English Bridle Leather (Vegetable Tanned)
Vegetable Tanning is the traditional way of making leather that had been actively applied in the 18-19 centuries unless the chemical industry took its prominent role in leather production. The most distinctive feature of that method is the usage of natural components such as oak barks, greases and waxes. Some production procedures are implemented by hand which require a lot of time and effort. That is why vegetable tanning is more expensive and time-consuming compared to the chrome-based method.
Historically, the name Bridle came from its initial application in equestrian harness. The peculiarity of such leather is its significant strength. That quality provided its wide spread in the production of military ammunition in some Western countries in 19th century. Later, the unique properties of Bridle Leather appreciated the producers of briefcases and bags, thanks to its ability to retain form and not to stretch for years.
Usually leather producer do not tend to reveal the exact technology of Bridle Leather finishing. However, it is not a secret that in the process there are a lot of natural components applied such as greases, oils and waxes. After tanning, leather is dyed in drums with natural ingredients that give smooth and deep colour. Then, leather is covered with the multitude of natural greases, tallows etc. on both flesh and grain sides and is then kept for some time. The last stage is finishing and coating with natural waxes. The colour of finished hides may slightly differ as it happens with any material that is processed by hand. All stages took several weeks to be implemented in total.
Peculiarity of Bridle Leather
The authentic property of English Bridle is its ability to acquire patina over time. On the other hand, it also gets scratched quite easily. The contemporary chemical industry solved that problem, but as a result, leather became more similar to plastic rather than to natural and live material. The idiom “gets old beautifully” is mostly used with respect to the leather of such vintage tanning which attains its unique face in time.