Story: Factory industries

Leather factory

Leather factory

Tanning used easily obtainable raw materials (animal skins and tree bark), was one of New Zealand’s early industries. By 1867 leather was produced in sufficient quantities to supply local and export markets. This 1892 drawing shows the benching room at Sargood, Son and Ewen’s Tannery, a combined tannery and boot factory. In the benching room boots were hammered and pegged, usually by skilled men trained in the trade. Other parts of boot-making were already automated.

The 1903 Cyclopaedia of New Zealand (Canterbury District) described the process: 'The half-manufactured article passes from one operator to another, down the whole length of the building, and is then sent back again similarly on the other side. Only the most modern and up-to-date machinery is used, and a small portion of the work is done by each machine.'

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Making New Zealand Centennial Collection (PAColl-3060)
Reference: PUBL-0163-1892-002

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ian Hunter, 'Factory industries - Factories, 1880 to 1900', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 February 2024)

Story by Ian Hunter, published 11 Mar 2010