Daniel Hunkins’ Shoe Shop, Haverhill

The Hunkins’ shoe shop is on the property of the Haverhill Historical Society. It is a typical “ten footer” — a small shop usually employing several men to put soles on shoe uppers already sewn by women in their homes. This was the beginning of a factory system, whereby shoes were not made individually for customers, but were made in bulk for sale in a store.

Welcome to the Daniel Hunkins’ Shoe Shop, in Haverhill, Massachusetts

Text taken from; http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/village_tour.html?L=34# :

“Shoes were usually completed in small shops, where each worker sat at a bench with his hammer, last, awls, pegs, string, wax, and bristles close at hand.

Shoe pegging was the fastest technique for attaching the soles and heels to the upper part, used along with stitching or sometimes nailing. Fast workers could finish four pairs of “pegged shoes” a day, using wooden pegs made

cheaply by machine.

The pegs were 3⁄4″ long, tapered, and slightly thicker than a wooden match. Stitching or pegging, depending on the quality and price desired, were skills that a young man could learn in a few months.

The putting-out system for making large quantities of shoes developed in eastern Massachusetts in the late 18th century and then was adopted in many parts of the New England countryside. Central shop manufacturers— sometimes storekeepers—provided raw materials and picked up the finished product. They arranged for young women in their homes to sew the soft leather upper parts of the shoes for three to five cents a pair.

The production of men’s shoes was more widespread in the countryside than that of women’s. Durable cowhide shoes and boots with thick soles were made to be shipped from Boston for sale in Georgia and Ohio, Cuba, Haiti, and Chile. By the mid-1830s, the New England shoe industry was ranked with textile manufacturing, taking second place only to farming. In Massachusetts 23,000 men and 15,000 women were employed. In 1837, close to three million pairs of men’s boots and shoes were produced in the central part of the state alone.”


Pictures by Rebecca Zimmerman, 2009. Text taken from http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/village_tour.html?L=34# . Haverhill Historical Society, Haverhill, MA.