The Gentle Craft

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#126 Post by marc » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:43 am

If I may make a comment - when you two are referring to a "sole", I think you are referring to an outer sole. Even a carbatine has a sole, it just doesn't have an added sole, the sole and uppers are one piece.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#127 Post by dearbone » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:01 am

7322.jpg

I really wanted to see and feel for myself,how well these shoes will fit and feel with outer soles sewn to them,so i tried them on right away after my sewing was done and i have to say the fit is perfect.

Marc,

All comments are welcome.

regards Nasser.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#128 Post by dearbone » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:11 am

7324.jpg

I was not sure where to post this image, It is the hand work of Mr Len Zinn who is no longer with us, but his leather work remains,His full size galloping horses are somewhere in a NY museum,I had the oppertunity to watch him work when i was a journeyman shoemaker,i was given one of his work by his partener,but it was water damaged as you see the marking at the bottom of the leather.
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Re: The Gentle Craft

#129 Post by marcell » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:02 am

This is really ancient..

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/10795

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#130 Post by dearbone » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:17 pm

7342.jpg

For the sake of the puritans among us and not to offend Romulus the founder of Rome and his mother wolf, Here is a Carbitina(karbatinia) made in the primative way(not in a bad way), the loops are made free hand here, but with logic,even loops on both side of the front and back center.
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Re: The Gentle Craft

#131 Post by neuraleanus » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:15 pm

Salve Nasser

Hae carbatinae sunt optimae!

3rd century? I'm curious about how you did the back. All of the references that I have show stitched backs.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#132 Post by dearbone » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:15 pm

Salve&salute Lee,

The back,like the front of this shoe is fasten by a lace, you may knot it, stitch it, or simpely tie it like i did,however you decide to secure it.i personaly found it better not to stitch the back like the romans did, but than again, I am only a shoemaker!
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Re: The Gentle Craft

#133 Post by marc » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:36 pm

With regards to that carbatinae, I have never seen that design in the archeology (although it is pretty cool looking). Do you know where the design came from? Most Iron Age shoe designs that I am familiar with are closed up the back with thread. I have seen some folk designs of "opanke" from the late 19th/early 20th centuries that have some intricate lacing together - usually to fold up the back part, but these tend to also have a central seam laced in the vamp area (which does appear in the archaeological record).

If this is a folk design that I haven't seen before, that would be great.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#134 Post by dearbone » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:42 am

All roads lead to Amsterdam,Good news to my ears you have not seen the design in archeology,I also made one with a tongue extending from the front center loop, about the carbatinai above,some years ago a leather worker friend saw a shoemaker in Amsterdam making them,but could not remember,the back was sewn or slit,but i think(prefer)the slits for this shoe,it is said,the shoe was made of two thongs and made in emergency,B.G. NIEBUHR the roman historian mentions the persians were making one piece shoes from freshly slughtered animals up until the 1700. do not ask me to find the quote, no mention on how it was made,if they sew the back or cut slits.
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Re: The Gentle Craft

#135 Post by marc » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:22 am

The earliest single piece shoes at least to the 4th millennium BCE, since they have been found that old. While they have been sometimes fairly sophisticated, as far as I can tell they have been sewn (or thonged in some cases) as a single seam up the back, then with other fancy stuff occasionally done to tighten the heal.

This is definitely something new.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#136 Post by dearbone » Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:55 pm

Now that we established the carbatinai goes back almost 2000 years before the establishment(invation) of rome to Italy from the island of elba, I will call my carbatinai the "Canadien Carbtanai"

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#137 Post by jesselee » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:39 am

Ladies and Gents of the Gentle Trade:

I'm following along on lots of the forums. Not much to contribute as electric motors and wheel pressure feet are 'new fangled gadgets' to me. Truth be told I would be lost around all that stuff.

I know that a few folk here studied under an ancient. It would be good to have an Old Timers forum for anyone who still uses traditional stitching, lasts, finish, knows how to perfectly trim a sole with a knife and burnish it with a wax stick.

Going back to many conversations here, such as DW's contribution of the 19th. century being our heyday peak of accomplishment. I am not seeing a lot of preservation here. Dave Jarnigans posts on 19th. century leather are classic for instance.

Reenactment stuff has become less than authentic, yet there are still a few of us doing those old styles. I point out Al's articles in historical magazines 30+ years ago.

