This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Calfskin. The best calfskin is tanned in France, with the liquor extracted from the bark of the evergreen oak, a species indigenous to that country. One single tannery in France employs 12,000 workmen and has been in existence over 100 years. This establishment ships its product to every clime and country on the globe, even to every city in the United States where there is a wholesale leather house or a boot and shoe factory. One of the reasons for the superior quality of French calfskin is that fully 90 per cent of the raw hides the tanneries receive come from England, Ireland, Italy and other populous European countries, where the calves are stall-fed. It being a well known fact among tanners that range or grass-fed animals produce the poorest and most inferior hides for making fine leather. Another reason is they employ the most expert and skillful labor that can be obtained, and make no endeavor to shorten the time requisite for properly tanning the leather.