An American Icon: Johnston & Murphy's Handmade 100s
Six months ago, I started An Uptown Dandy with a post on my small collection of Johnston & Murphy's crowning achievement, the Handmade 100s (you can view the original post here). Since then, I've received a few reader requests asking for some close-ups of the broguing and leather. In light of the six month anniversary, this seemed like a good time to go back to where it all began (but please keep in mind that my photography skills are really non-existent).
The Handmade 100s are like the Russian Yeti or Canadian Sasquatch: rumours persist as to its existence, but they are rarely seen in captivity or the wild. Bennie's in Atlanta once had an incredible supply on hand - but sadly, that is no longer the case, so shoe connoisseurs are left to rummage through thrift shops and attics. Occasionally, a pair will surface on eBay.
Here, then, are some up close and personal images of an American masterpiece.
The quintessential Johnston & Murphy medallion. Many vintage J&M's from the Handmade and Aristocraft lines have this same toe shape and medallion perforation, which is almost instantly recognizable as a J&M product that was made in the USA during the company's heyday.
What really stands out on these Handmade 100s, besides the lovely shade of brown calf skin leather, is the absolutely perfect looking broguing patterns all along the full-brogue design. What may be even more impressive is the dark leather "piping," for lack of a better term, that we see above the broguing lines and along the edge of each leather piece that comprises the wingtip's leather upper.
In most cases, the various pieces of leather on the wingtip will have "jagged" or "scissor-like" edges. Interestingly, we can see the jagged leather edge along the rim at the top of the upper. But, interestingly enough, the leather piping seems to have been added along the rim of the shoe where the foot is inserted, just behind the broguing line. But along the edges of the other leather pieces that comprise the full- brogue, or wingtip, shoe. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't think I've seen this detail can be found on an Italian or English-made. Perhaps a trick of the American trade?
In this day and age, the sign of a well-crafted shoe can be found on the sole of the shoe. Channeled sole, bevelled waists, slight waist suppression, all of these little details are on full display when viewing the Handmade 100s.
The waist shows the original "Handmade" stamp and the channeled soles. The original heels are also still in fine shape, further proof that the Handmade 100s were built to last.