Cuts Like a Knife

If you think today’s mystery artifact looks something like a giant cookie cutter, you’re on the right track. About the cutting part, that is, not the cookie. Made of iron (now rusted) and with extremely sharp edges, anything too soft wouldn’t stand a chance of holding up.

That’s why this was used for leather. It’s a die–or a clicker cutting die–used in the shoe industry. Part of a press used to cut leather for shoe uppers, the die dates from between 1880 and 1920.

Though we have nothing in the records that indicates who donated it, or where specifically it was used, it’s a good bet it resided at one of the many shoe factories in Maine. A number of items related to the state’s shoe industry, which thrived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, can be viewed on Maine Memory.

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