A Little History of Leather
Ever since the primitive man first used it to protect his body from the harsh winters of Ice Age to this day - leather has come off a long ways. There had been quite a few good reasons behind this everlasting bond between the human and leather. Leather looks great, feels great and lasts for forever...well, almost.
When our ancestors started using leather, it was nothing but the leftover skin of the hunted animals which they primarily killed for food. They would clean this skin and start wearing it in whatever possible form they felt comfortable in. They even used it as footwear to protect their feet. But now the problem with this skin was that over a period of time this skin would start decaying. With their limited knowledge and experience, they had no idea how to preserve these hides.
As centuries passed it was noticed that several things could slow down the decay of leather. If the skins were stretched out and allowed to dry in the sun, it made them stiff and hard and they lasted much longer. Various oily substances were then rubbed into the skins to soften them. As time passed, it was eventually discovered that the bark of certain trees contained "tannin" or tannic acid which could be used to convert raw skins into what we recognize today as leather.
Types of Leather
In strict forms, only sheepskin was referred to as "Napa." However, recently the word "Napa" has become a synonymous to referring a leather as "soft leather". Now this term covers all leathers with a smooth and soft surface, which come from the outer skin (hair side) of the animal. Nappa consists of following categories:
Pure Aniline Leather: Leather tanned and aniline dyed with no finished coat.
Full Aniline Leather: Tanned, aniline dyed and finished with a transparent seal coat.
Aniline Pus Leather: Tanned, aniline dyed and finished with a seal coat, color base and top coat.
Spray-Finished/Pigmented Leather: Leather sprayed with a seal coat, colored base and top coat for a uniform finish, must be buffed and embossed.
These are actually aniline leathers where the surface has been brushed and polished, and have created a velvet like texture with lush appearance. Like velvet, the textured surface will show a difference in shading when you run your hand over it. Nubuck leather should not be confused with suede or reversed leather.