Old Time Jobs – Shoemakers

Old Time Jobs – Shoemakers

Did you know …


In the early 1800s, the village tanner prepared leather from cattle hides. Families gave this leather to the shoemaker to make new shoes.

Shoemakers stayed with the family

When the country shoemaker received word that a family was ready for new shoes, he brought his shoe bench and tool kit. He lived with the family until finishing all the shoes needed for winter.

Children owned one pair of shoes

Children usually received one new pair of shoes a year. Many boys and girls chose to walk barefooted in the summer.

Not wearing shoes all summer toughened the children’s feet. They might run on stony ground without hurting their feet.

Few men owned boots

Boys didn’t wear boots. Few men owned boots.

Wealthy farmers bought shoes from the village shoemaker.

The village shoemaker evidently charged more than country shoemakers. Wealthy farmers purchased shoes for every family member from village shoemakers.

We still have shoemakers today, but most of us buy the shoes from a shoe store or department store.

-Sandra Merville Hart



Welker, Martin. 1830’s Farm Life in Central Ohio, Clapper’s Print, 2005.


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