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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..."

ajd578

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I guess I've been pronouncing it wrong, but only in my head because I don't think I've ever used the word outside of internet forums :).

Also, anyone pronouncing gif with a hard /g/ is playing fast and loose as well.

 

DWFII

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I say jif.

I have a friend who owns/owned a GYW boot company...he pronounces it gemming...

All that said, the gemming (and the process) is not something to crow about (better to not talk about it at all)--if it becomes a 'bad' word so much the better. :crackup:

👣
 

DWFII

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Gertoshav

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Hard "G", AFAIK. Might be different in places where they play fast and loose with Traditional shoemaking terminology.
I guess I've been pronouncing it wrong, but only in my head because I don't think I've ever used the word outside of internet forums :).
So that's where Simon and Garfunkel got the idea for "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes"!!

:cool2:
DWFII, in a previous post somewhere you made that same joke so that led me to believe it was "jemming", so thank you so much for the clarification on the hard G. I'm the same with ajd578, I've only said the word in my head so when I'm reading through some of these discussions, my brain keeps taking a mental pause on how it's suppose to read the word.
 

Jaggery

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First, I'd like to express my appreciation for the wealth of cordwainers' knowledge that DFWII, NTempleman, and others have shared on this forum over the years, especially in this thread. By spurring me to delve beyond the surface of promotional marketing, these insights have transformed my assessment of the relative merits of different methods of shoe construction as a customer.

That said, I think the weight of the evidence points to a soft g (i.e. "j" sound) as the original pronunciation. Patents and other online materials indicate that in the last decade of the 19th century, John B. Hadaway of the Gem Flexible Insole Company developed a number of machines for reinforcing insoles with textile or similar covering. An 1898 article in the Boot & Shoe Recorder, which can be found with Google, describes the early history of the company and these inventions. Presumably, the name was just pronounced as the common English word “gem.”

Subsequent sources, still predating the first World War, refer to so-called "Gem insoles," the "Gem machine," and so forth. At some point, the pronunciation may have changed in the relevant community of practice, and the noun became a verb, but it seems likely that these gems preceded "gemmed" and "gemming" in the shoemaking sense.
 
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DWFII

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First, I'd like to express my appreciation for the wealth of cordwainers' knowledge that DFWII, NTempleman, and others have shared on this forum over the years, especially in this thread. By spurring me to delve beyond the surface of promotional marketing, these insights have transformed my assessment of the relative merits of different methods of shoe construction as a customer.

That said, I think the weight of the evidence points to a soft g (i.e. "j" sound) as the original pronunciation. Patents and other online materials indicate that in the last decade of the 19th century, John B. Hadaway of the Gem Flexible Insole Company developed a number of machines for reinforcing insoles with textile covering. An 1898 article in the Boot & Shoe Recorder, which can be found with Google, describes the early history of the company and these inventions. Presumably, the name was just pronounced as the common English word “gem.”

Subsequent sources, still predating the first World War, refer to so-called "Gem insoles," the "Gem machine," and so forth. At some point, the pronunciation may have changed in the relevant community of practice, and the noun became a verb, but it seems likely that these "gems" preceded "gemmed."

Maybe so, maybe no. I really don't have a dog in this hunt. All I have to go on is what I've heard from other makers. That said, nothing you've stated above settles the controversy. I wonder (tongue in cheek) if your own username and the way it is pronounced is influencing your assessment.

That said, as far as I can see, none of the patents (or patent descriptions) identify the machine as Gem branded. So clearly a "gem machine" is referring to a machine that makes or applies Gem (fabric) to an insole...creating a "gem insole". Today we might say "gemmed insole" meaning the exact same thing regardless of pronunciation. .

Just as clearly there is no connection with actual gems (with a soft "g" and referring to a diamond or the like) and the canvas reinforcing strip used in the factory shoemaking process. Words such as "get" and "gum" and "gimp" all start with a hard "g" and were apparently in common usage at the time. So "presuming" that "Gem" (evidently Hadaway was the brand on the machines) was pronounced with a soft "g" is perhaps a little unwarranted, if not indeed a presumption...IMO.

Again, I don't have a dog in this hunt, I'd be just as happy to find out it was indeed pronounced with a soft "g", as not. But I don't think you've made the case.
 
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Jaggery

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I wonder (tongue in cheek) if your own username and the way it is pronounced is influencing your assessment.
Perhaps that's not so far-fetched! IRL, "j" and "soft g" first names are much more common in my social circles than "hard g" first names. I also think there's a tendency, at least in North America, to Anglicize names of Germanic origin (like Kissinger) by softening the "g."

That said, as far as I can see, none of the patents (or patent descriptions) identify the machine as Gem branded. So clearly a "gem machine" is referring to a machine that makes or applies Gem (fabric) to an insole...creating a "gem insole". Today we might say "gemmed insole" meaning the exact same thing regardless of pronunciation.
Short of finding an audio recording or pronunciation guide, this is admittedly all somewhat speculative. FWIW, the key to my inference (and it may be a red herring) was the capitalization of "Gem" in these early sources. However it's said, I try to avoid the stuff in shoes now.
 
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DWFII

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Short of finding an audio recording or pronunciation guide, this is admittedly all somewhat speculative. FWIW, the key to my inference (and it may be a red herring) was the capitalization of "Gem" in these early sources. However it's said, I avoid the stuff in welted shoes now.
I wondered about that but in earlier times people capitalized just about every other word, esp. if they wanted to emphasize the word...much like we bold or italicize a word today.

In fact, so many people today don't use capitals at all, I wonder if future generations will speculate that nothing mattered to our (sic) generation (not knowing how close to reality the speculation is/was)
 

DWFII

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Well, I can't gainsay your experiences or circle of friends But I got curious--that just didn't seem right to me. So I looked up "male first names beginning with "G"

Gary, Gordon, Grayson, Grover, Grey, Gunner, Gideon, Garret, Gregory, Grady, Garth, Gage, Gavin, Glen, Grant, Graham, Griffin, Gilbert, Gustav, Guy, Guillermo. And, of course the many diminutives of these.

There's one webpage that lists over six hundred although many are simply language variants. I suspect that about two-thirds of the commonly known names begin with a hard 'G" and most that don't are 'Latin" in origin.

Of course, if you are really determined, I suppose you can pronounce any of these with a soft 'g'...

Me, I'm just waiting for Godot ...Or is it Joedot?

:crackup::cheers:
 
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