Cast Iron Shoes

Dating from the 18th century, these metal shoes were made for and worn by a chemist. The donor is purported to have purchased these from a direct descendant of the famous French chemist, Antoine Lavoisier, and the shoes were supposedly worn by Lavoisier. However, there is no way to verify this claim, so we value these shoes for what they can tell us about early French scientific and cultural history.
They are made of cast iron; each shoe weighs over 1-1/2 lbs! The shoes slip on. There are rivets all around the top of the heels, sides, and insteps. On one shoe, some remnants of leather remain under the rivets. Whether this leather was strictly decorative or served some practical purpose is unknown.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
18th century
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
leather (overall material)
shoe 2: 7.7 cm x 28.6 cm x 10.8 cm; 3 1/16 in x 11 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in
shoe 1: 7.7 cm x 28.6 cm x 10.8 cm; 3 1/16 in x 11 1/4 in x 4 1/4 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Clothing & Accessories
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Edward Mm Nagel
Additional Media

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