Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/519

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503
MANUFACTURE OF BOOTS AND SHOES.

of all of them machines—more or less satisfactory in their workings—have been devised. The parts of the uppers are now sewed together by machinery, and they are pegged, sewed, or screwed to the sole by machinery. Instead of the lapstone and the hammer for condensing the leather are now swiftly revolving rollers, and instead of the patterns for cutting out the soles are dies or sole-shaped knives set in machines.

But the field of shoe machinery is such a wide and complex one that it will be impossible to do more than glance at what may PSM V41 D519 Goodyear stitching machine.jpgFig. 7.—Goodyear Stitching Machine. This is one of the machines in what is termed the Goodyear welt system. be termed the epoch-making inventions. The first great step was made when the sewing machine was invented and the alert manufacturers were able to turn it to their purposes. But the distinction of the sewing machine does not belong to the shoe manufacturers. The invention, however, which did determine their future was that which led to the fastening of the sole of the shoe to the upper by machinery. The solution of this problem had been the real difficulty in the way of applying machinery to the work, and when it had been met the single-story shoe-shop had made way for the factory; its dozen journeymen had lost their individuality in the hundreds of operatives, and the pin-money which the wives of the farmers, or the farmers themselves, had made from the job-work doled out to them by the manufacturers had become a thing of the past. From that dates the shoe industry of to-day. From it also have come the growth and prosperity of important communities in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, in New York, Pennsylvania, and the older West. As in the solution of most such problems, it was not hit upon at once. There were failures which were the forerunners of nothing, and failures which were the forerunners of success.

Two of these latter are worthy of note, as they contained within them the suggestions which, a half-century later, were put into practical operation. The first of these attempts was made in 1809 by David Meade Randolph. He devised a way for fastening the soles and heels to the inner sole by means of nails. His plan was to use lasts covered at the bottoms with metallic plates, so that the nails, when driven through the soles, were clinched on this piece of metal. The next year Mark Isambard Brunel, the eminent engineer, carried this idea a step further. He