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The Blake Sewer

The Blake Sewer machine that revolutionised shoemaking in the factories of Northampton and across the country thereafter.


The Blake Sewer

An American called Lyman Blake developed a machine for stitching on soles in about 1864. It was driven by treadles or overhead belting, and gas was used to heat the wax.

The machine was later converted to electricity. The Blake Sewer was too big and expensive to use at home. Its introduction led to factories and to increased specialisation among boot and shoe workers.

This machine dates from the 1890s. It has been used by three Northampton shoe firms:
Pollard & Son in St. Michael’s Road, Gubbins in Bearward Street and the Woodford Upper Company in Victoria Road.

Shoemaking Factory displays, History of Northampton Gallery 2