Advert for Pocock Brothers, boot & shoe manufacturers, reverse side
Medium: Print on paper
At the beginning of the 19th century, shoemakers made shoes and boots to the particular specifications their customers. This made shoes very expensive, and the working classes in particular would often have only a single pair of shoes or boots at a time.
By the end of the century the shoemaking industry had grown enormously. Machines were now available that could do much of the leather cutting, and even some of the stitching, needed to make shoes, and shoemaking became a factory occupation rather than a local one. This led to the introduction of standardised shoe sizes, a boon to the shoe stockist, who could now sell many different shoes in large volume.