Pergamena is recognized as North America’s leader in parchments and leathers — a badge we accept with humility and purpose. We are “process people.” From raw materials to custom projects, each of our products is handmade. It is our talent and pleasure to recognize and highlight the native qualities of each animal skin. Our dedication to superior craftsmanship is rooted in a sense of belonging to an ancient tradition — one we keep alive as we blend it with modern advancements and aesthetics. We hope to inspire that same sense of belonging in our customers, as well as joy in appreciating an exquisitely crafted product.
The Pergamena team is creative and optimistic. We see wide-ranging potential for our products. We genuinely love collaborating with clients to provide the perfect raw materials for their projects; to create superb, custom-designed heirloom pieces; or to test new designs and ideas. In addition to commissions, we proudly offer our own designs, ready-made to bring the striking, incomparable beauty of parchment to our customers with the click of a button.
As a leader in the field, Pergamena is committed to ethical and environmentally sound business practices. The hides we use for parchment and leather come from animals that have died naturally or been raised for food. And all of our hides come from North America, with the majority from local farms and hunters. Our leathers are vegetable-tanned, a traditional and environmentally sound process, and we try to use natural and biodegradable dyes or pigments whenever possible.
Whether you are shopping for raw materials or custom designs, you can count on us for responsible production methods, as well as unrivaled quality.
How did we get here?
Our story begins back in 1550 in Eisenburg, Germany, where members of the Meyer family first took up tanning and leatherwork. Over the centuries, we branched out, working with an expanding range of animal skins. Around 1830, the New World beckoned, and Wilhelm Meyer moved the family business overseas, first to Philadelphia, then to New Jersey in 1856, operating in North Bergen for the next 130 years. During that time, Wilhelm’s grandson incorporated the family business using his own name, which we still use today: Richard E. Meyer & Sons. Finally, in 1981 we relocated to our current home in the Hudson River Valley, in beautiful southern New York.
Where are we now?
Since 1972, Karl Meyer, the current patriarch, has led R.E. Meyer & Sons in the production of fine leathers for a wide range of products including hand-bound books, piano actions, shoes, and even lederhosen. In 1999, Karl’s oldest son Jesse, then 27, decided to develop a new branch of the business and began producing parchment under the name Pergamena. With a background in sculpture, an eye for design, and no fear of getting his hands dirty, Jesse rediscovered and refined the age-old process of hand-making parchment. This new material went hand in hand with the family's leather business, and soon became a driving force in the company's growth.
As the new brand grew and demand for both parchment and leather increased, the Pergamena family expanded. In late 2008, another son Stephen, then 21, joined the family business. With a deep appreciation for the family tradition, and a familiarity with the process due to growing up around the tannery, Stephen has helped bring Pergamena into the modern age and expand into new markets.
Today, Pergamena continues to produce quality leather and parchment for dozens of niche industries. With a growing number of employees, an expanded selection of materials, and a drive to continue perfecting our process, we are all excited to carry on our family tradition and see what new projects come our way.
Want to visit the tannery?
Check our office hours and contact us to schedule a visit!