Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Top Hat W

Top Hat back


Up for your perusal today is Uncle Charles from Liverpool. I like his shiny top hat and well buffed shoes. They look to be a low boot with elastic insets to allow it over the foot. Elastic was invented in the 1820s by Thomas Hancock and his collaboration with Charles Macintosh led to the production of rubberized overcoats, among other things. Hancock finally patented his rubber processing machine in 1837 and became the leading producer of rubber goods in the world. Elastic was used in boots and shoes extensively, both in men’s and women’s fashions.

The photographer Uncle Charles used was Harry Emmens of 30 Church Street and 108 Seel Street, Liverpool. By the studio appointments, I’m guessing this CDV was made in the 1880s or 1890s. Stay tuned for more photos from this family. Someone at some point identified a few of them, but I haven’t had a chance to try to track anyone down yet…if I can at all.

This is a Sepia Saturday submission! Click through and explore as they did in times past, up the lazy river, around the bend and across the great oceans.

Take a tour of the world

9 thoughts on “Uncle Charles

  1. Katrina says:

    He looks like a young Charles, Prince of Wales to me.


  2. Uncle Charles has stripes on his trouser legs but his jacket is not quite right for fancy formal wear even with the top hat. Could they be an indication of his work? Perhaps carriage driver or other liveried household staff?


  3. lulubelleliz says:

    A very dapper gentleman, your Uncle Charles. I agree with Katrina, I too thought he looked like Prince Charles.


  4. Bob Scotney says:

    How appropriate that the Prince of Wales feathers appear on the back of this Charles look-a-like.


  5. postcardy says:

    I usually find that shoes with elastic are most comfortable.

    Maybe the top hat was just a photographer’s prop.


  6. La Nightingail says:

    Yes, the elastic insert can clearly be seen on the inside of his left foot. I didn’t know elastic had been around for that long. Thanks for the info! I generally wear shoes with elastic inserts because I have a high instep & it’s hard to find comfortable shoes otherwise. Dr. Scholl’s tassel loafer moccasins are my favorite. Good thing I live in the country & don’t have to dress up too often!


  7. Joan says:

    I do love Sepia Saturday posts because I always learn something. Today it was a mini history of rubber used in clothing — and of course getting to meet the elegant uncle Charles — photographically speaking.


  8. hmchargue says:

    A rubberized overcoat must have seemed a wonder….especially for fishermen, firemen, Englishmen. You couldn’t have sold too many here in California. 73 today in our avocado grove.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: