Strange Shoe Terms

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dw
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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#26 Post by dw » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:16 pm

Couldn't resist throwing in a few new "strange shoe terms"...

"yickie-yeckie," "fit-fang"," yerkin," "bosher," "alishin," "nos-tril." Image

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#27 Post by tomo » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:39 pm

Dw,
Do you mean as in...

"Alishen you lot, don't go yerkin ya bosher up ya nos-tril 'cause it won't fit-fang an it'll make ya go all yickie-yeckie."Image

I see in Swaysland they spell shoe 'Shew.'

More power to y'awl.
T.

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#28 Post by dw » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:54 pm

Tom,

Close enough for the south seas...I wouldn't whip the cat about it.

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#29 Post by dai » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:51 pm

Al

"I have never found a contemporary reference to shoemakers, per se, as "cat whippers", only tailors, but then I've not looked really hard either."

Cwm Eithin, by Hugh Evans, various editions since 1931, the following from the 5th edn 1951, p96 says, in the Welsh language(where CHWIPIO'R GATH = whipped the cat):

"Yr oedd nifer o deilwriad yn CHWIPIO'R GATH yn fyng ngof i, ... Yr oedd yno ychydig o sadleriaid yn myned o gylch y fermydd i drwsio ger y ceffylau ... Dywedir yr arferai'r cryddion CHWIPIO'R GATH yn yr hen amser, ond yr oedd yr arferiad wedi peidio ers talm".

Translates to (I hope!) :
"A number of tailors whipped the cat within the time of my memory, .... There were there a few saddlers going about the farms to mend the horse gear. ... It is said that it was the custom of shoemakers to whip the cat in the old times, but the custom ended long ago".

In this context to whip the cat seems to be itinerancy in any of the three trades mentioned at least.

Staying with the itinerant shoemaker theme. I mentioned the children's book "Farmer Boy", by Laura Ingalls Wilder (of Little House on the Prairie fame), in a previous post. It has a long and interesting chapter about the visit of the itinerant shoemaker to the farm, and is at least "semi"-biographical, the story of her husband's boyhood farmlife in New York State. I had to wait 50 years to come across this story, but perhaps every American home has a copy?

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#30 Post by jesselee » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:00 am

DA,

Looks like my post didn't work.. LOL, yup, 'wax' is as good a word as any. In our old Guild we had special words to identify who was a Guildsman or not. I think this is where we get so many terms.

I worked with the Mason Dixon boys in Seattle in the 70's-80's when they set the authenticity standards and came down on vamped boots, Frankenstein brogans, smooth out and wrinkly full Wellingtons. Have not heard from any of them in years. In those days all the 'old school' guys hung together. They turned me on to your Colonial period stuff. We could never quite get that style down. Thats your departmentImage

Jesse

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#31 Post by paul » Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:29 am

Looks like I should have finished reading all the posts, before I posted my question about stories.
Oh well, the question still stands, though now I'm excited to read Ms. Wilder.

So here's another question. What do you do with all that cat hair in the "wax" of your thread? I've done lacing on the living room couch, so I can't imagine inseaming in a room inhabited by cats. (However, make no mistake, I love my two little brudder kitties)

Great topic!

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#32 Post by jesselee » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:56 am

Paul,
Very true that the ball of wax will pick up cat hairs... Perhaps this is why they got whooped!. My 2 cats are bootmaking kitties and sit with me late at night as I am hand stitching or cranking the wheel of the old 29K. The idea of the 'cat and bootmaker', became a very real concept last night as I got into the home stretch of my Mexican inspired 1872 boots. Such is the archetype of the old bootmaker working by lamplight with his cats late at night. Something poetic about it.

Jesse

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#33 Post by das » Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:25 am

Dave,

Thanks for that cite. I guess we're safest saying "Whipping the Cat" derives from itineracy, rather than anything to do with shoe/bootmaking per se. I do think "cat-whipper" as phonetic Scots for "coat-whipper" seems the likilest source at this point, but who knows.

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#34 Post by jesselee » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:08 am

DA,

I think that 'whipping the cat', may have to do with waxing the thread. Tailors did this too and I know that Chas. Childs waxes his thread for making uniforms (the best IMHO). Other than in my apprentice notes from the shop Master and in his book, I believe I saw this term in the 60's books, 'Colonial America' and 'Pioneer America', which gave great expose's on the various Trades.
I'm stickin with whipping the cat, as a term for waxing threads for sewing, as this seems to be the common denominator, and I would like to see the old terms preserved, but only so far as provinance of truth, not conjecture, so as we progress into these uncivilized times, I am aware terms can be corrupted, so I stand open on this one...
JesseLee

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#35 Post by das » Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:42 am

Jesse,

If it makes you happy...

I'd be happier if we could find historical evidence that suggests it's other than to do with coat-whipping/itinerant tailoring.

