18th C Pegged Soles?

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18th C Pegged Soles?

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 8:25 pm

All messages posted in this topic prior to 25 February 2002 have been moved to the first Crispin Colloquy CD Archive.

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DR OBUV

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#2 Post by DR OBUV » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:25 am

"AN OLD MAN MAY BE USEFUL--

The subscriber being unable to follow his trade of shoemaking, and not wishing to expend his former earnings, has endeavored to find some other means of support. At length he has so far completed as to be able to furnish all the shoemakers within 30 miles of Walpole with maple pegs, of any description they choose, 50 per cent cheaper than they can make them themselves,10 per cent commission on sales would be allowed traders--John Frizell, Walpole

'The Dedham Minerva', May 17, 1798"
=============================================
'The Story of Walpole (MA), by Willard DeLue, 1925, cited in 'Shoe Peg Machine Inventor', pp.12-13, Jan/Feb 2004, 'Shavings', Early American Industries Association.

Though there is no mention of any machinery, merely an old man making maple shoe pegs cheap--perhaps with a toothed plane(?)--none-the-less I thought this interesting.

Gary Lehmann

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#3 Post by Gary Lehmann » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:27 am

DR

This quotation is very interesting indeed, but it is significant that the old man does not explicitly say that these pegs were used for attaching soles. 1/8th inch pegs were used in England after 1650 to stack heels, and that is probably what the old man is making. This size is relatively easy to make with a file and jack knife, and I think your suggestion that he was using a modified jack plane to cut the serrated edges is probably correct.

Last year I met a man who claims to have made shoe pegs with a file and a jack knife during the Great Depression of the 1930s to help his dad repair family shoes when money was tight.

Herb Kean and I published an article on the history of the shoe peg in America in the June 2004 issue of Tool Shed which you might enjoy. [“The Plane that Tried,” Tool Shed, A Journal of Tool Collecting, June 2004.]

You might also want to watch for the July issue of Ye Olde Tool Chest which has another article on this topic[“The Tale of the Shoe Peg,” Ye Olde Tool Chest, newsletter of the Pacific Northwest Tool Collector’s Association, July 2004.]

My own reading of the history of shoe pegs during this period around 1800 in New England is that the concept of using shoe pegs in smaller dimensions [1/11th inch or 1/12th inch] for attaching soles was spreading rapidly. I surmise that some shoemakers jumped on it while others who were more traditional held back. As a result, the demand for shoe pegs in various dimensions emerged slowly over the next thirty years as shoemakers tried them out and found procedures that made them work more smoothly.

Some people who did womens and children's shoes probably preferred the shorter thinner pegs, while those making heavy work boots wanted them thicker and heavier. There were a number of patents issued for peg making machines as early as 1795, but it is unclear whether any of these actually reached production status. Instead, I think that peg production was localized wherever the technique caught hold and that the pegs were made in a variety of ad-lib cottege industry settings. Peg making would have been ideal winter work, something the whole family could do when it was too cold to do much else.

By the mid-1830s proto-factories emerged to make wooden shoe pegs by harnessing water-powered router blades to cut out the serrations. Some sort of production line followed to cut out the pegs from end-grained blocks of hard wood. Our research suggests that lots of American hard woods would have been used, not just maple.

By 1840 the Kearsarge Co. of Burlington, VT. was putting out many sizes of pegs by the barrel-load. That would have brought a halt to most of the local make-do manufacturies.

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#4 Post by das » Thu Jun 24, 2004 6:19 pm

Dear Gary,

I greatly enjoyed reading your posting on pegs, and hope you might send me a copy of the 'Tool Shed' article you mentioned and the PNTCA newsletter? It's refreshing that other researchers are digging into pegs--a small but fascinating facet of the historical shoe trade.

In reply to your posting, the "old man" didn't mention what his shoe pegs were used for at all, but at that date heels would be a safer bet than soles, although pegged soles on new-made work (i.e. pegged-shoes), rather than just repair soles, are not far off.

