Red-tanned Leather Banker’s Briefcase
Sonnenleder – looks better the more it’s used.
Sonnenleder: this firm in the very south of Germany produces goods characterized by simple functionality, made of leather that ages with a dignity that brings out the true quality of the skin. Forgive us if we describe the tanning process in some detail. Only hides from southern German cows are selected. A traditional vegetable-tanning process is used. In its pre-dyed state Sonnenleder has a characteristic, slightly light-brown reddish colour (hence the trade description ‘red-tanned’) which comes out different with every piece. With use and exposure to the elements the leather changes colour and forms an inimitable patina. Even black leather – red-dyed following the complicated vegetable-tanning process – acquires with use a shining patina – the sign of top-quality leather.
Why ‘banker’s’ briefcase?
Cases like these used to be handed by banks to business customers who needed to carry around large amounts of paper money. Same design, but with leather not so good as ours!
Nowadays we’d expect the briefcase to be used for passports, travel documents etc. A tip for the ladies: it makes a simple yet sturdy vanity bag.
Leather from the Tanning Pit. Red-Tanned.
These leather articles are made by Sonnenleder from Bodman-Ludwigshafen on Lake Constance. Paying painstaking attention to the smallest details, Sonnenleder maintains traditional leather-making practices and stands for consistently functional styles and minimalist designs. The hides of south German cows are vegetable-tanned according to traditional methods and then air-dried.
The tanning agents contain extracts from bark, roots and fruits. In twelve tanning pits with slightly increasing concentrations of tanning liquids, they transform the protein fibres of the cowhides into leather fibres over a period of between six to twelve weeks. After tanning, the hides are air-dried and lubricated in an oil vat according to a well-kept secret recipe. In its pre-dyed state, the finished leather has a characteristic light brown, reddish colour (hence the term "red-tanned"), which looks different in every piece. With use and exposure to the elements, the leather changes colour and develops its own unique patina, which is distinctive of leather. Leather dyed with natural oils and fats in a vat also acquires its own shiny patina over time.
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