The history of leather industry, wherever it is found located, is and will always be linked to the history of mankind. You can not talk without us tanning occurs immediately the image of primitive man dressed in skins, which he used for his coat.
Also at this level the Portuguese influenced the course of development of the leather through the Discoveries, which provided for the introduction of new substances in the vegetable tanning process, curtientes and fats from the new worlds.
In Portugal the first sketches of what would become the tanning industry and begin to emerge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in which we saw a concentration of artisans in the tanning Guimaraes, Porto and Alcanena, which remain the biggest poles agglutinating sector in Portugal. Despite the more pronounced concentration in these localities, the activity was relatively well spread across the country, with records of operation in various regions of the country, as is the case in the Alentejo region of the Serra da Estrela, the island of Madeira and Lisbon where today there are tanning units in operation.
In the century. XVIII, with D. John V, appeared the first units manufacturing leather in Portugal. In 1786 he was awarded the first Royal Charter in Alcanena for tanning, the factory of John Roberts. The permit allowed the holders to use the royal arms on the gates of the factories, that time still remaining a coat belonging to the factory Galvea Manoel Francisco, which is a building of a company currently connected to the tanning sector.
Also mentioned in other regions there are still traces of Portuguese history of tanning, and in Guimarães units are still laboring in the historic center - declared World Heritage by UNESCO - and the river that runs through the town is still known as "the river of hides ". However, the tanning industry while only truly born in Portugal in the mid-nineteenth century as a result of the advent of the industrial revolution, born in England, and which was progressively extended to the rest of Europe. The small-scale manufacture vai giving way to mechanization, multiplying labor income and increasing overall production.
Attends to the manufacture of industrialized anilines with an improvement in range of colors and a more significant presence in the fashion field. At the end of the century begins to dawn using the technology of tannery chromium. In the century. XX industry continues to evolve with the technological conversion in the overwhelming majority of the units of the vegetable tanning tanning for the chromium and making investments to modernize and increase production capacity.
From the 1970s the environmental dimension is of particular preponderance in the development of the industry, leading to the agents, individually and together, carry out a fairly significant investment effort in this area, regenerating the environmental sector and preparing it to meet the highest standards of environmental quality.
Recently, together with the consolidation of its environmental strategy, the sector has diversified Portuguese tannery sector and geographical destinations of its production and has been positioning itself in the higher value added segments, where design, fashion, and quality requirements of the final product are crucial to the success of businesses.