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Blakey's Malleable Castings
A "blakey" is a small piece of metal that cobblers attach to the sole of a shoe or boot to reduce the amount of wear, (similar concept to the use of hobnails in boots). There are small, "half-moon" shaped pieces for the toe end and arc-shaped heel inserts. The use of such devices became popular in the early 20th Century, when leather soles were more prevalent than they are today. Not to mention the fact that people walked a lot more than they do today!

I distinctly remember the kudos accorded to those fellow schoolboys whose footwear was equipped with "blakey's" - they allowed you to skate down concrete passages and create sparks as you flew by! Quite Dickensian, really.

"Blakey's" were so-called because of who made them: A company called "Blakey's Malleable Castings", which was esatablished in 1902 near Leeds to manufacture these devices.

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