THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

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jesselee
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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#51 Post by jesselee » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:58 am

Nasser,

The first sole stitcher was the Blake which did not have a moveable horn. It sewed uppers as well. When McKay came into the picture, he had designed the moveable horn and it was deeper to accomodate boots.The McKay sole is certainly flexible, but I have never had problems with flexible soles pegged at 8 to the inch double row. Our inner and outer sole leathers now are inferior to those in the past and tend to be less dense and softer. Perhaps this is why flex is not an issue. In my opinion, a pegged sole is the best, by experience. I love the McKay stitch, but if I had to march 200 miles, give me pegged boots.
BTW, do you know of a McKay man that goes around to the shops and ajusts the machines. I am having a devil of a time with my cast-off.

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JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#52 Post by dearbone » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:29 am

Jesse Lee,

Thanks,Was the Blake around before 1856 or did it come out later? I agree with you and also from experience of making and wearing pegged shoes they seem to be more comfortable to wear than McKay stitch soles, Many years ago i helped a shoe maker in Scotland making some 150 pairs all McKay stitched using oak bark insoles and soles,but when i picked up a pair in my size to try on,I couldn't believe how hard the soles were and they felt uncomfortable to walk with,Now days i am convinced the welted shoe/boot is most trusted.

I don't know any one here going around adjusting stitching machines,but i heard mechanics used to do that which makes more sense than hauling ton of steel somewhere.

Nasser

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#53 Post by tmattimore » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:31 am

Jesse Lee
Call Sloan shoe machinery and ask if Whitey is still around. He is the best mckay man around. He started with USM and does travel. He is out of Manchester N.H. A great guy and he will teach you how to fix it your self.
Tom

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#54 Post by jesselee » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:40 am

Nasser,

Were they working shoes (brogans). That Oak tanned stuff is like wood in my experience. I do like McKay for it's period authenticity, and authenticity is my focus. Yes, I believe Blake was around 1856. Before that I am not aware of any other sole stitchers. I must agree that a good welt stitched boot and shoe is a great concept. Contrary to farb information that there were more welted boots and shoes during the Civil War, there were in fact more pegged pairs. Mostly by machine and it was faster. Second to pegging was the Blake soled shoes, which also was used for repairs as can be seen in existing examples.I have examined CW period welted boots and shoes done in the traditional manner as well as had the welts stitched to the uppers and nailed to the inner sole.

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JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#55 Post by jesselee » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:41 am

Tom,

Thanks a million, I have heard of him and will give them a call.

Cheers,
JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#56 Post by dearbone » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:04 pm

Jesse lee,

The shoes were for fashion stores in major European cities and Japan,I wish they were brogans,but none the less they were of good English upper and bottom leather with women shoes made in two beautiful Luis heel sizes,but pity were the rigid soles on those shoes.

I don't know much about the civil war footwear yet ,but i assume the foot soldiers in pegged work and the mounted officers or some in welted boots. There is at the Bata museum a stacked leather heel with a bullet lodged in it,It is from an unknown soldier's boot worn at Gettysburg.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#57 Post by jesselee » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:09 am

Nasser,
I totally see how in a fashion sense, pegged soles would be a real difference and catch the eye. Did you peg by machine or hand?

I really enjoy questions and comments regarding pegging as if there are none, what is one to comment on. Many think there are only one size peg and base their observances and opinions on that one common size in this era. In fact, pegs came in many sizes (a fact I have never seen discussed anywhere). The smallest pegs I have seen were like a common toothpick if you used the middle for measuring purposes. Then you can peg up to 16 to the inch. I have seen pegs at 1/8 inch also. In saying this, I declare that the size of the peg relates to rigidity of the sole.

I know of the Bata shoe museum but have never been there. As to your question of the common soldier vs mounted cavalry/artillery, pegging was not shoddy work. I have owned one pair of boots out of many in my collection and it was a pair of officers boots which were welted soles. The rest were pegged and of the best quality waxed calf with Morocco or Russian top linings.

