Imitation leather

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A flexible fabric or paper imprinted or embossed to simulate the appearance and feel of leather. For inexpensive imitation leathers, a base cloth of a heavy fabric, such as cotton duck or rayon, is coated with a plastic, such as vinyl, Cellulose acetate, Cellulose nitrate, Polyethylene, or chloroprene rubber. Some imitation leathers are made without a fabric lining. One method uses thick, embossed sheets of slightly elastomeric plastic (Rubber or Polyurethane) while a second method uses compressed, pulped leather scraps and a third method uses textile fibers mixed with a polymeric binder. Imitation leathers are used for upholstery, luggage, bookbinding, and automobile seat covers. It is unlawful to use terms that imply a material is leather when it is an imitation. See also Fabrikoid and Naugahyde.

Synonyms and Related Terms

artificial leather; cuir artificiel (Fr.); imitación de cuero (Esp.); imitación de piel (Esp.); namaak leer (Ned); leerdoek (Ned.); leatherette; leather cloth; Fabrikoid; Naugahyde®;

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 203
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Polymer Handbook, Sealants and Adhesives
  • American Leather Chemists Association Glossary at