I'm curious about the evidence for your 1650 date for English heel-pegs being 1/8", square-section? I assume you mean 1/8" in cross-section, not length, right? Having examined a lot of English, American, and European footwear from c.1600 onwards. Roughly speaking, heel-pegs can be broken down into two categories:

1) Whittled: The irregular or oval whittled ones are the earliest, and appear to have been made from a long sliver of suitable sized split wood. The taper and point are whittled, the peg snipped off to length, then the next taper and point whittled, snipped off, etc., etc., no file, just a sharp knife. I've made them this way, and it's very quick and easy, and for handling, a long bit of wood stock works easier than having to handle little stubby pieces. I recall I started with a 3' length. The result is an irregular or oval cross-section peg, anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4", or even more, across at the wide end. The lengths vary according to the heel. Probably the longest 17thc. and 18thc. heel-pegs I've seen removed from stacked leather heels were 3/4" long. Some of the heel-pegs in early 18thc. jack boots are huge in cross-section. The ones in women's covered wooden heels from the same dates are tiny (+/- 3/32"), to prevent splitting the wood heel--so there was a wide range of sizes depending on the application. The vast majority of heel-pegs (I make this distinction here because, prior to c.1800-1810 there are no sole-pegs per-se).

2) Split: Split pegs, with a square or diamond cross-section, start... I'm thinking without looking at my files, around 1700-1725(?), but don't hold me too it--if it becomes critical I'll look up the exact dates. These were still primarily heel-pegs, and increasingly, now, for slap-dash repair half-soling. Split pegs begin to dominate, and oval whittled pegs begin to fade noticeably c.1750-1770. I think the "last" oval whittled heel-pegs I've seen are c.1760s.

Oliver Goldsmith, (in 'Vicar of Wakefield'), and another British author, late 17thc., who's name eludes me at the moment (John Bunyan?), wrote in passing about prison inmates being set to work making wooden pegs for sale to shoemakers and other trades, like tobacconists, in the 17thc. and 18thc. Whittled with just a knife? Split with a toothed plane, or other more complex gadgets? I have no idea.

============
"I think your suggestion that he was using a modified jack plane to cut the serrated edges is probably correct.
============

Glad you agree. My thinking there was, whatever unique technique he used, he implies he can make more pegs, faster and cheaper, than whatever technique shoemakers commonly employed themselves. And since I have seen no evidence shoemakers commonly owned or had these toothed jack planes, it seemed a plausible theory.

=============
"Last year I met a man who claims to have made shoe pegs with a file and a jack knife during the Great Depression of the 1930s to help his dad repair family shoes when money was tight."
============

How did he describe the use of the file exactly? To nick the end-grain of a block of wood into rows for splitting pegs off with the knife? Tell us more.

I think you're right-on on the changes in the New England peg-shoe market, etc. The earliest archaeological/historical examples of pegged shoes I've recorded (Harford Iron Furnace, MD 1820s, and John Quincy Adams Birthplace c.1820-30) show a variety of inconsistent peg sizes for men's, women's and children's. Another feature you didn't mention here, is the relationship between the pegs and the pegging awl blades--the latter come in certain sizes. IOW "Size Matters". The thickness of the pegs must be larger by a certain amount than the hole the awl makes for the pegging to hold effectively. Length can be variable by bushing the blade with bits of leather to shorten its effective length and depth of hole. Another feature might have been, too, with one or more of the early pegging "machines" being 2-stroke, hand-held, hopper-feed (loose pegs), hammer-actuated gadgets (e.g. 1849 patent gadget in Sackett & Wilhelms 1880? litho. NY), to work at all the pegs now needed to be very uniform and consistent to feed properly--more perfectly shaped and sized than for hand-pegging IOW. Did your research turn up anything on these "machines"?

============================
OBITUARY "OBUVIARY" NOTICE:

Regrettably the good "Dr. Obuv" was taken ill over the Winter, and passed away to shoe-research heaven. Services were short, bagpipes played, and whiskey was drunk as he wished. He bequeathed me all of his files, library, and though a Vulcan Mind-Meld on his sick-bed, has deposited all of his knowledge into my head. God rest his soul Image

Yes...okay, okay, it's been me all along.

In the "ancient days" of this Forum, DW and I felt we needed to prime the pump so to speak for participants--what few there were in the beginning--and one of my solutions was to create "Dr. Obuv" [Obuv is Czech for shoe, I'd just returned from a shoe-conference in CZ, and a few colleagues were teasing me, calling me "Dr. Shoe", so it seemed apropos]. This way I could converse with "Dr.", etc., and it gave us another interesting character to play off of--not that I'm not an interesting character on my own but... Anyway, there it is, out in the open.

