(See also Leather.)

Acid-Free Blacking

Lampblack...... 27-36 parts

Bone black......           3 parts

Syrup........... 60-70 parts

Put in a kettle and under gentle heat stir together until a smooth, homogeneous mass has been attained. In another kettle put 3 parts of finely shredded gutta percha and warm over an open fire until it begins to run, then add, with constant stirring, 5 parts of olive oil, continuing the heat until the gum is completely dissolved. When this occurs dissolve in 1 part of stearine, and add the whole while still hot in a slow stream, and under diligent and constant stirring, to the mixture of syrup and blacks. Continue the agitation of the mass until it is completely homogeneous. Now dissolve 4 parts of Senegal gum in 12 parts of water, and add the solution to the foregoing mass. Stir well in and finally add sufficient mirbane (about 1/5 part) to perfume.

Blacking Pastes

While shellac is not soluble in water alone, it is soluble in water carrying borax, the alkaline carbonates, etc. In paste blacking the object of the sulphuric acid is to remove from the bone black the residual calcium phosphate. The ordinary bone black of commerce consists of only about 10 per cent of carbon, the residue being chiefly calcium phosphate. This is the reason that we cannot obtain a pure black color from it, but a dirty brown. To make a good blacking, one that is of a black in color, either use purified bone black, or a mineral acid (sulphuric or hydrochloric acid) with crude bone black. The residual acid is entirely neutralized by the sodium carbonate and has no bad effect on the leather. The following formula contains no acid and makes a good paste:


Marseilles soap.. . 122 parts

Potassium carbonate........ 61 parts

Beeswax......... 500 parts

Water...........2,000 parts

Mix and boil together with occasional stirring until a smooth, homogeneous paste is obtained, then add, a little at a time, and under constant stirring, the following:

Rock candy, powdered ......... 153 parts

Gum arabic, powdered ......... 61 parts

Ivory black......1,000 parts

Stir until homogeneous, then pour, while still hot, into boxes.

The following makes a very brilliant and durable black polish for shoes:


Bone black...... 40 parts

Sulphuric acid. .. 10 parts

Fish oil......... 10 parts

Sodium carbonate crystal........ 18 parts

Sugar, common brown, or molasses ......... 20 parts

Liquid glue, prepared as below. 20 parts Water, sufficient. Soak 10 parts of good white glue in 40 parts of cold water for 4 hours, then dissolve by the application of gentle heat, and add 1.8 parts of glycerine (commercial). Set aside. Dissolve the sodium carbonate in sufficient water to make a cold saturated solution (about 3 parts of water at 60° F.), and set aside. In an earthenware vessel moisten the bone black with a very little water, and stirring it about with a stick, add the sulphuric acid, slowly. Agitate until a thick dough-like mass is obtained, then add and incorporate the fish oil. Any sort of animal oil, or even colza will answer, but it is best to avoid high-smelling oils. Add a little at a time, and under vigorous stirring, sufficient of the saturated sodium carbonate solution to cause effervescence. Be careful not to add so freely as to liquefy the mass. Stir until effervescence ceases, then add the molasses or sugar, the first, if a soft, damp paste is desired, and the latter if a dryer one is wanted. Finally, add, a little at a time, and under constant stirring, sufficient of the solution of glue to make a paste of the desired consistency. The exact amount of this last ingredient that is necessary must be learned by experience. It is a very important factor, as it gives the finished product a depth and brilliancy that it could not otherwise have, as well as a certain durability, in which most of the blackings now on the market are deficient.


Soap............ 122 parts

Potassium carbonate........ 61 parts

Beeswax......... 500 parts

Water...........2,000 parts

Mix and boil together until a smooth, homogeneous paste is obtained, then add

Bone black......1,000 parts

Powdered sugar. . 153 parts

Powdered gum arabic........ 61 parts

Mix thoroughly, remove from the fire, and pour while still hot into boxes.