California Historical Tannery Archive

San Francisco Poetsch & Peterson Tannery
Where those medicos tan human skin  San Francisco Call, 19 October 1898

Santa Cruz Salz Leathers Tannery Ansel Adams photos
Tannery Arts Center project  June 2005


Salz hides

Salz Leathers History 
A timeline

Salz plaque

San Lorenzo Tannery
Originally opened as James Duncan & William Warren Tannery in 1857 at a different site, eventually moving to the current site in 1861.  In 1867 it was renamed Kron Tannery after Jacob F. Kron.  He later renamed the company San Lorenzo Tannery.  Ansley K. Salz obtained full ownership of the facility in 1929.  The site was serviced by the Southern Pacific Railroad prior to its ownership by the Salz family. 

Berkeley Manasse Block Tannery
Recollections of Manasse Block tannery

Manasee Block tannery copymanasse block blueprint
Manasee Block tannery2

Two men pressing the leather near the end of the tanning process  1975   David Ball - own work. 


Finish-grading leather    David Ball - own work.


The factory and staff  June 26, 1947    "Man-Block-1947"  Photographer's name "Gray"   From collection of David Ball.

Napa Sawyer Tannery
Founded in 1869; birthplace of "Nappa leather," a name that was copied by many other non-Napa leather makers. Sawyer would grow to be the largest tannery west of the Mississippi.


Benicia Tannery
The Benicia Tannery produced 18 different kinds of leather, employed between 30 and 40 people and had a payroll of more than $2,000 per month.

The rise and fall of the Kullman-Salz Tannery in Benicia (part one)

"This is the story of the Salz family’s tannery that came to Benicia, grew into a huge industry in a complex of large buildings, then vanished completely, leaving not a trace.” (part two)

Santa Clara Eberhard Tannery

San Joaquin Wagner Company

The Pacific Tannery and Wagner Leather Company on the corner of El Dorado and Oak Streets c. 1876.  The business was reconstructed by local architect Charles Beasley following a devastating fire the year before.  
Bank of Stockton Photo Collection

"Hides formed one of the principal products shipped from this valley in the early days, and it was not long before the fact was recognized that more money could be made by converting  them into leather here than in shipping them to Eastern towns, and then be compelled to buy the leather from them.  The first tannery was established in 1853, by J.C. Wagner, which has since been developed into the large establishment, the Pacific Tannery, Kullraan, Wagner & Co., proprietors.” 

Wagner, Charles L. - 1837-1913  Born in Germany.  To USA and California and Stockton via Panama in 1856.  He worked at different tanneries in the state and then came back to Stockton in 1858.  He & his brother started a tannery in Stockton in 1856 called The Pacific Tannery.  It became an important industry in the city.  In 1895 it became the Wagner Leather Company.

The Pacific Tannery, Wagner Leather Company and Pacific Storage Company

Early California Mission Tanning

Sacramento Daily Bee  Thursday Evening October 3, 1867

RABEL’S TANNERY - At two o’clock to-morrow afternoon, on the premises, J. DAVIS will sell by auction the property known as Rabel’s tannery, comprising the block bounded by A.B., Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth streets, also the large two-story frame house, together with all the barns and outbuildings.

Tanning methods and the danger of using chromium-tanned leathers

Build Your Own Pair
Care for Your Leather
Leather Terms
Leathersmithe History
Tanning Methods

Galleries and Links
Pouches, Wallets, Bags
Belt Pouches
Commemorative Pouches
Passport Pouches
Drum-back Pouches
Calf Bracelets
Shoes & Boots

Begun December 2015