Meaning of Bitumen

The Latin term bitūmen came to Castilian as bitumen. This is the generic name for various substances that are found in nature and whose main components are hydrogen and carbon. When bitumen is brought to the fire, it emits a characteristic aroma and thick smoke.

Also called bitumen, bitumen can be a product derived from tar (a liquid, viscous and dark-hued substance that is obtained from the distillation of oil, coal, wood, and other materials). Bitumen, in this sense, is used for paving and waterproofing.

The paving of roads (such as highways or routes, streets and avenues) and the waterproofing of boats are two of the uses of bitumen, which can contain lead, mercury, arsenic and sulfur, among other elements.

It is known as Judean bitumen, on the other hand, the asphalt that comes from the Dead Sea and a thick oil used to age works created by hand.

The shoe polish is a mixture of different components, either as liquid or cream format, is used to protect and beautify to polish products leather. This class of substance began to be manufactured at an industrial level in the 20th century, including paraffin, gum arabic and other elements.

Although in many Spanish-speaking countries it is called the same way, this product to improve the appearance of shoes receives other names, such as the following: in Spain, shoe cream; in Venezuela, shoe cream; in Mexico, wax, covering or grease for shoes, but also paste for footwear; in Argentina and Uruguay it is known as shoe ointment or shoe ointment.

The human need to grease their footwear dates back several centuries, and for this they have used various substances. At first, this technique, which also extends the life of shoes, was carried out using tallow or waxes, among other products of natural origin. As mentioned above, its modern formula is different; Among its ingredients, there are some that can be harmful to our skin, given their toxicity.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, the popularity of this type of shoe polish began to grow, as well as that of footwear, both made of leather and synthetic materials. Regrettable though it is, the need to polish soldiers’ boots during the World Wars was a determining factor in this increase. Among the most popular brands internationally is Kiwi, which is originally from Australia and was founded in 1904.

Some people prefer to prepare the bitumen on their own, either for economic reasons or to achieve very specific results. The ingredients for a very common recipe for neutral bitumen are paraffin, carnauba wax, colorant, solvent and essence of myrban; Regarding the materials, a pot, a wooden spoon and plastic or metal containers are enough.

The procedure is relatively simple:

* melt the wax with the paraffin and stir until the mixture melts;

* Remove from the heat and add the solvent, without stopping stirring;

* add the essence of myrban, which provides the aroma that we usually associate with bitumen;

* Let the temperature drop and, when the mixture is almost solid, pour it into the containers.

If we want to obtain a particular color, then we must add the desired colorant before the solvent.

The mastic (a paste is made of ground glass, oil, lime and bast and is used to cover joints) and covering cakes or sweets made with egg and sugar are also called bitumen.