PREFACE.


I have endeavoured to arrange this Essay in as clear a manner as the nature of the subject would admit, and the novelty of it allow.  It is, I believe, the first treatise ever attempted on the subject; I had therefore no path or guide to direct me, but to follow the best of my judgement, from my own experience, and to form an entire new work.

It is easy to conceive the difficulty that attends the formation of a new road, or path over a boundless desert, or an unfrequented forest: many obstacles present themselves, and they must be removed with great labour and diligence before the road can be rendered aclear and even for the end designed.

The trade being a handicraft, depends in a great measure on the fancy of the times; which it is impossible to command by any established rules.

I have adhered to the fixed laws of the trade, which I call its elements or ground work.

I think that I have omitted nothing that is really necessary in the theory, as an elementary work; and to attempt to extend the subject beyond that would be useless, and would only tend to fill up more pages, and incur additional expense, without being of any real benefit.

It is well known to the trade, that it is only by great attention and long experience that a proper degree of knowledge in it obtained; not less than from ten to twelve years being requisite to form a complete workman, and then he will heave enough to learn, although nothing more than what he will find himself defective in.  Therefore, what I expect to effect by this Essay is to draw the attention to the young beginner to the elementary part of the trade, and that he may have a clear idea of the connection and proportion of those parts, which will render more perfect his judgement of the whole; and will accelerate his learning with greater facility, by his mind being brought to think of those dependencies; so that he will sooner gain that expertness, which is the result of the mind having a clear and a mechanical knowledge of the combination of those parts.   If I can arrest the thoughts of the young learner so far, my object will be obtained, and his interest advanced.

The trade being a handicraft, depends in a great measure on the fancy of the times; which it is impossible to command by any established rules.

I have adhered to the fixed laws of the trade, which I call its elements, or ground work.

I think that I have omitted nothing that is really necessary in the theory, as an elementary work; and to attempt to extend the subject beyond that would be useless, and would only tend to till up more pages, and incur additional expense, without being of any real benefit.

It is well known to the trade, that it is only by great attention and long experience that a proper degree of knowledge in it is obtained; not. less than from ten to twelve years being requisite to form a complete workman, and then he will have enough to learn, although nothing more than what he will find himself defective in.  Therefore, what I expect to effect by this Essay is to draw the attention of the young beginner to the elementary part of the trade, that he may have a clear idea of the connection and proportion of those parts, which will render more perfect his judgement of the whole; and will accelerate his learning with greater facility, by his mind being brought to think of those dependencies; so that he will sooner gain that expertness, which is the result of the mind having. a clear and a mechanical knowledge of the combination of those parts. If I can arrest the thoughts of the young learner so far, my object will be obtained, and his interest advanced.

I have begun the work with some observations on the quality of thread and wax. At first they may appear trifling, but I think that, when duly considered, they will be found of more consequence; for in a great measure the firmness of the work depends on their quality, and without their being of a certain construction the work cannot be firm.

The next article is closing, which every beginner should be well acquainted with; and it is in general the first thing a beginner has to learn.

In the next place I have given the elementary parts of making a man’s shoe; the thorough knowledge of which is requisite for every one who would wish to be a skillful workman; even to those that are determined to be confined to women’ s shoes only; for it will give them that method of working which a mere woman’s man cannot be acquainted with. For it is generally known in the trade, that the work of a woman’s man, that has been previously working on men’s work, is put together in better order, closer, and more solid, than that of mere women’s men. Though I do not put it down as a rule without exception: for there are, some good women’s men who have not been used to men’s work. Hence. I would advise every one to be previously acquainted with the men's work, let him follow whatever branch of the trade he may afterwards.

The Second Part of the work treats en the elements of cutting men’s and women’s boots and shoes. Here, as well as in the making, time and experience are required, without which no progress can be expected.

The subject of boot-cutting, I am persuaded, will be found worthy the attention of the young learner, and of the trade in general.

The uncertain mode hitherto practised, of cutting boots, has made me particular to delineate the subject with more accuracy than I should have done, If it were not hidden in such obscurity that nine-
tenths of the trade are at an entire loss how to proceed; and the major part of those that have any knowledge of it, find a great many difficulties for want of general rules.  Therefore, I believe that I have done sway the obscurity, and laid down such general rules as will render the subject easy by attention and a little experience.

