History of Leatherworking: The World's First Burnishers

At Orion Calf, we believe that the world's finest leather belongs to the world's best leatherworkers, who are continuing time-honored traditions through their work. In fact, some of these methods and traditions may be standing an even longer test of time than we knew. 

Neanderthal Leather

In the years before and since August 2013, researchers have been studying leather-working tools they unearthed after more than 40,000 years. Found in the southwest of France, the tools resembled modern lissoirs in shape and functionality, suggesting that Neanderthals used the very same tools modern leatherworkers do to burnish hides. With the tips of the tools broken off, researchers conjectured that Neanderthals indeed depended on these burnishers, likely made from deer ribs, to craft leather into impressively sophisticated clothing.

The researchers later consulted with one of the world's most famous handbag brands and, amazingly, found that the company's leatherworkers immediately recognized the tools as similar to those they currently train with and use. 

While researchers continue to debate whether the invention and use of the bone lissoirs by both Neanderthals and humans was coincidental or intertwined, one thing is for certain: Neanderthals crafted their legacy in leather. Now it's time to leave yours.

Sources: Nature / The Conversation 

Image: Abri Peyrony and Pech-de-l’Azé I Projects