Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Oh, patents ! Espadrilles

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Summer is around the corner! And for many people there are no summers without espadrilles -- quintessential summer shoes, made of canvass with esparto rope soles, originating in the Basque Country, on the border of France and Spain, and more particularly the Soule region and its capital city of Mauléon (on the French side).

References to espadrilles (espadrenya in Catalan, espargatas or esparteña in Spanish) date as far back as the 13th century for the shoes worn by the Spanish King’s soldiers! Paintings of the 18th century depict people wearing espadrilles. To date on August 15th, each year the city of Mauléon celebrates la Fête de l’espadrille [Espadrille Day].

Originally, sewn and crafted by hand, wholesale manufacture and production of the espadrille began in the 19th century organized by the Beguerie Family Establishment. In the 20th century, industrial manufacture ushered in machine-made espadrilles.

The French patent FR703651 titled Espadrille was granted to Louis Beguerie, founder of the Etablissement Louis Beguerie on May 4, 1931. The patent recites a new manufacturing process for the espadrilles, whereby the upper is no longer sewn onto the sole, but rather glued. The patent also specifies an inner sole, itself glued onto the parts of the upper tucked in and glued on the inside of the outer sole. The patented espadrilles seek to resolve the problem of stitching which is purported to wear out before the canvass or the outer soles of the espadrilles.


Below, the figure drawing from FR703651 titled Espadrille. The heel portion of the figure drawing shows how the inner sole is glued onto the inside of the outer sole, with the upper sandwiched in between. An image of a marketed espadrille is also included --back with stitching...





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