HISTORY: Patent leather was first introduced to the US in 1818 by Seth Boyden. He wanted to create a version of leather that was waterproof, retained its qualities of durability and possessed flexible texture. The shiny, reflective finish would also have an appearance of a more formal looking shoe. The fine leather was tanned by the usual process followed by the tanner applying a series of treatments of linseed oil-based lacquer coating. Today, patent leather still begins with leather; however, it’s layered with polyurethane and acrylic. The polyurethane provides a hard, shiny, durable finish, and the acrylic provides a more flexible product. When people think of patent leather they usually think of black, however, the leather can come in an assortment of colors.
TREATING PATENT LEATHER: Start by cleaning the surface of dirt with a soft cloth. Apply a patent leather cleaner such as the Tana Patent Leather Care. This product not only removes the dirt but also restores the shine and protects the finish. Buff one more time. Don’t forget to also care for the heel and sole. If these are not patent leather, use shoe polish to restore the color and protect from the elements.
STORING: When storing patent leather products, make sure they are stored in a box or enclosed container. This will avoid dust build up which could lead to the loss of shine and the formation of creases. You also need to ensure that no two patent leather products touch each other, as this could cause scuffs and scratches. To prevent this separate them with a cloth, tissue paper or wrap them in individual bags. When storing leather bags, fill them with paper/tissue to maintain the shape of the bag, again this will avoid creases from forming and the bag will maintain its shape.
CAUTION: Avoid cleaning with oily products such as petrolium jelly as oils attract dust and with time will ruin the shiny finish.REMEMBER: Today you can find patent leather sandals, boots, heels, bags and belts. Make a fashion statement and don’t just wear with formal wear but enjoy this sexy look with your jeans, dresses and shorts. Make your day shine and have fun with your patent leather products.