Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/526

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

channeling or making the groove in which the stitching uniting the sole and upper runs, and for sewing turned shoes or work in which there is only one flexible sole attached to the upper, and done with the outside turned in.

Lasting has been the most difficult of all the operations from which machinery has attempted to rout hand-work. The work of the laster is to pull the upper tightly over a last, adjust to it the inner sole, insert the counter-shank, and fasten the upper in place. He also applies the outer sole to the upper, but does nothing further. Now, the irregular shape of the upper, requiring looseness at one point, stretching here and pinching there, in order to shape it to the last, makes it exceedingly hard to secure a machine which will do it with any kind of success. Patents, however, were taken out in England in 1842 for a machine intended to perform this work, and these were issued in this country in 1862. Messrs. McKay and Copeland purchased those rights in 1872, and ten years later was introduced what is known as the Copeland laster, a machine for men's work. The shoe in this machine lies in a kind of matrix, under which are leather girth straps attached to iron fingers. The shoe is held stationary while these fingers move up, inward, and down. The toe and heel are lasted by plates which are mounted PSM V41 D526 First lathe for turning lasts.jpgFig. 13.—First Lathe for Turning Lasts. on a table that oscillates and adapts its motion to the last. But it is not entirely machine-work, as hand-pincers are used to bring the uppers to the 1 ast. For women's and misses' shoes the Boston Lasting Machine Company has a different invention. The shoe in that case is lasted on a jack, the upper being drawn over by pincers, and the shoe itself is afterward brought up to the nozzle of the machine, contact with which starts some automatic tack-driving machinery, and the shoes are fastened as shaped with great rapidity. But manufacturers say that there is much to be accomplished yet before the perfection of hand-work is secured and the fingers and pincers can be entirely dispensed with.

The making of these lasts is a considerable industry in itself. Each manufacturer carries a stock of from two thousand to four