----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 1:36 PM
Subject: [SoG] Clicker
In an email dated Tue, 20 May 2003 9:55:04 pm GMT,
SOG-UK-D-request(a)rootsweb.com included a reply from Peter Rogers:
> A Clicker, usually a Clicker Press Operative, used a fly or hydraulic
> of press to exert downward pressure(!)on a steel knife that was
> the shape to cut a component part of a shoe--It was and is also
> glove trade and many other industries where it superseded hand
In the shoe trade in the Northampton area, a Clicker was a skilled
called a 'Clicker' because traditionally it described the sound
of his shears cutting leather.
He was responsible for cutting the uppers of shoes from a tanned hide and
was to get as many components as possible from the usable parts of
the hide. The more he got out, the more profitable he was as an employee and
the more likely to keep his job and, as a craftsman, the money was better.
But, of course, extra money (or potential loss of employment) were not the
main considerations - it was just the sense of pride in his work that made
him squeeze as much as he could from the hide. ;-)
Traditionally, a clicker use a "clicking knife" rather than shears. This had
a semi-circular blade with the curve being the cutting edge and with the
handle perpendicular to the straight side. This type of knife is shown in
ancient Greek illustrations and was used well into the 20th century in the
bespoke boot and shoe trade - it still may be in use.
Not only had he to get as many uppers out of a hide, but the grain had to be
in the right direction aesthetically and the leather had to stretch to give
the correct three dimensional shape when stitched to the sole. A very
Peter Park, Walton on Thames, Surrey, UK.
Descended from five generations of tanners and boot & shoemakers :-)