“The man we walk , sole on “ Black History month celebrate...Jan Ernst Matzeliger was an inventor of Surinamese and Dutch descent best known for patenting the shoe lasting machine, which made footwear more affordable. After settling in the United States, Matzeliger worked for several years to learn English. As a dark-skinned man, his professional options were limited, and he struggled to make a living in Philadelphia. In 1877, Matzeliger moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, to seek work in the town's rapidly growing shoe industry. He found a position as an apprentice in a shoe factory. Matzeliger learned the cordwaining trade, which involved crafting shoes almost entirely by hand.
Cordwainers made molds of customers' feet, called "lasts," with wood or stone. The shoes were then sized and shaped according to the molds. The process of shaping and attaching the body of the shoe to its sole was done entirely by hand with "hand lasters." This was considered the most difficult and time-consuming stage of assembly. Since the final step in the process was mechanized, the lack of mechanization of the penultimate stage, the lasting, created a significant bottleneck.
Matzeliger set out to find a solution to the problems he discerned in the shoemaking process. He thought there had to be a way to develop an automatic method for lasting shoes. He began coming up with designs for machines that could do the job. After experimenting with several models, he applied for a patent on a "lasting machine."
On March 20, 1883, Matzeliger received patent number 274,207 for his machine. The mechanism held a shoe on a last, pulled the leather down around the heel, set and drove in the nails, and then discharged the completed shoe. It had the capacity to produce 700 pairs of shoes a day—more than 10 times the amount typically produced by human hands.
Matzeliger's lasting machine was an immediate success. In 1889, the Consolidated Lasting Machine Company was formed to manufacture the devices, with Matzelinger receiving a large amount of stock in the organization. After Matzeliger's death, the United Shoe Machinery Company acquired his patent.#shoelast#matzeliger#brownhistorymonth#shoeinvention
I'm working on a method of making custom shoe lasts from a plaster cast of a foot. These were my first efforts, that obviously failed. I have some in the oven right now that are MUCH better. The idea is to be able to make an inexpensive, perfectly fitting last that needs little to no adjusting. I can make a plaster cast of the persons foot in about 20 minutes, take measurements, then make the last in my shop. I want it to be HDPE plastic (same as modern commercial lasts). Lessons learned so far. 1) Reinforce the center seam while it is still on the foot and make the cast thicker than I thought I'd need. 2) reinforce the cast with plaster (I might try something harder later, but this seams to be working) to support the shape when I press in the plastic. 3) HDPE is a really good insulator. The bottom of my pieces didn't even melt, resulting in these weird shapes. I'm now doing them in thin layers and it looks pretty good.
When I have two halves that I think are good, I'll cut them along my seam line, melt the flat edges with a heat gun, and join them together. Then a little sanding should be enough to sort them out.... Theoretically.
I'll post updates when I have them.
Last last last.... The last is the soul of a shoe. Derived from the Old English "laest", meaning footprint.
Every pair of shoes are hand-lasted using traditional technique. Leather is stretched over the last and it takes 23 workers to make a pair of our beautiful shoes. no one pair is the same and each pair is uniquely yours. ❤️
Photo Credit📷: @turkerayvaz#frenchsolesg#frenchsole#balletflats#flats#handlast#shoelast