African Americans on Postage Stamps

Jan Matzeliger


29-cent Jan E. Matzeliger stamp
The Jan E. Matzeliger stamp was issued on September 15, 1991.

Jan Matzeliger revolutionized the shoe making industry when he patented the "shoe lasting" machine in 1883. His invention was able to duplicate and automate the previously slow, intricate process of "lasting" shoes; joining the upper parts of a shoe to the sole. In the same time that an expert shoe laster could produce 50 pairs of shoes, Matzeliger's machine was able to produce up to 700 pairs.

The Black Experience