View Full Version : Russet or black leather??

Reenactor Wannabe
12-21-2006, 01:34 PM
How common was the russet colored leather vs the black colored leather?

John Legg
12-21-2006, 01:36 PM
Well i know the Atlanta depot had some russet items. not bright brown, it was a dark brown.

Cheers :)

12-21-2006, 02:23 PM
Be aware that some leather items were dyed with ingredients which contained, among other things, iron. Iron, well, rusts. And over time what was once black becomes brown. But originally, it was black.

Since the same basic ingredients were used in many ink recipes, a great many people are under the misconception that much brown ink was used. Actually, though there were instances of brown ink, they were few, and many samples of ink that are displayed today as brown were originally black, but over time and light exposure these samples have rusted into their current brown color.

12-21-2006, 03:52 PM
To add to Mr. Sullivan, some of the leather goods were just impregnated with tallow, beeswax or other items used in the "dressing" or "stuffing". This was to give some extra life to the leather and make it more flexible. The term russet is more of a modern phrase to give description to a color. As to which is more common...hard to say. I have seen CS items that are "russet" and easy to note that it was dressed. Then I have also seen US items that were dyed with the solution that Mr. Sullivan mentioned. Always something to take another look at.

Joe Blunt

12-21-2006, 05:48 PM
Try this article on CW leather by David Jarnigan and Ken Knopp:


Hmmmm. That doesn't go directly to the article I was referencing. So, go to the leather and equipment article index and look for the article "Confederate Leather, Black or Brown, How and Where". It won't give you a precise answer, but it'll give you an idea.


12-21-2006, 06:36 PM
Go here:


rebel yell
12-21-2006, 06:39 PM
A lot of Confederate soldiers would use Federal accouterments when needed, which were only black. Selma, Atlanta depots produced russet accouterments, and a lot of the English leather that came through the blockade was russet. If you are just starting out, and have to galvanize as a Federal, black would be best.:cool:

12-22-2006, 10:48 AM
If you have other question about russet contact me off the forum. djarnagin@bellsouth.net

The term russet used by ordnance officers and what tanneries called russet is confusing at best. The Atlanta arsenal russet items would have either been fair tanned locally or the London color. The problems with looking at original examples are oil, dirt, and sun darkens russet leather and make very hard to say what the original color was to begin with.

To confuse the matter even more I have been looking for and finding original manufactured leather goods that are both russet and black mixed. Yes this means parts of the item are russet and the rest is black. I have found at least 6 examples and I expect to find even more as I look for these items.

Have a merry Christmas!!

David Jarnagin

12-22-2006, 11:31 AM
Mr. Jarnagin, thank you for your post. It is always nice to hear from those who make it their job to know about such matters. Again, thank you.