Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Oh, patents! I. Miller & Sons shoes (1)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

So what’s patented in the I. Miller and Sons shoes?

First, all of the patents retrieved are for ladies shoes, whether low shoes or higher heeled shoes, pumps or slippers. Secondly, the inventions respond to a concern for shoe comfort and fit. Even US2163696, which discloses a Method of making cemented shoes, arises out of a concern for the flexibility of the forefoot sole, once the adhesive film connecting the inner and outer soles has hardened, and the need for a shoe manufacturing method for applying a very thin film adhesive, instead of the prior art, thick and viscous layers of proxylin or celluloid cement. Finally, the I. Miller and Sons patents also respond to various manufacturing problems whether it is to resolve prior art issues of “lasting” or to introduce new “lasts” to implement the fit and comfort innovations. A “last” is the form, in the shape foot, on which a shoe is repaired or manufactured. To “last” a shoe is the process of repairing or manufacturing using a “last”.

The patent US2138385 A titled Elastic top shoe, is a good example that combines both comfort and manufacturing inventions for ladies shoes, in this case slip-ons or pumps.  This is also a patent retrieved where the inventor appears  recorded as Ida Gordon Miller. And where, upon closer examination, it is explicitly stated in the patent document that the inventor was Charles Miller and that the patent was assigned to Ida Gordon Miller, the Executrix of the Charles Miller estate, who then became herself assignor, when she assigned the patent to the I. Miller and Sons company, as follows:
“Charles Miller, Long Island City, N. Y.; Ida. Gordon Miller, executrix of said Charles Miller, deceased, assignor to I. Miller and Sons, Inc., Long Island City; N. Y., a corporation of New York.”
The issue of comfort addressed in the patent US2138385, titled Elastic top shoe arises from the necessity of having a snug fitting shoe around the heel and forefoot when the shoe is flexed, without resorting to binding or straps that can become cutting and painful at the level of the instep.  In response to this issue, the invention discloses a substantial part of the shoe upper made of a fabric material woven with elastic threads (Lastex), through which the foot is introduced.  Thus, the shoe is no longer manufactured with straps or other methods of binding, especially at the level of the instep (or arch). There is also a special emphasis on comfort at the rear of the shoe, above the heel, where the edges the prior art shoes tend to cut.

The invention makes clever use of the properties of elastic materials where one side, called the weft of the material, is always more elastic than the other, called the warp. Thus the assembled upper contains elastic material parallel to the warp on the side of the shoe, where less elasticity is required, whereas the weft of the material is positioned transversally across the shoe where more elasticity is required to accommodate the in-step.

The other important aspect of the invention concerns a method of lasting the elastic upper with the rest of the leather upper and shoe.  On the one hand, this aspect of the invention aims to prevent the elastic part from losing its shape once it is removed from the last where it was stretched. And, on the other hand, this aspect resolves the use of binding tape (which is not elastic) for the purposes of attaching the elastic upper to the rest of the leather upper and shoe.

The included patent drawing shows such a shoe with an elastic upper (13) mounted on the last (11).  

So, indeed the shoe(s) perdu(s) were very patented both for added comfort and to resolve  specific manufacturing issues connected to the innovative and added shoe comfort. 

1 comment:

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