Tanneries and skins

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"A relatively important industry on Mallorca is tanning. According to the Administration’s Registry, in 1872 there were 56 tanneries. In these they make leather soles (sola), cow hide (vaqueta), dressed sheepskin (bosané), calfskin, cordovan leather and escanales, the latter uses especially for adornments. The raw material comes from America, India and many other places. Though they also make use of the island’s skins, though their abundance is meager. Common materials such as oak and pine tree bark tend to be from the island itself though at times it is brought over from Catalonia.

In addition to the ones in Palma,  there are 2 in Manacor and 6 in Inca. In terms of the destination of the 62 tanneries’ products, we can say that half are exported to the peninsula, an eighth to the Canary Islands, another eighth to Menorca and the rest remains on Mallorca. Approximately half of the calfskin is sent to the peninsula, a sixth to the Canary Islands, a similar amount to America, and the rest is used on the island. A sixth part of the escanales is exported, while the rest remains on Mallorca.

One of the most developed industries on Mallorca and which has been gaining considerable importance in the last 30 years, especially in Palma, is footwear. In the capital and outskirts there are a minimum of 88 workshops, of which not a few deserve to be called factories due to the number of people employed and the importance of their production. The 15 or 20 largest ones employ between 40 and 50 and, at times, even more men, between 15-30 apprentices, and 10-20 women, in addition to having 3-6 or more sewing machines.

In towns such as Alaró, Inca, Artà, Llucmajor, Andratx and Sóller there are a lot of small workshops, their numbers totaling 381. Many of them not only have one apprentice; some 50 have 2 or more men and could be considered small factories in a way. Production from these establishments not only meet demand on the island. Rather, a large part is exported, especially to Latin America."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: General Part. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


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