29 Days of Black History, Day 4

Feb 4, 2012


If you were one of the several people who camped out this morning for the highly anticipated Metallic Red Foams and you thought that paying $220+ for them was steep--hol' up a sec'. Without the skills and ingenuity of this famous black inventor, you probably would have had to pay $500 or better for those really, really ugly shoes. Hit the read more link for the scoop.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger was an African-American inventor in the shoe industry. Back in the late 1800s, the upper part of the shoe had to be sewn onto the sole by hand, a process called "lastering". A skilled hand laster could do around 50 kicks on a good day, but one day Matzeliger said, "Nah, b. This ain't gon' cut it" (verbatim). After years of trial and error, he invented and obtained a patent for a machine that could produce between 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day, cutting shoe prices across the nation in half. So you all have Mr. Matzeliger to thank Mr. Matzeliger for your "foam swag". Tis' all.

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Don't watch me, w-w-watch my feet....