Jan Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo,
Dutch Guiana in 1852. He was a shoemaker by trade, the son of an African
homemaker and a Dutch engineer, in whose machine shop Jan Matzeliger began
working at the age of ten.
Jan Matzeliger immigrated to the
United States at age 18 and went to work in a shoe factory in Philadelphia.
Shoes then were hand made, a slow tedious process. Jan Matzeliger helped
revolutionize the shoe industry by developing a shoe lasting machine that
would attach the sole to the shoe in one minute.
The shoe lasting machine adjusts
the shoe leather upper snugly over the mold, arranges the leather under
the sole and pins it in place with nails while the sole is stitched to
the leather upper.
Jan Matzeliger died poor, but his
stock in the machine was quite valuable. He left it to his friends and
to the First Church of Christ in Lynn, Masschusetts.
with >>> Shoes
and Footware Innovations or Patents
Issued to Jan Matzeliger