It would be nice if there was a forum for those old timers who are left, to compile and share posts of some of that great old stuff that was at its peak 160 odd years ago...

JesseLee

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#138 Post by das » Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:54 pm

Jesse,

Well, let's start that thread Image

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#139 Post by jesselee » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:14 pm

DA,

You got it. I would like to touch upon pattern making ie. fitting pattern to last. I was taught in the 19th. century fashion which is similar to your 18th. century style.
I am lost with all the fancy terms and CAD machine stuff. In making a pattern of 19th. century style, considering the pieces of the upper, say for a 2 piece shoe circa 1770-1860's that was used for work, slaves etc. This simple shoe, which I have seen botched, like any of the period, one has side measurements to consider as well as 'half measurements'. The latter is when you draw around the last profile and create 'half a pattern'. Now, drawing an imaginary line down the center of the cone to toe, one can easily determine the pattern shape and excess for turning under.
I did this with a one piece modern dance shoe. Its an old time simple way of measuring for a paper pattern. They must have done this in factories before the complicated angles they use today.
I use this method to check the few original metal patterns I have for my Jefferson boots and Balmorals of the 1860's period, not having a full set and compliments of lasts.
I will be setting up a video camera for illustration in this method for simple instruction.

JesseLee

ps- did you get my pictures?

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#140 Post by jesselee » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:07 am

Well, thanks for moving the discussion, now we gots a place for the old timey stuff to be talked out.

JesseLee

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#141 Post by das » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:42 am

Jesse,

Wow! What a rush! I love it when Emmit hurls us through cyber-space like that.

Coming up hard on holiday madness on my end, so I probably will ask if we can rejoin this chat in a week or so--no time here ol' bean.

Not sure exactly what you're asking, but connect the dots geometric pattern-making is outlined in Rees (1813), and he admonishes the young tyro to learn how to make patterns, rather than hankering after second-hand, discarded, or previously made patterns, as they'll never drop onto your last unless designed to it.

Patterning was the shop master's realm, and kept secret "forever".

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#142 Post by jesselee » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:14 pm

DA,
Yes, he does that right smoothly! So right you are about the patterns which brings me to a though. The confederate brogans I just copied for limited edition were made on the lasts which were in the original brogans. My pattern measured perfectly. So I wonder if patterns and lasts had some sort of standardization, or if you ordered lasts back in the heyday, could you order patterns too. These came from Henry Jame's shop...
What I noticed about CW period lasts is a measuring system which is standard for length, width, ball and instep, and if you have any 2 lasts, you can calculate all sizes. This applies to other lasts that did not come from my inheritance, but of the same period. The interesting thing is the sizes, a 10 and an 8 for instance have the same measurements. I know because of measuring and wearing boots I made on both. My tin patterns come in small, medium and large, not 7,8,9,10 etc. But indicative of what last sizes they will fall neatly on.
I don't have any of the old books ie. Rees 1813. Maybe you can direct me to some.
Best of the season to you and yours, and enjoy some good Scotch. I'll be havin 'shine' with Ole John Henry and a mess of hocks, beans and cornbread. We can pick it up after y'all are les busy.

Cheers,
JesseLee

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#143 Post by paul » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:56 am

I've got one...

I've been thinking on "our community", of boot makers. Shoemakers, please excuse this diversion.

So, what influence would any of the old European shoemakers guilds, had on the developement of the cowboy boot in the late 19th Century?

I pick this "genre" because it already has a "history" conversation, and it likes to be talked about by many outside our own community of makers. And, of course, the great shoemaking families are likely involved also.

I seem to have read bios of the known names of bootmakers from the period, as being taught and "becoming", after they came to America.

Would there have been many, in the background, who were offspring of the long time shoemakers families?

If my suppositions are right, and many more got into the trade, after their families had left Europe and Elsewhere, then, for me, that history would contribute to the richness of the 'history of the cowboy boot', and would add to it's symbol of independence and individuality.

Jesse, Al, Mark, and any others, do you have any information about the Europen guilds influence in America at that time?

Would anyone have any historical facts or suppositions on this subject?

Paul

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#144 Post by das » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am

Paul,

Just free-associating here on your comments.

