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tlineopen  Silver Ephemera & Documentation
tline3open  Ruber Shoes or can you read this?

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Author Topic:   Ruber Shoes or can you read this?

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-29-2005 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After something of a dry spell, I found another interesting letter, which may or may not be silver related, though the writer, Horace Wilcox of Meriden CT, is.

It is dated 31 May 1847 and addressed to Hart & Lewis of Naugatuck, "Manufacturers of Ruber [sic] Shoes." Unfortunately, Mr. Wilcox wrote a rather erratic hand; here is what I have puzzled out so far (with --- indicating unreadable words):

Meriden May 31st 47
Messer Hart & Lewis

Gent Sirs
I shall have about 30 Hundred
of old Ruber Shoes by the first
of July and I understood that you
buy and if you want a lot deliverd
at the Meriden Depots free of Expense
Please write [Me] if you want a lot
there and how much you will
take at 17 cts and if you will writ
me to New York as I shall be
there a few days. I can get you a
lot as I traid [sic] with all the ---
--- --- as far east as Maine

Mr L Candee has had --- for
the last year or two but he has
yet a large stock on hand he pays
the expenses on it from where ever I buys
it and has paid me a biger Price
the last 6 months than I ask you

Yours ---
H Wilcox

write to Horace Wilcox
New York

What are these "old Ruber shoes" and why would someone have "30 hundred" of them? Are they literally shoes for the feet or some sort of machine part? I suspect that the L. Candee mentioned is Lewis Burton Candee, silversmith of nearby Woodbury; if true, are these things something to do with making silver goods, that he has paid a better price to get them for several years?

Altogether a confusing missive; I couldn't be more pleased.

If you'd like to assist in the deciphering, I have uploaded a good-sized (700KB) scan here Hopefully, one of you will be more clever than I and fill in the blanks.

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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-29-2005 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, as too often happens, I wasn't close, at least about Mr. Candee. Rather than Lewis Burton, it is Leverett, founder of Candee Manufacturing Company of New Haven. Originally a maker of india rubber overshoes using his patented vulcanizing process, he later introduced a new shoe with laced canvas uppers and vulcanized rubber soles that proved enormously popular and eventually became today's ubiqitious tennis shoe.

So Mr. Wilcox's "Ruber Shoes" really were just rubber shoes and he was doing a bit of Yankee trading before joining his brother Dennis the next year to begin manufacturing silverplate britanniaware in Meriden.

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June Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 1223
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-29-2005 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nonetheless, a good and interesting find, wev. Thanks!

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Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 12-06-2005 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know Newark has a pair of patented child's rubber overshoes from 1846 from a Newark manufacturer, and I'm sure they were a hot ticket in this period! We got them in 1944,and they're rigid like plastic now.

[This message has been edited by Ulysses Dietz (edited 12-06-2005).]

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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 12-06-2005 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given the descriptions I've read about the conditions of city streets in the 1840s, the demand for foot protection shouldn't be a surprise. I've had an interesting exchange with the Naugatuck Historical Society. While the Lewis family is well known there, they had no record of a Hall & Lewis, Rubber Shoe Manufacturers, so were pleased to have scans and a transcript of the letter. Shame it wasn't about silver, but satisfying all the same.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 12-06-2005).]

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