Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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alligator leather

A leather produced from the skin of any member of the reptilian order Crocodilla. Generally, only the belly area of the animal is used, the heavily scaled back being too course and horny. The beauty of alligator leather stems in part from the fact that the scales have a natural "enamel," which, originally, was usually destroyed by crude tanning methods. Later it was preserved, and even enhanced, by "plating" the skin with heated metal plates which gave it its high glaze. Alligator leather is very durable and also very expensive. This term is largely confined to the United States; in Europe it is generally called "crocodile leather." (351 , 363 )

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