Gary Lehmann

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#5 Post by Gary Lehmann » Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:14 am

Al,
Thanks so much for your very interesting response. I was relieved that you agree with me on so many of the details, because I regard you as the world's expert on the topic. I found your EAIA articles absolutely the most significant work done to date. Many thanks for those. However, I did have some small questions about things you have written. Sometimes what appears to be a difference of opinion turns out to be a difference only in the way we express it. I'm happy to see that we are largely on the same page.
..................
On this issue of early patented peg making machines, I had a long discussion with a patent attorney who explained to me that the early patents were issued to anyone who presented an idea for reservation. In other words, a patent does not mean that the machine so protected would work, or was ever made, or ever created as many as a single peg. It was simply an idea someone wanted to protect in case it did develop into a commercially viable idea. The Patent Office has since tightened its requirements so that now you have to show that your idea is practical, but not then.
....................
So, assuming that just because a pegging machine is patented at any particular time does not appear to guarantee that it had any impact on peg making at all. I found absolutely no evidence that patented peg making machinery made any pegs before 1840 when Burklington Vt set up the first water powered pegging factory -- according to Paul Kebabian, resident of that environs.
.................
On this issue of the 1/8 th inch heel peg coming into fashion in 1650, I have racked my brain for the location of this site and can't find it. Sorry. When you are interetsed in a topic, as I am sure you know, every reading bears on this open file in your mind. It is true that men's fashion in the mid-seventeenth century went to high heels, almost 2 inches high in some instances. What but a wooden peg could sustain a stack that high? Still why 1/8th inch?
In doing the research for the articles I have written on this topic, I searched ton of archeological websites and other museum websites in Europe. My server has this feature which roughly translates into English articles in other languages, and I downloaded a bunch of those. I have the feeling that is where it came from, but I probably should be keeping a file of bits of data for later reference.
......................
A gentleman who looked like a farmer showed up one day at the door of my shoeshop at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, NY. He just stood there for the longest time and watched me work. As you know, some people want a spiel and some people just want to watch. He stuck around for over half an hour. Eventually, we struck up a conversation in which he revealed that as a kid he helped his dad repair shoes by whittling pegs for him. He claimed his dad started out repairing his own shoes and those of his family, but without any regular work, he started repairing shoes for people in his neighborhood. Eventually he graduated to making shoes from scratch. He claimed that they used pretty much the same hand tools I use in the shop. It made him feel nostalgic just to watch me work. He didn't want to give me his name and I haven't seen him again, but I suspect that they probably make shoes with pegs in all sorts of third world places still today.
...........................
one last topic...
If one wishes to take up historical blacksmithing there are dozens of books. Kilby supplies info on traditional barrel-making to beginners, but there is no book that describes in any usable detail the traditional craft of shoemaking. Would you consider writing a long-ish chapter on 18th cen. Am shoemaking for a book that offered chapters on
various aspects and time periods of Am. shoemaking? I think there would be a publisher and a small, but persistent, market for such a book. I'm thinking of this as a 5 year project, which might grow as we discover co-authors around the country. People like you and Peter Oakley at Sturbridge have spent most of a lifetime assembling info on this topic. It seems like a good idea to memorialize some of that wisdom to help perpetuate the trade. Interested?
Regards, Gary

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#6 Post by das » Wed Jul 21, 2004 5:03 am

Gary,

Glad my reply was helpful, and thank you for your kind words. Pegged shoes were hardly in my period of interest in the beginning, but so much bunk and urban legend was getting into print about them in reenacting circles back in the 1970s and 1980s, I felt I had to publish something. Those EAIA articles were not intended to be the "last word", but merely to start folks thinking seriously about the technique--which it seems you have. You go dude.

I see the point made by the patent attorney. I never checked them out, but there was a huge collection of early US patent models--actual working models--on display at the Smithsonian's old "castle" building. Might be a pegging device there? The "first" one I know of depicted was the hand-held, hopper-fed, hammer-actuated "hand" pegging machine patented in 1849. It's illustrated in a series of popular shoe-related patents and machines published by Sackett & Wilhelms Litho. Co. NY c.1880s. If you check out 'The History of American Manufactures; 1607-1860', by J. Leander Bishop [1868], he cites reams of great shoe machinery/production statistics, and I believe touts the steam-operated pegging machinery that had begun to dominate in the 1850s.

===========
"So, assuming that just because a pegging machine is patented at any particular time does not appear to guarantee that it had any impact on peg making at all. I found absolutely no evidence that patented peg making machinery made any pegs before 1840 when Burlington Vt set up the first water powered pegging factory -- according to Paul Kebabian, resident of that environs."
===========

Fair enough, and I think we might be getting twisted-up between peg-making machines, shoe-pegging machines, and my assumption that the latter required consistent, uniformly-cut pegs to operate. I have no reason to argue Paul's assertion, but was he talking about a factory that made shoe pegs? Or, a factory that made pegged shoes?

