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Women's Patten Overshoe, 1830-1850


According to the donor, the patten overshoes were worn in the mid 19th century by her great-grandmother, Mrs. Pastrigs. Pattens, a type of overshoe, were used to protect both feet and shoes from mud and snow. Wooden-soled overshoes were used as early as the fourteenth-century but were restricted to the wealthy. By the early fifteenth-century, a form of composite leather sole made pattens more widely accessible. Because of their functional appearance, they were generally associated with the lower classes and country people, although they were more useful in town than in the country where the iron ring would have sunk deep into a muddy road but carry the wearer through the puddles on a paved surface. Pattens were cut to match the fashionable shoe shape. In Jane Austin's Persuasion (1817), Mrs. Russell enjoyed "the ceaseless clink of pattens" in the English city of Bath as one of the "noises which belonged to the winter pleasures."In his poem Trivia (1712), John Gay wrote of working housewives 'clinking' through the wet London streets on pattens and Pehr Kalm noted how women of farming families "...wear their pattens under their ordinary shoes when they go out to prevent the dirt of the roads and streets from soiling their ordinary shoes" (Kalm's Account of His Visit to England, 1748). Sources: Shoes. Lucy Pratt and Linda Wooley. V&A Publications. London. 2000.Women's Shoes in America 1795-1930. Nancy E. Rexford. Kent State University Press. Kent, Ohio. 2000,

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