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    Anything but squishy!

    Small cap - less work - great effect

    Some things in our daily lives simply belong there - they are part of our way of life and the self-evidence of their existence sometimes pushes them, unfairly, into the background. Their importance only becomes apparent when they are suddenly no longer available. This could apply, for example, to the washing machine, the bed or even the fridge. But the topic here and now is – shoes, and how to provide them with exceptional care. As already mentioned, shoes are simply an obvious necessity or a distinct need. Whatever the case, in our culture and climate, they are nothing very special; they don’t really become noticeable unless they aren’t worn in company. They are generally a commodity, or sometimes a status symbol or fashionable accessory. But, at any rate, they should be kept clean and well cared for because, even if the style of clothing is otherwise perfect, funny enough, dirty, scruffy shoes stand out immediately. That’s why shoes and their care have always been and still are of particular significance.

    Shoe care in the past

    Not so long ago, the shoe polish used for cleaning shoes was taken from a tin with a cloth and this thick paste laboriously rubbed onto the shoes. The polish had to soak in for a while before removing obvious residues with another clean cloth. The whole procedure was then finished off with long, arduous polishing using a heavy brush to achieve a mirror-like brilliance on the footwear – and make a good impression. Up to the 1920s, the occupation of shoeshine boy was still very common. This alone reveals how important clean shoes have always been over the years. Today, this service is only offered in some Asian countries or provided as an attraction at exhibitions and events.

    Shoe care today

    Nowadays, motorised shoeshine machines can be found practically all over the world at business hotels, trade fairs or shopping malls. The main dirt is removed by a brush, brown or black polish is applied to the shoes in one stroke, then distributed by a soft, rotating brush which at the same time polishes the shoes. The process is finished within seconds and the shoes gleam in (nearly) new splendour. So, well-cared for, clean shoes are still popular and, for most people, self-evident. Even on football grounds, soiled shoes have been frowned upon ever since most matches were played on cinder pitches and a fine became due before a game if the football shoes were not properly cleaned. Meanwhile, this is no longer necessary, because most soccer clubs now have artificial turf on which to kick the ball.

    Broad product range

    So, wherever and however shoes are worn, they will always attract attention – from both their wearers and others - and also show how important their cleaning and care is. Polishing shoes is, for most people, not really a “fun” job. Consequently, the time and physical effort needed for this task should be as short as possible. Any way of simplifying and easing the work is definitely welcome. And this brings us to our actual topic. As early as in the 1970s, the first manufacturers of shoe care products started to offer some of their polishes in tubes equipped with a sponge instead of in tins. The pasty tube content reached the surface of the shoe through a small hole in the sponge by pressing gently on the tube. The shoe cream was then spread over the leather with the help of this sponge. That was the birth of the sponge applicator. Further concepts emerged in the following years. Later, shoe polish was also available as a liquid; new formulas promised a shine without rubbing. For these products, special sponge applicators with a valve were needed to prevent any unintentional leakage of fluid. MENSHEN realized at an early stage that this new product would be greatly in demand. Already in 1973 – when the MENSHEN company was just three years old – the first moulds were built to produce such sponge applicators; and additional ones were built in subsequent years. Whether for pasty or liquid shoe polish, whether round, oval or triangular, for tubes or bottles, screw-on or snap-on, with or without flocking: MENSHEN has the optimum solution for all conceivable applications. Long experience in this segment has made MENSHEN one of the leading manufacturers of sponge applicators. A variety of materials, shapes and sealing variants are implemented, depending on the content and range of application. After all, by now there are further fields of application for sponge applicators. They are used, for instance, for cleaners for reading glasses or for optical systems, such as camera lenses.

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    Christian Nöh

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