Through the Mists of Time...

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amuckart
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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#226 Post by amuckart » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:33 pm

Marcell, you're right, it's a marketing hoax. *sigh*

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#227 Post by amuckart » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:42 pm

Paul,

Hopefully there's someone more expert in Roman footwear than me on here, but they would probably have been making carbatina, a fairly typical Roman shoe with the upper integral to the sole, a vertical seam down the back of the heel and a seam running down the vamp.

Unlike other early period carbatine shoes, Roman ones were quite complex, often with multi-layered soles and quite well fitted.

Marc has some information on Roman shoes on his website:
http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/SHOES/ROME/romelist.htm

neuraleanus

Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#228 Post by neuraleanus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:23 pm

Salvete

I'm in the process of making a pair of 1st century roman calcei and as I progress I am posting pictures of this effort:

Calcei HOW-TO

It's not yet complete, I just added pictures of sewing the upper to the insole.

Compared to a modern boot:
1. these have a tongue
2. they are lined
3. there is no toe-box, no welt
4. the soles are flat and will be hobnailed
5. While enclosing the lower part of the foot, straps are laced going up the ankle.

Lee

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#229 Post by neil1967 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:19 pm

Was wondering if this is the best place to ask a question about a reference I found recently to embroidery around the heels of Slovak boots...?

In doing some research on the origins of the heel, I came across a photo in an 1918 National Geographic. The caption title was "Peasant Types in Hungary, Northeast of Buda-pest." In the caption itself, it says, "The maid of Holland wears the distinctive badge of her town or district on her head; the Slovak peasant girl sometimes wears hers on her foot, as in the case of the girl to the left, whose boot-heel, elaborately embroidered, betokens the village from which she tramps."

I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the use of heel embroidery as a signifier of village origins...?

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#230 Post by das » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:58 pm

Proxy Posting:

"I don't have much on Hungarian footwear, other than Alice Gaborjan's 3-4 articles - hardwork typing all that out with difficult accents etc, though she doesn't say much about the embroidery, as far as I can remember - mostly about the origin of the styles/boot-patterns.
Identifying people by special decorative patterns is a minefield: it can happen if regions are cut off, e.g. parts of Norway, but it's only for a short period of time, and then may linger on into 20th c. and become fossilised as 'folk' dress died out, or was kept alive artificially. A lot of the 19th c. Czech/Slovak footwear has similar embroidery on the heel, though I do not know if anyone has published on it there. There are some in Zlín, CZ Shoe Museum of course. Are there Slovaks nr Budapest?
June Swann"

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#231 Post by neil1967 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:08 am

Are any of those Alice Gaborjan articles translated into English? Also, what are the titles of them? I've seen the book she wrote, Hungarian Peasant Costumes, but nothing else...

Thanks!

Neil

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#232 Post by das » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:54 am

Neil,

Not to my knowledge. Several are papers presented at conferences I think, or chapters in obscure antique costume journals--doubtfully ever to be translated into English unless you have it done. This is the problem with esoteric subjects like this in foreign countries Image

I don't have all of these myself, and as June said, the titles are long and full of Slavic accent marks that it'd be the devil to try and type them accurately. Better just search the author's name, and try to contact her.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#233 Post by amuckart » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:22 pm

Hi all,

Recently I came across a large number of pictures of shoemakers dating from the late 14th to the early 19th century. They are pages from the so-called "Mendel Hausbuch", a series of books depicting tradesmen at work.

Mendel's House was a charitable institution built in Nuremburg in the late 14th century for the housing of needy old craftsmen. I'm struggling a bit with Google's translation of the explanatory page but the depictions are either of the craftsmen when they were at the house, or they are memorial death portraits. Either way, the books are a fascinating look into the tools and working of German craftsmen for nearly 400 years.

All of the books have been scanned and put online by the German National Museum. The main page is here:
http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/

The site is in German, but there are category index pages in English that give links to the pages by occupation, occupational category, tools depicted, materials, products and diseases(!).

The category page is at http://www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de/index.php?do=page&mo=8

Of particular interest to this forum are these links:

The descriptions are in German, but the dates can be made out easily and Google translate can help. Clicking on a thumbnail will take you either to an infromation page about the page of the book, or a big image of the page of the book.

Enjoy.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#234 Post by romango » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:10 pm

Alasdair,

Thanks for those great references. Lots of inspirational plates that make me feel connected to a long and storied past!

- Rick

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#235 Post by amuckart » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:50 pm

Hi all,

I just found this newspaper column while searching for information on the Pearson & Bennion A1 machine and thought it might be of interest.

