This article was previous posted in 2013 – Tea With…

For this meeting I am going with | Vanilla Apple Hibiscus | Tea because mass production of American Made shoes started in Pennsylvania, but bar far has grown into a global sensation.

I will be serving: ‘Dutch Apple’ Tea Because Miss Shoe is originally from the East Coast where the best apples grow – also because she is part Dutch.

“The very idea of making shoes by hand boggled her mind.” 
― Scott Westerfeld, Uglies

Meet Miss Shoe – she has been living in the shadows of the footwear industry for a very long time and has finally decided to come out of hiatus and talk with me. She says that Last-Report is the first magazine that she has ever been featured in. Its hard to believe that a figure of this stature has not been highlighted before. Nevertheless, she is a celebrity in her our right and I am honored that she chose our magazine to tell her story to.

For this meeting I am going with | Vanilla Apple Hibiscus | Tea because mass production of American Made shoes started in Pennsylvania, but bar far has grown into a global sensation.

Here Is What I’d Like To Know:

1. Who is Miss Shoe?

I represent the footwear industry beginnings and ultimately the future. I am a walking, talking document. I am the technical drawing of the Lasting Machine patent that revolutionized footwear mass production. I was “born” in 1883. 

In that case, | Jan Matzeliger | would be my father.

Jan Earnst Matzeliger – the African American who invented the first automatic shoe-lasting machine.
The specs and patent diagram of Jan Matzeliger’s invention – c1882. First machine manifested. The machine went on to cut the cost of shoes by fifty percent.

2. Where have you been for all of these years?

I’ve been around. I have traveled extensively and in the recent 50 years have done so undercover. I try to keep track of my inventor’s work, so every now and then I disguise myself as various forms of footwear tech-packs (no one seems to pay much attention to those). Anyway, I have been an observer during this time. Until now.

3. Why now?

People need to know I exist. The more I talk to people like yourself, the more educated and empowered the industry can be as a whole. I speak for shoes everywhere but more importantly the shoes that are trying to make their way to the retailers of America.I have seen some incredible things happen with shoes. I have seen different shapes and materials used and even shoes with no heels! They flip, they flop. Machines today can pump out thousands of pairs a day on one production line. It is wonderful to see how things have progressed. But all this hoopla around costs, duties, taxes, over exhausted importing, poor workmanship at non-affordable prices, etc. is making my paper chafe!But I heard about this Affordable Footwear Act and wondered what happened? I could only think about how people started to tax that other highly popular commodity…tea! And now, I see that not only are the shoes being aggressively and unknowingly taxed; I do not want history to repeat itself in that fashion.

4. In regards to mass-production, what are your views on where it is today?

Mass-production of shoes was an opportunistic way for shoes to be made in record timing – 1 minute lasting. Still, consumers went home with a great pair of shoes that were – what do you call it now – sustainable. That was the plan Jan Matzeliger and other shoe makers who invented these machines had in mind.Now, shoes can be lasted in seconds and the outcome is an increase of production but not enough time and attention to make them sustainable. I heard someone say its called, fast-fashion. In addition to that the import tax for those shoes are very high. This was not the plan for affordable footwear. My view is that, I am here as a reminder that these machines were not invented to produce poor quality “fast-fashion.” I exist as a solution – not a problem.

5. So…what’s up with the sash?

Oh, that is actually a funny story. When the first round of woman’s shoes was lasted with the new machine, the factory celebrated and wrapped me in red sateen fabric like a sacred scroll for safe keeping. The fabric got tattered along the years and so now its just this piece left. For identification, I sewed my name across it. It goes great with my new shoes!

6. Where can we expect to see you again?

I would like to help make a difference in how the industry can do business. I’d like to speak to students, professional offices, maybe Washington and meet the President or that Ms. Penny Pritzker I read about.

There is something very special about me – this patent. Jan died before he could see the machine in all its glory, but his goal was to mass produce quality affordable shoes and he invented this machine for that purpose alone. So where ever people need me to be a reminder – that is where I will be. That is my hope.

I developed this Miss Shoe character during the time Last-Report was supportive of the Affordable Footwear Act with Obama in office. I had a button on the site to register to sign a petition to pass the bill via FDRA’s web portal. Things have changed since then, but the backstory to this article is all about the Inventor, Jan Matzeliger and his vision as so it is told from my research. And to know his mother was a Woman Of Color – peeked my interest even more. Footwear manufacturing was never meant to evolve into fast fashion. The industry giants took something amazing and turned it into a profit-driven mess.

It would be interesting to know what this industry would be like if Jan had children, and they kept his invention in the family. He sold off his share of his invention shortly before he died of Tuberculosis. There is a small bridge named after him in Lynn, MA…but I have yet to see photos.

What would the footwear industry be without his contribution?

the below was for fun!

Brew Baby, Brew

Apple Tea leaves are best brewed at 122°F – 140°F (50°C – 60°C) in the kettle after boiling. Transfer into your teapot and steep via an infuser or strainer. The raw tea leaves does not require much time. Too long a steeping time will result in more bitterness and a less balanced flavor. The amount of loose tea you use will depend on the type and strength of the tea, as well as your individual taste, so a little experimentation may be in order. Loose green teas generally taste best at 1 – 2 minutes (the smaller leaves will extract faster). Steeping time should be balanced with water temperature: the lower the temperature, the longer the tea can be steeped.

Beneficial properties

Apple Tea has been known worldwide for its health benefits. It is basically made from black tea enhanced with flavor from apples. Apple tea is very popular in Turkey, considered a national staple drink. It is used mostly in households to accompany meals and it us usually drunk during the winter or as an ice tea during summer. The constituents of apple tea include antioxidants (catechin, quercetin), minerals (magnesium, sodium, potassium), amino acids and vitamins B, C and E.

It might also help keep your skin from wrinkling. And apple consumption appears to promote hair growth. In addition, scientific research continues to build more and more evidence that antioxidants in apples are protective against cardiovascular disease and cancer development. Tea and apples are sources of flavonoids.

Wrinkles & Aging – An article published by Australian researchers in the February 2001 issue of Journal of the American College of Nutrition was titled “Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference?” The answer was a conditional yes. Elderly populations were monitored in Australia, Greece and Sweden as part of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences “Food Habits in Later Life” study.

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Tanita Gray

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher and Founder of, and CEO of Shoes Waste. Gray is a footwear, accessory and apparel designer/developer by day - writer and content architect by night. With over 17 years of experience in the fashion industry, you can find her teaching sustainability classes, drawing thumbnails, writing in her journal, giving her husband & children enormous hugs, or eating french fries.

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