History of Tanning

In ancient history, tanning was considered a noxious trade and relegated to the outskirts of town, amongst the poor. The ancients used leather for water skins, bags, harnesses, boats, armor, quivers, scabbards, boots, and sandals. Around 2500 BC, the Sumerians began using leather, affixed by copper studs, on chariot wheels. Tanners would take an animal skin and soak it in water. Then they would pound and scour the skin to remove flesh and fat. Next, either they soaked the skin in urine to loosen hair fibers or they let the skin putrefy for several months, after which they dipped the skin in a salt solution. After the hair fibers were loosened, the tanners would scrape them off with a knife. Once the hair was removed, tanners would bate the material by pounding dung into the skin or soaking the skin in a solution of animal brains. They would also take cedar oil, alum, or tannin and stretch the skin as it lost moisture and absorbed the tanning agent. Leftover leather would be turned into glue. Tanners would place scraps of hides in a vat of water and let them deteriorate for months. The mixture would then be placed over a fire to boil off the water to produce hide glue.

My Personal Story

I was not born into a nudist family and therefore I was taught that one should not go around without their clothes on. Being nude in front of others was acceptable only in certain situations (Doctor's office, locker rooms, school showers, or other places where changing clothing was acceptable) and only for the short time it was required. One just did not walk around nude in mixed company.

As a youngster I went to a summer camp that was run by my Father and once a week we had "Scrub". Normally we wore out bathing suits when we swam in the lake, but on "Scrub Day" we took soap to the lake and left our suits in the cabins. As this is the only way we could really wash, and because it was an all boys' camp, the required nudity was acceptable. Because I could not swim I did not like going to the lake at all. As far as I was concerned being being nude with the other boys was not the problem being at the lake was.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post a comment.