The Tradition of Bronzed Baby Shoes

24395581969_7cf5578b3a_mDid your parents bronze your baby shoes? It is a tradition that goes back for generations. The adorable little shoes worn by someone when he or she was a baby become an interesting family heirloom. The popularity of bronzing baby shoes has fallen in and out of popularity over time. There are still companies today who will bronze sentimental items for you.

The history of bronzing special items goes back to before the 6th Century B.C. Originally, bronzing was done on statues, picture frames, dishes, and other household items.

The American Bronzing Company got its start in 1934. Violet Shinbach started a business that eventually became the largest and most trusted baby shoe bronzing company in the world. It was originally named the Bron-Shoe Co.. Violet Shinbach saw a pair of bronzed baby shoes in a department store in 1930 and realized this idea was one she could make a business out of.

Since 1934, the American Bronzing Company has bronzed over 14,000,000 baby shoes for sentimental parents. The company is located in Columbus, Ohio, and can bronze your baby’s shoes (or other special items) today. In addition to baby shoes, the company has bronze plated baby pacifiers, track cleats, golf balls, dog collars, ballet slippers, and more. Some people have their baby’s christening slippers bronzed.

Why do some parents choose to have their baby’s shoes bronzed? Part of the reason is because the little shoes evoke nostalgia. Looking at the shoes reminds parents of when their child was small. The shoes make parents think about the first time their baby (or toddler) took his or her very first steps. Obviously, first steps are a memorable milestone!

Many people feel that a baby officially becomes a toddler after he or she starts to walk. Parents bronze their baby’s shoes in order to freeze a special moment in time. The bronzed baby shoes become a reminder of when their child was a small, innocent, baby. A pair of bronzed baby shoes instantly becomes a keepsake and family heirloom.

The process of bronzing can take between four and six weeks. First, a special formula is applied that stiffens the baby shoes. The laces are tied and the shoes are formed to look as they would if the baby was wearing them. The shoes then get coated again for electroplating. They sit on a plating rack for three or four hours.

After the shoes have been bronzed, they are polished to a high luster. Another coating is applied, this time to protect the bronze. Often, a bronzed pair of baby shoes is mounted onto a base. A newly bronzed pair of baby shoes starts out a shiny gold color, and develops a patina over time.

Image by Jan on Flickr.

Related Articles at

* Great Ways to Share Family Heirlooms

* Finding Family Heirlooms

* Weird Places to Find Family Heirlooms

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