Harness vs Hermann Oak Leather
High quality leather saddlery is often interchangeably described as being made of "Hermann Oak Leather" or "harness leather". Both denominations are actually describing the same type of leather that is: harness leather, except, one is referring to a specific brand of harness leather.
Harness leather comes in numerous forms, and is more of a denomination to refer to leather which has been generally been vegetable tanned and possessed the qualities to be used for making bridles, reins, harnesses and parts of saddles. Harness leather can be split into 3 broad categories: Bridle, Harness and Saddle leather, each form exhibiting the virtues required to suit their function. The characteristics of harness leather used for saddle manufacturing (often the seat) is generally quite raw, minimally finished and fairly dry. It'll be lighter per unit of thickness, have a lower pliability, and isn't quite as resistant to water as say harness leather used in reins and bridles. Harness Leather used for bridles, reins and harnesses is generally characterised by a higher oil and wax content after the tanning process. It'll have a nice, smooth touch, very good resistance to the effects of water, high durability, be highly pliable and is much heavier per unit of thickness than saddle leather for example. It requires minimal maintenance, and once fully oiled often has very little variation in terms of colour and texture throughout it's life.
Hermann Oak Leather
Hermann Oak leather is a brand of high quality harness leather which is produced in one single location in the world.The Hermann Oak Company in St. Louis, Missouri, USA was founded in 1881 by Louis Charles Hermann who started tanning leather in response to the local trade needs for travelling settlers. Over the years, the company has expanded and established itself as one of The United States' best known leather manufacturers, embracing traditional and modern tanning techniques (primarily vegetable tanning) and producing a well recognised, sought after, premier harness leather product used all over the world: Hermann Oak harness leather.