Shoe Last

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Shoe lasts are used in the manufacture and repair of shoes and serves as a mold for the work done both on the sole and the upper. Prior to mass manufacturing, business owners bought raw materials for shoes. Processed materials went to women in homes, who bound the shoe’s “uppers,” then to backyard shops (called “ten-footers”), where men “bottomed” them with soles. Finished shoes went back to the owners for shipping to merchants.
National Museum of American History
Credit Line
Virginia Duval
overall: 1 3/4 in x 3 in x 8 1/2 in; 4.445 cm x 7.62 cm x 21.59 cm
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Work and Industry: Agriculture
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Object Name
last, shoe
ID Number
catalog number
accession number