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Federal Contract Brogan

  • Black Smooth
  • Black Rough
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Product Description

ONLY SIZES 10E and 11.5EE IN SMOOTH SIDE OUT ARE AVAILABLE! Left and Right Last, an all-leather shoe appropriate for the time period 1850-1880.

The Federal Contract Brogans are available in smooth top grain (issue) or rough flesh-out. The leather is staked until pliable before cutting out the pieces for the uppers. This is the reason that this shoe doesn't need double socks to protect against blisters, as well as soaking in order to break them in.

Please note that the E width is more like a standard D. Be sure to allow plenty of room if you wear heavy socks. We suggest that you take a half size larger for toe room, as these do not have a modern toe box. The modern toe box did not come into use until after 1864.

Why is it called a Jefferson? - Large, elaborate jeweled shoe buckles had been the most hated symbol of French royalty because it had emphasized the difference between the poverty-ridden workers of the land and those who could wear buckles "worth a farm on each foot." From the beginning of the French Revolution shoe buckles went out of style. Soon, the mere possession of the plainest shoe buckles was enough get a Frenchman separated from his head. Thomas Jefferson wore laced instead of buckled shoes to his Presidential inauguration in 1801 to show his support of the new French government. After Thomas Jefferson's example, the term "Jefferson" was used to describe almost any type of laced shoe or boot until the 1880s.

Sewn vs. pegged construction - In a letter dated January 1862 from Colonel Crossman, of the Assistant Quartermaster General's office describes the purchase of 1,102,700 pairs of boots and bootees from contractors all over the North. Contracts were as large as 120,000 pairs from one manufacturer at Sing Sing, NY, or as small as 300 pairs from another factory in Pennsylvania. The shoes apparently included work shoes already on hand. They had been manufactured on lasts (the forms on which shoes are built) already in the factories. You may be sure that contractors produced variations in design and fit. This is borne out in the Congressional hearings early in 1862. Regulations called for sewn shoes but cheap work shoes for the immigrant trade and those for the plantation (slave) trade had been pegged together since a labor-saving machine that set nine pegs to the inch came into use after 1838. It is estimated that 40% of bootees purchased by the Army during the course of the war were of pegged-sole construction, another 40% being of the regulation sewn-sole construction and the last 20% being riveted or nailed.

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