I am finding April’s shoe theme, fascinating. Many sources site Charles Goodyear Jr. as the inventor of a sewing machine to make stronger shoes and boots. I found this site the most interesting. There are even pictures of shoes being made using the welt application. Today’s featured article includes the history of who invented the sturdier machine. Enjoy.
One mark of great shoe craftsmanship is the Goodyear welt, a method of finishing shoes patented in 1896 by Christian Dancel for the Goodyear Shoe Machinery Company. Dancel trained as a mechanical engineer in Germany, and shortly after moving to New York City in the early 1860s had patented a sewing machine strong enough for shoe leather. Charles Goodyear Jr. (who is regularly and often mistakenly credited with inventing the Goodyear Welt) purchased the rights to Dancel’s machine and subsequently hired him as superintendent of his company’s factory. While at the Goodyear Shoe Machinery Company, Dancel also invented a machine for stitching the outsoles of shoes and later added guides for stitching welts to the same machine. Ultimately, he kept improving upon and combining the shoe stitching machines he had invented, and this is what came to be known as the Goodyear welting system. Even today, well over 100 years later, it’s still the sturdiest and most reliable way to finish a shoe or boot. Click here to read the rest of the article.