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Ann Cooper, 2005
Glossary - Shoe Trade Terms

Aglet The metal tag at the end of the lace
Ankle Strap A strap fastening round the ankle
Apron Front Shoe Front shaped like an apron
Awl Hole making tool, to pierce the skin prior to sewing
Back Strap (or Strip) A band covering the back seam of the shoe
Balmoral Boot A closed front ankle boot
Bar A strap across the instep fastening with a button or buckle is added along the length of the foot it becomes a T-Bar
BATA Boot and Shoe Allied Trades Association
Bate An alkaline solution used in tanning hides
Bazil Bark tanned sheep skin
Beamhouse A building housing the beams on which hides are scraped
Bends The tanned skin sides of a bovine animal used mainly for soles of shoes and boots
Bespoke Made to measure boots and shoes
Blind eyelet No metal shown on top of the shoe
Board Cut A leather component part of a shoe cut by a clicker by hand round a pattern on a board.
Boarding A process used in tanning to accentuate the natural grain of hides, in which the surface of a softened leather is lightly creased by folding grain to grain and then working the fold to and fro across the leather
Boarding Arm A board worn on the arm for grading leather
Bottom Stock Heel and sole cut leather pieces
Box Calf Black calf-skin leather tanned with chromium salts having a pattern of fine creases achieved by boarding
Broguing Punched patterns forming a decorative feature on toe cap, vamp and facings
Buckle Shoe One fastened by a buckle and strap
B U S M CO British United Shoe Machinery Co Made machines for the trade
Butts The portion of the hide covering the lower backside of an animal
Cabbages Off cuts of leather
Calf Leather made from a young bovine, a delicate leather
Casual Shoe Slip on shoe with no fastening
Chamois A cured skin of a goat A soft leather used in the trade and as wash leathers
Clicker A skilled leather worker who cuts the shapes of the component parts of the uppers of boots and shoes, making the most of each skin
Closing The process of sewing the leather parts of a shoe together
Cobbler A person who makes or mends shoes
Comb A section of a last, corresponding with the instep
Comeback The process of re-wetting dry tanned skins, to finish and work
Cordwainer A shoemaker
Co-Respondent Shoe Two tone brogue shoe, usually brown and white
Court Shoe Slip on high heeled shoe
Counter A section added to the back of the shoe covering the back seam and coming forward round the sides of the shoe
Crust Leather Dried tanned skins
Cuff The upper ridge around the back of the shoe
Currier A dresser of tanned leather to beat until soft and to dress the skin to make it workable
Day Work An employee paid to do a job of work at an hourly rate
Derby Boot Eyelet tabs stitched on top of vamp
Derby Shoe Eyelet tabs stitched on top of vamp
Drafting Pulling uppers into shape over a last
Digging Iron Iron strapped under boot to use with a spade
Drag Tool For pulling upper leather over the last
Drum Men Men who tended the large revolving drums of leather and liquor, the skins being tumbled until absorbing enough fats and softening agents
Dyers People who applied dye to skins, mainly for the fashion leathers
Emery Bat or Rapstick A wooden board covered in emery paper on one side and leather on the other for sharpening or honing clickers knives
Eyelets Metal (or plastic) rings crimped onto the edges of the holes for the laces
Facings The area of the shoe through which the lace holes or eyelets are cut, usually lined with a layer of leather or fabric
Fair Stitching Stitching a sole to the projecting edge of the middle sole
Fat Liquor Mixture of various oils used to soften the stricture of the skin
Feather Space between stitch channel and edge of leather
Fellow One of a matching pair of shoes
Fetch Out The clickers knife is ground out (fetched)to the right curve
Findings Sundry supplies relevant to the manufacture of footwear, for example eyelets, grindery and ornamentation
Finishers Skilled workers who buffed and polished the finished boots and shoes
Flaming Adding colour to leather
Ghille Shoe Lacing through loops instead of eyelets
Gimping The edges of the section of the uppers are cut with a fine dentate edge (In textile craft this is known as pinking )
Gimson Stud
Glacé  Kid Goat leather having a glossy finish
Goodyear Graders Highly skilled men who graded the rough skins, always maintaining the correct quality. Firsts, the most expensive, going down to 'inferior fifths' or lower grade, the cheapest
Grindery The nails and tacks that were used in the construction of a boot or shoe
Half-timer School child attending half time at school and half time at work
Hand Sewn Boots and shoes that were hand made, using an awl and waxed thread to join the component parts together
Heel A component which lifts the back part of the shoe away from the ground. It can be any height
Heel Ball A wax like substance that was used to finish the heels
Heel Building Assembly of a heel, layers of leather were tacked together and glued to form the heel of the shoe
Hide The raw skin of an animal before tanning
Impregnable John Whites brand name for boots and shoes
Indoor Working Working in a factory
Insole The inner sole of a shoe
Instep The arching portion of the upper foot
Jodhpur Boots Ankle high boot buckled at the side. Worn by horse riders
Kips The hide of a young animal, calf or lamb
Knot Tiers Those who tied off the ends of the sewing threads - often the half-timers
Lace Holes Holes punched in the facings so a lace can be threaded through
Last A wood or metal mould on which a shoe is formed
Latchet Straps extending from the front of the quarters across the front of the shoe over the tongue. They can be quite short with a sewn eyelet at the end to take a ribbon to fasten the shoe or longer to thread through a buckle
Leather The dry tanned skin of an animal
Lining A thin leather or fabric lining is often included in the shoe. Sometimes only part of the shoe is lined. If only the back part of the shoe is lined it is called a half lining
Loafer Slip on apron fronted shoe
Loop A loop of tape or leather either at the back of a pair of ankle boots, or on either side of the leg of a pair of boots to help in pulling them on
Moccasin North American footwear
Monk Shoe Motor racing shoe
Nappa Leather used for glove making
Open Toe A shoe where the vamp is cut away exposing the toes
Outdoor Closing The stitching of footwear in the homes of the workers
Oxford Shoe Eyelet tabs stitched under the vamp
Peep Toe An open toe shoe where only the tips of one or two of the toes are visible
Piece Work An agreed unit rate of pay, the money paid on each finished article, rather than being paid by the hour to do the same job
Pressmen Men who operated the Revolution presses, cutting soles and top pieces out of bends and shoulders, skilfully utilising each piece of leather to the maximum efficiency
Pullover A machine which helped stretch the leather of the upper over the last & applied pressure to join the upper to the insole of the shoe (bottoming).
