That Which Can Eternal Lie
On the Operations of a Tannery
From Husbandry and Trade Improv’d by John Houghton, F.R.S.
[The tanner] takes the hide of a steer, cow, or an ox that is thin when tan’d, and lays it in water ‘till throughly soak’d; then he takes it out and scores it (rubs it over) with figg (chamber-lie) on the grain or hair-side two or three times, then shaves it on the fleshy-side to be thick or thin, according as the shoe-maker’s use requires; then ‘tis stuffed (oiled) over on the fleshy-side with a cloth dipt in oil, and so hung out to dry: when so, ‘tis beaten on a peg block on the grain or fleshy-side, ‘till ‘tis every where soft; then all the roughness of the fleshy-side is again whited over (shaven off) and rubb’d very well with their tools, and so fitted for the shoe-maker. This is russet leather
But to make it black-leather, ‘tis to be sure scored three times, and rubb’d over on the grain side with water wherein copperas has been infused, which makes it look black; and ‘tis well known that oak leaves, cups, or bark will make mineral waters look so. There is more pains taken about this black-leather than the other, because it must look shining.