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JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#58 Post by dearbone » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:08 am

Jesse Lee,

I peg by hand,Only seen picture of a pegging machine,don't even know if the machine pegs one row only or could be adjusted to make a second row of pegs, 16 to an inch is one them mind boggling work,like the 64 spi,show work, 1/8 is fair without risking of cutting the seam. My old teacher used to call peg shoes,"Farmers shoes" wood peg works better than metal(tacks/nails) in damp and wet soil.

Nasser

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#59 Post by jesselee » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:23 am

Nasser,

hand pegging is a beautiful art form in our Trade. The Davis shoe pegger did 2 rows at 8-9 to the inch and that was a 1/16th inch peg. Pegs are better than any other sole fastning in damp or wet soil. After the Civil War with the movement out west where it was hot and dry, it was said that the pegs didn't hold well and in 1874, the M1872 issue boot was created, much like a M1859 light artillery boot, but with a vamp and they were brass screw nailed. Many cowboys preferred welted boots to pegged because of the weather. I must say, my years in the desert wearing pegged boots gave me no problems.

Cheers

Jesselee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#60 Post by dw » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:00 pm

nasser, Jesse,

Just for the odd-man-out, fly-in-the-ointment type comment, I have made myself several pairs of boots that emulate boots made circa 1880>.

They are fully pegged at 10 to the inch in two rows.

My personal opinion is that they are a bit stiffer than welted and stitched boots.

If you think about the mechanics of it all, I don't see how they could fail to be.


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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#61 Post by jesselee » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:45 pm

DW,

Love that fly in the ointment. Inspirational. I do get the mechanics of it, but it seems the pegs work as the leather, in my experience. I would love to see a pic of those boots as I am making a pair right now and have secured genuine Morocco for the top linings.

My Drovers boots wear like slippers at 2 rows, 8/9 to the inche double pegged. A point here. I have noticed the best boots have the shank area pegged, which does indeed echoe your sentiments on stiffness, and a welted shank area is soft and flimsy.

Cheers,

JesseLee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#62 Post by dw » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:57 pm

Jesse,

Probably this pair...remember I said "emulate" not replicate or reproduce. I was trying to get the "feel" or the 1880's not be historically correct.
11605.jpg
11605.jpg (18.35 KiB) Viewed 860 times

11604.jpg
11604.jpg (27.25 KiB) Viewed 860 times


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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#63 Post by jesselee » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:37 am

DW,

Thats what I'm talking about. Absolutely beautiful. You certainly have developed the modern crimping style. It's more streamlined at the throat than the 19th century style which uses a straighter heel on the last and wider at the throat. The star really is a great touch.

I'll send pics of my 1880's copies when done. Just got my genuine Morocco for the tops.

Cheers,

Jesselee

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#64 Post by das » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:15 am

Neat 1777 print. First dished-seat shoe bench w/ a drawer I’ve seen. The “cobbler” is administering “oil of stirrup” (a beating with the stirrup strap).
11922.jpg

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#65 Post by amuckart » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:39 pm

Thanks for posting that Al, aside from the social commentary there's a lot of interest in that picture. I'd never realised the emymoloy of "Hoity Toighty" before reading that.

It's interesting to see the things in that picture that are recognisable in late medieval shoemakers's shops too. The apron he's wearing is a style I've seen documented back to the 15th century, albeit in heavy linen not leather and the rack on the wall with lasts and knives goes back to the 14th century.

It's a shame I can't document the benches to earlier periods because I really want one Image This one seems to have been built for a left hander though. Isn't the seat usually on the other end?

It always surprises me how sparse pictures of shops of this era and earlier are, it's a good reminder of how little you really need to make a pair of shoes.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#66 Post by tjburr » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:48 am

double post

(Message edited by tjburr on November 18, 2010)

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#67 Post by tjburr » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:51 am

Is it possible that the shoemaker sat astride the bench during this period? This might facilitate using the drawer on the right hand side of the bench with the right hand. I know the museum of London has a bench, which I would have to track down the picture and find the date, that is sat astride and the work is done on the bench itself.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#68 Post by das » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:48 am

Alasdair,

Thanks. The earliest I've got pix of long shoe-benches for is c.1640 in England (whence U.S.). Seems our Euro brethren kept the three-legged stools around a central work table on the continent.