A lot of this would depend on how you define "cowboy" boots. Also how you define "guilds". The closest antecedent boot to the "cowboy" boot is probably the basic English Wellington boot, filtered through almost 100 years' of iteration in the USA as both a fashion boot, and a practical rider's boot as in the Civil War/Indian Wars era US cavalry versions, which seem to be the agreed "first" boots worn by the American cowboys on the great cattle drives. Trade guilds (per se) in England were abolished by Henry VIII during the Reformation, so technically all you had by "the late 19thc." were the livery companies (e.g. the HCC's parent company, The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, est. 1272 AD) and guilds (loosely) like The Cordiners of Glasgow and a short list of other shoemakers' groups (see: 'Outwith London Guilds of Great Britain' by R. E. Lane).

Now this is where it gets interesting, and the research is far from complete, but several details of what we now know as the cowboy boot, especially in Texas, are seen in 18th-19thc Germanic, Central European, and even Slavic and Western Asian boots more than anything made previously in England or the Eastern US: i.e., narrow "domed toes"; elaborately/colorfully embroidered legs; flamboyantly cut top-lines; finger-holes for pulling-on rather than inside boot-straps, and high tapered stacked leather heels. I've turned all this over and over in my own mind for years, and all I can offer, very provisionally is: Texas was a German colony in a large part, and in the US immigrants were typically labeled "German" based on their language alone. So it is plausible that early German-speaking bootmakers in Texas could have hailed from Central Europe, even Eastern Europe where some of these boot design features were prominent in their contemporary regional and folk-dress boots. And the side-seamed Wellington cut, though adopted/adapted in England, Western Europe and the USA by 1800 and widespread throughout the 19thc., had its origins in these exotic boots of Eastern Europe, particularly the Polish Winged Hussar cavalry, hence "Hussar boots".

As to boot and shoemakers' guilds in Europe, in the 19thc. I know next to nothing--except they had them--so what direct influence they might have had is hard to say. Part of the problem here is going to be challenging the two embedded views of the "cowboy" boot, that it's 1) purely a Hollywood creation post Tom Mix movies, or 2) that it's a form and genre of boot that appeared before then fully developed. I've read that cowboy boots can be attributed to Hispanic/Mexican forms, but have yet to find any convincing proof. So far they seem far more closely associated with Central/Eastern Europe to me, and the "German" connections with Texas seem the most likely source.

Until we can pin down exactly what defines a "cowboy" boot (then vs. now), it's going to be hard to say just were they came from and what/who might have influenced their development. If the "German" bootmakers of Texas do figure prominently in the story, and if these bootmakers were in fact Central European in origin, then certainly their apprenticeship and training would affect the boots they made, embellishments they chose, but moreover the quality of their work. Though US makers could and did achieve superior work--the prize-work boots for the 1876 Centennial Exposition are examples (in LACMA and Northampton Cent. Museum)--9/10ths of the surviving US-made Wellington-type boots from that era are pretty rough-n-ready affairs in comparison to what was being made in the UK and Europe.

As usual, more questions than answers I'm afraid.

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#145 Post by dw » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:22 am

I did a little looking at this some years back...following up some leads that Al provided and other sources.

I'm no historian and I don't have the drive to follow a research lead to its penultimate end...so take all this with a small pinch of salt (everything's better with salt).

I could not find a connection between Spanish footwear in the Americas and cowboy boots. The boot that the conquistadors wore was a backseam boot and had no heel, as I recall. Such footwear would have influenced the native populations in areas where the Spanish held sway...such as Mexico. But the indigenous peoples didn't have a boot, or if they did, it was not significant in the evolution of later footwear.

If there are examples of Mexican boots that share any characteristics of the modern (or even late 19th century) "cowboy" boot, which also pre-date the late 19th century drovers boot, I have not seen them. Frankly I don't believe they exist.

I am sure that during the reign of Maxmillian, there were boots with brightly coloured tops and heels to be found among the troops and populace of Mexico. However, these would have been Hussar boots adapted or brought from Europe and almost certainly backseamed--which represents a different evolutionary line, in my mind.

Moreover, whatever influence one might think such boots would have had, there were similar influences on the other side of the border (Hussar boots were worn in the US especially out east, as well). Yet such influences seem to have been subsumed by the influences of the Wellington...which is universally considered to be a sideseamed boot and the forerunner of all sideseamed boots in the US.

I think that Al is spot on about the lineage of men's boots in the States and, by extension, the evolution of the cowboy boot. Between the rather older traditions of eastern Europe and the popularity of the Wellington (and Arthur Wellsley, himself) throughout western Europe and the English speaking United States of America, in the early and middle 19th century, it is pretty hard to see any other line of decent.