The other parts, such as men’s and women's half boots to lace; and the cutting of sole leather, &c. will be found of equal interest.

I wish. every out of the trade to pay such attention to the business as to be fully acquainted with the principles and practice of it, so as to become a firm, smooth, and a regular workman; and, in whatever branch he should choose to follow, capable of satisfying the expectation of any manufacturing house of the trade in the kingdom.

I believe that there is no trade so numerous as ours. There cannot be fewer than two hundred thousand in the united kingdom; from the numbers computed, when they meet in any town or district, and the proportion they bear to the inhabitants of that town or district.

But I think a more certain mode is, to calculate the probable quantity of work one man can do on an average in a week or year; the number of inhabitants in a certain place, and the number of shoes they are likely to wear in a week or year.  —For example, suppose that every one of the trade, on an average, makes -seven pairs a week, or three hundred and sixty pairs in the year, which is only five pairs less than seven pairs a week; and let the number of inhabitants in England and Wales be nine millions; which are nearly the number, according to the census of the year 1801; and that each of them wear on an averages four pairs of shoes in the year, which I think will not be too many, in the present state of the dress of the people of this country. Then the’ proportion will be as 360:36,000,000::1:100,000 men; that is, one hundred thousand men of the trade in England and Wales, besides cutter’s &c.

And if we allow the inhabitants of Scotland and Ireland a proportional number of shoes, and the number of inhabitants to be six millions, two for Scotland and. four for Ireland: then as 360::24,000,000::1:66666 men; therefore the number of the trade in united kingdom is 166666; or I believe that, without any error, they may be stated at one hundred and seventy thousand.

But the number in London bears a greater proportion, because of the opulence, therefore the gaiety, of its inhabitants; besides having exclusively the East India trade, with the trade of the West Indies, America, Africa, and Europe, in common with the rest of the kingdom.

If London (That is, the city of London, Westminster, and the borough of  Southwark, and their dependencies) contains one million of inhabitants; then, according to the above proportion, the number
of the trade will be about eleven thousand; but I think that they are ascertained to be from twenty to thirty thousand.

Now, if we should carry our calculations to other wealthy and gay dressed countries, we may partly know the number of the trade in those countries: for instance, we will say France, in her present state, with Holland, Rome, and Genoa annexed to her. Her inhabitants cannot be fewer than fifty millions; therefore, as stated above, we have the proportion as 360:200,000,000::1:55555; that is, the number of the trade in France must be five hundred and fifty-five thousand five hundred and fifty-five.

The number of inhabitants in Europe is computed to be one hundred and fifty-three millions; and if we deduct those of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and those of France, from the above, there will remain eighty-eight millions for Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia-in-Europe, Turkey-in-Europe, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal; and as the inhabitants of these countries are not, on an average, so opulent nor so dressy as the two former, we will rate them at three pairs each, in the year, on an average: then as 360:264,000,000:: 1 ~ 733333 men of the trade in these countries —And let us add the United States of America and the adjoining British colonies, viz the two Canadas and Nova Scotia.—I believe that the latest account from the United States informs us that the inhabitants have increased to eight millions; and at the same rate of increase we must allow one million for the British provinces. And as their dress is like that of England and the number of the inhabitants of the United States and the British provinces are the same as that of England, nine millions; therefore, the number of the trade will be the same, one hundred thousand.---Now, if we put them in order as above stated, they will be as follow:
 

England and Wales 100,000
Scotland and Ireland 66,666
France 555,555
The other states of Europe 733,333
United States of America and the British colonies 100,000
 
Total 1,555,554
 


The numbers appear great, one million five hundred and fifty-five thousand five hundred and fifty-four, of the trade in the above countries.—But I think, from the statement I have laid down, that, considering the nature and extent of the countries, the estimate is below rather than above the real numbers.

But the other parts of the earth cannot bear such proportion; for the inhabitants of the wilds of North and South America, Africa, and Asia, wear no shoes; therefore there are no makers. The number of the whole inhabitants of the earth is stated to be near ten hundred millions; and if we say that each of them do wear, on an average, one pair in the year, of some kind of shoes or other, there must be two millions seven hundred and seventy- seven thousand makers.

Now I shall close this preface with wishing the young beginner that success, which will contribute to his mental and personal interest.

J.F.R.

May 1813.

 


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