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Issued: Sept 15, 1991. 29¢ Jan E. Matzeliger, Never Hinged.
When Jan Ernst Matzeliger started working in a shoe factory, hundreds of inventors and thousands of dollars had already been spent trying to make a device that would stitch the leather top to the sole of a shoe (a process called “lasting”). Matzeliger spent all his spare time attempting to invent such a machine. His first successful lasting machine was made with cigar boxes, wood, and wire. After Jan perfected his Lasting Machine he was able to complete up to 600 pairs of shoes each day, compared to the traditional manual rate of only fifty per day. (APS)
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