|Article by Sue Comont, based on lecture notes from the Rushden Boot and Shoe School, 1935 - 1936 and 1948 - 1950|
Shoemaking - The Shoeroom
Shoes come on racks from the Finishing Room where they have been examined and are changed onto racks in the Shoe Room.
Operations undertaken here are:
One of the machines used is the B.U. Regent Stamper, an electrically heated machine with a revolving stamp head carrying 8 stamps. Underneath is a swivel horn onto which the shoe is put. The horn is on a very strong spring which is hydraulic resistant. The depth of the impression and the heat can be regulated. An attachment can be added for colour stamping. Branding of the sole is done according to the customer’s requirements. Marks are mostly made on the forepart and wear off almost as soon as the shoe is taken into wear.
The sock is an important part of the sole’s appeal so attention must be paid to the choice of material used. It must match the lining and should be a good fit, well pasted on and well rubbed down.
Various adhesives can be used but latex is the best for socking as it is applied in strips so there is no film covering the insole preventing it from absorbing moisture from the feet.
CleaningUppers and stitches are cleaned by a machine with 4 different brushes operating at different speeds.
Ironing is a way of taking wrinkles and pleats out of uppers. Correct heat can improve coarse leather.
It is possible to clean, iron and dress on a forme which is called Treeing. The forme must be a replica of the making last. The “Mobbs and Lewis” and the “Miller” formes have wooden feet but there is also a pneumatic foot which blows up to the shape of the foot. The air is supplied by a compressor and storage tank .
Hot Last Treeing
This is done by a pistol shaped tool with a burner inside it creating heat which is then blown onto the upper to take out wrinkles and creases. The air is supplied from the same compressor as for Pneumatic Treeing.
This may be done either by hand or by machine. The machine has a tiny knife which moves up and down very quickly and which is very like a needle. A small guard prevents the shoe from being damaged. Guiding the shoe past the knife requires care and practice. After the panel has been trimmed, it is put under a hammer to hammer down the edges, a process known as edge reducing.
This is done on a machine consisting of a forme which fits the back part of the shoe. The shoe is placed on the machine and clamped in position. Pressure and heat take out the wrinkles from the linings and give the shoe a better look, also reducing the top edge of the lining.
Wire Stapling Machine
This is used to fit any bows or buckles. Care must be taken to ensure they are in the correct position and they are then clenched on the inside.
Shellac and Polishing Dressing are the main agents used for black work. Fine Turkish sponges are used and a ball dressing tin. The ball keeps the dressing on the move.
When using Polishing Dressing, coats can be built up. Two coats of dressing will give a good shine but it only needs brushing to give a high polish. It can be obtained in black, tan and colourless.