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
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
overall; left: 3 in x 4 1/2 in x 11 7/16 in; 7.62 cm x 11.43 cm x 29.05125 cm
overall; right: 3 in x 4 1/4 in x 11 3/8 in; 7.62 cm x 10.795 cm x 28.8925 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Edward Mm Nagel
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Clothing & Accessories
Data Source
National Museum of American History