tannery

Tanning is the ancient craft of transforming animal skins into durable leather. It was widely practiced in the southern mountains by both the Cherokee and early European settlers as part of their household self-sufficiency. The most common technique was vegetable tanning, which employs tannic acid leached from bark. This practice relied on abundant supplies of oak, hemlock and chestnut trees and was used to treat the hides of livestock, deer, and small mammals. Tanners used much of the leather they produced on their farms and sold the rest in the local community. Many small farmers supplemented their incomes by peeling bark and hauling it to nearby tanneries. A surviving specialty of this vanishing craft is the tanning of groundhog skins, which are prized as the best material for making banjo heads.

Multimedia:

Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:

[audio:http://digitalheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/tanning60Mx.mp3|titles=tanning60Mx]

Related Posts

  • LoggingLogging Industrial logging came to Appalachia with the railroad in the late 19th century. As timber supplies in the Northeast and the Great Lakes regions dwindled, National Lumber Corporation […]
  • Old Growth ForestsOld Growth Forests Old-Growth forests conjures up visions of the great forests that once covered most of eastern north America, and of towering trees undisturbed by logging and human settlement. They provide […]
  • SteppingStepping Stepping is a form of dance involving synchronized stomping, clapping, singing, and chanting. It was developed in the early 20th century by African-American fraternities and sororities. It […]
  • H. F. Robinson, 1979H. F. Robinson, 1979     Robinson Presented Heritage Award During Building Dedication At WCU Dr. H.F. Robinson, Chancellor of Western Carolina University, was presented the 1979 […]
  • WetlandsWetlands Southern Appalachian wetlands are gaining attention for the wealth of rare and unique life forms they support. In North Carolina alone, mountain bogs and fens provide habitats for nearly […]