Thursday, October 25, 2012

Late 19th c. Child's Four Button Ankle Boot(ie)

This recent find is from the Collector's Eye in Stratham, New Hampshire. A child's four button ankle boot, from the late 19th century, it is fabricated of a very soft, very worn, light brown kidskin. The heel, toe and sole are worn through and abraded. Lined with linen, it is more akin to a bootie than a shoe or boot in that there is no hard sole. It mimics fashionable adult footwear of the time with its ankle height, finished buttonholes and prominent buttons, made possible by the inventions of James Morley, who patented an industrial button-sewing device around 1880, among others. Note the gentle "scalloping" of the extra leather flap at the button placket. The adult version of the high button ankle boot, despite the time consuming lacing of the boots, remained a style statement until about World War I.

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