Be careful interpreting the sparseness, he's a cobbler (repairman) working at home, and rising above his station by having so much as a nice bench to sit on. And yes, curiously it's left-handed?????

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#69 Post by das » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:48 am

Terry,

All pixs show them sitting on one side, with shoe strapped to left thigh. You couldn't sew if astride the bench, your threads would grab every freakin'; tool and get caught on stuff, despite the old Builtrite heel ad cartoons.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#70 Post by proxy_posting » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:55 am

Here's another peek into "The Good Old Days". Apologies for the size of the clipping...it came in a strange format and this was the only way to keep it legible.

Yr. Hmb. Svt.
12414.png

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#71 Post by amuckart » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:16 pm

D.W.

Did you find that on Papers Past? There are numerous advertisements from that firm on there too, and by searching for "shoe maker" on that site one can learn a bit about the lives, and deaths, of the cordwainers of colonial-era New Zealand.

I also found this fairly simliar article:
12416.gif

The text of which, cunningly, if a little inaccurately OCRed by the website ('e' seems to have become 'o' throughout) is here for future searchers:
A LOCAL INDUSTRY.


MESSRS. STAPLES & CO.'S BOOT FACTORY.

Surely if the man who makes two blades of grass grow where previously only one blade grow, may bo regarded aa a benefactor to his species, the man who plants an industry in a largo centre of popnlation, and employs a hundred mon whoro before, perhaps, only one individual laboured, may justly and with equal force be considered a public benefactor. Capital, time, experience, and above all, perhaps, sufficient energy, combined with tact and foresight, have to be embarked and oxponded upon every nidustrial vontnro, and oven then success is not always achieved.

Howovor, the boot factory of Staples and Co., situated in Ghuzneo-street, nearly opposito tho residence of the late Hon. J. Martin, is one of those local industries in tho city of Wellington which it is gratifying to state, though thoy have not yet attained their majority, havo by tho evidence of a lusty youlh givon amplo promiso of a vigorous maturity.

Messrs. W. and J. Staples woro brothers, both being practical men, who some fifteen years ago conceived the idea of starting a boot manufactory hero. Tho commencement was comparatively humble, and the firm started on an exceedingly small scale, but in a very short time they were enabled to increase the number of their work-people until at present Messrs. Staples and Co. employ upwards of 130 men, girls, and boys. Thoir plant and machinery is perfect, and of the latost improved type, and this boing so tho output of goods manufactured is, wo loam, still increasing, whilst tho field of operations is boing correspondingly extended. Mr. T. W. Thompson, tho representative) of tho firm, vory kindly escorted a member of our staff over tho factory, and also supplied tho roporter with a varioty of interesting facts in connection with operations conducted by Alossrs. Staples and Co.

The factory contains 7,656 ft of floor space, and between 5000 and COOO pairs of boots and shoes aro mado on tho premises ovory month. Tho customers of the firm aro not confined to the city, as possibly might havo boon imagined, but Staples' travellers, with samples bearing the familiar brand of tho firm, viz., tho head of tho IronDuko, aro to bo mot in tho North Island as far north as Now Plymouth and Gisborno, whilst tho other island is worked to Christchurch and Nelson, and a woll-ostablished agency in the hands of Sclanders, of tho Cathedral City, looks after tho firm's interest throughout tho mining towns and camps of " the Coast."

