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Horsehide? How to tell the difference between cow, goat and horsehide?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by guygardner, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. guygardner

    guygardner A-List Customer

  2. GoodTimesGone

    GoodTimesGone One of the Regulars

    Goatskin has a more even pebbled grain to it. Horsehide usually has an uneven grain pattern to it, unless it's smooth front quarter that the top manufacturers advertise. It's difficult to tell the difference between steerhide and horse in some cases. Steerhide is considered to be better quality than cowhide, although exceptions exist as in everything. I've owned many vintage jackets from the '40s and '50s, and have found that the steerhide often has a more cardboard quality than the horsehide. However, that could just be the examples that I've encountered. They were often a bit dry and needed some conditioner, which can affect the texture.
    -Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  3. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    My opinion on this; you can tan any hide to different degrees. I have two goat skin jackets in my collection. One is a very jerky and stiff hide while the other is totally supple and smooth surface. I guess the second one is more processed or more polished. I received several horse hide and goat samples from Aero a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't tell the jerky horse hide from my supple goat hide jacket. The Aero goat sample is similar to the first jacket I alluded before. Both came from the same country, UK.

    I think country of origin has something to do with leather processing. In some places they work a lot with goat. In my country you can find a lot of cow hide, all smooth and supple but you can't easily find horse hide unless it is imported from abroad.
     
  4. guygardner

    guygardner A-List Customer

    Tom,
    I have an old steer or cowhide jacket that was very stiff when I got it. In your experience, horsehide tends not to stiffen as much if neglected?

    Aerojoe,
    That makes me wonder if I can make a guess based on the age of the jacket if horsehide is likely or not. I'm guessing the jacket is from the 1960s or 1970s, but it's just a guess. I don't know anything about the company, except that it was based in New York.

    Thanks,
    Guygardner
     
  5. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas My Mail is Forwarded Here

    You can't really tell from a photo. Leather may be treated/tanned/painted/stamped to take on certain looks. At best you can take a guess. Cow and buffalo is often m,istaken for horse, calf can look like lamb, lamb may resemble goat, goat can look like pigskin, etc, etc. Then there's how it has been treated and worn which can take on different looks.
     
  6. I look for the little label with the picture of a horse on it. :D
     
  7. I was going to say that and figured I'd get labeled a troublemaker again lol
     
  8. Fifty150

    Fifty150 A-List Customer

    I've heard that the only real way to tell what the source animal of the hide was, is to send the leather to a laboratory for DNA testing. That would cost more than the jacket is worth.
     
  9. leopardstyle

    leopardstyle One of the Regulars

    Butte, I respect the rules of the Lounge, I also think your a great poster. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  10. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Reading the verkakte the lable sounds as close to a fool proof approach as possible. :eusa_clap
     
  11. guygardner

    guygardner A-List Customer

    There's no label indicating what kind of leather. No little horse or bull like the Perfectos have.

    Oh well, whatever it is, as long as it holds together well, I'll be happy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  12. GoodTimesGone

    GoodTimesGone One of the Regulars

    Guy, horsehide gets stiff as well if it needs conditioning. However, once conditioned the vintage horsehide I've owned has become more supple, as in it moved more easily with my body movements. The vintage steer I've owned has retained more of the texture of sheets of cardboard. That's been the case with a vintage Grais, a Californian, a Cooper Sportswear from the '40s, and a '50s JCPenney's. The horsehide I've owned are three different Sears Hercules from the '50s, an unknown brand private purchase a-2 that I bought from a retired SAC pilot, and yet another Cooper Sportswear from the '40s (which is my best fitting and favorite vintage jacket). I've owned a couple of steerhide biker jackets from the '60s that have supple leather that wears very well. I know Eastman's Pearl Harbor A-2s are steerhide and are hard to discern from horsehide. I haven't owned one, but they look great. From what I've read and seen in person the use of horsehide sharply declined after the fifties, so if you have a '60s-70's jacket it's more likely cow, steer, or maybe goat. Two of the more common sixties manufacturers were Schott and Sears Oakbrook. Schott made a lot more steerhide than horsehide, and once Sears went from their Hercules label to Oakbrook, they no longer used horsehide. Horse has definitely made a comeback the last twenty years or so with Aero, Eastman, Goodwear, U.S. Authentic, etc. doing a thriving business with the growing interest in vintage and reproduction jackets. Types of leather have certain characteristics, but variables are thrown in with tanning technique used and the quality of the particular hide used for each jacket. That's what I like the most about this hobby. Each jacket has its own "personality", which is the reason I couldn't stop at owning just one.
    -Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  13. Phantomfixer

    Phantomfixer Practically Family

    "labeled" get it ah too funny sorry Butte....couldn't resist
    john
     
  14. [​IMG] = [​IMG]
    lol
     
  15. guygardner

    guygardner A-List Customer

    I know what you mean. The origin of the hide was not a deciding factor for me. I liked the styling, the color and patina of the leather, and the description of thick but worked in for the leather was what I was looking for in a vintage jacket. It would be nice if it were horsehide, but I'll be happy with it if it's cow or steer as well (I don't think it's goat, although that would be fine too).
     
  16. Butt.....you can easily tell if it's a horse's a** lol
     
  17. Fifty150

    Fifty150 A-List Customer

    Those are usually used for making shoes, right?
     
  18. Phantomfixer

    Phantomfixer Practically Family

    :eusa_clap:D
     
  19. Well, if you shoot the animal yourself, then you might know, too. As long as you can tell a horse from a goat, a cow, or a cat. :D
     
  20. I don't imagine cats would make great jackets..... I've seen a beautiful fur wrap made from two, though. It was given to a friend a couple of years ago - the story goes that they 2ere originally pets that belonged to a lady who couldn't bear to be parted from them when they died, so she had their pelts made into a wrap so that she could still take them everywhere with her....
     

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