Leather is one of mankind’s oldest creations, and also one of their most inventive. Dating back thousands of years, leather has been used in every aspect of human culture, from clothing to shoes.
Our ancestors figured out a long time ago which animals produced what leather, and while most of today’s leather comes from cattle, there are some sources of leather that would surprise people.
These are animals that produce the world’s most popular leather.
1. Cattle Leather
This is by far the most popular type of leather in the world, and has been used for countless centuries. Today, there are over 1.4 billion herds of cattle across the globe, and while most of the animal is used for meat and other products, the production of leather has seen a steady increase over the last decade.
Cattle leather tends to be more durable, more tear resistance, and has a higher tensile strength than most others, and because of the amount one cow can produce; it’s the main source of global leather.
2. Deerskin Leather
Before we had access to cattle farms, most hunters would kill and skin the thousands of deer that dotted the landscape. It’s soft and supple leather, which makes it perfect for clothing and accessories like globes, but because it’s so thin, it’s not quite as durable as cattle leather.
Today’s deerskin leather is much more expensive, and can be difficult to get hold of. And while there’s been some interest in other leathers, like those from horses, it tends to be too thin, and modern horses are almost entirely used for racing and horse betting.
3. Fish Leather
Surprisingly, fish skin makes some of the most aesthetically distinct leather on the market. Salmon is a particularly popular choice, and the leather produced from salmon can come in a range of colours, from silver to bright red. The leather also boasts a unique patter where the scales once sat.
They are often glazed to give the final produced a shiny appearance.
4. Crocodile Leather
Hunting alligators and crocodiles in the past was a difficult task, and it’s one of the reasons that their leather wasn’t as widespread as others. But with modern crocodile farms, it’s much easier to get a hold of the leathers they produce, although they still tend to be more expensive than their more common counterparts.
The leather produced from crocodiles is usually taken from their softer bellies and sides, as the tougher skin on the back is too rough to make high quality leather.
5. Pig Leather
Pigs are another popular choice when it comes to leather, and pig skin was used to make the very first rudimentary footballs almost 200 years ago, although it’s commonly used today for garments, household items, and journal covers.
It’s a durable yet thin leather, which is why it can be found on smaller items, like purses. Unlike the leather from cattle, pigskin has a rougher quality and is not suited for a number of products, but remains an extremely popular choice.