Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. R. Evans, 1931
Not on view
The United States was the world leader in shoe manufacturing technology and production volume in second half of the 19th century. This pair of boots bears a rare label marking an important American technological innovation in shoe manufacturing, the introduction of the McKay Sewing machine in 1860. Prior to this invention, the sole of the shoe had to be either hand sewn - a laborious, time-consuming process - or machine pegged - a method resulting in a thick and inflexible sole suitable only to heavy work shoes. The McKay sewing machine stitched the sole to the upper, greatly increasing production speed, and consequently revolutionizing the industry.
Marking: Adhesive label: "McKay Sew. Mach. Association Lic. Stamp./1/253215/Pat. Aug. 14, 1860"