The cover of this issue featured various basic materials by saluting the leather industry and the many manufacturers who made leather products.
The fact that leather is vital to our ease of living is confirmed by a glance at our well-shod feet. Shoes may seem commonplace to us today, but imagine life without them!
How joyful was the discovery, by one of a tribe of ancient men, that the skin of an animal wrapped around his foot would give protection and comfort? With that ingenious device, civilization's progress on foot was limitless.
When we think of leather, we usually visualize cowboys and cattle in the romantic setting of the West. Actually, leather spans all the continents and oceans. Almost every country, with animals both familiar and strange, contributes to the raw materials of the leather industry.
The tanning industry has grown to such importance that hides and skins have become a valuable world commodity. Tanning processes are constantly being improved by modern research and methods, and each year finds a greater variety of strong, flexible leathers are available for manufacturers.
Leather as a medium to create clothing dates back to CroMagnon man some 50,000 years ago.
Around that time, early humans began to migrate from relatively warm regions of the earth to the more northerly and colder parts of the northern hemisphere. Although prehistoric people learned that animal skins could be used to keep warm, they would have encountered difficulties in using untreated skins: when dried, animal skins get stiff.
Among the many discoveries made by our ancient ancestors, the preservation (tanning) and processing of animal skins was one of the most important to their survival. They did this through a variety of means, such as boiling the skins in tree bark and then salting them.