Old wooden shoe last in Child's Size 3 1/2 with metal heal plate that appears to be zinc. This wood last dates from the early 1900s and may have been refurbished in 1936 (there is a stamp `36 on the outer side of the heal). I believe it is refurbished because there are two different sets of markings on it documenting its size. There is a 3 1/2 E punched into the wood along the top of last just above the toes. There is also a large black stamped 3 1/2 E along the outside of ankle (see all photos). The E represents the wide of the shoe made form this last. Finally, there is a less obvious 3 1/2 punched into the very top of the last just above the zinc lined hole used to seat the last when in use that may be the oldest size marking and which does not have a width designation.
The bottom of the wooden last used to form the sole of the shoe has three wooden plugs that are also the result of being refurbished. Old tack holes from making shoes and working on the soles are evident on the bottom of the last, however the holes are absent in the three wood plugs. It appears that the last had been well used and was refurbished by removing circular plugs from those areas where too many tack holes had split the wood. The holes were then filled by softer wood plugs with the grain set vertically so that tacks could be seated and removed more easily. The larger wood plug added has older tack holes running up the plug and then starting again on the opposite side which supports the refurbished concept. The large black `36' stamped on the side of the heal appears to be the two digit year for 1936 that this child's shoe last was refurbished.
In the 1800s, cobbler tools along with iron shoe lasts could be purchased from major mail order houses by catalog from such firms as Sears, Roebuck and Company and Montgomery Wards, among others. The 1897 Sears, Roebuck catalog offers several different cobbler sets for home use and each set has only three major iron shoe last sizes. The shoe lasts were for repairing shoes and not for making them from scratch. The wooden last offered here is for making shoes. The most expensive Sears, Roebuck cobbler set weighed 25 lbs and had some 40 different cobbler tools and supplies. The tools and supplies allowed a family to repair harnesses, belts and other leather items as well as shoes and shoe soles (see 1897 Sears, Roebuck catalog pages 207 and 208). So if you are looking for a nice older wooden shoe last in a hard to find child size, then make sure you seriously consider placing a Purchase Order on this example while it is still available. And as always, this wooden shoe last also comes with my Docs Antiques full satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy for a refund (see details below).
SIZE: This wood shoe last measures about 5 1/8 inches long from toe to heal and stands a maximum 2 inches tall. The maximum width of the sole is 2 3/16 inches across at the ball of the foot. The small size of this last is a hard size to find today and makes the item perfect for displaying on a shelf, window sill, mantle or among other old craftsmen items of the last millennium in a special cabinet or show case.
CONDITION: This child's wooden shoe last is in very good condition with no major cracks or splits and no dents, large stains or major defects. It is at least 76 year old and quite possibly more than 85 years due to refurbishing. If the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/ he may return it for a refund (see our full refund policy noted below).
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RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if you are unhappy with your purchase, then you may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within seven days of original receipt for a refund (certain shipping costs are non-refundable). Items damaged during shipping are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double box, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary (to date, we have had only two claims for damage from shipping in over eight years). Of course, never send an item back that was damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
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