Don't fret the "1/8th inch pegs in 1650" thing. Except for a few tiny ones sprinkled in the top-piece of [mostly] women's covered wooden heels--tiny so as not to split the wood heel underneath--1/8th inch seems awfully small for that period based on the shoes I've examined.

=========
"almost 2 inches high in some instances. What but a wooden peg could sustain a stack that high?"
=========

Have seen some that high, and higher. Some are stacked leather, fewer [for men] are covered wood [in which case pages are irrelevant, or tiny to not split the wood]. The highest stacked leather ones seem to be on jackboots, c.1680-1725. Those heels are "usually" sewed on section by section, then the last few lifts are pegged. There's a high tapered man's heel from a 1660ish context from Jamestown, VA--I guessing 3" high--octagonal in cross-section--that may have been only pegged. At some point somebody ran a long rose-head nail through the middle of it to hold it on. "Governor Leverett's" shoe in the old statehouse museum, Boston, is high-heeled, but sewed and pegged if I'm recalling. IOW, it's unusual for the high stacked heels to be only pegged--they're usually sewed and pegged. But I digress....

===========
"Eventually, we struck up a conversation in which he revealed that as a kid he helped his dad repair shoes by whittling pegs for him."
===========

If he said "whittling:, I guess we gotta assume he meant whittled, not split Image

==========
"Would you consider writing a long-ish chapter on 18th cen. Am shoemaking for a book that offered chapters on various aspects and time periods of Am. shoemaking?"
==========

I'm flattered at your offer, and interested. Please e-mail me privately, and we can discuss it. Bear in mind that with any luck Colonial Williamsburg will follow through on publication of my 'The Art of the Shoemaker', which is based on M. de Garsault's 57 page treatise, 'l'Art du Cordonnier', 1767, with annotations and excerpts from about 7 other 18th c. shoemaking texts, plus my additions, photo illustrations, etc.. It's about as much of a "how-to" text for the 18thc. as we're going to find, and in ms. runs to nearly 500 pages. After that's "out", sure, I could see doing some shorter informal "work books", based on sections of it, in a purely modern format.

Gary Lehmann

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#7 Post by Gary Lehmann » Thu Jul 22, 2004 5:05 pm

Al,
I'll get hold of you off-line about the book.

Paul K. was talking about peg making factories, not shoe pegging factories.

I assume the old guy was using whittling in the losest possible sense: messing about with wood and a knife. I didn't get the sense that he was saying anything more definitive than that.
Gary

stever

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#8 Post by stever » Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:08 pm

While looking at pictures of 18th C shoes I began to more closely examine the side seams. some side seams start at the heel breast, others start near the middle of the waist. I noticed that some side seams start with a perpendicular and then is a 90 degree angle toward the toe. Others start with an angled seam before a horizonal seam line toward the toe. Some shoes have a horizonal seam line toward the ball while others have the horizonal seam line tilt downward toward the welt. My question(s)... is this a decade/style determination or shoemaker whim as to the side seam or is it due to an attempt to make the lines of the shoe more visually pleasing ie a longer shoe might require a more "balanced" look between the vamp and the quarter? And is the downward angle of the horizonal seam perhaps due to the dynamics of the leather while lasting or, again, a style or shoemaker decision?

Steve

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#9 Post by das » Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:56 pm

Steve,

Cool question....I just l-o-v-e 18thc. shoe questions fer a change Image

The angled side-seam you're describing--or the varieties you're describing--are today nick-named "dog-leg" side-seams [no historical precedence for this term that I know of, it just "is"]. This type of side-seam reportedly began c.1612 [June Swann, pers. comm.], though I haven't found it in any men's shoes until closer to 1680-1700. It might be found on women's shoes earlier--I just don't know. Randle Holme called them "close" or "closed"[?] shoes in1688 [see: Holme on Marc's website], meaning they didn't have that open hole in the side seam, so typically associated with 17th c. shoes [men's & women's]--the ones with side holes being called "draw-bridge" shoes, to translate from their 17thc. French name.

