Shoemaking was a common trade for centuries, but quickly became a casualty of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The development of the sewing machine in the 1840s, by Elias Howe, Isaac Singer (from Pittstown, Rensselaer County, NY) and others revolutionized the textile industry.
Machines that could stitch leather for shoes soon also appeared and events like the Civil War spurred the technology on. The U.S. Army ordered thousands of machine-made boots for its soldiers. During this time, Russel Crego (1820-1892) was one New York shoemaker who made a very successful leap from making shoes by hand to selling sewing machines, not only to factories but to the home market. [Read more…] about Shoemaking to Sewing Machines: One Central NY Cobbler’s Path to Prosperity