BOOT-MAKING BY MACHINERY.
Evening Post, Volume LVI, Issue 75, 26 September 1898, Page 2

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=EP18980926.2.6

As an aside, if anyone does know anything about the A1, I'd be interested in hearing about it seeing as I've bought one to restore.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#236 Post by mack » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:46 am

Hello All,
Long time since I posted but I do read the forum and appreciate the work I see.
I got the following story from a woodcarver friend of mine who was doing some research and thought it may be of interest.

Wetting The Block.
The first Monday in March being the time when Shoemakers in the country cease from working by candlelight, it used to be customary for them to meet together in the evening for the purpose of " Wetting the block " .On these occasions the master either provided a supper for his men or made them a present of money or drink; the rest of the expense was defrayed by subscriptions among themselves, and sometimes by donations from customers. After the supper was over the block candlestick was placed in the midst, the shop candle was lighted and all the glasses being filled, the oldest hand in the shop poured the contents of his glass over the candle to extinguish it; the rest then drank the contents of theirs standing and gave three cheers . The meeting was usually kept to a late hour.
Thia account of the custom is from personal observation, made many years ago, in various parts of Hampshire, Berkshire and the ajoining counties. It is now growing into disuse, which I think is not to be regretted; for as it is mostly a very drunken usage, the sooner it is sobered, or becomes obsolete the better.
A SHOEMAKER.
March 27 1827
N.B In some places this custom took place on Easter Monday.

One of many old tales involving shoemakers and drinking.
Regards Mack.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#237 Post by cwsaddler » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:08 pm

Of Course you know that the collective for shoemakers is a drunkard of shoemakers.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#238 Post by das » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:13 am

Hi Mack,

Good to see you back! We've always enjoyed wetting the candle-block, and very glad to see the tradition continued right down until 19thc over there too. We did not know or observe (nor are likely to adopt) the eldest man dowsing the candle with his drink, instead of drinking it though Image

Jim,

Pot... kettle.... black, you saddler you :p

neuraleanus

Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#239 Post by neuraleanus » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:28 pm

Another pair of 1st Century Mainz variant Caligae, made to replace the pair that I sold at Reenactor Fest in Chicago.
11170.jpg


I have also added more pictures to my caligae making HOW-TO showing how these are made:

caligae HOW-TO

neuraleanus

Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#240 Post by neuraleanus » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:26 pm

Back in February I wore my 1st century officer/equestrian calcei for an entire day:
11172.jpg



They were quite comfortable and fortunately most of the hotel's display area was carpeted. Hobnailed boots can be very dangerous on modern floors.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#241 Post by paul » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:35 am

Salvete Lee,

Good looking work friend.

I especially like you calcei. It's pretty easy to see that they would be comfortable. Did you put contour insoles in them also?

I really like what I can see of the closure. How was that done?

Paul

neuraleanus

Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#242 Post by neuraleanus » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:10 am

>Did you put contour insoles in them also?
The inner-most sole is simply a layer of 4-5oz leather.

>I really like what I can see of the closure. How was that done?
The lace passes through a hole in the vamp and zip-zags, the lace crosses itself, alternating through the ankle straps, just like how you lace the straps of caligae.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#243 Post by jesselee » Sat May 22, 2010 9:27 am

All'

Some clarification on the origin of the 'cowboy boot'. There has been much speculation on this subject. If we are to define the 'cowboy' as an American icon, separate from the Mexican cowboy, we must examine historical facts. If there was a 'first cowboy boot', from which all others were referenced and changed according to need, we must look at the Civil War.
In doing this we find that the first American 'cowboys' were the Drovers which were recruited from the Confederate States Army in 1864.
This can be ascribed to Major Charles J. Munnerlyn, as charged by the Confederate States Army war department to recruit men to specifically become Drovers, to breach Federal lines and deliver cattle for food to the CSA troops.
This special unit was called the First Battalion Florida Special Cavalry. Also nicknamed the cow cavalry and other such auspicious titles.
In March of 1864, Henry Davis James amongst other small shop owners was commissioned the task of making the boots for this unique and heroic Cavalry unit.
The boots were typical of the period being the New Pattern Boot, which was higher overall and had a front piece being squarish, as well as the New Patten Boot style boot straps which were placed through a slit in the back of the boot and secured by stitching as well as a copper rivet. The toes and heel counters were braced with a brass guard. The soles were half soled.
I have made the first pair from CSA govt. specs to precise pattern of this very first 'cowboy boot' and will put them on the gallery. As well they are made on lasts of the period.

