October 30, 2009

The Soul of Milton Hill

Richard H. Lufkin (1851-1922) was the inventor in 1877 of the vamp-folding machine that was to revolutionize the American shoe industry. A diploma from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association stated that this “is a well-known and meritorious machine and is standard among shoe manufacturers. It turns the edges of leather and cloth for vamps or linings of shoe perfectly, making a superior finish indispensable in a nice fitted shoe. It is unrivalled and is in use in all parts of the country and also abroad.” This likeness of Lufkin, complete with his 22-pound vamp-folding machine, is in stained glass in his mausoleum. The Lufkin Mausoleum is prominently sited on Summit Circle on Milton Hill and was erected in 1928; the mausoleum serves not just as a memorial, but as a place of burial. Above the entrance and carved in enduring granite is the legend “The inventor of the first Vamp Folding Machine” with a three dimensional carving of the device with the patent date of 1877.

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