|Day's Work Done|
|Harness Maker's Tools|
In days gone by, the harness maker was an important member of the community. Whenever someone road a horse, drove a buggy or hitched up a team to plough a field, it was leather straps that quite literally 'harnessed' the muscle power of the animals so that humans could control it and use it for productive work.
In the age of horse power the survival of the community depended to a large extent on the skill of people who knew how to work with leather. Using simple but specialized tools, the harness maker could repair a broken harness (tack) and manufacture new equipment when required. If he were especially gifted, he might have been called upon to make buggy whips or riding crops.
The epitome of the harness maker's art was saddlery -- a skill unto itself. It required an experienced artisan to repair a broken saddle and a trained craftsman to fashion a new one.
The harness shop and saddlery at the Village is the shop of a highly skilled
artisan who must possess a thorough knowledge of the properties of leather.
Occasionally a harness-maker may also have been a tanner, making his own supply
Articles fashioned by the harness-maker include saddlery gear,
leather aprons such as are worn by the blacksmith, leather trunks and
bag for the travelling public, belts and horse collars stuffed with straw
and shaped to fit the animal's neck. Threads for stitching are prepared
each day by rolling together strands of hemp and treating them with
beeswax and pitch from a pine tree to make them pliable and waterproof.
His fine handcrafted leather articles are preserved by rubbing the
leather with a cloth dipped in oil.