Cheers,
JesseLee

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#244 Post by das » Mon May 24, 2010 5:19 am

Jesse,

Very Interesting line of investigation. I hope to see more soon. BTW, don't forget the "salt water cowboys", herding cattle and horses out here along the Atlantic coast from the 1700s or before. Be sure all your bases are covered by solid research. Below is a proxy-post from June Swann, who asks some devilishly important questions I thought:

"So pre 1864, every farm/ranch that kept cattle was within walking distance of cattle market and slaughterhouse? I ask, as Welsh cattle were driven to London, via fattening up on lush pastures Northants, before last 3 days or so to Smithfield market (you can still trace the Welsh Road on the maps). And still in 1930s-40s sheep and cattle were driven on foot to cattle market past our front door in N'ton. Of course, I don't have clear picture of where your markets and slaughterhouses were, or how much of pre 1860 USA had large ranches. But given your greater distances between towns, it seems unlikely to me people would want to drive cattle on foot??? That's if they could afford a horse or 2. How many/what proportion couldn't afford horses? Wouldn't there have been collaboration between those who had only 1 or 2 to send? I've also no idea how cattle were got to market etc anywhere else in Europe.

And of course horse-riders generally wore boots, from ?prehistory onwards. Check your big Webster, which I think gives origin/1st use of words, to see when 'cowboy' began to be used. I've only a small version, which says: cattle herder, espec. western USA. But OED: 1st Eng. use: a boy who tends cows, 1725. " U.S. History: a contemptuous appellation applied to some of the tory partisans of Westchester Co., NY during the Revolutionary war (!) who were exceedingly barbarous in the treatment of their opponents who favored the American cause. (Bartlett Dict. Amer.)". Even late 18th c. riding boots bear little resemblance to THE cowboy boot, tho I did point out long ago the connection to hessians (not worn here, ?or Am. in the Revolutionary war).
You should encourage people to define terms, eg what they mean by cowboy, and cowboy boot.
I would also ask where from & to in Florida, and mileage. Where was H.D. James based? Did the North do any droving?
ie 1 fact don't prove anything - does it say the New Pattern Boot, or is that assumption?
June"

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#245 Post by jesselee » Mon May 24, 2010 10:13 am

Al,

You are almost encouraging me to write a book here. thanks for the input. I knew you would have some information. So in 'my' definition, the 'cowboy' is from legend and name a strictly American story. Yes I do recognize those who drove cattle in the 1700's and in Mexico etc. But our cowboy myth and legend is where i am starting.

And as most of the previous discussions of the 'cowboy boot' have all been linked to the Wellington of the Civil War period and existing models are a combination mostly of the CW period Wellington as well as the half moon shaped tops which are here to stay, not withstanding the vamped boot was not popularized until later in the century. Perhaps it came about as did grafts and splices from a way to conserve on a hide.

All that being said, and within our culture this mystique of man, horse and boot as well as poetry and song has endured as a cultural identity, which I doubt has endured in other cultures.

Yes, the term New Pattern Boot was used and the order was for 120 pairs, which is nothing for a 4 man shop to prepare in 6 weeks. Henry D. James was in Virginia at the time and had a small shop which received orders from the CSA as ell as made field hand boots and did bespoke work.

If memory serves me right, the drives were from Florida to Georgia and Virginia. But I will have to check that against my source and independant sources.

I see the importance of word origins and as such enjoy seeing how they evolve. Try explaing to a potential customer who expects the modern creatively artistic cowboy boot that the pairs of square toed un-fancy waxed leather boots on your shelf are 'cowboy boots'! It gets into a history lesson.

But for the sake of the relationship to the common CW era boot. like the song says "that's my story and I'm sticking to it". BTW, the term cowboy is not used in this original record penned in 1864, the term is Drover, so that may open up new and interesting questions and examinations.

Thanks Al,

JesseLee

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#246 Post by jesselee » Mon May 24, 2010 10:33 am

Al,

My techie just found this for us. It matches up with the original record. He will be looking for northern and other records from the period.

http://www.floridareenactorsonline.com/cowcav.htm

Enjoy,

JesseLee

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#247 Post by das » Tue May 25, 2010 4:29 am

Jesse,

In haste...

Keep us posted as this comes together--important stuff you're onto here.

Scalloped tops--Fancy curved ("half-moon" you called 'em) flamboyant boot tops start with us late 1700s with Hessian/Hussar boots and continue from there--called "Polish" cut by late 1800s.. Whole-cut, side-seamed boots and those with these flamboyantly cut tops are depicted in Philadelphia catalogues 1840s(?) onward. IMO the early cowboy boot makers out West were choosing known elements from a pallet of style features established long before, including some that betrayed their German/Central European origins, they just chose and combined them in a unique way round about 1890s-1920 (the birth of the modern cowboy boot). Texas, and to some extent Mexico, were German "colonies" and many of the earliest TX bootmakers were immigrants right off the boat.

