraping the flesh off animal skin was painstaking work. She said if the skin was not scraped clean, it would rot.

I only know that by his mid to late twenties, my grandfather called himself a “staker.” By the time a hide reached the staker, it was relatively clean and ready to be stretched. Stretching helped leather stay flexible.
You can find out more about the whole process during Edwardian times here.

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