A little insight into the tanning process of cowhides. This is about the chromium tanned process, which involves many different stages, but which yields the best quality tanned hides. Chromium tanning has been in use since the middle 1800's and is the primary tanning process used today. The process involves altering the protein structure of the cow skin, to ensure the skin can not decompose and permanently seals the hairs to the skin. So what exactly is tanning? Tanning is essentially transforming animal skins into leather. This involves drawing out water molecules from the proteins of the skin (from the collagen). Chromium salts bind with the proteins in the collagen and permanently alter the structure. In order to achieve this, the hides pH level must be reduced, where they are placed in acidic drums or bathes and then chromium salts and chromium oxide is then added. Chromium tanning gives a distinctive blue hue to the leather and ensures the hides are soft and supple. Chrome tanned leather has a high resistance to water, stains and heat. Have a look at the pictures below.