Do-It-Yourself/Shoe polish

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Home-made shoe polish

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Neutral Colour Shoe Polish

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To make a neutral-colour, home-made shoe polish, you would need:

Slice the beeswax and add to 568 ml (a pint) of water. Stir in the soap flakes and potassium carbonate. Boil until a smooth paste. Whilst the mixture is still hot (turn off the heat, but act quickly), add and stir the gum arabic powder and icing sugar. For a specifically black polish, 280 g (10 oz) of charcoal powder from the chemist may be added at this stage.

In recent history the black colour comes from an aniline dye. The next recipe indicates that nigrosene (generically, a black dye made from oxidised aniline) was domestically procurable in the 1940s.

Note that the above recipe uses potassium carbonate (potash) whereas the following recipe uses potassium bicarbonate, which is not potash. Imperial Measures are in brackets.

Black Shoe Polish

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Melt wax in boiling water and stir in the potassium, using a large pot to allow for the mixture foaming up. Dissolve the nigrosene in a little cold water and stir it in thoroughly, bring to the boil, and simmer gently for some minutes, stirring it until it creams. Take mixture off the fire, and stir in the turpentine. Put away in small tins, tightly closed.

[ ... p194: ] N.B.- In following recipes which contain kerosene, methylated spirit, turpentine, petrol, benzine or any other inflammable ingredient, great care must be observed to avoid making preparation near a lighted stove or naked flame of any kind.

[p192,194 The New P.W.M.U. Cookery Book, 1941, Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union of Victoria (Australia)]

Machines to be used