THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#26 Post by jesselee » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:54 am

Nasser,

You are so true. Do you copy any of that period style? Thats my interest, exact copies of 1860's to 1890's boots. Do you use older tools and equipment?
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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#27 Post by dearbone » Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:56 am

Jesselee,
my interest in period shoemaking began when on my last two years of journeymanship,I worked for in a shoe shop as a piece worker, we made threatre and historical footwear, The shop master, made uppers for the two of us,(my teacher and I) I look back at those years very fondly, Sitting cross the bench with an 86 years old shoemaker, who told me to make shoes his way and if,I do not like his way,I can go back to make them my way, He corrected and tought me most of what I know, my shop master, went to become Great pattern and upper maker.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#28 Post by dearbone » Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:06 pm

Jesse lee,
Regarding your two questions,Yes, I still make period shoes,If it is a paid job for a customer, I do as they say,But when I reproduce a shoe from the past for the shop, First, I make a pair as close and true to the period,that will me a good idea about the shoe,If the pattern is not practical for today, I change it. In regard to tools,the less the better, I make all of my awles and make my own thread,I buy good steel blades and I sharpen them for cutting and skiving, my hammers are bought from other shoemakers.
Nasser.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#29 Post by jesselee » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:20 pm

Nasser,
Are you working for a museum type operation? I would love to see your work. I have some on here. I am as you, the less tools the better. Also make my own tools and never use modern threads, strictly linnen and cotten. There is a pic on here that reminds me of my shop except I have 2 old 1878 leather machines. I have more but they are in storage.
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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#30 Post by jesselee » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:26 pm

Nasser,
I missed the first point. My shop Master taught me 'his' way and I tried my own. But went back to his, because he was about the same age and now i can still make a pair of 1870's boots as they were made in the 1870's. I also made theatrical boots, and had to learn to use the rubber so as not to scuff the stage and to make the ankle area wider so as the actors could pull them on quick. What a Trade! So much to learn, even after 45 years. Thats wonderful.
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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#31 Post by dearbone » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:41 am

Jesse Lee,
I am a self-employed shoemaker,with a shop,that is open to the Public during the day, I have done other jobs in the past when,I was slow with orders and to keep my door open.what do you use the cotton thread for? Is this finished thread or do you cut strands and wax? I like to see one of your 1870 boots, you are right, there is so much to learn,and I think the past has alot to teach us. I visited niagara falls few times in the winter, Its awesome.
Nasser.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#32 Post by jesselee » Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:45 am

Nasser

Where are you located now? Currently my shop is like one from the 1800's in my home. Almost like the old timey pictures on here. My boots have been shown on this site, I can't remember where. Perhaps we can get together if you are not far.
JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#33 Post by das » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:12 pm

Dated 1858-1862, supposedly Arlington, Massachusetts.
8954.jpg

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#34 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:13 pm

D.A.
I don't know were you find it. But keep it coming
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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#35 Post by das » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:23 am

That one was from a current eBay auction Image

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#36 Post by jkrichard » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:30 pm

I think this is a reasonable location for this inquiry...

...I'm doing a bit of digging into Commonwealth v. Pullis, or more commonly referred to as "The Cordwainer Trials." It was the first reported/recorded case of the government vs labor unions...

...apparently the gentlemen of the gentle craft were quite the rabble rousers of their day. Image

Here is a breakdown of the trial from Murdoch University:
Commonwealth v. Pullis

Not to plunge The HCC into the depths on a discussion of econimics, politics, and civil rights--- but at the core of American cordwaining traditions, it seems that we have been at the 'sole' (heh) of fair wages and civil rights movements. Cordwaining for Constitutional Rights since 1806. Image


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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#38 Post by das » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:36 am

Jefffey,

Good find! Let me also recommend 'Cordwainers: Crisis in Labor Relations' by Ian Quimby, and 'The Mechanics of Baltimore' by___, both excellent accounts. The first deals with the Philadelphia Cordwainers--the Journeymen staged the first "strike" in US history (v. the masters), in the late 1790s, at issue were working conditions and pay, etc., neither resolved in US labor-history until the Norris-LaGuardia Act of the 20th century. 'The Mechanics of Baltimore' covers a lot of interesting social-labor history 18th-early 19thc in that city, especially a city-wide tradesmen's riot precipitated by the Cordwainers who broke their comrades out of jail. The militia cavalry was called out to put down the rioters, the governor fled the city for safety.... cool stuff.

Oh good God yes, we have been rabble-rousers since "Day One" Image

During the US Constitutional Ratification celebrations in Philadelphia in 1790(?), the parade was led by the Master Cordwainers of that city, hundreds (500?) of shoemakers in ceremonial white buff aprons carrying round knives, with a "float" consisting of a horse-drawn flat-bed wagon with an entire shoe shop on it with a crew of men working inside. We were the largest contingent in that parade. Oh how the mighty have fallen, eh?

BTW the Cordwainers' trials in Philadelphia involved a lot of soon to be well known US jurists and politicos as freshly-minted lawyers. And it is the "first date" the Dutch word "boss" was recorded in common use here.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#39 Post by jkrichard » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:36 am

Hmmm, wearing white aprons and carrying their "working tools"...


...that sounds like a strong connection with the Blue Lodge.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#40 Post by jkrichard » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:54 am

Here's a clip on the NY Times website, about the origins of the Knights of St. Crispin,it appears to be a scan of an article published August 28th, 1969.

Article here-pdf warning

..enough information there to launch some research---that is if someone is the researching-type. Image

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#41 Post by jkrichard » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:06 am

"Among the things we advocate is that women should have equal suffrage with men.... We not only work for equality of suffrage, but work to fight and obtain equal wages for women."
~Daughters of St. Crispin

A quote (unk) attributed to the Daughters of St. Crispin. The oddity here is that the quote is circa 1864 in Milford, Mass; the DoSC is elsewhere states as having been founded in 1869 in Lynn, Mass.

