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Man's overshoe
MFA Acc. #: 44.560


1) A lightweight, elastic outer bark of the Cork oak, Quercus suber, native to the Mediterranean region. Cork trees are cultivated in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The outer bark is stripped about every 10 years. It contains 35-60% Suberin, 30-33% Cellulose, 27-32% Lignin with small amounts of Wax, [fat|fats]], and salts. Cork has been used to seal wine bottles since antiquity. It is currently used for insulation, floats, acoustical wall covering, flooring, shoe soles, gaskets, handles and bottle stoppers.

2) An archaic term for the blue dye extracted from Lichen.

Cork stopper for wine bottle

Synonyms and Related Terms

1) Quercus suber; Kork (Deut.); liège (Fr.); kurk (Ned.); cortiça (Port.); kork (Sven.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Unaffected by water, brine, dilute acids, alcohols, or oils. Attacked by concentrated mineral acids, strong alkalis and ozone. Density = 0.10-0.25

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 238
  • Mary-Lou Florian, Dale Paul Kronkright, Ruth E. Norton, The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1990
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Thomas C. Jester (ed.), Twentieth-Century Building Materials, McGraw-Hill Companies, Washington DC, 1995
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=0.22-0.26

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