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A last is a mechanical form shaped like a human foot. It is used by shoemakers and cordwainers in the manufacture and repair of shoes. Lasts come in many styles and sizes, depending on the exact job they are designed for. Common variations include simple one-size lasts used for repairing soles and heels, custom-purpose mechanized lasts used in modern mass production, and custom-made lasts used in the making of bespoke footwear. Lasts are made of firm materials—hardwoods, cast iron, and high-density plastics—to withstand contact with wetted leather and the strong forces involved in reshaping it. Since the early 19th century, lasts typically come in pairs to match the separate shapes of the right and left feet. The development of an automated lasting machine by the Surinamese-American Jan Ernst Matzeliger in the 1880s was a major development in shoe production, immediately improving quality, halving prices, and eliminating the previous putting-out systems surrounding shoemaking centers.

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