Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Fish Skin Tanning in Newsreels

Thank you to Gloria Conti, conservator working in Scotland who found this Italian newsreel from 1938 titled Le tante utilizzazioni della pelle del pesce. The film shows the processing of fish skins into various products. Gloria provided a translation of the brief narration below.

The many uses of fish leather 

In Germany fish leather is very in vogue. After being tanned, worked, dried, and handled with meticulous patience, it can be used to make many things like we see here: shoes, handbags, gloves, belts, and even to bind books.

Thank you Gloria. 

The imagery looks like the photos used to illustrate Franz Weisse's article "Fischhaut - Fischleder - Fischpergament" published in Das deutsche Buchbinderhandwerk, Vol 2, Nr 9, 1938. I described that article and shared some of the images in my post "Fish Skin - Tanned Fish Skin - Fish Parchment."

Perhaps the footage and images were taken together?

Often, when one gives, one also receives, so here a similar newsreel clip from British Pathé, 1949. This was shared on the Adventures in Fish Skin Tanning (closed) group at Facebook. It describes the process as having been developed by two Poles. No books in this one.

The first clip described the tanning... of fish skin in Germany. The second in the U.K.

My question, are there articles and references in the bookbinding literature outside of Germany that describe using fish for binding...?

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