January 4, 2013

Occupations: CORDWAINER

An occupation I stumbled upon in the 1855 census in New York State.

Cordwainer = shoemaker who made soft leather shoes and luxury footwear.

To differentiate somewhat, the term cordwainer referred to the maker of fine footwear while the term cobbler generally described the profession which would repair it.

The term cordwainer, originated in England, was intended to refer specifically to the the leather manufactured in Cordoba, Spain, initially from goathide and later from horsehide.  "Cordovan" was the fine quality eqinine shoe leather leather fashioned from the fibrous flat muscle beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. This leather is still used for men's shoes -- one pair can be made from one horse's hide.

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