Friedrich Francke’s tannery at Weida, 12 km. south of Gera in Thuringia, is one of the best preserved monuments of the traditional leather industry in Europe. Friedrich Francke began the works in 1844 and it continued to use natural substances to produce sole leather for boots and shoes until it closed in 1992. Subsequently, at the wish of the last owner, it was taken over by the municipal authority as a technical museum. Every phase of the traditional tanning process is preserved in the works. There are machines to remove the remnants of flesh from hides, and pits of lime water which helped to remove hair and loose pieces of skin. The tannery’s bark mill (lohmühle) is still in place as are the pits in which hides were subjected to successive immersions in the liquid prepared from the bark. The pumps which filled and emptied the pits can still be seen, as can the leather rollers and cutting benches where the leather was treated after tanning. Process water was important in the tanning process and the buildings of the Francke works were designed with gutters that collected rainwater. A steam engine installed in 1855 to work machines and pumps can still be operated.