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The shoe’s journey

In this three-picture mosaic, the left photograph shows a labourer at work on a sewing machine in 1939. In the middle, a young man attends a machine in the assembly department. To the right, we see two office employees. One of them, Miss Gloria Franck, is sitting while the other one, Mrs. Lise Berthiaume, stands behind her colleague.

Labourers at work

Let’s travel inside the factories now, so that we might understand how the assorted Contrecœur factories crafted their shoes. As you will notice, several words were invented or borrowed from English in order to identify the various manufacturing steps.

The picture shows the sewing department. We see approximately forty workers spread out on either side of two long conveyors that cut across the room.

Workers in the sewing department (1979)

First, the process began with sizing, an operation performed by men.  Next, the part went to the trimming stage (“fittage ” in French), during which women sewed the parts using sewing machines. The women received precise instructions regarding the shoe, its description and the type of thread to use. Once trimmed, the shoes were assembled.

Men worked on imposing, and occasionally dangerous, machines to shape the shoe. They placed the upper on the machine and sewed the heel onto it. The shoe was then inspected before being sent to packing (“paquetage”) and then to shipping (“shippage”).  Obviously, this is only a brief summary of the work performed by the factories. To learn more, let’s listen to Marguerite Cormier, who walks us through the shoe’s journey.

The shoe’s journey (captions available in both FR and EN) – watch this video with the transcript (EN)