This tool at Smith’s Tavern is a tiny wooden shoe last. Smith’s Tavern has many more of these wooden shoe lasts in various sizes, but not on exhibit.
A last is a mechanical form that has a shape similar to that of a human foot. It is used by shoemakers and cordwainers in the manufacture and repair of shoes. Lasts typically come in pairs and have been made from various materials, including hardwoods and cast iron because these materials retain their shape, even when in contact with wet materials (like leather) and subject to the stresses of stretching and shaping shoes on them. Lasts came in many styles and sizes, depending on the exact job they are designed for. Common variations include simple one-size lasts used for repairing soles and heels and custom-made lasts used in the making of bespoke footwear. Though a last is made approximately in the shape of a human foot, the precise shape is tailored to the kind of footwear being made.
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