One thing I have learned hanging around with Al and other history wonks is that if there is no proof...no hard evidence...then idle speculation aside, one cannot assert that thus and such a thing happened. There may be Spanish influence that crept into the evolution of the cowboy boot. But the fact is that there is no proof. No evidence. And statements to the contrary, without evidence, are just fairy tales and wishful thinking.

Like heels on shoes in the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, or 16th centuries. Image

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(Message edited by dw on December 31, 2008)

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#146 Post by shoestring » Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:07 pm

Al & Others,

This is just a throw-up question.Would the cowboys in early Argentina have any influence on that type of foot ware( Cowboy Boot ) ? I noticed some very nice silver engraving with nice inlays even the leather carvings were vintage.Now mind you me this was seen on the " HISTORY " channel. Nothing concreat here.

Ed

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#147 Post by dw » Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:45 pm

The thing about it is that ornamentation is sort of a universal human impulse. Yes, some artwork or styles of ornamentation are derivative or related to other styles, sometimes in quite separate places geographically. But over and over again the impulse to decorate a pot or the barrel of a rifle or the tops of a pair of boots pops up in a culture even if it is virtually isolated from surrounding cultures entirely.

The point is that while it is interesting that 18th century boot tops were being embroidered in Yugoslavia, it is very hard to draw a line or make a connection to the types of stitching that is done on cowboy boots. Contemporary work is not, strictly speaking, embroidery after all and the motifs are not to my eye at all similar. In the same way, it is most likely a coincidence that Argentinians decorated their boot tops. In that context, however, it should be noted that leather carving is almost as old as leatherwork itself.

Probably more instructive is to trace techniques. As Al mentioned, what we call a box toe or a half box toe can be traced to Eastern Europe (significantly before the earliest cowboy boots put in an appearance) and almost certainly from there to the Americas by way of German or European immigrants. More to the point, the side seam boot is distinctive from the backseam boot both in the way it is drafted and assembled. And if a backseam boot is prevalent in a society it is unlikely that a sideseam boot will develop from it...certainly not as a direct progression.

Yet these are the kinds of things...techniques...that not only come with a maker when he immigrates to a new land but are what is passed down from generation to generation.

In my opinion...not written in blood...if the Argentinian styles of ornamentation had any influence on cowboy boots it was probably late in the evolution of the cowboy boot---well after it was established as a style of its own.

So...not a definitive answer but something perhaps to think about...


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Re: The Gentle Craft

#148 Post by paul » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:48 pm

Al,

Thank you for the time you put into this. The additional questions you raise are good ones, and I understand much of this kind of thing is lost to the winds of time.

I'm not trying to define a cowboy boot at this time, or discuss it's paterntage, as much as rattle around a few thoughts about innovation springing from the independence of the maker as well as the independence of the cowboys.

I'm with you on the Wellington's "iteration". I'm sure it did gradually move away from the English version by way of mass production for the Army market. Do we know anything about the origins of companies who were set up with Government contracts to make Wellingtons? (I expect we're talking about full cuts here, right?)

From what I've read from yours and others previous comments, it would appear that after the Civil War there was a bunch a bootmakers out of work, who, seeing an opportunity would have "followed the money". And the story goes, they set up shop along the "trail" from Kansas to Texas.

It's the background of these guys that interests me at this time. Your comments about the German and other communities moving into these regions, seems relavant. And I understand that other cultures as well, would look at the boots of the day, and recognize their own folk-dress and riding footwear, and contribute design elements.

I might have heard about trade guilds abolishment, but I'm confused trying to reconcile that with your comment of acknowledgement of guilds that did exist in the "late 19th century". Was there much influence from shoemakers unions?

But, as you say,
"If the "German" bootmakers of Texas do figure prominently in the story, and if these bootmakers were in fact Central European in origin, then certainly their apprenticeship and training would affect the boots they made, embellishments they chose, but moreover the quality of their work."
This is what I'm thinking too. But it's the bios of the makers who started making after coming to America, that also interestes me. Do we have any other journals of shoemakers besides the one I believe included in our Cordwainers newsletter several years ago?

I'll have to go back and review some of the stories of the ones who became big names early on that I've read. But some of them worked as childern in shoe repair or factories and then moved to Texas and Kansa to set up shop. I think Heyers and Tony Lama being the ones I'm thinking of. It seems they would have had a different perspective on cowboy's requests for changes in their boots, than if they'd come out of a guild training program.

