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

Also called bitumen, bitumen may 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 to to pave and proof.

The paving of roads (such as roads 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, to the asphalt that comes from Dead Sea already a thick oil used to age plays created in an artisanal way.

The shoe polish is a mixture of different components that, either as cream or in liquid format, is used to protect, polish and beautify products of 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 the shoes it receives other names, such as the following: in Spain, shoe cream; In Venezuela, shoe cream; in Mexico, wax, coverage or grease for shoes, but also, shoe paste; in Argentina and Uruguay it is known as shoe ointment or shoe ointment.

The need for human beings to grease their shoes dates back several centuries, and for this they have used various substances. In the beginning, this technique that also extends the life of the 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.

From the beginning of the 19th century, the popularity of this type of bitumen began to grow, as well as that of footwear, both 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 financial 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; With regard to the materials, a pot, a wooden spoon and plastic or metal containers are enough.

The procedure is relatively simple:

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

* remove from 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 and, when the mixture is almost in a solid state, pour it into the containers.

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

The zulaque (a paste that is made with ground glass, oil, lime and tow and is used to cover joints) and the coating of cakes or sweets that are made with egg white and sugar are also called bitumen.