A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
Go to Home Page


414.—Other Defined—Skilled—Boot, Etc., Factory Operatives

Back to List of Occupational Codes

(i) an "all-round" boot and shoe operative, i.e., one capable of performing any process in boot-making;
(ii) see laster.
babies' boot maker
stitches together, by hand or machine, parts of babies' boots or shoes, cut out by cutter (413) q.v.
turns lining and leather inside out and stitches lining of a boot or shoe on to upper, by hand or power machine, in such a way as to form a bagged edge.
beader ; top ironer, top iron machine operator
receives boot from channel closer (429) q.v., applies waxy mixture, coloured to suit boot, round edge of sole and irons, with small shoemaker's iron, to finish sole and to hide channel.
stitches binding on edges of uppers of certain kinds of boots, shoes or slippers, by hand or machine, e.g., canvas shoes, carpet slippers.
blocker of fronts, boot front blocker ; crimper, vamp creaser, vamp crimper
a blocker (upper closing) q.v. who fits together fronts of boots or shoes, i.e., vamps and toecaps, on a block ready for stitching up.
blocker, sole
see moulder, sole.
blocker, stiffener
see moulder, stiffener.
blocker (upper closing)
fits together by hand, parts of uppers, both lining and leather, of a boot or shoe on a block or last, holding them in position by paste or other adhesive, ready for stitching up.
attaches upper of a boot to inner sole with waxed thread on a last, either by hand or by holding in place on cutting machine.
breast maker (boot heels) ; heel breaster
cuts breast on front of heel square, either by hand with a sharp knife, or by machine.
sets, i.e. closes down, lip of channel (in sole of boot) after sole is fastened to welt, by pressing channel, by hand, with ornamented edge of a wheel, or by pressing channel of sole against a similar wheel revolving by machine power.
carpet slipper maker
assembles parts of carpet slippers, cut out by cutter (413) q.v., and stitches together by machine.
takes plaster cast of foot where any special form of boot is required, as in case of malformation, etc.
closer ; boot and shoe top or upper maker, gusset hand, taker-in
stitches together by hand or power-driven machine, parts of uppers of boots and shoes, after they have been skived, see skiver; stitches linings together, joins them to boot by power machine, and binds those edges of upper that are not to be attached to sole; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. hand closer, repairs closer.
Consol operator
a lasting machine operator q.v. who operates a Consol (power) lasting machine.
see blocker of fronts.
curler (boots)
see moulder, stiffening.
diggerer ; jiggerer
removes surplus paint (or ink) from front portion of heel with a blunt knife, by hand.
general term for any worker who is engaged on any of the finishing operations, including heel-parer (429), plougher-out (429), fore-part parer (429), burnisher (429), stitch cleaner (429), pricker-up, edge setter (429), wheeler (429), scourer (429), inker (429), stainer (429), bottom finisher (414), damper-down (429), top-ironer (429), etc. q.v.
finisher, bottom
a finisher q.v. engaged in finishing, i.e., scouring, buffing, burnishing, etc., bottoms of boots or shoes on sand or glass-paper polishing lathe.
finisher, slipper
a finisher q.v. who specialises in finishing slippers.
fitter, boot plate
in some small factories, affixes heel-plates and toe plates to boots, by hand, with hammer and tacks or small nails.
fitter, elastic spring
cuts and inserts elastic springs (i.e. pieces of elastic fabric set in side) in boots or shoes, by hand sewing or with sewing machine.
fitter, stock
(i) examines, grades and keeps records of leather intended for bottoms, i.e., soles, insoles, stiffenings, heels, according to quality, cf. sorter;
(ii) see fitter-up (soles).
fitter (upper closing)
assembles parts of uppers of boots or shoes, and fixes them together with adhesive solution, by hand, ready for blocking; cf. blocker.
prepares materials for workers by assembling the various pieces of boots and shoes after they have been cut out by cutter (413) q.v.
fitter-up (soles) ; sole maker, sole piecer, stock fitter
a fitter-up q.v. who assembles pants of bottoms of boots or shoes, i.e. sole, middle-sole, etc., in preparation for their being fixed together by tacks or cement.
embroiders an ornamental pattern in silk thread, on caps and vamps of cloth, satin, etc., boots or shoes, before they are made up, using a Singer machine.
feeds leather into machine which automatically turns in skived edges ready for machining of uppers of boots and shoes; sometimes specifically designated according to machine used, e.g. lufkin folder, rapid folder.
