Monday, November 21, 2011

Vintage Wood Shoemakers' Lasts


Wood shoe mold or shoe last
Vintage shoe forms or shoemakers' lasts make attractive home accents. These wood shoe forms, once used in the production of footwear add an industrial yet organic feel to any design motif. 

Old shoe forms look great in an urban setting and are particularly suitable for a steampunk design style. Despite the seemingly quaint technology, the single last pictured to the right is dated 1959. Many of these shoemakers' molds bear dates, sizes, and the name of a manufacturer. 

Wood shoe lasts were made of a hardwood like maple to maintain shape through constant use. Chemical preservatives helped prevent swelling and shrinking of the wood. 

Shoe form
 Wood shoe lasts were made of a hardwood like maple to maintain shape through constant use. Chemical preservatives helped prevent swelling and shrinking of the wood.

The North East part of the United States was once a major manufacturing hub for footwear. As American production waned, many of these lasts became available in antique and salvage shops, as well as online sites, and can be quite inexpensive to buy.

Before the Industrial Revolution, shoes were commonly made on straight lasts and not intended to fit the right or left foot. Shoes made in this manner obtained a fit through wear. It was not until the mid 1800's that shoe mills commonly made footwear to fit the right or left foot. Today, most shoe lasts are made of plastic.

No comments:

Post a Comment