American shoemakers, involved in the women's rights movements as well...

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#42 Post by jkrichard » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:13 am


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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#43 Post by das » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:33 pm

1740s NY Apprenticeship indenture (12 years!)
11508.jpg

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#44 Post by dearbone » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Al,

Thanks for posting this document, 12 years of teaching with room and board provided is not a bad deal for the apprentice, It usually takes about that long to get a good handle of shoemaking.

Nasser

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#45 Post by amuckart » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:09 pm

Thanks for posting that Al. It's interesting to see the stock language that has survived from a century or more prior to the date of that one.

The fact that it's a fill-the-gaps form is quite interesting. I haven't seen one like that before. Is it an actual 'indenture', printed twice and cut in half with a jagged/wavy line or had it devolved into just a witnessed document by the 18th century?

Just as a curiosity, here's mine, written up based on various 15th/16th century sources and used in the context of the medieval reenactment I do. It lacks seals yet, I haven't gotten around to getting them made but I have the strips of parchment to hang them from once they're done. Sadly I doubt I'll ever find myself in the position of being able to be an actual apprentice shoemaker, so a reenactment apprentice is going to have to do for now.
11510.jpg

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#46 Post by das » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:33 am

Nasser,

A few points to consider with this one: 1) it's an orphans' court indenture putting the lad out until he reaches his age of majority (21), so maybe he was only 9 when placed, and 2) Rees, or was it Devlin? says that even though the standard apprenticeship was 7 years, it took more like 12 years to "make a complete workman" worth hiring.

Alasdair,

Again, this was a genetic orphans' court indenture form. Quite a few of these from the 18thc survive here. While putting a lad or lass into an apprenticeship could be as informal as a hand-shake and a few Pounds changing hands, i.e. no paperwork, an "indenture" was like a mortgage today, a legal document drawn-up at a courthouse. The language is pretty standard for 18thc here in America. What is worth highlighting is that the apprentices were to be taught to read, write, and "cypher" (do maths)--so much for the old popular notion that "nobody could read/write back then".

The "Freedom Suit" of new clothes offered at the end of his term was typical. In some cases the "Freedom" was cash, or a complete set of tools, or as in this case a suit.

Interesting question you raise. My guess is the form was in duplicate, and the apprentice kept one, while the master the other. In 18thc Virginia there are court cases in which apprentices took their masters to court for not upholding their end of the bargain to terminate the indenture, as well as visa versa. And the newspapers are full of ads for runaway apprentices who simply took off. The master was required by law to post such a notice (can't have minor children running loose across the countryside), but you can easily tell how badly the master wanted--or didn't-- that apprentice back by the rewards offered. In one case a "handful of sawdust" was the reward offered Image

BTW, ain't you a little long in the tooth to be portraying an apprentice?

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#47 Post by amuckart » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:09 pm

Hi Al,

I didn't realise there was an institution of putting orphans into apprenticeships like that, but now that you mention it it's obvious from the language.

I guess the old thing about "nobody being able to read and write back then" comes from the same place as everyone being four foot tall and filthy.

From the comparatively small amount of research I've done on indentures, the giving of clothes seems to have started in the 17th century. I haven't seen any examples of medieval or renaissance indentures that mention it.

For the benefit of people coming across this thread who might not know, the term 'indenture' comes from the indented (wavy) cut that was used to separate the duplicate copies of the agreements which were drawn up on a single piece of paper so they could be matched together again to help prevent forgery.

My apprenticeship agreement is really an internal thing within the reenactment society rather than an aspect of what I recreate. As far as I know that type of apprenticeship is a peculiarity of the SCA and bears no resemblance to anything actually historical. They don't usually involve a written indenture like I have, but the mistress to whom I'm apprenticed and I liked the idea. The main reason I posted that picture is that it's a fairly good facsimile of an actual late-medieval indenture.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#48 Post by das » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:02 am

Alasdair,

What to do with orphans was a huge problem in former eras. If a father or any male head of household died and left insufficient legacy to care for all the minor children and widow, the orphans' court stepped in to out-place them. I used to automatically assume "orphans" were totally parentless, but apparently widows were not expected to step up to be the new bread-winner.

Think about the structure of society in the 17th or 18thc, or back to your period. Most everybody had to report to or be subordinate to someone. Minor children had to be "in the system" in some way, and not just allowed to roam free. Through apprenticeships they got step-parents until majority, basic literacy skills, as well as vocational training. Interestingly the term "my family" quite often meant husband and wife, all children from their or previous marriage(s), nephews/nieces and decrepit relatives in their care, apprentices, and household slaves or servants--our level of privacy in a "nuclear" family household is a relatively recent fad.

Good point on "indented", yes, but I'm not recalling seeing many two-piece indentures papers from the 18thc. By then the term was more like "let's go take out a mortgage for X years".

And thanks for clarifying your SCA use of apprenticeship. I usually do a double-take these when someone is historically (reenactors) talking about someone being an "apprentice", if the gal is over 18 or the fellow over 21. Don't worry Colonial Williamsburg is full of these adult age-farb "apprentices" too, but it does make interpreting the historical institution to the public mighty difficult without any under-age ones on hand anymore, but those darned child labor laws... Image

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#49 Post by das » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:29 am


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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#50 Post by dearbone » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:45 pm

Al,

This is news to me , That the pegging machine was invented some 25 or 30 years before the first sewing machine,i wonder how many other sole stitching machines were invented before the sewing machine,but since we on the subject,I was thinking if you have an opinion in regards to the flexibility/rigidness of pegged shoes in contrast to McKay stitched shoes.

Best Regards
Nasser

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