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Development of special leather for antique upholstery, furniture and transport collections

To develop specific processing systems, as reduced chrome, nonchrome, aldehyde, oxazolidine and heavy vegetable combination and /or resin tannage which gives desired blend of properties for the restauration of antique leathers.

Leather has been the preferred material over the years for the upholstery of chairs and settees, the covering of table and desk tops, and for a wide range of purposes in modes of transport such as coaches, railway carriages and early motor cars. Thousands of these objects ranging from the grand to the everyday survive throughout Europe in historic houses, museums, special transport collections and in the homes of private individuals. Many of these items are still in daily use and wear over the years has inevitably led to damage and deterioration. If the object is used, it eventually becomes necessary to restore it by replacing the leather without downgrading its antique value. Over the last twenty years, consumer demand has led to the development of a range of new upholstery leathers for both motorcars and furniture. These are softer than traditional materials; they have a more uniform surface finish and their resistance to scuffing, abrasion and the effects of heat, light and staining from the spillage of water and oil-based materials is much superior. However, this has resulted in products with different physical and organoleptic properties and a very different appearance. Reupholstering antique furniture or the seats of classic or vintage motorcars or carriages from the eighteenth century with these modern leathers does not give an aesthetically acceptable result. Considering these facts, the project aims to develop suitable processing systems to give a desired blend of properties of novelty leathers, preserving the antique value of the leather goods to be exhibited in European museums. Using state-of-the-art techniques the project aims to, amongst others, address the following innovations: - Restoration of upholstery leathers with non-chrome, chrome-free oxazolidine, reduced chrome and heavy vegetable or resin tanning and retanning methodologies, which have a low environmental impact. - Easy-care-matched upholstery leathers. - Carved upholstery leathers. - Patent antique leather with finest finishing coat, which comprises the development and testing of embossing plates, techniques for mechanical boarding of product restoration leathers and tailor-made modern casein - or protein - based finishing systems. - Providing long-term endurance of the novel antique leathers by development of an artificial testing regime ensuring the museum life of the new antique leathers. - Increase the leather goods' comfort, prestige and natural appearance. - Quantitative assessment of physical, visual, organoleptic and chemical features of the development leathers. Using the above-mentioned tools, a range of leathers will be produced which combines some of the improved physical and chemical characteristics of modern products together with the organoleptic, physical and visible properties of the traditional materials. This will ensure the preservation of the antique value of the leather items. Therefore, development processes will be rationalized historically documented protocols. These will be selected on the basis of the results derived during the survey to be undertaken, which aims to define and identify leathers needed for replication, restoration and conservation. They will incorporate modern equipment as well as selected auxiliaries, resulting from the targeted design of each individual leather making step. Keywords: leather, tanning, technology.
Acronym: 
ANTIQUE LEATHERS
Project ID: 
3 129
Start date: 
01-09-2003
Project Duration: 
64months
Project costs: 
1 080 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Tanned leather process related to Footwear / Leather Technology
Market Area: 
Office furniture and other professional furnishings

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.