And I've never advocated book-burning in my life, but I swear, if there're two worse books than Edwin Tunis' or Leonard Everet Fisher's on "ye olde timey" shoemaking, I'd be at a loss to find them. Tunis' 'Colonial Craftsmen' I think has to win the award though, for the most codswallop between two covers Image

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#36 Post by jesselee » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:51 am

DA

This is something that I have my claws into.. i would love to find the historical aspects of the term. So far, It looks as if it has to do with waxing thread and stitching. We shall keep on this.
JesseLee

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#37 Post by dw » Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:18 pm

Jesse Lee,

I'll tell you a little story, if I may:

Back when we started this forum...lo, these many years ago...we had a good number of historians as members. Now, I'm talking bone fide historians...not just someone who took history in the tenth grade. I for one enjoyed these folks (although there were those that didn't) but I did learn one thing dealing with them...you can't conjecture, you can't quote sources that are based upon conjecture, and you can't rhapsodize or build theories on speculation.

The only thing that works with a history wonk is evidence--hard, material evidence...of immpecable provenance.

Making boots as I do, I had a somewhat loose affection for the heel--pointing to the heel as evidence of nobility and so forth. Not that there isn't that connection, mind you, but I thought I knew something about the heel and its antecedents especially after having read some less than credibly researched articles that ascribed Tatar invaders as having worn heels as they swept through Eastern Europe.

And of course, there's Cornwall's Thomas of Hooton kicking down an 11th century door with his boot heel.

Now, never mind the fact that an 11th century door most likely would have been four or more inches of solid English oak and fitted with wrought iron hardware, the simple fact is that there is no evidence for heels prior to the late 16th century. None. Period. Speculate as I might, without proof, without evidence, I might as well have been writing fiction myself.

Now all that might be disappointing to a naive, and imaginative young bootmaker but it's also a bit comforting. The odd fantasy and instructive fairy tale, aside, it's only when you accept the hard evidence and put aside the wishful thinking and conjecture--the odd bit my teacher passed on to me from the isolation of a 65 years in Montana, for instance--that you begin to get an appreciation for where the Trade has been and where it might be going. [the same might be said for the history and future of the country, for all of that.]

Moral of the story...it's fruitless to argue with history...all you can do is learn from it. Image

I'm not an historian, by any means, nor do I aspire to be one. But I try to pay attention around them and I pay lip service to the evidence when I can.

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#38 Post by chuck_deats » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:22 am

Al,
"Tunis' 'Colonial Craftsmen' I think has to win the award though, for the most codswallop between two covers."


Now you tell me. Wish I had known a few years ago. Long before I found the Forum, decided to make a pair of boots. Inspired by a picture of DW's full cuts in some book, I searched the local library. Found a little green book on shoe repair and Tunis' "Colonial Craftsmen" which explained how it was done.

Took apart an old store bought boot to see how the pieces fit together. With a hatchet and a rasp, made lasts from framing lumber per Tunis (Picture 1). Figured out the short heel (did not know what to call it then) was important for getting the boots on and off. Covered the last with a brown paper sack and masking tape; split it down the side seam and had a set of patterns.
4844.jpg


Bought some 3-4 oz. veg tan and some 2 oz. lining from Tandy. Cut it out and hand stitched it together. Wet the leather and drug it over the last and and pulled it tight using a pair of pliers and a staple gun. Tunis did not say anything about crimping. Counters, welts, heels etc. from a piece of 8-10 oz. veg laying around. Aquired a piece of sole leather from somewhere and used for insole and outsole. Stitched it all together. Had to make pegs using a table saw and utility knife. A quart of pegs is still the world's biggest bargain. The end result is shown in Picture 2.
4843.jpg


It is possible to build boots per Tunis but don't recommend it. The boots are well worn and fairly comfortable. Decided there was more to learn about this lastmaking. Found this Forum and aquired DW's first book and made several pair of full cuts since that looked a little better, but was awfully proud of that first pair.

Chuck

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#39 Post by paul » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:16 pm

Wow Chuck,

What a great tribute to figuring it out for yourself.

The last is beautiful, and the boots look darn good too for a first pair.

PK

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#40 Post by jesselee » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:30 pm

Chuck

Pretty slick, I like them boots! nice work on that leg last.
Jesse

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#41 Post by das » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:43 am

Chuck,

If Tunis' 'Colonial Craftsmen' book inspired you to try your hand, that's great. Just don't rely on it as 18thc historical shoemaking, 'cause he got most details wrong, and the illustrations are a hotch-potch of various 19thc tools, benches, and pegging-jacks that were unknown in the 18th.

I gave my edition away many years ago, so don't ask me to give details or I might have to be seen borrowing it from the library Image

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#42 Post by das » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:19 am

Chuck,

Very nice results!

However, historically: 1)boots were made on a low last; 2) afterwards the legs were "treed" up to shape/size on a boot(fitting)-tree (similar to what you made)--not made over the boot(fitting)-tree. Not suprized Tunis didn't mention crimping, he was after all not a shoe/bootmaker, and was merely writing down what people told him (probably not boot and shoemakers either). And, if focusing on the "colonial" era, they weren't making whole-cut "crimped" boots over here anyhoo.

