"Pantasote" Imitation Leather: General Information

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1906 Sweets Catalog
Wall Coverings
Last Modified:

Pantasote was an imitation leather product used to cover courtroom fly doors in GSA Federal Buildings/Courthouses. The following is a modified entry from the 1906 Sweets Catalog describing the material and its uses.

NOTE TO READERS: This is a historical description of Pantasote from 1906. It does not describe a contemporary product. This standard is for background on a material widely used by GSA.

The Pantasote Company

Address in 1906:

11 Broadway
New York, NY

Location Today:

Pantasote, Inc.
Passaic, New Jersey
(201) 777-8500

The original company dates back to the 1890's. Pantasote, Inc. is still in business in Passaic, New Jersey, however the company has split apart and the wall covering division, among others, is no longer affiliated with the original company.

Historical Description

Pantasote is a coined word from Greek derivation, meaning "to serve all purposes". Pantasote leather was originally manufactured for upholstery purposes and was historically used for wall decoration, shades and curtains. Pantasote materials were placed on the market in 1891 and could often be found in residences, hospitals, yachts, railway cars, electric cars, and on automobile canopy tops, seat upholstery and lap-robes. Pantasote was also frequently mackintoshed (waterproofed with a rubberized cotton coating) for use in making tents, awnings and sporting/camping equipment.

Pantasote consisted of two fabrics united firmly together with an intermediate coating of Pantasote gum. The surface was then coated with Pantasote and embossed, giving it a finish resembling hide leather. It was available in a variety of colors and finished with either ordinary leather grains or a high relief embossing.

The composition of Pantasote rendered it insusceptible to any climatic conditions. Unlike genuine leather, Pantasote did not stretch, bag, dry up or oxidize. It was waterproof, germ-proof, non-flammable, and could be washed or cleaned at any time. In general, it tended to last longer than most hide leather and cost about 1/3 as much.

As an upholstery for shades and curtains, it was the most durable and inexpensive material in 1906. Being opaque, the Pantasote surface protected the decorated fabric on the inside of the shades or curtains (sometimes made of very delicate and artistic silk) from the effects of sun (rotting and fading) and rain.

Last Reviewed 2016-07-25