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Left and Right Shoe Mfg

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by rdp1210, Jun 18, 2018.

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  1. rdp1210

    rdp1210 Active Member


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Had an interesting experience last week, visiting the Shipwreck Museum in Key West, FL. They have a very large display of all types of things salvaged during the 19th Century by the "Wreckers" of Key West. In the middle of the 18th Century, from 100-150 square rigged ships were sailing through the Florida Key Channel on their way to Mexico of the Gulf Ports of the U.S. On the average there was about 1 shipwreck/week, so the major industry of Key West was salvaging the wrecked vessels.

    On interesting display caught my eye, there were soles from shoes salvaged from one of the ships. The one sole was a child's shoe, had never been worn, and one could not determine if it was a left or right sole. The other sole was from a boot that had definitely been worn, and there was no mistake that the sole had been manufactured for a left shoe. I asked the museum staff about the date, and they informed me it had been salvaged from a ship in 1856. They could not tell me where the sole had come from, however some of the goods had come from Italy. I asked them to get much more details about it.

    My understanding is that the manufacture of left and right shoes did not become standard in the U.S. until about the 1890s. Is anyone aware of the earliest dates for the manufacture of left and right shoes on the East Side of the Atlantic? Thank you very much,

    Daryl Phillips
    Orlando, FL
     
  2. Ina

    Ina Active Member

    Hi, these are interesting exhibits indeed! Once I have come across and bookmarked a 1941 study citing a pertinent datum:

    "Shoemakers began to take an interest in foot comfort about 1785, when they introduced shoes designed for right and left feet (25, p.256). Before that time a shoe could be worn on either foot and little attention was paid to the anatomy being clothed."

    Shoe Sizing and Fitting: An Analysis of Practices and Trends, by Carol Willis Moffett, Misc. Publication 469, U.S.Dept. of Agriculture, issued October 1941. You can read it on Google Books, an amazing read overall.
     
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