The exterior of tho factory is by no means protontions, bnt there is bustle and noiso enough within. This is no placo for idlers, as nearly ovory omployo— other than the clickers and foremen of tho various departments — is engaged on pioco-work. On tho right of the ontranco is tho sample-room, where the storemon is ongaged in packing up the travellers' samples. Thoso samples aro qnito formidable outfits, as may be imagined when it is mentioned that Messrs. Staples & Co. turn out 350 diffiorent kinds of boots and shoos. Tho samples run up the ontiro gamut of tho art of tho disciples of St. Crispin, from tho plobian copper-too of the artizan's tiny toddlor to tho heavy shooting boot of tho sportsman, or tho porpoiso uppers and broad solod boots of tho " gont." Opposite the sample-room is tho offioo and accountant's branch, whilst tho faotory itsolf is rcaohed through a glass door. Horo are situated a largo stororoom for leather, hugo piles of which crowd tho storo from floor to coiling. Tho clickors' room is on tho first story. Horoin all tho boot uppers aro cut out by Mr. J. W. Thompson, hood of tho dopartmont, and his subordinates, from zino patterns, and to bo passed through blooking prossos, whioh givo them tho roquired shape of tho foot. A vory powerful machino for sowing the heavier description of mon's boots is pointed out by tho foreman with pardonablo prido. The thread used for sowing with this machino passes on its way to tho muohinp through a rosorvoir of hot wax. This is ingenious and ominentjy practical. Tho girls' sowing machino room is next visited. Somo 25 neatly-attirod girls, ranging from about 14 to 20 years of ago, aro busily engaged at machines, which aro worked by belts from shafting drivon by a compact 3 h.p. motor engine, situated in tho room below. Tho ground at tho roar of tho premises is devoted to the solo-ontting room, whoro tho solo leather, having beon subjected to a pressure of thrco tons, is passed through revolving Bteol rollors, so as to harden tho material, and is out by machinery into tho required shapes and sizos. Tho soles aro next passed onto tho " benchers' " room whoro tho uppers aro poggod on, and tho now well-developed boot is then handed to tho boot finishers. Having been manipulated by no fewer than six separate pairs of hands, the perfected boot passes upstairs once more, when it is taken charge of in the warehouse and packing room. So far as the manufactory is concerned, the works are under the immediate supervision of Mr. W. Staplos, the senior membor of the firm, whilst tho accountant's nnd tho packing branches aro undor tho control of Mr. Brunskill, the remaining partner,

(the terminal comma is part of the original)

Here's a bit more information about Messrs. Staples:
http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc01Cycl-t1-body-d4-d51-d14.html

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#72 Post by dw » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:28 am

Alasdair,

I don't know where it came from originally--it was sent to me in an email...and not as an attachment. I had a somewhat difficult time extracting the image but finally realized that it could be saved as a gif. From there, I had to import it into a photo editing program and crop and past to get two side-by-side columns. and then resample the whole thing.

If I hadn't done that it threatened to run forty inches down the page.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#73 Post by amuckart » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:36 am

Thanks DW, sorry the one I pasted in came out so big. It will have come from Papers Past, I can dig up the OCRed text and paste it in as I did with the other article if you think it would be a useful thing to have in the archives.

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#74 Post by das » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:47 am

Putney’s was the longest continuously operating U.S. shoe company, at 169 years (apologies to John A. Frye Co. at 148). They were established as Putney & Watts in Richmond, VA in 1817, and finally shut down in 1986, operating as “Bob-Lee” for a while. The Battle Axe Boot factory building on the postcard still stands, but has now been “approved” for demolition. Search: Stephen Putney Battle Axe Shoes Richmond for more if interested
12634.jpg

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Re: THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

#75 Post by dearbone » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:54 pm

Al,

This is one big factory,It looks bigger than Mansfield new factory(old by now),what is the smoke chimney for? it is interesting to notice both factories had all operations done in the main floor.

On a different note,I asked my Scottish friend from the Toronto Scottish regiment about haggis and he gave me two butchers addresses which i have to go visit soon,new to my ears is what he mentioned, a prayer one of them give in Gallic? before she put the knife to the haggis and this is a big size haggis,It will be interesting to get invited to one of these feasts.

Best regards
Nasser

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