Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/513

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MANUFACTURE OF BOOTS AND SHOES.

of materials. The Egyptians used palm leaves and leather, while the Hebrews preferred linen or even wood. Brass and iron were not found objectionable by some, and in a few instances gold was employed for that purpose. Like the sandal, the shoe grew out of physical conditions, the fundamental purpose of it being protection for the whole foot. Among the early Greeks and Romans shoes were not common, but the wearing of them once established, an endless variety arose—law and fashion dictating special styles and finish for the several social ranks and classes. A single hide, slit and looped into a purse-like pouch by a thong run through it, seems to have been the primitive form of the shoe in Great Britain. Boots and shoes became common in Europe between the ninth and sixteenth centuries, and the fantastic forms which they assumed,

PSM V41 D513 Ancient egyptian cobblers at work.jpg

Fig. 1.—Ancient Egyptian Cobblers at Work. The familiar awl, lapstone, and thread appear in this. Even the method of drawing the thread is not unknown to those who have ever frequented an old New England cobbler's shop.

and the laws in restraint of them, show the prominent place they had come to occupy in the wardrobe and fashions of the day.

It was not to be expected that there would be a serious demand on the part of the early settlers in this country for these more fashionable styles of boots and shoes. Those who could afford to do so brought with them such articles for holiday and Sunday use, just as they did their velvet breeches and brocade gowns and bits of old lace. But there was a need from the first for stout boots and shoes, both as a protection against the cold and against injury on the rocks and rough soil. Some of the settlers were quick to adopt the moccasin of the Indian; but, though warm and easy to make, it did not meet the ideas of the Europeans. Accordingly, the shoemakers were among the first craftsmen to settle here, and from the privileges that were accorded them from the start their number and influence may be inferred. The early records of Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts all bear evidence to their presence and to the establishment of their trade.