Leather Bags, Made in Chicago

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Kaehler 1920 Blog

  • Grandpa's Bag in Uncle Buck a Kaehler Cameo

    Kaehler Golf Bag Makes an Appearance in Uncle Buck

    In celebration of The Master’s, arguably golf’s greatest tournament, we thought we would share a family heirloom. This is Wallace Walter Kaehler’s (2nd generation Kaehler owner/operator’s) golf bag.  This beautiful bag was custom made using Canadian vegetable tanned leather.


    We wish we knew more about the origins of the bag, but unfortunately the detail and classic quality of the aniline leather have to speak for itself. We’ve occasionally used the bag for store displays and many customers have inquired about purchasing it. We obviously refused, but we did have one offer that was too good to pass up.

    When the producers from the movie Uncle Buck visited our store and offered to rent the bag for $75 a week we couldn’t say no (being huge John Candy fans, of course). If you watch the movie, in Uncle Buck's apartment you will see this golf bag. The bag then takes a ride in the trunk with Buck's nemesis, Bug. We’re proud that grandpa’s bag is a part of movie history as the bag represents everything we’re about- making beautiful leather products that can be passed down for generations.

  • Naked Leather

    Naked Leather

    While slightly provocative, this is very appropriate leather terminology. Naked leather describes leather that is tanned in way that shows all variations and imperfections in the hide. This is the kind of leather that gets us excited! Oh jeez…

    More important than what this term describes is what it implies about its antonym. Most leather is clothed, wearing makeup or more realistically, painted. Of the three components of leather evaluation (look, smell and feel) we use our eyes first. Many producers of leather goods want visual consistency. We want the opposite, character.

    Aniline Leather English Tan


    The quest for leather with character traces back to a quintessential aspect in the tanning process called Aniline. Aniline is the use of dyes instead of pigment for coloring leather. For more on the Aniline process please read here. The end result of the Aniline process is similar to staining wood vs painting wood. When you stain, you see all of the natural beauty and grain structure of the wood. When you paint, you see the paint only.

    Aniline Block


    We buy all of our leather from our Chicago neighbors, the Horween Leather Company. Horween has been making fully aniline leathers for over 100 years. Aniline tanning is not the easiest nor is it the cheapest or fastest way to tan leathers. It is without question, the best way and the only kind of leather we will use.

  • Monogramming: Make it Personal

    Monogramming (embossing or personalizing) leather is something that Kaehler has been doing since our company was founded over 90 years ago. There is a permanence associated with monogramming that we find comforting. We make products that will be with you for a lifetime. Once monogrammed the product becomes unique and personal.

    In our office there is a monogrammed briefcase from the second generation Kaehler, Wallace Walter Kaehler. His brief (a beautiful top handle brief from now defunct Renwick), boldly stamped WWK, serves as a reminder that quality lives on.

    WWK Briefcase Monogrammed

    Every product purchased from Kaehler 1920 was designed to be monogrammed. Monogramming is complementary and done in-house. Please keep this service in mind. A personalized leather good makes a great gift for milestone events like weddings, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries.

  • The Kaehler Scrapbook

    We love the Internet. It’s hard to imagine our lives or business without it. Though we would rather get to know you and have you see our products in person, its amazing that someone can visit us anywhere in the world to see and learn about what we do. This concept was unfathomable when our company was founded.

    As we embrace the convenience of the new, our minds gravitate towards the old and when we designed kaehler1920.com nostalgia was in the air. Functionally, we wanted the site show our products, share the thought process of how and why materials are chosen and bags are built.

    Scrapbook Kaehler

    Scrapbook Kaehler

    Aesthetically, we used a scrapbook from the late 1920’s as our guide. The book documents the early press of the original Kaehler store and the adventures of company founder, WG Kaehler. This scrapbook serves as the inspiration for not only for this site, but for our company. There’s a comfort in seeing things that have lasted a long time and our goal as a company is do build things that do just that.


    Scrapbook Kaehler

    Scrapbook Kaehler


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