grader (skins)
see sorter in skin room.
gusset hand
see closer.
heel attacher
see heeler.
heel attacher, machine
see heeler, machine.
heel attacher, wood
a machine heeler q.v. who attaches wooden heels to boots and shoes by pressure and nailing machine.
heel breaster
see breast maker.
heel builder
see heeler.
heel compresser ; heel crusher, heel presser
puts shaped pieces of leather for heel building in a mould or press, nails them together, by machine, and then presses them into a solid heel in a power press under a pressure of several tons.
heel coverer, wood
smears wooden heels of suede or velvet shoes with paste, and attaches, by hand, pieces of fabric similar to that with which shoes are made.
heel crusher
see heel compressor.
heeler ; heel attacher, heel builder, lift maker
builds up lifts, i.e. layers of leather of which heel is made; attaches heel thus made to sole with nails, usually by machine; in repairing trade, builds or attaches new heels, or repairs heels, heeler, machine; heel feeder, heel nailer; machine heel attacher; a heeler q.v. who operates, by means of a lever, a heel-attaching machine, which is fed with nails; heel is held in position by a clamp and nails are pressed through the inner sole into the heel.
heel presser
see heel compressor.
insole tacker-on
tacks on insoles to uppers of boots or shoes, temporarily, by hand or machine, on a last, in preparation for stitching.
instructor (boot and shoe machinery)
a skilled boot making machine operative who explains and teaches use of new machines; usually employed by machinery makers.
ironer, boot
see treer.
see diggerer.
joiner (rubber boots and shoes)
joins together edges of upper to form back seam of boot, etc., with power-driven sewing machine; may also use rubber cement in lapping point.
laster, laster-up, boot laster, shoe laster ; all-rounder, laster-up, puller-on, puller-over, puller-up, ' tapper (slang)
(i) in hand-sewn boot trade fixes inner sole to last; , feathers' inner sole, i.e. trims edges with a knife to fit the last; places last inside upper and then on pivot or lasting jack; taking edge of upper in pincers, strains leather over and along depressions in last to remove superfluous expanding properties of leather and so assist upper to keep its shape; pleats edges of upper and tacks on to insole ready for hand sewing or machining to insole;
(ii) see machine operator, lasting.
laster, second
see re-laster.
lift maker
see heeler.
lining maker
a closer q.v. who stitches together parts of linings of uppers of boots and shoes, usually on a power machine.
examines shoes or boots after they have been finished, and rejects any defective work; usually done by passer or foreman (401) q.v.
machine operator, machine feeder, boot machine operator
general terms for any person engaged in any machine operation in manufacture of boots, shoes, etc., including pressman (413), skiver, folder, perforator (429), lasting machine operator, machine sewer, closer, rounder, slugger, etc. q.v.
machine operator, bagging
a bagger q.v. holding parts of upper to be stitched or closed under needle of a bagging machine.
machine operator, band saw
operates band saw machine used for splitting skins in a boot and shoe factory.
machine operator, Blake ; Blake sewer, Blake sole sewer
a sole attacher q.v. who stitches sole of boot or shoe on to insole (inner sole) with a Blake sewing machine, i.e. heavy sewing machine worked by power, after insole has been attached to upper.
machine operator, Campbell
a sewing machinist q.v. operating a Campbell sewing machine, i.e. heavy sewing machine run by power.
machine operator, Cyclops
holds sole against revolving buffer of power-driven Cyclops machine and adjusts pressure between sole and glass or sandpaper, till sole is smoothed as required; starts and stops lathe by hand or treadle lever; sometimes also does work of leveller (429) q.v.
machine operator, gemming
operates a gemming power-machine, by which solutioned canvas is placed 'over insole and pressed into contact, a machine attachment keeping lip of channel erect.
machine operator, Keats
a sewing machinist q.v. operating, by lever, a Keats power sewing machine.
machine operator, lasting
boot laster, laster, laster-up, shoe laster; a laster q.v. operating a lasting machine; usually a team worker who operates one of a series of pulling-over, drafting, pleating and tacking machines which reproduce mechanically the operations described under laster q.v.; fits last into machine and controls operations by means of levers.
machine operator, Mackay
a sole attacher q.v. operating a Mackay sole attaching machine, a power machine of heavy type.
machine operator, M.S.
a sole attacher q.v. operating a M.S. (middle sole) sole-attaching machine, a power sewing machine of heavy type.
