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Profiles

  • Lt. Matthew Noble (1736 - 1804)
    DAR Ancestor #: A084006 Matthew Noble- 2nd Lieutenant. Cat. Mosely's (1st) co., Col John Mosely's (3rd Hampshire Co.) reg. of Mass militia; list of officers chosen by the several companies in said re...
  • William Chandler, of Roxbury (bef.1595 - 1642)
    William Chandler, immigrant ancestor, and wife, Annis with four children settled at Roxbury Mass. in 1637. Annis is supposed to have been a sister of Deacon George Alcock of Roxbury. William owned twen...
  • John Meigs, I (1612 - 1672)
    John Meigs warned the regicides Edward Whalley and William Goffe of their imminent apprehension by royal agents and aided in their concealment and escape to the caves (Judges' Caves) of New Haven harbo...
  • Samuel Cook, of Wallingford (1641 - 1702)
    Samuel Cook Sr Born 30 Sep 1641 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts Died 25 Dec 1703 in Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut Son of Henry Cook and Judith Birdsall Husband of 1) Hope Parker 2) Mary ...
  • Joseph W Carper, Sr. (1802 - 1880)
    CARPER, Joseph - A native of Monroe County, Carper moved to Paint Creek about 1848, later selling his farm to Archibald Sweeney in 1855 and moving to Grandview. His sons, A. J., George W., William D. a...

TANNER, n. One whose occupation is to tan hides, or convert them into leather by the use of tan.

Tanners might operate as a small business but most worked in tanneries, to tan the skins and hides of animals, converting them into leather. The leather was used primarily for making boots and shoes but doublets and jerkins were also made of leather.

In ancient history, tanning was considered a noxious or "odoriferous trade" and relegated to the outskirts of town, amongst the poor. Indeed, tanning by ancient methods is so foul smelling that tanneries are still isolated from those towns today where the old methods are used. Ancient civilizations used leather for waterskins, bags, harnesses, boats, armour, quivers, scabbards, boots and sandals. Tanning was being carried out by the South Asian inhabitants of Mehrgarh between 7000–3300 BC. Around 2500 BC, the Sumerians began using leather, affixed by copper studs, on chariot wheels.

The tanner's craft was not a nice one; it was one of the smelliest and physically hazardous occupations of our forefathers. The vats in which hides were soaked to loosen the hair could become quite odorous and the lime used to speed up the process of softening the animal hides could just as easily soften and loosen the hide of the tanner himself.

From The Bourne Archive: Muspratt’s Chemistry, Theoretical, Practical & Analytical (ca. 1859) Extracts Concerning Leather, 1: Leather.

The term currier is often used in UK Census returns for the same occupation.

CULLOCH6 considers that the leather manufacture ranks fourth in importance, being inferior in money value to those of cotton, wool, and iron, whilst others are disposed to think that it is quite as important as cotton. A glance at the extent of this branch of trade will show at once how much it has merited the above rank. M’CULLOCH estimates the number of persons employed in the tanneries alone as exceeding twenty-eight thousand three hundred; and those engaged in the subsidiary trades to which leather gives rise, such as the currier, boot-maker, saddler, et cetera, average two hundred and twenty-five thousand, among whom there is expended annually from seven and a half and eight millions sterling in wages alone. The value of the manufactured goods reaches to no less than nineteen or twenty millions annually.

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Key Words

  • baudroyeur (French): synonym of corroyeur