Separate vamp--"Tongue boots" with a separate vamp and tongue inlet into the front of the leg (the leg seamed up the back) is the oldest and most economical cut of tall pull-on boot. Earliest I've seen were Medieval, and this cut has endured unchallenged right up to the present as English riding boots, etc. Whole-cut fronts as well as side-seamed leg boots were in the main an exotic cut adopted from E. European origins into England, USA, c.1800-24 (via French and German "Hussar" regiments/Napoleonic Wars)--Rees puts the date on 179_? on them. Side-seamed legs with separate vamps (tongues) like modern 4-piece cowboy boots, was a more economical way to cut them--whole fronts are extravagant/wasteful to cut, and a way to adopt the "new" style even if you can't block ("crimp) the whole fronts. All that was needed to crimp the tongue of a vamp was a flat board and a length of strong cord--crimping whole-fronts required blocks, boards, gadgets, and later expensive machines (as well as a special set of skills). The "dress" Wellingtons were always 4-piece, side-seamed from their introduction. The more utilitarian Wellingtons had whole-cut fronts. The grafts and pieced fronts were just economy so the boot front could be crimped from a piece not much longer than the back of the leg, the extra bit pieced at the top of the front.

Tell me more about Henry James. Where in VA was he? Known dates?

What's your source for details on this "New Pattern" boot? As far as I knew the little sheet brass toe-protectors were for kid's boots (they scuff their toes right out), patent dated in the 1870s or '80s?

More, more.... Tell us more.

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#248 Post by jesselee » Tue May 25, 2010 5:34 am

Al,

Don't know what more to tell. I am certainly familiar with the 4 piece Wellington as well as Hessian and Hussar boots and many styles of tops.

The Drovers boots were 12 to 14 inches at the back and16 to 18 inches at the front respectively.

In reference to the American cowboy boot, the Drover's boot was different as being more like the unlined M1859 Light Artillery Boots but with a taller front. Typically the cowboy boots of the old west had flat tops or the arched top, lowest point at the front and rear center and higher at the side seams and that style as you mentioned was getting a lot of development from the 1890's to the 1920's and is now a great art form.

I know about the childrens boots toed with brass and have seen them as early as marked with 'patd.1859', but have also seen many pairs of adult boots toes with copper as well as brass.

I made boots as Henry James' apprentice from 64 to 69/70 and we used a style much like CW brogans and toed with steel and he made these long before I apprenticed at the shop.

Getting back to the dress Wellington. Another advantage of the 4 piece style is use of two complementing leathers ie. vamp and counter and uppers, to give a rich feel to the boots, or perhaps leather conservation.

A fellow sent me pictures of early cowboy boots which by examination are typical CW period lasts and stitching techniques and are very early yet have the 1890-1920's type tops, and only top lined. I will get my techie to scan them for the gallery for examination. The fancy stitching is very minimalist as early cowboy boots were done ie. one row.

The Smithsonian collection is a god place to start with Old and New Pattern boot designations and these terms were US military terms to describe the changes in the footwear and used/adopted by the Confederacy.
New Pattern Boot comes up several times with the primary differences in the boot straps for one instance and the 3 piece separate vamped M1872 boots which had brass screwed soles. There was also a New Pattern shoe which was simply the old M1851 Jefferson Bootee but with brass screwed soles and I believe that is also the M1872, Not perfectly sure of the date.

Henry Davis James was born in TN in 1813 and died in or around Steins NM in 1893. He apprenticed in 1828. He traveled to England, Germany and all over the USA learning techniques from 1839 to 1856. He started his journal in 1856 which goes to 1890 and contains patterns, techniques, Trade secrets etc. which is solid source material that I use. He had a small shop just outside Savannah in 1863 to early 1865 and made footwear for the Confederacy, plantations and gentlemen. Then he went west after the war.

Cheers,
JesseLee

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#249 Post by mac » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:06 am

I thought this was interesting... world's oldest leather shoe.
http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/cbc-article.aspx?cp-documentid=24530647

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Re: Through the Mists of Time...

#250 Post by das » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:22 am

Note: "Oldest LEATHER Shoe"--the Fort Rock Cave, Oregon, USA (grass) shoes are 9,000 to 10,000 years old.

For a more detailed description see:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0010984

This was also ritually buried, or as some say "concealed".

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