machine operator, pressure
general term for worker operating one of several types of machine which exert pressure, e.g. in sole moulding, heel compressing levelling; includes moulder, heel compressor, leveller (419) q.v.
machine operator, seat nailing
feeds and operates a machine which nails seats, i.e. pieces of leather which form base for attachment of heels, to bottoms of boots or shoes.
machine operator, sewing
see machinist, sewing.
machine operator, sew-round
stitches, on turn shoe power machine, through a channel, soles to uppers after they have been attached to last by turn shoe maker q.v.
machine operator, skiver
a skiver q.v. operating a skiving machine to reduce thickness of leather; sometimes specifically designated according to machine used, e.g. Amazeen skiver machine operator, Fortuna machine operator.
machine operator, sole sewing
a solo sewer q.v. operating a sole sewing machine (usually a power machine) to attach upper to sole through channel with big stitches and strong waxed thread.
machine operator, stitching
see machinist.
machine operator, top piece heel
see slugger.
machine operator, welt
stitches welt of a boot or shoe round the upper and attaches to bottom sole by machine sewing on a last.
machinist, sewing machinist
sewing machine operator, stitching machine operator; a sewer q.v. operating a hand or power machine for sewing parts of uppers of boots and shoes together, or for attaching upper to bottom; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. slipper machinist.
machinist, golosh
a closer q.v. who closes goloshes (as distinct from vamps) of shoes or slippers by machine; cf. vamper.
machinist, side lining
a machinist q.v. who operates a power machine which attaches side linings to upper of a boot or shoe; usually done by closer q.v.
moulder, counter
see moulder, stiffener.
moulder, puff
moulds toe-puffs (stiffeners for toes) on press machine.
moulder, sole ; sole blocker
(i) tacks damped sole on to last and moulds it to shape of last by hammering, by hand;
(ii) places damp and pliable sole on iron foot mould in machine and, by releasing a lever, brings pressure of several tons to bear upon sole, thus shaping it; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. insole moulder, middle sole moulder, outsole moulder.
moulder, stiffener
curler, stiffener blocker, stiffener shaper, counter moulder; moulds stiffeners (pieces of leather used for strengthening backs of boots or shoes) by placing them in machine and operating levers; may mould by hand with hand tools against a block.
preparer for pull-over
arranges upper of boot or shoe on last, with hammer and tacks, ready for laster q.v.
preparer for welt sewing
clears or trims with a knife upper after it has been lasted, and opens inside channel in upper through which welt is to be stitched.
preparer, welt
dips welt in water, tempers it and cuts, usually by machine, or by hand with special knives, a groove or channel in preparation for sewing between sole and upper; cf. preparer for welt sewing and channeller (429).
pricker-up (boots)
decorates welt edge by pricking up leather between each, stitch on welt with point of a specially shaped tool called a "prick-stitch"; cf. stitch separator.
puller-on, puller-over, puller-up
see laster.
pump hand
see turn shoe maker.
re-laster ; second laster
fits boots and shoes on an easily-fitting iron last for operation of finishing, after removal of making last.
rough stuff man
performs all operations in rough stuff room or press room, in small factory where work is not sub-divided, including cutting, fitting-up, channelling, etc.; cf. rough stuff cutter (413).
rounder, sole rounder
pares edge of sole of boot or shoe to final shape, either by hand with knife, or by means of paring machine, the knife of which travels round shoe fixed on block and cuts superfluous leather; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. insole rounder, middlesole rounder, outsole rounder.
screwer, screw operator
operates machine which attaches middle soles of certain heavier kinds of hoots to insoles by means of screws; keeps hopper fed with screws; holds uppers and soles in position on machine; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. standard screw operator.
general term covering all persons engaged in joining parts of upper of boot or shoe, or attaching upper to bottom by hand or machine sewing, and including sewer (hand), sewing machinist, stitcher, etc., q.v.; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. Blake sewer, Blake sole sewer, welt sewer.
sewer, sole sewer (hand)
a sole attacher q.v. who attaches soles, temporarily held in place with nails, to welts (or to middle soles, if hoots be not welted) by hand sewing; makes holes with a round awl in a channel in sole, previously made by channel opener (429) q.v. and passes thread through each hole in turn; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. nursery sewer (children's shoes).
sew-round maker, sew-round man, sew-round hand
see turn shoe maker.
