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Thread: Heal Plates?

  1. #1

    Heal Plates?

    Lately I've been posting finds from the dirt floor of a stlll standing blacksmith's shop. The owner found a pair of heart heal plates there. She asked me about them and all I could tell her was that they were heal plates. It inspired me to look around the internet again to see if there was any new info about these things. When I dug my first one years ago I remember reading all sorts of things about them being CW cavalry, or oldest profession etc. Today I found the following pic on the net. I've never seen any evidence of them being CW related. After I saw this pic of hwo they were attached to a women's heal it occurred to me ALL the heal plates, clovers, crosses etc are from women's heals. They're all small like that...how would they fit on a man's larger heal? The men wore the edge heals I find all the time (pictured around the women's plates I've found). What say you??
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    Last edited by OxShoeDrew; 06-11-2022 at 04:35 AM.
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    Elite Member Digger_O'Dell's Avatar
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    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but this is my understanding. Although I've never found any heel plates myself I have seen a few in differing sizes. I've always heard they were attributed to the general CW time frame and well after. I'm sure if used as men's wear they would more likely have been on dress or officer's boots rather than something like a farmer's work boot used in the field. They would have been easier to show off from a saddle than while plowing a field, and isn't that the usual purpose of fancy decor?

    As for the toe taps it's easy to discern that they were not produced by any professionals and were made from scrap metal very cheaply. Those would have been much more practical for working men's boots to not only reinforce the toes for long days walking the fields, but also some protection such as steel toes do today when kicking dirt clods or rocks.
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  3. #3
    Yeah, I've heard most came from the 1880s but some as far back as the 1860s and up into the 1900s. I've never seen them in different sizes, Chris. Are larger ones for men? None of the ones I've seen would make sense being attached to a large, low men's heal...and I've never found a picture of them attached to mens shoes.
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    Administrator del's Avatar
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    Name:  toe plate on shoe.jpg
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Size:  23.8 KBName:  toe plate on boots.jpg
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Size:  25.4 KB Heel plates have been around since colonial times although most of the brass types we seen recovered are from the Victorian era "Toe taps " were placed on the tips and above the heel to keep the leather from being scuffed and worn through and were also used from the 17th to 19th centuries . many that are found still have a patent date stamped into them.
    Last edited by del; 06-11-2022 at 02:06 PM.
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    Elite Member Digger_O'Dell's Avatar
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    I also have seen many examples of CW heel plates that look more like horseshoes that wrap around the bottom of the heel, and I think those were the most used and more practical. I think the heart style was more of the feminine shoe style, while after the CW men's riding boots were often adorned with heel plates with other designs. I've read about the hearts of sand reference many times, and at the same time also heard of the other latter designs often being types of advertising with a symbol left on the footprints of those who have passed before.
    Overall I think they were such a mundane item at the time that there is likely little reference to them historically. It would be like today's society documenting floral patterns on our paper towels.
    Equipment:
    Minelab: CTX 3030, GPX 4800, X-Terra 705. Whites TDI SL.

    2017 -Silver 28 Bling 18 Gold 2
    2018 Silver 8 Bling 1 Gold 1
    2019 Silver 7 Silver bling 2
    2020/21 Nothing worth mentioning

    Best finds: 28 silver dime spill, 1800s Dutch customs seal.
    Oldest/best coin: 1837 Upper Canada large cent
    Oldest find: 1800 Sailors Luck token
    You Tube: Rediscovering America

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