Naugahyde is the cured skin of the rare naugabeeste otherwise known as the Nauga. Naugas were first hunted for their skin to use on inexpensive kitchen chairs and barstools, but the demand for the hides grew as the kustom kar kraze swept eastward from Southern California. The Naugas hides were cured and dyed in many shades that graced numerous cars' seats, door, under-hood and trunk panels. They could be seen at virtually any cruise-in or car show beginning in the late 1940s. The spelling of the word "Naugahyde" is thought to have come from a chemical manufacturer who attempted to create a synthetic replacement for the natural skin. As the Naugas were hunted nearly to extinction, other materials were used as alternatives such as mohair (Mos were still rather plentiful at the time) and leatherette, although the cowettes soon became virtually extinct from over-hunting. Finally, natural cloth materials and genuine leather became the standard and the population of Naugas is now increasing. Commercial Nauga herding and husbandry have helped this species to survive although it may be some time before Naugahyde interiors become readily available again.
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