Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

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stever

Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#1 Post by stever » Tue Feb 26, 2002 8:30 pm

To All,

Did the 18th C "Common Shoe" of the latter part of that century have, for lack of a better word, side stiffeners that helped maintain the integrity of the sideseam and were tunnel stitched similar to the heel stiffener? If so, was that a common or regular part of the shoemaking or an optional process? Was that process dependant on the thickness of the leather? If 5/6 oz leather was a typical thickness would the stiffeners have been considered redundant? Sorry for yammering on with so many questions.

Steve

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#2 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Wed Feb 27, 2002 6:02 am

Steve,

Ah, if it was all that simple...

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"Did the 18th C "Common Shoe" of the latter part of that century have, for lack of a better word, side stiffeners"
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You mean men's, leather, "common shoes" I assume? "Side linings" as they were/are, still, called occur in maybe 50% of the surviving examples I've seen. Sometimes the side linings go all the way to the toe, and end just behind the side-seam, in other cases they rise up at the back and become a heel-lining/stiffener. There're lots a variations IOW.

In all cases, however, they were "whipped", or "whip-stitched" to the interior surface of the upper, and this whipping--9 times out of 10--stops right at the joints. If you check Rees, he advises stopping your whipping at that spot, because any further forward and it tends to cause the vamp to crack or beak-through at the stitch, i.e., weakens the leather. Please leave the term "tunnel stitching" to the Medieval folks, to describe what I want to call a "blind running stitch", which joins an additional repair sole onto the worn out one, with no stitches showing at all. We don't know what they called this stitch, and "tunnel stitch" was a handy invented term that has gained some currency. "Whipping", "whip-stitching" [and occasionally "hemming"] is the old term, for the stitch you're talking about for side linings--and you can use a faceted glover's needle for this, or a tiny curved awl and waxed-end, equally authentic Image

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"If 5/6 oz leather was a typical thickness would the stiffeners have been considered redundant?"
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While there are some heavy surviving uppers with whipped-in linings, *usually* they are only found on the thinner, lighter uppers; so yes, consider it optional for reinforcing lighter leather.

stever

Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#3 Post by stever » Wed Feb 27, 2002 8:59 am

Al,

Yep, I was referring to mens' leather common shoes. "Side linings" is the phrase I needed. Thanks. I guess that's how regional varients of terms started due, perhaps, to lack of the proper term Image. Whipped stitch is the term I am more familiar with but used the other term having seen it in the book, Shoes and Pattens which, of course, is Medieval in approach. I appreciate your input regarding uses of the side linings. With that information, I can reread Rees again with a bit more insight to what he was discussing.

Steve

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#4 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Wed Feb 27, 2002 11:30 am

Steve,

Glad to help. Without opening that can of glossary worms again, it makes the old books a lot less obscure if you know the historical terms they used, like "side linings", "whip-stitch", etc. And there's no shame in inventing a short-hand term where there isn't one--that's how jargon gets started. As Marc and others have pointed out before, it's hard to talk Medieval-shoemaking jargon, because the terms don't survive, so there have been lots on expedient inventions, like "tunnel stitch", by modern researchers. But, it is possible to talk 18th c., and 19th c. "shoemakerese" with less trouble Image

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Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#5 Post by marc » Sat Jan 31, 2004 12:07 am

Just an interesting picture I ran across today:
2696.jpg
2696.jpg (35.16 KiB) Viewed 1462 times


These are shoes from Nelson's funeral effigy in Westminster Abbey, and while Al's probably seen them before, I figured others might be interested.

I showed them to my wife and she was really impressed by the toe spring.

Marc

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Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#6 Post by das » Sat Jan 31, 2004 5:46 am

Marc,

These are new to me too, and I enjoyed seeing them. The high toe-spring is not typical for that period.

The short, low, "D" shaped heel, the short dog-leg side-seam, and faux-buckle arrangement hiding single-latchet tie underneath, all screams 1815-30ish to me. The Royal Navy retained shoe buckles for uniforms until the 1840s if I recall, later than for popular civilian fashion.

Question is, when did Nelson die? They were probably made just for his effigy.

The whipped-in heel/side-lining is very common in lighter weight uppers, especially grain uppers.

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Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#7 Post by dw » Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:45 am

1805

Anonymous

Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#8 Post by Anonymous » Sat Jan 31, 2004 9:10 am

Marc And Al And DW

Yes, Nelson died in March, 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain. (Many Royal Navy and descendant units hold "Trafalgar Dinners" at about this time of year.

Interesting shoes!

An historical note, nought to do with shoes. Nelson's body was packed in a rum cask and sent to England for a triumphal burial. (Now there's an oxymoron for you!) Enroute, legend has it, some of the Jack Tars tapped the barrel to drink the brave admiral's health in pink-tinged rum! True or not, it is the case that one nickname for the issue rum in the RN was "Nelson's Blood". Blaah!!

Your most humble and obedient,
Peter Monahhan

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Re: Side Stiffeners for 18th C Common Shoe?

#9 Post by marc » Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:30 pm

Al,
The write-up that accompanies the shoe picture (which I believe was written by June Swann) says that the high toe on one of the shoes may have been because it was not left on the last long enough, and that they may have been pulled from a stockpile of cheaply done readymades.

They appear in Harvey and Mortimer's "The Funeral Effigies of Westminster Abbey".

Marc

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