Leather has various uses in almost all the undertakings and activities of individuals, societies and the nation as a whole. Its immense use cannot be exaggerated. However, for purposes of easy identification and study, the uses of leather have been classified or grouped into seven namely, Clothing and body items, War and Defense, Education, Chieftaincy and culture, Containers for storage and services, Sports and entertainment and Industry.
1. Clothing and Body Items
Leather is used in producing items that are worn on the body for various purposes such as protective, decorative or medicinal. Leather is used in making garments and apparels to be worn as clothes on the body. Also, other items for personal adornments, such as hats, beads, footwear, buttons and belt are made from leather.
2. War and Defense
Items in leather play protective roles in warfare. For instance, leather is fashioned into weapons of war and defense, such as shields to protect the individual when missiles are fired by opponents, bows for fighting, quivers, and arrows for battling with enemies, talisman and amulets that give spiritual protection to the wearers. While talisman wards off evil forces away from its wearer, amulets, on the other hand, attract or draw good spirits to protect the wearer. Cloaks of war and other closely knitted protective garments for war and defense are available through the use of leather.
Since times immemorial, leather has greatly assisted in the dissemination and acquisition of knowledge through education. Writing surfaces such as parchments and vellums prepared from leather have contributed greatly both in teaching and learning activities. Moreover, the lifespan of books and other stationery items are prolonged by the use of articles in leather such as book covers, dust jackets, bags, portfolios, pen holders etc.
4. Chieftaincy and Culture
Leather plays a vibrant role in issues concerning the installment of chiefs and things directly connected to chieftaincy. For example, traditional council and state gatherings are uniquely colored by the state umbrellas, swords, pouffé, whisk, mats, drums, leather-plaited stools etc. These are elements of our rich material culture. They help in the transmission, propagation, and promotion of our rich cultural heritage. Without articles produced from leather, most of the gems of our culture, if not all, would have been long forgotten. Leather articles that reflect our culture are used as teaching aids in schools, institutions, and agencies of cultural education to assist learners in knowing much about our cultural heritage.
5. Containers for Storage and Services
Leather articles in the form of containers and receptacles are used for storage purposes. Leather is used in the production of bags that houses our important documents and items, bottles for storing water and other equally relevant liquids, cases of spectacles, purses, a portmanteau (A large traveling bag made from stiff leather) etc. A lot of documents and items would have been lost had it not been containers from leather!
6. Sports and Entertainment
Sporting activities and other forms of entertainment are enhanced and promoted by the use of articles in leather. For example, balls and hand gloves made of leather find their way in soccer, volley, and hockey games. Protective shoes and soccer boots are made available by the courtesy of leather. What about the moments of glory, when victors are to be crowned? It is articles in leather such as medals, plaques, and trophies that always do the trick. Entertainment and other sporting activities would have been boring, uninteresting and even lifeless without leather and its products.
Leather as a material, together with its articles has a large contribution to the success of industrial activities carried out by various firms, factories, and industries in the country. Construction, engineering and ‘high duty’ industries where dangerous and life threatening equipment are used are protected with products in leather. For instance, Wellington boots are worn to protect the foot from hurt and slipping during industrial activities. Goggles, gloves and nose masks produced from leather protect sensitive parts of our body such as eyes, hands, and noses from various health hazards.
Also, the transportation of important tools, materials, and equipment to vantage areas where industrial activities are being done is facilitated through the use of conveyor belts, a product in leather. High tension cables that always carries high voltage electrical current with no casualties in various industries are as a result of leather. Our industries would have been futile in the discharging of their duties if leather and its manufactured items were not in existence.
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