Skip to Main Content


Welcome to the new UK Angelus website, home of the famous Angelus Acrylic Paints and one of the oldest and respected shoe polish brands in the world.

History of Angelus

Angelus Shoe Polish was not even a dream when the young Greek immigrant Paul T. Angelos arrived at Ellis Island in 1907. Making his way to Chicago, Paul shined shoes and saved enough money to go to Los Angeles where he opened his own shine stand.

Not satisfied with the boot polish available, Paul created his own recipe and started making his own special polish on the stove in his kitchen. Through hard work and long hours, he was able to send money for his brothers George and Louie to join him in his expanding business. In 1917 they registered the brand.

After being crowned “King of the Bootblacks”, Paul was able to make the return trip to Greece to marry his sweetheart. Many years later, Paul would tell his grandchildren what an experience it was to return to Greece first class on the ocean liner Mauritania, which was the same ship that brought him steerage to America years before.

On arriving back in Los Angeles with his bride, business flourished and soon other bootblacks started wondering what the Angelos boys were using on their shine stands and started asking where they could buy some. The demand for Angelus polish started to grow until the poor kitchen stove could not keep up with demand and they opened a small manufacturing plant.

It was not long before the plant demanded their full time attention and so the brothers sold their shoe shine stands and devoted all their energies into making shoe polish. Some of the family worked in the plant while others took to the road where they often worked in the repair shops shining shoes to demonstrate the quality of the Angelus products.

In 1924, a new five-story plant was built on Maple Avenue in Los Angeles and in the early 1930’s, Paul’s son George joined the family business on a full time basis. Demand continued to grow for the Angelus products throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s.

At the end of World War II in 1947 a decision was made to sell the business. Many changes were made to Angelus Shoe Polish, sadly none for the good. The new owners cut back on the most expensive ingredients and dramatically reduced the quality of the polish.

In 1953, Paul and his son George bought back Angelus Shoe Polish. They went to what they knew best – honesty, quality, and hard work. Any merchandise that was defective was taken back and refunds or new product delivered. Sid Solomon, their salesman would question Paul, “You cannot take back this much merchandise, especially products that you did not even make!” Paul’s reply, “It has our name on it and we will make it good. It matters little who actually made it!” The original quality restored, the Angelus brand has since gone from strength to strength becoming the market leader in the USA.

The Angelus brand continues to evolve and has recently taken the American shoe fashion market by storm with the introduction of their range of acrylic leather paints. These have been embraced by a new generation of shoe artists who want to stylise their shoes with their favourite characters, designs and colours.

Hugely popular in shoe repair and arts and crafts shops across the USA, the signs are already there that Angelus Acrylic Paints are going to explode across Europe over the next few years.

Charles Birch Ltd – UK Distributor

Based in Leeds and Rochford, Essex, Charles Birch Limited is the largest stockist of shoe components and shoe care items in the UK. Formed in 1965 Charles Birch is a long standing family-owned business which is geared to support the retail trade.

sports trainer customised with sunset yellow
neon paints add vibrant colours
trainers with cartoon painting
white trainers with red roses