The strain placed on the side-seams in wear is better distributed along a curve, or even an angle, than a straight, vertical, or sloping side-seam, which I theorize was the reason behind this, i.e to strengthen this join. The first iterations were what were called "short quarter(ed)" shoes [18thc. term], that is the base of the side-seam is right at or little behind the heel-breast, and the angles are about one-to-one, i.e. as long as they are high. Some are curved without a corner, but still roughly one-to-one in height/length This of course varies by size, but say, if the near-vertical side is 1 1/2" high, the forward angle is likewise 1 1/2" long. This puts the buckle strap higher up on the instep, very high, in keeping with the smaller buckles, and "shows a lot of toe" [makes the vamp appear long, accentuating the size of the foot].

These roughly equilateral, one-to-one, "dog-leg" seams dominate until c.1730-40, roughly, while most shoe buckles tend to be smaller and mount high up the instep in front of a pronounced big tongue. The fashion for larger shoe buckles begins during this decade or two, and their size increases all through the period ['til they pass entirely out of wide fashion c.1790]. This meant the straps had to get wider, and wider, and move further down the instep towards the waist of the shoe. Hence, the "dog-leg" seam begins its evolution from equilateral, to the mid-late 18thc. "norm", of the two-to-one angle, i.e. about twice as long as it is high. The upright angle still is at or within the heel-breast for strength, so it doesn't flex. The upright angle is usually a little forward-sloping; less often perfectly vertical, and most rare, backward sloping. These variations seem to settle down by c.1760, to the boring norm of a bit of forward slope.

The forward leg of the angle in men's shoes is "usually" parallel to the ground--high heel, low heel, re-built or "translated" to a different heel, notwithstanding. If not parallel, it slopes downward, sometimes abruptly. Rees suggests it should be made parallel to the ground, or if sloping, sloping downward--never upward. IOW, it can be assumed to have been a controlled design feature, not sloppy lasting. But, there are some badly lasted shoes too.

The other part of the equation here are "long-quartered" shoes [18thc. term] [versus short-quartered discussed above], which begin around the 1730-40s as well. These have a "dog-leg" side-seam which starts out in the waist somewhere, slopes forward a bit, then the forward leg is fairly short [parallel to the ground or sloping downward a la Rees]. This type of "dog-leg" seam--"long-quartered"-- is usually found on "pumps", i.e. lighter-weight, turnshoes, and dressier men's shoes made for the larger flashy buckles, or "Macaroni" fashion. The big high tongue is gone in most places by 1740s-50s, the buckles are steadily growing, and the fashion seemed to be to now minimize the foot's size by making increasingly more open-throated shoes, with less vamp, "showing less toe" in other words. By, say, 1770s-80s when shoes buckles are at their most ridiculous size, the side-seams have to be "long-quartered" in order to accommodate the wide, low-riding buckle straps needed.

That's roughly it in a nut-shell. Side-seam shapes and sizes can be typed and grouped, and yes dated with some reliability, almost decade by decade from 1700 to 1790. BUT, there are always exceptions, regional pockets where the rules were bent and broken--old guys in NE persisted wearing knee-breeches and shoe buckles well into the 1800s, long after they were generally out of fashion, and the Royal Navy kept buckled shoes [pumps] as part of the officers' uniforms long after they passed out of civilian style as well.

I hope this helped answer your question. Come back to any part that didn't make sense.

stever

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#10 Post by stever » Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:11 pm

Al,

I do appreciate the detailed information you posted. It does raise another question, however... With the larger sizes in a last quarter 18th c Common shoe (made in the average of 5-6 oz leather) using the two to one ratio would it require a more acute angle on the lower part of the dog leg in order to help balance the visual aspect of the shoe if the seam does start at the heel breast? Or would the rule be broken regarding a more thinner dressier thickness and the dog leg seam start forward of the heel breast of the Common shoe? Perhaps I am looking for certain hard and fast rules that just aren't there.

Steve

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#11 Post by das » Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:48 am

Steve,

"Common" shoes--the 18thc. definition--are usually all "short-quartered", though there are exceptions. Uppers of the weight you're describing, too, preclude a "pump", and they were *usually* the ones with the "long quarters" anyway. You're talking military-type shoes right? Rev. War? F&I? What?

I've always started out by tracing an antique shoe upper--quarters and vamp--and adjusting the wrinkles and distortion from wear out of the pattern, to try and get back to the "new" look. I don't think I've just "created" the pattern--I mean repros are repros of something, right?

Since the heel-breast determines the rear location of the "dog-leg" side-seam, and the buckle width determines where the forward terminus of the side seam ought to go, I'd begin there. *Generally* men's heels, say 1760s-70s, are so long in relation to the sole length [more than 1/4 or the length, but usually shy of 1/3rd, but there's no hard and fast rule], mark the last with a pencil. That will give you the heel-breast location. The average buckle/strap-width 1760s-70s is roughly 1 1/4 inches wide. Lay the buckle, or a 1 1/4" template on your last, and move it up or down the instep until you get it where you think it looks right, then mark the last with a pencil. That will give you the forward terminus of the side-seam.

