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Tanning from Diderot’s Encyclopedia 1769

Posted by on January 25, 2013

Tanning Diderot 1769From the Encyclopedia of Sciences, Arts and Trades, Diderot and D’Alembert

And you thought you had a tough job.

Detail: workshop, work bench, hides, tanning, tanners, windows, open fire, grill, mules (shoes)

6 Responses to Tanning from Diderot’s Encyclopedia 1769

  1. Paleotool

    Reblogged this on Paleotool's Weblog and commented:
    Another great image from Jon Townsend. Hide tanning in 1769

  2. Pam W.

    I know nothing about tanning…why are they dressed as they are…or “Undressed”?

    • Jon Townsend

      They are smoking the hide. I am sure a very hot and smelly job.

      • Pam W

        Interesting…I cannot recall (not that I am expert for sure!!) ever seeing trades dressed. Yes, hot and smelly (that I knew)…but if you;re dealing in acids, dyes etc (which I assume they were) it would seem you wanted to protect your own hide!!!!! With more than a turban and a diaper!!!!!!

  3. Pam W

    should have said “dressed in that fashion.” Need more coffee!

  4. Gary Cooper

    Pam W, tanners were, in fact, known for having tanned (dark and leathery) hides themselves. In Hamlet (Act 5, Scene 1), the gravedigger tells Hamlet that a tanner’s body takes especially long to decompose because “his hide is so tanned with his trade that he will keep out water a great while.”

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