shank attacher
attaches "shank" or waist-piece of boot or shoe, i.e. piece of stiff leather stretching from heel to ball of foot, to insole, with solution or rivets.
see taper.
pares off (skives) edges of various parts of upper or bottom of boot or shoe, either by hand, with sharp knife, or (more usually) in a skiving machine, to reduce thickness of leather where joining is necessary; sometimes specifically designated according to part of shoe to be skived, e.g., middle sole skiver, puff skiver, shank skiver, split lift skiver, stiffening skiver, welt skiver, or according to type of machine used, e.g. Fortuna skiver.
sleeker, sleeker-up, slicker
places damped leather of bottom or welt of boot or shoe on ia last, and smooths away bumps or irregularities by hand, using wooden rollers; now usually done by leveller (429) q.v. on levelling machine.
slugger, heel slugger, slugger machine operator, slugging machine operator
top piece heel machine operator; feeds holes in machine with nails of different sizes according to height of heel; clamps inside of shoe (heel end) in position over nails and holes and operates, by means of a lever, slugging machine, which attaches top piece of heel to seat (already attached to hoot or shoe).
presses and smooths socks of thin leather or leather substitute inside bottom of boots or shoes by hand to cover up any roughness due to stitching, riveting, etc., after socks have been pasted by sock paster (429) q.v.; sometimes also pastes socks.
sole attacher
rivets bottoms of boots or shoes to uppers by holding in place in riveting machine.
sole maker, sole piecer
see fitter-up (soles).
sole tacker-on
attaches insoles temporarily to uppers of boots or shoes, by hand, with hammer and tacks, while uppers are on last, preparatory to parts being sewn or stitched together.
(i) examines, grades and keeps records of leather according to quality; in some factories, confines his work to sorting leather for uppers, as distinguished from stock fitter q.v.;
(ii) sorts different parts after they have been cut; sometimes also does work of fitter-up.
sorter in skin room ; grader (skins)
sorts uncut pieces of leather according to substance, thickness and quality, examines them for flaws, and allocates them to most suitable work; keeps records of stocks, etc.
stiffener shaper
see moulder, stiffener.
a sewer (hand) q.v. using a square instead of a round awl.
stitcher, fair
a sewer q.v. who specialises in "fair stitching," i.e. machining, on power sewing machine, a row of stitches round welt of Blake-sewn boot or shoe, giving appearance of welt-sewn work.
stitcher, lock (slippers)
a sowing machinist q.v. operating a lock-stitch power machine for stitching together slippers.
stitch separator (boots)
operates a power machine, with an attachment like a blunt knife, which nicks welt of welted boob or shoe between stitches; cf. pricker-up.
table hand
examines uppers after completion; cuts off odd ends of thread; hammers off work, by hand, before it is passed to lasting room.
see closer.
withdraws last from hoot or shoe, by hand, when it has been made, in preparation for final processes of treeing and boxing.
taper, taping machine operator (boots) ; sillier
stitches tape by machine, down seam, in dosing upper of a hoot or shoe, to strengthen seam for lasting.
tapper (slang)
see laster.
hammers out, by hand or machine corrugations in leather of upper of a hoot or shoe, formed when upper is pulled over insole, and tacked down on to it.
stitches toe-caps on to uppers of boots or shoes by hand or machine.
top ironer, top iron machine operator (boots)
see header.
top or upper maker, boot and shoe
see closer.
treer ; boot ironer
places hoots or shoes on a form or tree, and irons them, with hand iron, heated by gas, to improve shape and appearance.
see turn shoe maker.
turn shoe maker ; pump hand, sew-round hand, sew-round, maker, sew-round man, turner
makes turn shoes, e.g. dancing pumps, by fixing upper to sole, both inside out, on a last, by means of tacks; machines by hand or passes to sew round machine operator q.v.; after machining, turns shoe right side out, thoroughly damps and re-lasts it to mould it to shape.
vamp creaser, vamp crimper
see blocker of fronts.
a closer q.v. who stitches "quarter" or golosh to vamp, or front part of a boot.
fixes thread in machine, which passes it through wax containing high proportion of grease, and keeps spools supplied with thread so treated.
welt beater
heats out, by hand, with hammer or stick, or with small machine hammer, welts, after they have been sewn in; cf. channel closer (429).
a sewer q.v. who stitches welt to bottom sole by hand or with sewing machine.

Back to List of Occupational Codes

From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.