The quality of factory-made shoes was very high around the turn of the turn of the century, and many of the most talented craftsmen worked for the factories. C&J’s factory was one of the great ones also back then, and ahead of a major international craft exhibition in Turin, Italy, in 1911, it was decided they would make a serious effort to showcase its skills. A small series of shoes made by hand, with the best leather they could get (at this time material quality was generally much better than it is today), made by their best at the various parts of the making. In other words, they are not representative of what C&J’s factory shoes looked like at the time, but showed what they were capable of.
It was not the best light in the stores but hopefully the pictures below give the shoes decent justice. Please take time to click and enlarge the pictures, zoom in, and study the amazing craftsmanship.
This button boot is not only looking striking at distance, it has lots of amazing details when you look closer.
The contrasting sole stitch is really tight and well-made, and is placed towards the edge of the welt for an interesting look.
Buttons in Mother-of-Pearl, with sophisticated hand-stitched buttonholes that have several different braids for each hole.
The stitches of the upper were always tight, partly made possible by the fine leather quality.
Slightly tapered heel, which is extremely tight cut, basically as close to the upper as it is physically possible.
Sole with a really narrow waist.
This black plain cap toe oxford is my favourite. Does not necessarily look that special at first glance, but when looking closely, you discover what a masterpiece it is.
The profile is pretty, with a thin sole and relatively close cut sole edge.
The sole edge has a nice shape that makes it look even neater.
My favourite part on shoe is the sole stitch. Here they have allowed the stitching to shine by itself, without any decorations by fudge wheel or stitch prick. The perfectly made, slightly raised stitches looks gorgeous against the flat welt, and require skills to get this good.
Beautifully shaped waist edge.
The heel here is straight, and well-built.
Keep in mind that this leather is over 100 years old.
Six pairs of eyelets and swanneck stitching.
Note how accurately placed the rectangular nails is in the heel.
Difficult to capture in a photo, but to mark the edge a bit extra, decoration has been made between the edge of the waist and the waist.
On this shoe the closer, the one that sew the uppers, has been allowed to shine.
Clearly a heavier shoe, equally well-made. 360 ° sole stitching, and although the sole isn’t a double sole, it’s definitely thicker.
The contrast stitching that run in close pairs are very impressive.
Also the sole stitches are contrasting. Clinically performed. A reminder: Zoom in.
The sole with an unusually straight “breast”, front edge of the heel.
Here is another heavier model, this time two-tone boot with HAF sole (single at the waist, double at the front).
The visible eyelets and hooks give the shoe a distinct impression.
The last shape is still relatively elegant.
Rear view, as tightly cut as the more neat shoes above, but with a wider heel with straight outer sides.
Heavily marked sole stitching, also here placed far out towards the edge and contrasting.
The most interesting thing about this shoe is the sole, where something very unusu is done: markings with a stitch prick (probably) along the edge that the seam is sewn in, just as you just do on top of the welt. To make this evenly both at the top and bottom is not easy. It has been a little wear and tear here, so does not look as clean as it likely did they were new just over a hundred years ago.
Button boot in red tones.
Wonderful how nice the shape comes along all the way at the back.
Tight stitches, did not measure but at least 16 spi (stitches per inch). Also note the different pattern along the toe cap. Here you also see that the bright leather has gained a lot of patina over the years, even if they only been on display. All these shoes are taken care of and treated very carefully, that is why the condition is still so nice.