Civil War Shoemaking

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#176 Post by paul » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:54 am

Very cool Al. Thank you

psrivats

Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#177 Post by psrivats » Sun May 27, 2012 8:41 pm

Not sure if this belongs here, so admins please free to move this to the right section if need be.

I had lots of time on my hand this weekend and I came across a book titled "The military shoe" authored by Maj. S.A. Salquin from 1883. This books is has some startling similarities to the well-known Edward Munson's book from 1912. The book talks about problems with military shoes of that era (the sole shapes pictured in the book are very similar to the brogans posted above).

What is interesting (atleast to me) is that the author makes a case of swinging the last to better match the foot shape (though his terminology is different). This is the earliest reference I have seen that makes an effort to understand inflare/outflare foot differences and designing a anatomically friendly last for the army.

Here is a pdf copy of the book for anyone interested:
Salquin-1883-The_Military_shoe-14688.pdf
(2.02 MiB) Downloaded 151 times

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#178 Post by kemosabi » Tue May 29, 2012 9:23 am

Salquin really hates pegs, eh? (Chapter-5).

Interesting reading... Thanks for sharing.

-Nat

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#179 Post by jesselee » Tue May 29, 2012 9:04 pm

Nat,

That was a really good read. Balderdash I say to the anti-peg views. I have heard all the arguments, and the consensus is that those opposing pegging do NOT know how to peg. It is the best system. I don't have pegs falling out, nor are my soles stiff and repairability is a cake walk. Just grind the area and peg on a new half sole. I have had boots which I have repaired the soles like this for over 20 years. Never had a problem.

Cheers,

JesseLee

psrivats

Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#180 Post by psrivats » Wed May 30, 2012 4:36 am

Nat/Jesse,

I think Salquin's views on pegged shoes has to do with the fact that he is looking at a military shoe that is bound to see rough wear in harsh conditions, rather than normal day-to-day wear. In that context, sewing probably is a better option than pegging for the outsoles, esp. if done by machine.

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#181 Post by jesselee » Wed May 30, 2012 7:46 am

Srivatsan,

That seems to be his view. However there was lots of unproven anti-peg propaganda in the book such as pegs falling out and the mention of a soldier who put on a shoe and the whole sole fell off which is totally impossible.
The US Army found that in desert and hot terrain that pegs would fall out due to the dryness and the M1872 US Army shoes and M1872 New Pattern boots were mostly made with brass screw nails to fix this problem. ( Sourced from private correspondances with the Smithsonian in the late 60's)
During the Civil War there were no lock stitch machines to sew welted shoes so those which were made, were sewn by hand. In 1866 the first welt stitcher was invented and was adopted by the US Army years later. More for convienience and quick production than anything else.
The same thing occurred ie. dryness and soles falling of.
In retrospect, weather and temperature played an important part. I found the McKay stitched boots and shoes worn by both armies during the Civil War
were more durable than welt stitches as the outer stitch was covered by a flap of leather.
Also in dry areas iron nails held extremely well as can seen on many cowboy boots from the 1870's to 1880's period.
Still, no matter how the original boot or shoe was constructed, clump/half repair soles were always pegged or nailed on, and survive to this very day amidst failing welts.
I personally have worn pegged soles in the desert for years (Moab Utah gets 116 degrees sometimes) and rarely lost a few pegs. My soles were also wheatpaste or horse hoof glued.
I stand by pegging 100%.

Overal, Salquin's book is a great study, however curved lasts don't work on my feet.

Cheers (plus 2 cents)

JesseLee

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#182 Post by kemosabi » Wed May 30, 2012 9:39 am

Have you ever heard of pegs driving through the insole during use? Salquin mentions this happening, but it doesn't seem correct to me. I guess if it's possible for a peg to fall out, then it's also possible for a peg to move inward.

Also; Surely, not all people's feet are inflared and require last swing. That's like saying everyone wears a size-7 hat. Salquin does mention that although impractical, the only way to truly fit boots to soldiers is to measure and custom make a pair for each one. Maybe as a whole, more feet are inflared than otherwise, so trending this direction does make sense. (???)

-Nat

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#183 Post by jesselee » Wed May 30, 2012 11:02 am

Nat,

Pegs MUST come through the innersole to grip. If they just go partway into the innersole, they will not hold and the points will come through. Thus my comment on how people don't know how to properly peg. The peg float takes care of pegs on the innersole as does hammering them so they splay on the iron last.
I have protuding pegs with no problems. One will hurt, all will not ie. how the man can lay on a bed of nails, distribution.

Yes, the only way to fit a soldier is individually.

Cheers,

JesseLee

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#184 Post by kemosabi » Wed May 30, 2012 1:31 pm

I think we're on the same page here brother:

If Salquin based his opinion on improperly built pegged soles; then it makes sense why he would be opposed to using them. Or maybe he was just ignorant (harsh but true?)

