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What Is... Hermann Oak Leather?

Many people have owned, used, and ridden on Hermann Oak Leather for years. They have heard the phrase "Hermann Oak Leather" used to describe only the finest of leather products. Yet, in spite of being very familiar with Hermann Oak Leather, many people are unclear as to what it actually is.

First Of All, What Is Leather?

Leather is the hide of an animal that has been chemically altered by a process known as tanning. By tanning animal hide, the hide becomes far more durable, long lasting, resistant to wear and rot, softer, and more pliable.

So, Hermann Oak Leather Is...

Hermann Oak Leather is leather tanned by the Hermann Oak Leather company in St. Louis, Missouri. The Hermann Oak Leather company has been making leather since 1881 when Louis Charles Hermann started the business to accommodate the local harness trade and to supply wagon loads of settlers on their way West.

Since 1881 the Hermann Oak Leather company has earned the reputation of being the premier leather manufacturer in the United States. Their specialty is vegetable tanning, a type of tanning used to make leather for many uses, including saddle making. Hermann Oak Leather can be found in certain saddles made by such prestigious saddle makers as Circle Y, Billy Cook, and more.


Fun Things To Know

There are a wide variety of tanning methods to convert animal hide into leather. Two commonly used methods of tanning, vegetable tanning and chrome tanning, are compared below.

Vegetable Tanning

Vegetable tanning is a process that uses "tannin" to change hide into leather. Tannin is derived from natural products found in plants. Vegetable tanning produces a leather that is:

  • Firm
  • Strong when thick
  • Well suited to carving or molding
  • Non-irritating to skin
  • Non-corrosive to metal

Vegetable tanned leather is one of the more expensive leathers and is frequently found in products such as saddles, shoe soles, and gun leather.

Chrome Tanning

Chrome tanning is a method of tanning that uses chromium sulfate and other compounds to tan the leather. Chrome tanning produces a leather that is:

  • Soft and pliable
  • Strong when thin

Chrome tanned leather is often less expensive than vegetable tanned leather because the tanning process is considerably shorter. Chrome tanned leather is frequently used in items such as clothes, upholstery, gloves, and chaps.


Learn More

You can learn more about Hermann Oak Leather by visiting their website at www.hermannoakleather.com.

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