A Brief History

Chicago, Illinois was a natural choice for many tanneries in the early 1900′s.  Chicago’s centralized location made it a railroad hub for the entire country and huge amounts of freight passed along the rails – this included cattle and other livestock which fueled the rise of a tremendous stockyard and meat-packing business.

Tanneries, and other companies such as shoe polish makers and brush-makers, built their factories in Chicago to be close to their primary raw materials; byproducts of the food industry.  There were, at one time, nearly 40 tanneries in the city, of all different kinds.  Today, the last tannery remaining in Chicago is Horween Leather Company.

Horween Leather has been fortunate enough to work with many companies over the years.  From sporting goods, footwear, and industrial applications to accessories and upholstery.  Our tannery has honed the craft of tanning over generations to now offer a dynamic and diverse array of tannages perfectly suited for many applications.