Poetsch & Peterson
San Francisco Tannery

Poetsch & Peterson

Finished-hides room

Glazing & finishing room  1950

Founded by Herman Poetsch in 1883 at Army and Harrison Street in San Francisco, California, the company relocated in 1942 to 325 South Maple Avenue.  P&P's legendary golden latigo inspired a generation of west coast handbag & belt makers.  The tannery was closed because of new stringent environmental laws in the 1990s.


From the 1907 Bernal Heights Business Directory:

Gustave Peterson   Herman Poetsch
Phone Mission 696

POETSCH and PETERSON
Established 1883
TANNERS
Manufacturers of
Glove, Whip, Shoe,
Latigo and Lace Leather
Tannery: 3100-3162 Army Street
Bet. Folsom and Harrison
SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA


In 1902 P&P was hit by a workers strike.  

From the May 10, 1902  San Francisco Call newspaper:

Tanners Walk Out in Body
Men in the Employ of an Army Street Firm Ask More Wages

Twenty tanners in the employ of Poetsch & Peterson, tanners, at 3112 Army street, struck for higher wages yesterday.  The men walked out at noon with the consent of the agent of the Tanners Union.  About thirty more men are in the employ of the firm, and these gave notice that they would also walk out tonight unless the demands for higher pay are granted.

The men are at present earning $2.25 a day and an increase of 25 cents is demanded.  The members of the firm declined last night to say what action they will take in the matter, but the men express the belief that the demand will be granted today.  The strike was endorsed by the Tanners Union at last night's meeting.

From the May 14, 1902 San Francisco Call newspaper:

Strike of the Tanners

The strike of the tanners in the employ of Poetsch & Peterson remains unsettled.  A committee of the union visited the tannery yesterday and formally presented the demands of the striking employes for an increase of wages to the amount of 25 cents a day.  The proprietors took the matter under advisement and informed the committee that they would reach a decision later in the week.

The firm in question is utilizing the time in putting in new boilers and improving the plant.  Poetsch said last night that he was willing to meet the men half way, but that he could not say he favoured granting the demand as made.  He was in favour of establishing a piece-work system, by which the capable men would earn more than they are now asking for.  A plan to that effect will be presented to the strikers at the next conference.

The total number of men out on strike is forty-eight.  It was rumored in labor circles last night that the employees of other tanneries are contemplating making similar demands.  If the strike of Poetsch & Peterson's men is successful other strikes are likely to be inaugurated.


Charles Wagner, grandson of Herman Poetsch and the final owner of P&P, carried on in the tradition of his ancestors. Charles cordially greeted me for the last time in 1984 when we walked around the South San Francisco tannery and looked at their latest shoe leathers tanned for a shrinking local manufacturing culture.  I still have a small stash of P&P golden latigo and shoe leathers from my last visit to the tannery that I'm making into commemorative pouches.


Commemorative Poetsch & Peterson pouches using their shoe cowhide and golden latigo































Begun December 2015