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Up and down the leather chain

As tanneries steadily upgraded their wet ends last century, introducing larger drums with mechanical handling of hides and controlled additions of chemicals and water, along with modernised set ups for fleshing and splitting, the labour content dropped considerably. I first recognised this when given charge of a brand-new tannery in El Salvador in the 1970s, and looking at the costings we recognised how the labour element changed as you moved through the tannery.