1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Patten

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PATTEN (adapted from Fr. patin, in modern usage meaning a “skate”; Med. Lat. patinus, Ital. pattino, of unknown origin; cf. patte, paw), a kind of shoe which, varying in form at different times and places, raised the wearer from the ground in order to keep the feet out of mud or wet. Pattens were necessaries to women of all classes in the uncleaned and unpaved streets of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. They may still be found in use in rural parts of England. A wooden shoe or clog, a light strapped shoe with a very thick sole of wood or cork, and, more particularly, an iron ring supporting at a little distance from the ground a wooden sole with a strap through which the foot slips have all been types which the patten has taken. An extraordinary kind of “patten” was fashionable in Italy and Spain in the 16th or 17th centuries. This was the chopine,[1] a loose slipper resting on a very thick sole of cork or wood. During the 17th century at Venice ladies wore “chopines” of exaggerated size. Coryat, in his Crudities, 1611 (vol. i. p. 400, ed. 1905) gives a description of these Venetian “chapineys.” They were of wood covered with red, white and yellow leather, some gilt or painted, and reached a height sometimes of half a yard. Ladies wearing these exaggerated chopines had to be accompanied by attendants to prevent them falling. There is a 16th century Venetian “chopine” in the British Museum. The “Patten-makers” Company is one of the minor Livery companies of London. The patten-makers were originally joined with the “Pouch and Galoche Makers,” and are mentioned as early as 1400. They became a separate fraternity in 1469, but did not obtain a charter till 1670.


  1. The word is taken from an obsolete French chapine or Spanish chapin, and is of doubtful origin. The Spanish chapa, flat plate, has been suggested. The word does not occur in Italian, though it is often Italianized in English in such forms as cioppino.