'The Leather Specimen Book', by Frederic W. La Croix, 3rd edition. Published by Pfister & Vogel Leather Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America, 1917.

The book contains 7 pages of leather samples, with 12 samples on each page.

The book originally belonged to George Thompson, an employee of tannery and leather firm Michaelis Hallenstein & Co Pty Ltd, Footscray, Victoria. The business was established in Footscray in 1866 and became a major tannery and leather goods business in Australia and New Zealand until the 1970s.

The book was then given to Robin Cranston, of the Leather Research Centre of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Physical Description

Book of leather samples in a binder secured with two screws.


This book of leather samples captures the range of leather types and tannery processes in the early twentieth century. It reflects both the US market but also the range of leathers that would have been available in Australia in the period, whether locally produced or imported. The samples include leathers from animal species that are now protected, including: seal, walrus, elk and alligator. The samples also show the different tanning techniques in use, including the use of chrome and other environmentally-damaging chemicals.

The book is also associated with the successful Footscray-based tanning and leather goods firm, Michaelis Hallenstein & Co. Started as a partnership between Moritz Michaelis and Isaac Hallenstein in 1866, the firm became a major supplier of leather and leather products throughout Australia and New Zealand, until reformed as Michaelis Bayley in the 1970s. The company records are held at The University of Melbourne Archives.

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