Horween Leather Company | Chicago, Illinois
Horween Leather Company is an American company specializing in the manufacturing and refining of leather and related products. It is one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the United States of America. Since its founding in the early 20th century it has been located in Chicago.
Isadore Horween founded the company in 1905, and worked in it until 1949. His two sons, Arnold Horween (Chairman and President; 1949–84) and Ralph Horween, became executives of the company and worked in it after their careers as All American football players for the Harvard Crimson, and playing in the National Football League.
Arnold's son Arnold Horween Jr. worked with it from 1953–2003, and his son Arnold "Skip" Horween III has worked with it since 1972. The fifth generation of Horweens, Nicholas (Nick) Arnold Horween, has worked at the company since 2009.
Horween Leather Company offers an array of tannages using primarily cowhide and horsehide, and also using smaller quantities of calf and bison hides. Its leather is used in a number of products including sports equipment, sports and casual footwear, bags, wallets, briefcases, belts, coats, jackets, and other apparel and accessories.
It is known for its production of Shell Cordovan (the Chicago Tribune called it the "Cordovan capital of the world"), professional football leather, and Chromexcel, among other leathers. It is the exclusive supplier of leather for National Football League footballs, and also supplies the leather that is used for National Basketball Association basketballs.
Horween Leather Company is located in a five-story block-long factory at 2015 North Elston Avenue, at Ashland Avenue near the Chicago River).
As of 2012, Horween Leather Company had 160 employees, and annual revenues of approximately $25 million. In a typical week, it processes 4,000 cowhides and 1,000 horsehides into 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) of leather. As of 2013, Horween Leather Company was one of fewer than a dozen tanneries in the U.S., down from over 250 in 1978.
Popov Leather has grown to be a very well known maker of leather goods that uses Horween Leather almost exclusively in their production of handmade leather goods.