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Naugahyde (sometimes abbreviated to Nauga) is an American brand of artificial leather (or "pleather" from plastic leather). Naugahyde is a composite of a knit fabric backing and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic coating. It was developed by United States Rubber Company, and is now manufactured and sold by Uniroyal Engineered Products, LLC, a privately held company. Its name, first used as a trademark in 1936,[1] comes from the Borough of Naugatuck, Connecticut, where it was first produced. Uniroyal asserts that Naugahyde is one of the most popular premium pleathers.[citation needed] Naugahyde is manufactured in Stoughton, Wisconsin.[2]

Advertising campaign showing the fictional Nauga character. Note that the Nauga's skin is made of vinyl.

A marketing campaign of the 1960s and 1970s asserted humorously that Naugahyde was obtained from the skin of an animal called a "Nauga". The claim became an urban myth.[3] The campaign emphasized that, unlike other animals, which must typically be slaughtered to obtain their hides, Naugas can shed their skin without harm to themselves.[4] The Nauga doll, a squat, horned monster with a wide toothy grin, became popular in the 1960s and is still sold today.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

  • American singer and musician Frank Zappa mentioned Naugahyde in the 1967 Mothers of Invention song "Brown Shoes Don't Make It": "Every desire is hidden away / In a drawer in a desk by a Naugahyde chair."
  • British singer-songwriter Al Stewart referred to Naugahyde in his song "Gina in The Kings Road" on his 2005 album A Beach Full of Shells. Set in the swinging '60s in London, the song is about a young lady, popular with many gentlemen, with whom he forms a liaison about which he says "Don't you cast aspersions on my Naugahyde affair".
  • Naugahyde is also mentioned in the song, "Randy Scouse Git," by the Monkees.[6] The line from the song is, "Now they've darkened all the windows / And the seats are naugahyde. / I've been waiting for an hour, / I can't find a place to hide."
  • Allan Sherman's parody of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" contains the line "My chair is upholstered in real Naugahyde; / When they killed that nauga, I sat down and cried."[7]
  • Naugahyde is also mentioned in the Warren Zevon song "Mr Bad Example": "I got a part-time job at my father's carpet store / Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score / I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane / And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan."
  • An extremely rare song by the Ohio group Devo, called "The Death of Lt. Casanova (AKA Naugahyde)", was played at The Crypt in Akron, Ohio, back in 1974. About three and a half minutes into the song, with bassist Gerald Casale on the lead vocals, the band backed him up, singing "Na-, Na-, Na-Naugahyde..."[8]
  • The Los Angeles band X, in "We're Desperate" (on the 1981 album Wild Gift), lists "Naugahyde and a tie-dye teeshirt" as punk accoutrements.
  • There was a short-lived punk rock band based in Los Angeles in the 1990s named "Nagahyde Lounge" [sic]
  • Primus released an album titled "Green Naugahyde" in which they referenced the material in the popular single, "Lee Van Cleef".
  • In TerrorVision, the character interpreted by Mary Woronov mentions a new Naugahyde dress that she intends to wear.
  • In the novel Silver Star by Jeanette Walls the Maddox family have a Naugahyde couch.
  • In the TV series Fringe, the character Astrid Farnsworth is playing a computer word tile game (akin to Scrabble) and is not allowed the word "Naugahyde", to which she comments "It was very popular in the 70s!"
  • One of Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels mentions "naugas" as a real alien animals, commenting that "their skins are durable and can be frequently encountered in doctors' waiting rooms", parodying naugahyde use for a budget upholstery.
  • In the French novel 37º2 le Matin by Philippe Djian, (better known by it's 1986 filmed title Betty Blue), the narrator describes the central female character Betty as being "like a flower with translucent antennae and a violet naugahyde core". - However the use of "naugahyde" here appeared only in the Americanised English translation of the novel by Howard Buten, and not in the original French text, which actually read as : "...cette fleur étrange munie d’antenne translucides et d’un cœur en skaï mauve." (...this strange flower fitted with translucent antenna and a purple leatherette heart.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trademark Electronic Search System, United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. ^ "Naugahyde Corporate Information". Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  3. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (2007-02-18). "Naugahyde and Seek". Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  4. ^ "A Nauga Story". Uniroyal. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  5. ^ Nauga dolls, Uniroyal website.
  6. ^ youtube user TuriMuzik jan 14, 2013
  7. ^ "CHIM CHIM CHEREE Lyrics – ALLAN SHERMAN". Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  8. ^ "Devo: "The Death of Lt. Casanova"". 

External links[edit]