Now follow Rees: measure the last from the center of the back, where the back-seam will go, straight around the side of the last to where the forward terminus mark [made above] is on your last, then measure straight up from there to the center-line of the last on the instep. This should equal 1/2 of the foot's heel measure--less than that and the throat of the shoe will be too tight to get on easily--IOW you'll have a really "short-quarter".

With the heel-breast located, the forward terminus located, and the heel-measure applied to the last itself, you have the basis to start to design your side-seam if not copying any particular antique upper. Stick with the "2-to-1" ratio for the "dog-leg" the side-seam, and you can't go too far wrong-say 1" high, 2" long for medium sizes. You want the buckle [1 1/4" strap width] to just about center over the middle cuniform bone, the "bump" on top of the instep of the foot. Be careful you don't choke it up too high on the instep. Nothing's more painful than gouging your tendons on the shoe buckle rim when you squat down and flex the shin forward.

If you're making on straight lasts, hint: design your buckle strap to stand more erect than you want them to be in wear. This way, when you go to mount the buckle on the finished shoe, you have to pull them forward just a hair. This tensions the top-line of the quarters in tightly to the foot under the ankle, and eliminates a lot of that "gap-osis" that can happen under the outside ankle bone with straights Image

Have fun.

stever

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#12 Post by stever » Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:27 pm

Al

Your explanation really hit the nail on the head! You also helped to demystefy Rees' instructions as well. I am trying to draft a last quarter 18th c common shoe pattern using the masking-tape-wrapped-around-the-last method and then drawing the shoe on it Image I'm indeed using a straight last..one of the ones that Jim Bowman made for me from an original circa 1780. Your remarks on key measurments and proportions and some of the crans regarding fit has really helped my understanding. Thanks for your help and willingness to share your experiences and knowlege.

Steve

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#13 Post by das » Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:47 pm

Steve,

Boy, you know how to make a guy feel good about getting his brains picked Image

Anytime.

relichuntertim

Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#14 Post by relichuntertim » Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:25 pm

Shoe Buckle Help Requested.

I came across your posted notes regarding early shoe making in my effort to find the maker of two shoe buckles recently found in what we believe to be either French-Indian War or Rev War camps. Two different buckles about the same size (1 1/2 by 2 1/4 inches). However, both have a "BB" stamped in the brass. Both are ornate. We have not yet found enough items to date the site and were wondering if there is information on shoe buckles that might allow us to date them and identify the maker. We have been finding a higher number of shoe buckles at this site then in known Rev War camps we've found. Your support would be appreciated.

Regards,

Tim

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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#15 Post by das » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:42 am

Tim,

The best thing would be if you could post photos of these buckles with a ruler for scale. There are a few details that help date them, but without looking at them it's hard to say. The strap width helps with dating--the narrower the straps the earlier/the wider, the later. I don't recall seeing any brass buckles that were marked, like your "BB". Silver English ones have touchmarks on the back.

dai
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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#16 Post by dai » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:13 pm

Hand Peg Making Description

From a childrens' book: "Farmer Boy", by Laura Ingalls Wilder (who also wrote Little House on the Prairie),

"The cobbler laid the thicker slab of maplewood on the bench before him. He took a long, sharp knife and cut the whole top of the slab into tiny ridges. Then he turned it around and cut the ridges the other way, making tiny, pointed peaks.

He laid the edge of a thin, straight knife in the groove between the ridges, and gently tapped it with a hammer. A thin strip of wood split off, notched all along one side. He moved the knife, and tapped it, till all the wood was in strips. Then holding a strip by one end, he struck his knife in the notches, and every time he struck, a shoe peg split off. Every peg was an inch long, an eighth of an inch square, and pointed at the end.

The thinner piece of maple he made into pegs, too, and those pegs were half an inch long."

regards David Kilgour

das
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Re: 18th C Pegged Soles?

#17 Post by das » Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:33 am

Dave,

The thread title "18thc" got me, then finding out it was in fact 19thc, I was relieved. Yup, splitting pegs out of end-grain blocks of wood, with points cut by a special plane, was not unusual in the 1800s. In fact I think if you search the archives here you may find pix of peg-planes from the 1800s.

Don't shock me so early in the AM :&#62Image

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