Naugahyde occupies a prominent spot in American popular culture. This imitation leather is made from vinyl and not from hides shed by the fictional Nauga, as a famous advertising campaign suggested. Love it or loathe it, Naugahyde furniture lives on and is a mainstay of the retro look.

The Connecticut Connection

Naugahyde is the registered brand name for a vinyl-covered fabric made by Uniroyal, a company that also makes tires. The product was invented in 1914 but the Naugahyde trademark wasn't registered until June 12, 1936 by Uniroyal. It is still owned by Uniroyal Engineered Products, LLC. The name is derived from the town of Naugatuck in Connecticut, which was then Uniroyal's headquarters and a center of the rubber-making industry. Naugahyde gained in popularity during the postwar boom of the 1950s but it wasn't until the late 1960s, when Madison Avenue advertising executive George Lois invented the story of the "Nauga" and based a campaign on this fictional creature, that the market for Naugahyde furniture and luggage really took off.