More than a substitute
Imitation leather and coated textiles are no longer a mere substitute for leather, it is rather that they meanwhile form an own class of materials which plays an important role in our everyday life. We encounter them in nearly all areas of life. One of the oldest should be linoleum once developed by the chemist Frederik Walton in 1860. The name refers to the linseed oil the most important basic material for linoleum besides powdered cork and jute fabric. Linoleum became prevalent as elastic flooring in the second half of the 19th century. Until well into the middle of the 20th century it remained predominant, before PVC became prevalent.
The discovery of PVC goes back to the French chemist Henri Victor Regnault, who, however, never applied for a patent, because he did not notice the importance of his discovery. Polyvinyl chloride or short PVC was patented for the first time in 1937/1938 when Friedrich Klatte developed a new method for the polymerization of vinyl chloride using sunlight. Above all it is used as horn substitute, for films, for coating textiles, as artificial filaments and for lacquers. PVC goes into industrial-scale production at first in the USA in 1928. The term imitation leather finds its way into the world as upholstery material. Today, PVC and polyurethanes are the most frequently used plastics for coating textiles.
During the 1960s our institute started research of coated textiles and imitation leathers, when the development of leather-like materials was advanced. In this respect, we look back on more than 60 years of experience which will also help you to work out new material properties, to open up new raw material bases or to develop resource-saving technologies.