I'm glad Tunis' book inspired you to dive in. My only caution is against using his book as an historical resource.

firefly

Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#43 Post by firefly » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:05 am

I have learned a great many things on this forum in a very short period of time and I am thankful to all for contributing but I have to extend a very special thanks to Al for introducing me to the term "codswallop".

I love it. I been using it every day to refer to everything.

Great Word.

Thanks,

Mark

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#44 Post by chuck_deats » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:18 am

Paul, Al, Jesse,

Thank you for the kind words. It was not my intent to make a colonial replica boot, just a full cut boot and Tunis was the nearest thing I could find for information at the time. It is a different way to make boots, but certainly not a better way.

I have heard the term, "uncrimped Wellingtons", but have never seen a picture and think I have read that once upon a time the wrinkles from not crimping were fashionable. Always figured early full Wellingtons were made because leather was cheap and hand sewing was time consuming. If I understand Al, colonial boots were made very similar to current practice: crimped, formed over a short last, and tree the tops.

As Mark stated, This exercise has been worthwhile if only for the new addition to the English language: "Codswallop".

Chuck

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#45 Post by jesselee » Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:09 am

Chuck

Not sure about 'uncrimped Wellingtons'. Now I am puzzling over how the pattern would be cut... I have made Hussar boots without crimping, using an old pattern leg such as yours, but one piece (to pattern) and molding the front over the ridges which takes away the 'pipes' (new term to me). I think if anything, a 'shin mold' would have been used to some degree only if to get the side seam areas correct.

I think most of the wrinkling comes from the use of 2 oz, leather with stiffened tops which bore weight, thus giving the wrinkles. I have made high cut Wellingtons this way, up to the bend of the knee, and gravity will take them down several inches at the bend of the foot in the ankle area. Another explanation is perhaps the crinping boards were not at such a steap angle.

I am making such a 2oz. pair of CW officer's quality boots now with Hussar tops along side my 4/5oz cowboy boots, which no doubt will wrinkle, as is the intent, based on the originals I am reproducing. Keep up the good work, thats a handsome pair of boots ya made.
Jesse

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#46 Post by dw » Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:19 pm

As many of you know I love old, toothy words...so, although I'm familiar with the term, I got interested....

"The story goes that a gentleman by the name of Hiram Codd patented a bottle for fizzy drinks with a marble in the neck, which kept the bottle shut by pressure of the gas until it was pressed inwards. Wallop was a slang term for beer, and Codd's wallop came to be used by beer drinkers as a derogatory term for weak or gassy beer, or for soft drinks.

This theory has appeared in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, but there are problems with it. Codswallop is not recorded until the mid-20th century, rather a long time after Codd's invention, and there are no examples of the spelling Codd's wallop, which might be expected as an early form. These are not conclusive disproof of the theory - it is conceivable that the term circulated by word of mouth, like many slang terms, and that the connection with Codd's bottle had been forgotten by the time that the term was written down - but they do shed doubt on the tale." from AskOxford.com


And from the OED:
Also cod's wallop. [Origin unknown.
It is often suggested that this word is < the genitive of the name of Hiram Codd (1838-87 ), British soft drinks manufacturer, who patented several designs for mineral water bottles in the 1870s + WALLOP n. (see sense 4c at that entry), and that it was originally used by beer drinkers as a derogatory term for soft drink. However, no evidence has been found for early use of the word in this sense, and derivation from the surname is not supported by early spellings.]

Nonsense, drivel.



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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#47 Post by j1a2g3 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:01 pm

My father used to say Codswallop. He used it when someone was talking bull_ _ _ _!

I found this on Wikipedia and thought it was interesting.

"The first etymology claims that the word derives from cods, an Anglo-Saxon term for testicles, combined with another word of Anglo-Saxon origin, wallop, meaning to scold or chastise (note that this wallop is not the same as the word wallop, meaning "hit&#34Image. It could be observed that if cod is the same as testicles and wallop is the same as hit, "Codswallop" could be very similar to the American colloquial "Ball-Busting," which means "to put one on".

Critics have argued that it is the "punch" meaning of the term wallop that applies, not the older "scold" variant.

Joel

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#48 Post by firefly » Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:03 pm

DW,

Thanks for the research. I had never heard it before but it just seemed like one of those words that was in motion. You can actually feel the heft of it as it rolls across your vocal cords and leaves your lips.

I am even more excited that it has some ties to Beer as I do have an affinity for the beverage. I am somewhat of an amateur brewer and quite the seasoned professional consumer.

Next time I am enjoying a nice Porter and I see some poor bloke next to me drinking a pop or some fancy drink I'll know what to say to him..."CODSWALLOP"

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#49 Post by jesselee » Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:17 pm

DW

I am glad of that, because after the whipping of cats, the walloping of cods was starting to make me rethink the 'Gentle' in our Craft.
Thanks for the heads up.
jesse

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Re: Strange Shoe Terms

#50 Post by tomo » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:24 pm

Joel,

I've gotta go with your definition - a good smack in the gonads.

That's where 'Codpiece' comes from, their the orininal 15th century budgie smugglers those guys...
Yeah, my dad says it when someone's 'talking horse n trap' Image

More power to y'awls.
Tom.

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