Quarters The back part of the uppers There are usually two quarters joined by a seam centre back
Rand A strip of leather, often white, placed between the upper and the sole and visible on the outside of the shoe The rand is a feature of shoes from about 1650 to 1750
Revolution Press A machine that consists of a bed of wood blocks on which a bend or shoulder is placed, and knives in the shape and size of soles and heels are placed on the leather, when the operative taps the bar at his feet the machine comes down onto the knife and cuts out the shape required. Each knife will carry about six or seven shapes before it needs emptying
Riveting Metal pins being used to join two or more pieces of leather together
Rough Stuff Leather for the bottom of a shoe
Safety Shoe A shoe having a reinforced or steel toe cap
Sam or Sammy Half dried skin
Sewing Sewing either by hand or machines the various component parts of the shoe together
Sewing Machine Mechanical stitching machine, e g 'Singer'
Shank The narrowing portion of the sole, under the instep, also the material used to reinforce this arch
Shoe and Leather News A trade journal of the industry
Shoe and Leather Record A trade journal of the industry
Shoe Mercery Trimmings and accessories
Shoetree A wooden or metal form inserted into a shoe or boot to stretch it or preserve its shape
Shop Boot or shoe factory
Shoulders The tanned part of the shoulder of a bovine animal, slightly thinner than a bend and used for top pieces generally
Skave A very thin layer of leather pared off the skin
Skiver Pared edge of shoe components to prepare for stitching
Skiving Splitting the tanned outer layer from a skin
Sling Back High heeled shoe with a strap enclosing the heel
Slugging Wire
Snob Shoemaker
Sock The lining in the base of the shoe covering up the roughness left during making. Often the makers name and trade mark are stamped on the sock
Soles The hard bottom leather of the boot or shoe, which makes contact with the ground
Solution A glue used in bonding two surfaces together
Sorters Skilled workers who sort finished leather for conformity and grade
Staking To soften and make pliable finished leather
Stiffener An extra layer inside the back of the quarters to help prevent the back of the shoe being trodden down
Straights Shoes which do not have any difference in shape between the left and right foot
Suede Leather finished with a fine nap, usually on the flesh side of the skin
Swab A small sample of leather
Tab The binding on the end of a lace, to enable it to be threaded through the holes
Table Run Unsorted leather bought from a tannery
Tablers Skilled workers that apply the colour or finish to a skin, using a dye or dope on a velvet cloth so that the skin is uniformly coloured all over
Tag Metal binding tag at the end of the lace
Tanning The process of turning raw hides into a cured leather, being steeped in pits of lime and other ingredients for a period of time
Tap Shoes Laced shoes with metal taps affixed to the toes and heels
Thread A strengthened cotton or flax fibre, usually waxed, with which to sew a shoe together
Toe Cap A cover applied to the front (toe) area of the vamp, giving extra strength and protection
Toe Peg The peg is gripped between the big toe and the other toes
Toe puff Insert in the toe area to support the toecap of the shoe
Toe Thong A sandal with a strap passing between the big toe and the other toes and then dividing to form two straps over the foot
Togglers The men who taken the wet skins from the drums and stretch them by means of a clip called a toggle onto a frame before drying, the aim to make the skin as big as possible whilst still retaining a uniform thickness
Tongue An extension of the vamp under the facings of laced shoes/boots. Bellows tongue-one which is joined to the shoe on both sides forming a weatherproof underlayer to the laced fronts
Top Edge The top edge of the upper, around the ankle opening
Top Piece The layer of the heel which is in contact with the ground. Remember that shoes are made upside down and this is the last piece of a heel to be added
Uppers The top part of the shoe above the sole
Vamp The front part of the upper covering the toes and front of the foot
Vegetable or chrome tanned The glass-like grain finish is obtained, according to the type of leather, by glazing, plating, ironing, or polishing
Vulcanising A process of heat bonding of the sole to the rest of the shoe using an adhesive
Wax Bees wax usually used to coat the thread used in sewing a shoe together
Welts A thin strip of leather between the outer and inner sole

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