Or we could turn the tables:
If makers of that time/place could not reliably form a proper hold-fast and welt seams kept blowing apart, then he probably would have had a low opinion of sewn construction.

-Nat

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#185 Post by jesselee » Wed May 30, 2012 3:12 pm

Nat,

Very true on both counts. I do a fine welted sole, and have found that the tighter the stitches the better the hold. But they have never surpassed my pegged soles.

Cheers,

JesseLee

psrivats

Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#186 Post by psrivats » Wed May 30, 2012 4:50 pm

Jesse,

Thanks for the historical pointers about the timeline when the machines were invented. Very interesting points.

I agree that not everyone does well with curved lasts, but Salquin's point is that they are a better choice for feet that have been warped by wearing pointy civilian lasts. Munson's book also makes the same point, with x-ray photographs for proof. What I like about the discussion in Salquin/Munson is their focus on keeping the big toe straight (and in place) with the design of the last.

From what I understand, simply making the toe area wider will just not work for some feet (or some types of problem feet) -- the foot will simply "run over" on the lateral side even there is excess space on the medial side. Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.

I agree with all your other observations.

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#187 Post by dearbone » Wed May 30, 2012 5:31 pm

Jesse,

Quote,
I do a fine welted sole, and have found that
the tighter the stitches the better the hold. But they have never
surpassed my pegged soles.

Having made both welted and pegged shoes,They are two different feel and class of constructions,one is a peasant/farmer shoe and the other is for the urban,more refine and not surpassed by pegs.Image

Nasser

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#188 Post by jesselee » Wed May 30, 2012 10:45 pm

Nasser,

I would support, in the end it is the skills of the craftsman, whether welted or pegged which makes the difference.

I hardly think pegged shoes or boots are limited to 'peasants' as officer's boots during the Civil War a well as boots belonging to such notable historical figures as Gen, Robert E. Lee and President Abraham Lincoln were very well pegged.

Cheers,

JesseLee

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#189 Post by jesselee » Wed May 30, 2012 10:53 pm

Srivatsan,

Having studied Salquin and Munson's expose's on the subject, I agree with with their observations to correct and supply a more suitable last to some feet which have been cramped by the toes running over.

Is it the fault of a straighter last? I do not know. Is it the fault of ill fitting shoes or boots? Perhaps that is a factor.

I can speak for my feet which are perfect and un-calloused in all areas and owe this to wearing boots and shoes made on Civil War pattern lasts all of my life. I can attest this also from customers I have had for 30 years or more.

In the longrun I feel a last must be made to an individuals foot specifications and measurements.

Cheers,

JesseLee

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#190 Post by kemosabi » Thu May 31, 2012 10:10 am

Srivatsan,

I'm not a lifetime expert, like JesseLee and some others on this site, but I've spent countless hours researching.
If it helps any; I think that that some amount of medial swing would better suit most feet, especially under the harsh conditions of marching long distance on a campaign. In the end though (and even Salquin admits this) the perfect fit can only come from measuring each foot and building a custom last. Obviously, that's not practical for outfitting an army. In the end; it's about what your trying to achieve. Better fit for the masses, or the perfect fit for an individual.

BTW: My own hand-made lasts are swung medial. Not by forcing a swing in the design, but by following the natural shape.

Just my 2 cents worth...

Kind Regards,
-Nat

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#191 Post by clarketc » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:57 am

Hello -

I've been enthusiastically pouring through old posts over the last year and decided I'd come out of the shadows and become a respectable member by posting.

My introduction to mid 19th century shoemaking came through a summer apprenticeship under Butch Myers as a 12 year old. I learned an amazing amount in a short time. Although making a few pairs in his shop I didn't follow through with going deeper but instead focused on Confederate knapsacks for a number of years. I've decided its time to pursue shoemaking more seriously.

To my question...

I was researching Confederate shoe patterns and found one mentioned in the papers of the late Ernest Peterkin housed at the Rockefeller Library in Williamsburg.

http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/vie ... c00526.xml

Has anyone seen these or have any info about them? I'm thinking about making a trip down to Williamsburg to do some research.

Thanks,
Chris

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#192 Post by das » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:33 am

Hey Chris,

Welcome aboard. Colonial Williamsburg owns several CW military shoes. The coolest is in the "Walcott Collection" here. It's an unworn/unissued Richmond Depot shoe (marked "RCH" on the heel). We have maybe 2-3 others of more or less the exact same pattern archaeologically recovered from the Governor's Palace well, deposited after the Battle of Williamsburg. PM if you'd like to make an appointment to come study them.

