Casco Bay Furniture a Discussion of – The Coveted Brompton Leather Sofa

Recently purchased a sofa in Brompton Leather, or looking to purchase one? Where does it come from? How do you take care of it? Here are some answers.

A Bit of a Brompton History. The original Brompton leather is produced by a tannery in Vicenza, Italy called Concernia Bernado Finco Spa. The tannery has been in business for five generations and uses a highly guarded, 45-step secret process to produce the leather. The leather is distributed by only one distributor in North America. Brompton leather was brought to the attention of the public by Restoration Hardware. The well known retailer features Brompton leather on many deep seat sofa styles such as the Lancaster sofa, Maxwell sofa, Kensington sofa, Belgian Slope Arm sofa, Belgian Track Arm sofa, the Churchill Leather chair and others. The Lancaster sofa and the Maxwell sofa are the most popular styles at Restoration Hardware. Restoration Hardware features the Lancaster sofa and Maxwell sofa in many sizes. The Lancaster sectional and Maxwell sectional from Restoration Hardware are also available in a variety of sizes and configurations and all in Brompton leather.

Brompton Knock-offs. The tannery in Italy does not seem to own the name “Brompton,” so many leather suppliers seem to have a “Brompton.” There are Bromptons from China, the Bromptons from Thailand, and the Bromptons from Argentina. However, there are no USA based knocks-offs, since there are only a few small specialty tanneries left in the USA due to environmental regulations. Tanning leather is a messy business. No one has successfully knocked off this leather, although everyone has tried. The knock-offs simply don’t have the same characteristics. They just can’t compare with the 45-step secret process done by the Italians. At Casco Bay Furniture we only carry the original Brompton leather from Italy.

Brompton’s Unique Characteristics. Brompton leather is a very thick, durable, and beautiful full aniline dyed leather. Most leathers measure .9 mils thick, while Brompton is as much as twice that thickness. Brompton leather is what is referred to as a “waxed pull up leather.” The surface is coated with wax and oils. Before the upholstering process has begun, the leather is stiff and more solid colored. As the leather is stretched and applied, it will lighten and change color into a rich patina.

This leather does have a break-in period. When you furniture first arrives, your sofa will be firmer when sat on. Keep in mind, if you saw a sofa made up in this leather at your local retailer, it may have been on their floor for months, if not years. Thousands of people may have sat on the sofa, so that the leather will be much softer, pliable, and have a nice patina.

Madison sofa in Brompton Leather

Our Maxwell styled sofa in Brompton Cocoa.

Brompton and wax pull ups are unique in that, if you pinch the leather, you will see shadows and distinct light and dark areas. What is also unique is that you can rub these out just as easily. Brompton has a rich expensive look and breaks in like an old bomber jacket. That’s why it’s so popular, but it’s not for everyone. Brompton leather is the most popular leather at Casco Bay Furniture. At Casco Bay Furniture Brompton leather is available on several deep seat sofas such as the Manchester sofa which compares to the Restoration Hardware Lancaster sofa, the Madison deep seat sofa which compares to the Restoration Hardware Maxwell sofa, The Kingston sofa which compares to the Restoration Hardware Kensington sofa, the Jackson Slope Arm sofa which compares to the Restoration Hardware Belgian Slope Arm sofa and the Prescott Track Arm sofa which Compares to the Restoration Hardware’s Belgian Track Arm sofa.

Large Manchester Sofa

Our Lancaster styled sofa in Bromton Cocoa.

Brompton Leather Scratches. Run you finger across the leather and it scratches, yet most surface scratches just as easily rub out. Simply vigorously rub the scratched area with your palm and the scratches will usually disappear. When you are rubbing the leather, what you are really doing is creating heat which is melting the wax on the surface of the leather. If the scratches are a little deeper, heat the area with a hair dryer holding the fairly hot dryer bout 6” from the surface. Aim the dryer at your hand while rubbing out the scratches and make sure that the dryer is not getting too hot. If the heat doesn’t bother your hand, it won’t bother the leather in my experience. If the scratches are really deep, you will need professional help to fix them.

Kids and Animals. No leather can take animal abuse, but I do think this leather is better than most, as it will look distressed to begin with after its break in, and it is thick and durable.

Maintenance. If you take care of your set upholstered in Brompton Leather, it can last for decades, but it does need to be cleaned and maintained. If you don’t clean and maintain the leather, it will start to look overly distressed and become somewhat shabby. At Casco Bay Furniture we do carry a product that has been especially formulated to clean and maintain this leather. It comes in a two part kit and has a cleaner and a re-waxer. This product works great and all you have to do is follow the directions on the box. You will be amazed how good this will make your set look.

If You Need a Leather Tech. If you need professional help to repair the leather, make sure your tech is familiar with this type of leather or at least familiar with a full aniline dyed leather. If they are, they can do a wonderful job. If not, they can ruin the leather. Make sure they do not apply any spray “poly” finish to the surface, as it will then not blend with the rest of your set.

Any questions not answered here, give us a call at Casco Bay Furniture at 207-272-0557  and we will do our best to help you.

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8 Comments

  1. Very interesting post, clearly written and well presented. I was wondering if you knew any places that still have these classic sofas?

    Thanks keep up the good work!

  2. sandy gulbrandsen

    What do you sell to clean an expensive leather sofa and chair with ottoman? How much is it and how do I order?

    • Richard

      Sandy what type of leather is it? Please let us know or give us a call at Casco Bay and we will offer some suggestions.

  3. Tammi

    This works. My son just scratched our restoration brompton leather couch….I put the hot blow dryer on it and began rubbing the palm of my hand back and forth….they disappeared.

  4. Hi there. I own the Maxwell sofa, purchased from Restoration Hardware. I had HORRIBLE scratches to the leather when our dog sitter allowed the dogs on the sofa. Most have come completely out with the hair dryer technique. The product information I received from RH said not to use cleaners or conditioners on the product but we live in Denver where it is very dry and I’m worried about the long term effects on the leather. You reference cleaning kits but I can’t find them on the website. Can you provide a link to where they can be purchased?

    • Renee please give us a call. We do carry a special product for Wax pull up leathers such as Brompton Cocoa. The kit contains a cleaner and a re-waxer. This product works great and will remove most surface scratches. We feel it is very important to clean and condition your leather furniture. Failure to do so can result in the dehydration of your leather which then leads to cracking. Once a leather has dehydrated there is no way to rehydrate the leather and it essentially will be ruined.

      On an added note for leather care. It is important not to keep aniline and semi aniline dyed leathers in direct sunlight if possible. If your set is in direct sunlight close your shades during the sunniest part of the day or get solar shades. Leather can fade. A set left in a very sunny window can fade in 4-6 months. fading is not covered by any manufacturers warranty. A faded sofa can be re-colored by an experienced leather tech with excellent results.

  5. Monica Hogan

    I’m on your website looking for a phone number to get the cleaning kit for my new Brompton leather furniture but do not see a #

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