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Famous Horween Leather - Using the Best for Our Customers

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Here at Imperial Pine Leather Co. our focus is providing the best customer experience, which is why we put so much care into crafting every single one of our products. To match the level of care we put into creating our masterpieces, we settle only for the best materials, including our leather. Let’s talk about one of the oldest tanneries in the US, the world famous Horween Leather Company.


The Horween Leather Company was founded by Isadore Horween Jr. in 1905 in the great city of Chicago. Their philosophy is to craft each hide to its fullest potential using the best raw materials and the best workers available. Their commitment to excellence has earned Horween a worldwide reputation as one of the finest leather makers in the industry.

More than 100 hundred years later, Horween is one of the last remaining tanneries in the US and continues to use its original proprietary tanning formulas and processes to craft some of the most sought-after leather in the world. Their unique vegetable tanning method gives the leather a distinct look and feel that cannot be replicated with modern methods. The hides undergo an extensive hand-finishing process that adds depth and character to the leather’s surface.

Horween offers a wide range of tannages including their vegetable tanned Genuine Shell Cordovan, their original pull-up leather Chromexcel, and the official leathers for NBA basketballs and NFL footballs. The primary Horween leather used at Imperial Pine Leather is their Dublin tannage, which is a vegetable tanned cow hide using the same formulas and processes as their Genuine Shell Cordovan.

Dublin Veg-Tanned Leather

Dublin leather is viewed as the more natural looking leather of Horween’s tannages. It is a vegetable tanned full grain leather that is stuffed with a rich blend of fats, oils and waxes then hot plated to give a semi-smooth low gloss finish. The high content of fat and wax gives the leather its pull-up effect when flexed. The pull-up effect is a temporary shift in color that occurs in the leather due to the displacement of the internal oils and waxes.

Dublin styled leather’s natural look shows the distinct characteristics of the actual animal hide. Creases, scars and other textures can be seen in the grain of the hide. The leather has a dense tight grained natural and authentic feel when compared to other tannages. A key feature of the Dublin tannage is the beautiful patina it develops over time giving it a more rugged and authentic look over time.

The Original Pull-Up Leather: Chromexcel

Chromexcel is the Horween’s original pull-up leather which uses techniques and formulas that were developed nearly 100 years ago. Horween still produces Chromexcel in the United States using a proprietary formula in a bark retannage and then hot-stuffed with their secret blend of natural oils and greases. This step creates the storied pull-up effect in the letter in which the oils and waxes disperse and lighten when the leather gets pressed or pulled. The Hot-stuffing process provides additional softness to the leather and gives some water resistance. Chromexcel is characterized by a rich pull-up in full aniline, and carries on a long history of superior comfort and durability.

Even though Chromexcel is not a straight vegetable tanned leather its retan process gives it the best of both worlds. It has the pliability of the chrome tanned leathers and a strong base that can take a good shine or be left alone to patina over time like your natural veg-tanned leathers. It's hot stuffed with fats and waxes for a rich feeling leather that will endure a lifetime of abuse. Most small scratches can be buffed out of Chromexcel quite easily making it an ideal leather for high-wear items like watch bands, wallets, and belts.

The Leathers We Use

At Imperial Pine Leather, we pride ourselves in making excellent products, we start with premium quality materials such as Horween Leathers. Horween’s Dublin line is the primary leather we use in our handmade leather wallets however we also enjoy creating some awesome products using Horween’s Chromexcel leather as well. We also use some leathers from other tanneries that we will touch on next time, including Wickett & Craig’s English Bridle leather that comes in some great color options including Zucchini Green, Carrot Orange, and Chili Pepper Red.

Please let us know what your favorite leather tannery is and what colors you would love to see in our wallets!

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