I appreciate you "free associating" with me on this subject. As I said, it's the image of independence and individuality that appeals. The "cowbot boot" no matter how one defines it, did not exist before a certain time. It sprang out of a need, a necessity. And it seems to me to have evolved by request. "Can you make heels like this? or Can you change this to be like that?" Or "how about something like this to pull them on?"

This is how I read the "History of the Cowbot Boot". It was two men talking about an order and the features needed for the tool the boot became. Two independent men, who were cuttin' their own path, and creating a style that started with function and flowed into form.

Just thinkin' with my clumsey fingers, I guess.

Paul

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#149 Post by paul » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:51 pm

DW,

I appreciate your comments and you do add some points I'll want to consider on the subject. But I was thinking along the lines of the makers themselves.

I hope I've expressed myself clearly enough.

If not just delete.

Back to the bench,

Paul

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Re: The Gentle Craft

#150 Post by das » Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:05 am

Paul,

Glad to chat on this as limited as my cowboy boot/western bootmaking knowledge is. We do have a whole list of bootee and boot contractors from the Civil War era and beyond (not collated or in a publishable format I'm afraid), and no research on their bios that I know of. Don't forget the Federal Bootee Establishment--the Army's own in-house mfg., as well as the Army bootmaking that went on out at Ft/ Leavenworth, KS. That all bears a lifetime's researching. Pablo Vasquez in TX was gathering a lot of bio information of various early western bootmakers, firms, as well as lastmakers, etc. He might be a good contact for you on all of that, or a starting place.

Guilds--sorry to be confusing there. The Brits did away with all-powerful "Medieval" trade guilds during the Reformation, because of their connection to the Roman Catholic Church, and their quasi-religious activities--they survived only as secular trade-associations basically, rather than "guilds" in the glorious Medieval sense. Paris broke their Cordonniers' guild up around the time of the French Revolution. That said, the Germans, Austrians (Austro-Hungarians), Czechs, Poles, et al did have groups still called "guilds" in the 19thc., but in what form and with what overarching influence/control over the trade practice I do not know. Perhaps Marcell or one of our European Forumites may know more about the guilds situation in 19thc. Europe.

It still seems of paramount importance in this, to define what is this "cowboy" boot that you are looking for the early history of the makers of?

DW,

No intent to be argumentative or dispute you, but technically what's the difference between the colorful fancy top-stitching on the "shafts" (Germanism) of cowboy boots, versus the elaborate colorful embroidery on the "legs" of popular Czech, Hungarian, and Polish side-seamed, flamboyant, wavy and scalloped top-lines, high-heeled boots, some with pull-on holes, worn up to and through the 1800s? And where did you get Yugoslavia from? To my mind those seem to be the closest precursors to what may have influenced the "German" Central/Eastern European bootmakers who migrated to Texas in the 1800s.--"German" in language only. The narrow (or wide) high blocked "domed" (invented term) square boot toes and the complex box-like construction to support them do have a clear lineage through Germanic channels right the way to the 1600-1700s. If "German" details like this filtered through into the American west, why not these other concurrent details? We've placed the same suspects at the scene of the "crime", and proven motive and opportunity Image

So, like I wrote to Paul, it's important to nail down which exact elements of a boot make it a "cowboy" boot, and then go looking for antecedents to those. What's peculiar to cowboy boots that was not in common wear "back East" (USA) at the time? And what's "the time"--a date/decade, etc.? Briefly: 2-piece and 4-piece Wellingtons were worn all over the eastern US in the 1800s; inside/outside and dangly boot-straps too; scalloped and fancy top-lines too; pegged soles and combinations of pegged/welted bottoms; Wellingtons with very narrow, sculpted and distinctive waists/shanks start in the 1840s as a Viennese style adopted here overnight; multi-tone color schemes (See that green/black/tan dress Wellington from the UK); straight-sided high tapered heels come and go, etc. What I'm seeing as unique to our western or cowboy boots then are: narrowness of toes no matter what their shape, multi-colored embroidery on the legs, and the use of various "exotic" leathers and multiple colored uppers parts, inlay and the use of finger-holes for pulling them on--IOW just the design features that can be directly attributed to "German" Central/Eastern European bootmaking in the same decades.

Or 'Western Boots=Eastern Boots...Eastern Europe That Is?'

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