The Making of Abbeyhorn Shoe Horns | A Continuous Lean.

The Making of Abbeyhorn Shoe Horns

Dec 6th, 2010 | Categories: England, Footwear | by Michael Williams

If you are like me and you wear a lot of leather footwear, you use a shoe horn every day. Otherwise getting into your boots can be a giant pain. The way I see it, buying a well made shoe horn is a smart move, even if it costs you a few bucks. It is an especially good investment when you consider a well made device will probably last you a lifetime. Abbeyhorn of Carnforth, England has been making fine shoe horns using time-tested methods since 1749 and the company has become known as the gold standard of shoe horn makers. Any product that has been made in the same manner since 27 years before America was even founded can’t be too bad, now can it.

Being someone that likes to see how things are manufactured, I managed to find the above video from the Abbeyhorn factory showing how these fine shoe horns are made. In the video you can see Oxen horns be transformed into the most handsome of instruments. It is an amazing thing to watch, even if you can’t understand a word of what is being said during the process.

There are a few ways to get your hands on some of these beautiful shoe horns. Submit a catalog request and order direct from England the old fashion way, or if you are in New York City you can head over to Leffot and get them straight away. Even if you aren’t in town, I’m sure Steven at Leffot will be happy to help you over email or the phone.

[Abbeyhorn Official Link] [Abbeyhorn at Leffot]

Comments: 21

21 Comments to “The Making of Abbeyhorn Shoe Horns”

  1. Jake S
    on Dec 6th, 2010
    @ 7:40 PM

    Love it!
    Gotta get my hands on some horns to make myself one.

  2. TMH
    on Dec 6th, 2010
    @ 11:36 PM

    I even use a shoehorn to slip into my adidas. This is an awesome gift
    man. Nice find.

  3. Jonathan
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 2:51 AM

    PETA’s gonna love this

  4. mcough
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 6:20 AM

    My grandparents used to live down the road from Carnforth, remember going there numerous times as a kid. Never knew about these though – they look impressive.

  5. Isaac
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 11:03 AM

    Re: PETA, Leffot makes it quite clear on their website that these horns are a by-product of the meat industry. They’re not being expressly killed so that people can insert their feet into their Edward Greenes properly.

    Use the whole animal, please. It’s disgusting to me when we waste parts. Offal, anyone?

  6. Makaga
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 1:50 PM

    On the topic of shoe horns, does anyone know how to straighten out an antique shoehorn that looks as if was partially bent in half? There is a funny crease halfway through my grandmother’s sterling silver shoehorn I’d like to fix. Thanks

  7. Turling
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 2:33 PM

    Nice bandsaw work. That’s how Sam Maloof would shape is rocking chair runners. The man passed away with only about seven fingers left.

  8. Small Town Boy
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 2:34 PM

    Never thought I’d say this . . . Sweet shoe horns!

  9. Noble County Gold
    on Dec 7th, 2010
    @ 4:41 PM

    Great post.

    Love the fact the ONLY safety regulation being followed were the head-phones/ear protectors.

  10. twoShay
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 2:25 AM

    Actually quite a few safety regulations were being followed.

    Those machines, even the buffing stations, were all connected to dust collectors, they were hooded to prevent things being thrown at other workers, and they were all set up to rotate the correct way so as to not throw things at the man working on on the machine. The demonstrator was probably wearing impact rated lenses. He even wore thumb protection at the long belt sander.

    Most importantly the machines were all operated by someone who really is a skilled workman rather than someone who just dresses as one from the past.

  11. david himel
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 11:32 AM

    Love the way he annoyed the polisher, lol. Wow, I live to see people using low tech labour intensive process’ to make useful things that are beautiful out of what would otherwise be perceived as waste. What a great way to honour a cow! The alternative to these guys is some jerk extruding plastic knockoffs made in China. It would guess that there is a great deal of job satisfaction producing those horns.

  12. JLSLC
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 12:42 PM

    While its nice to know that they don’t whittle an entire Ox down into a single shoehorn, I don’t think that PETA-types will be mollified by the fact that these are a by-product of the meat industry. *Not that anyone need care if they don’t already.* That said, there would seem to be plenty of alternative materials that could be combined with the same dedication to craftsmanship that would offend no human or cow.

  13. Halberstram
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 3:11 PM

    you people kill me.

  14. Isaac
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 3:12 PM

    Yeah, but we’re talking about leather/suede shoes anyway, aren’t we? Do we need shoe horns for our converses?

  15. JLSLC
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 3:20 PM

    I don’t need a shoe horn for my leather boots.

  16. Halberstram
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 3:33 PM

    Isaac, good point. that made me smirk.

  17. jbjones
    on Dec 8th, 2010
    @ 7:55 PM

    JLSLC, that’s just the kind of testosteronic internet talk ive been searching for. i’d very much like to sign you to my online team of intermen.

  18. Jordan
    on Dec 9th, 2010
    @ 2:18 PM

    Using a shoe horn helps with more than just putting the shoe or boot on. In well made shoes there’s this little thing called a heel counter. If you are not using a shoe horn you can crush the heel counter, eliminating any heel and ankle support and limiting the useful life of your shoes as you stretch out the heel.

  19. JLSLC
    on Dec 10th, 2010
    @ 2:41 PM

    jbjones, teams, like shoehorns, are for softies.

    Seriously, I tried to make it obvious that I don’t care whether people use real horn shoehorns, wear leather boots, or eat foie gras stuffed veal 7 times a week. I was simply pointing out that the PETA crowd isn’t going to approve of these, regardless of whether the animals are being slaughtered for other purposes.

  20. Vintage Jackets
    on Dec 18th, 2010
    @ 6:47 AM

    I don’t live a million miles from Carnforth and I had difficulty understanding what was being said. A combination of a Lancashire accent and poor sound quality. Never mind, it was fascinating to see a craftsman at work. As you say, not the most high tech equipment, in fact it is probably from around the time when Dickens were a lad! (Charles that is)Thank you very much for finding and showing the video.
    Davina

  21. Mike
    on Dec 21st, 2010
    @ 3:55 PM

    No matter how long I live in NYC, I will never take for granted the fact that, during a slow day at the office and after killing some time watching these being crafted, I can jump on the subway 4 stops and be right in front of such beautiful craftsmanship.

    Leffot was sold out of the ones with handles, so I picked up two of the 16″ horns as gifts for my brothers. (on the site it says they are $120, but are in fact $105).

    Steven, as you said, was very helpful. He brought several out from the back, all different and beautiful in their own right.

    Great post, thank you.