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#193 Post by tmattimore » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:09 am

Most of his collection is in the hands of the NPS if you reach out to their office in harpers ferry they may be able to tell you where a particular shoe is. A large number of his Indian war era footware is at Ft. Laramie so I am sure any of his C.S. items are on display back east.

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#194 Post by clarketc » Wed May 14, 2014 6:04 am

Al,

I'm excited to come and visit and have a look at the Confederate shoes you mentioned. I was trying to figure out how to PM you but somehow the feature is not enabled for me. What's the best way to get in touch?

Thanks,
Chris

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#195 Post by shaunpekar » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:47 am

So like Chris, I too have been lurking here for some time, benefiting from all of the sage knowledge of this group.

In the last few years that I have been working professionally as a historic shoemaker at a small historic site in upstate NY, 18th century shoes have been my main focus, though in the last year or so the Army Bootee in all of its issued variants has become a bit of an obsession of mine.

While doing a little research last week on the way back from a Living History event, I stumbled across an auction catalog from Heritage Auctions for the auction of the John Henry Kurtz collection. Contained within the pages of this catalog are a pair of bootees which by all appearances seem to be a "by-the-book" pair of welted, left-right, 1858 army bootees, inspector marked and everything, save for one aboration:

The addition of a copper rivet at each side seam for reinforcement.

Now I've seen this before in non regulation footwear, and I believe Peterkin refrenced a pair of New York Depot boots with an external counter which also had a copper rivet reinforcement in the side seam, but otherwise, as far as issue footwear goes, this is new to me.

I was wondering, has anyone seen any primary source documents discussing this variation and it's purpose, and also, does anyone know where this pair of bootees ended up?

Thanks,
Shaun A. Pekar
Artificer Shoemaker
Fort Ticonderoga Association

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#196 Post by das » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:48 pm

Hey Shaun,

Welcome aboard. A quick run through 3 file folders did not turn up the ref. I recall, but if memory serves, standard 1860s Federal Bootees modified with an added copper burr rivet at the top of the side seam = shoes for "Negro troops". Anybody, please wade-in on this if you can put your finger right on the rivets="Negro" troop ref. Many of the 1830s-50s dated style samples made by the J. T. Batchelor Co., MA, for "the Southern trade" (exported to slave-holding states pre 1861) also have a copper burr rivet right at the top of the side seam. These are not military shoes however.

The bootee drawing added by Fred Gaede at the end of Pete's (posthumous) article in the CMH Journal, with the copper rivets, were described by their current owner (bought at auction in 1981) in '93: "the soldier that fit these was definitely related to Sasquatch, these are for really big feet, about (size) 14 DD I'd guess." The uppers are fully chain-stitch, i.e. machined with a MacKay (post 1861). They are straight (U.S. QM stopped accepting straights in 1851!). They bear a NY depot inspector's stamp: "Q.? B. Keyes". Not sure the owner wants his name blasted on the Internet though--PM me.

Looking at full sketches of the "Keyes" bootees, what bothers me is that these have the <1851 straight soles (pegged), post 1861 MacKay sewing, with the 6 shank nails added we see on the "RCH" (Richmond Arsenal CSA?) marked, lower-cut version in CWF's Walcott collection, plus similar bootees deposited in the Governor's Palace well after the Battle of Williamsburg and another from the high water mark at Ft. McAllister, GA.

Can you post pix of the John Henry Kurtz bootees?

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#197 Post by shaunpekar » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:09 pm

Al,

I have attached the image from the auction catalog. Its not much, though it is enough to drive my curiosity of this particular derivative.

I am extremely keen on knowing more about the possibility of these riveted bootees being utilized by USCT soldiers. That's a possibility that I hadn't considered before, and one that a few really good friends of mine would be interested to learn more about as well.

Shaun
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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#198 Post by das » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:16 am

Shaun,

Despite auction description saying the soles are pegged, yes, they look stitched (welted), but the photo is mighty lo-res. With the inspector's name "W.H. King/Cin(nicanti?), can you find him in the charts Peterkin made Rob just sent you? Or maybe manufacturers' contracts for "Negro" bootees for USCT? I have some down-time this week and will search deeper for the side rivet/USCT refs.

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#199 Post by shaunpekar » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:31 am

Al,

I will try to delve into those contracts a bit this afternoon. My immediate plan is to transcribe all of those charts into a usable, updatable database which will hopefully allow for future cross mending of known examples with potential contractors or at least depots of delivery if possible. This might be a good place to attempt a start.

I'd also like to begin compiling a database of known examples, both archaeological and non dug, for future reference as well.

What have I gotten myself into...

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Re: Civil War Shoemaking

#200 Post by das » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:30 am

"What have I gotten myself into..."?

You're merely picking this up where Pete left off :thumb:

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