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Jan Earnst Matzeliger

By the 1870s, much of shoe manufacturing was performed by machine. One intricate operation continued to defy mechanization: lasting, or fastening the upper part of a shoe to the inner sole. Shoes took on their final appearance while being shaped by hand over a wooden model of a foot called a last, and much manipulation was required to accurately form the leather around the last, especially at the heel and toe.

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