We have talked about so many types of leather but the new ones just keep coming up. Isn’t it exciting? Well, the one we’re talking about in this post is totally different when it comes to appearance and the manufacturing process. Not only that, the process of maintaining and taking care of Patent leather may also vary depending on the product that’s in question. This type of leather is most popular in the footwear industry. You must have come across people wearing the kind of formal shoes that are super shiny and make them stand out in the room full of people. That shiny material is what we call patent leather. It is often used in the making of clothing items such as jackets and trousers as well. But first things first, what is patent leather and how is it any different from any other type of leather? Let’s dig a little deeper and get to know more about the history and the origin of patent leather.
What Is Patent Leather?
Leather that has been treated with chemicals along with the oils and waxes to create a shiny appearance to an extent that it turns into a reflective surface is patent leather. It is usually found in the markets in black color and has long been quite popular among youth for dress and shoes. As far as the manufacturing process of patent leather is concerned, most of the stages are similar to that of the other leather types. However, the final stage of the fishing process is different when it is coated with a lacquer to create that specific and distinct glossiness.
How Is Patent Leather Made?
Most hides that are obtained for leather manufacturing purposes are a byproduct of the meat industry. Patent leather comes from small animals i.e. calf which is why it’s usually light and thin. The hides of small animals can be divided into three categories; an outer hairy layer, a thick layer in the center, and a fatty inner layer. Once the hide is separated from the animal, it can pretty soon start to decompose, hence the fat and the hair are removed from the hide using a technique called tanning. Then the middle layer is treated with chemicals to preserve and strengthen it. The flexibility of the leather is also enhanced in this process. Throughout history, there have been a number of processes used for tanning but the most common and modern one these days is the use of chemicals. Tanning basically means a chemical found in many plants that react with collagen to strengthen the hide. It also increases the elasticity and durability of the leather.
History Of Patent Leather
Back in the day, all-natural elements were used in the tanning process of leather. Plan-based tanning was the only method for leather crafting. The Hebrews used oak bark, and the Egyptians were more into the pod of the ‘babul plant’. The Romans, however, were a little ahead of their time and had a thriving tanning industry. They were widely using tree barks, berries, and wood extracts for leather tanning purposes. Although tanning was and is still done by hands, in fact, the overall leather accessories are handcrafted. However, it still requires some specialized tools to get things right, such as soaking vats, fleshing knives, and scrapers. Till the late 19th century, almost all of the tanning chemicals came from plants, and the hides were soaked in lime to de-hair them. Then soaked the hides in strong solutions for the final vegetable tanning. The most common color of patent leather products has always been black because of the luxe and the mirror-like reflecting finish.
How To Clean Patent Leather?
Cleaning this one is comparatively easier than suede or nubuck because of the super smooth and shiny surface. All you need is a leather cleaner, paper towel, cotton pads, and a soft brush.
Use the brush to rub off any dust and dampen a cotton pad with a small amount of water and leather detergent. Rub the pad on the surface in slow motion gently. You can repeat the process at the spots where you see a stain. Dry your patent leather shoes or jacket with a soft paper towel. Let it dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Apply leather conditioner to make sure that the moisture is retained.