When were left and right boots introduced ?

Discussion in 'Historical References, Literature & Media Review' started by Pete Wenman, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Pete Wenman Member

    Guys hi

    The title says it all really.

    Just starting to build a pair of boots, and don't have too much direct ref' re infantry footway (French infantry 1870)

    It made wonder when left and right boots were introduced ?

  2. David H New Member

    O.K., I'll bite. From Dave’s compendium of internet trivia:

    “The complexities and cost of carving compound curves into the last (the form that the shoe is molded over) and then making a mirror image for the other foot limited ownership of such shoes to the very rich, so from the 1590's until the 1830's ordinary people wore straight last shoes. Then, in 1828 a foreman at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts named Blanchard developed a duplicating lathe for the manufacture of gun stocks. The original Blanchard lathe is on exhibit in the Springfield Armory museum. A Philadelphia shoemaker thought that Blanchard's new lathe was also ideal for making shoe lasts and soon discovered that, by reversing the cam, which guided the cutter, a mirror image could be produced. Since a wooden last gets chewed up by tack holes in a few hundred uses, there was a constant demand for new lasts and the new lasts soon were all made in left and right. By 1841 the military was using left/right shoes. By 1851 left/rights were officially specified” (in the U.S. Army at least, don't know about the French….).

    Maybe I can get rid of this "newbie" moniker.....
  3. Guy A Fixture

    a couple of more posts Dave and your "newbie" will change
  4. David H New Member


    Pete, I wonder if the boot thing was that rare occasion when the U.S. was ahead of Paris fashion?

    Merry Christmas to all......
  5. renarts Active Member

    David hit it pretty much square on. Prior to the 16th c. it was common to have right and left shoes. Lasts weren't damaged since the shoes made then were turn shoes and were cut and sewn and then a tensioning lacing or stich was made at the sole rather than nailing them to the lasts. Once the uppers were finished the shoe was pulled off the last and turned inside out. Sraight last shoes are more of a production line thing. As the ability to mass produce individual lasts increased, the mass production of right and left shoes was common. Nailing the leather to a last is much quicker than sewing and is a result of the necessity to cover demand and production speed.
  6. Blind Pew A Fixture

    I did remember reading somewhere that left & right shoes weren't that common until about 1800. With that in mind I did have a look at some examples of footwear in the French Army museum in Paris at Les Invalides. I spotted a pair of cavalry boots there that looked to me to be a universal fit. They were dated to about 1760 or so.
    Hope this helps...........

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