INTERVIEW WITH:Art Grasso
PLACE : Oral History office , ITC
DATE: August 7 , 1982
INTERVIEWER: ESther MacMillan
M: ARt Grasso is listed in the program as : Boots, Repair
~ Manufacturing Techniques. This is part of a small project
dealing with early shoe maki ng and boot making.
I want to ask first about the history of this company be cause
it isn't Gras s o, the historic name is Rilling . Right?
G: Urn huh. Right.
M: What relation was Mr . Ril ling to yOU?
G: My great grandfather .
M: He was your great grandfather ! Your wife tells me you
aren't mak i ng boots anymore.
G: We don ' t make anything . WE don 't do fittings or anything.
We are a supplier of materials used in the repair and manufacture
of boots, shoes, leather products, per se .
M: Sell the l eather , too?
G: Se ll the leather,too. Everything that's involved with someone
making a pair of shoe~o r a pair of boots or making a saddl e
or a l eather purse, anything that you want to make out of
leather. We sell supplies for that. As far as getting into the
manufacture of any of these items , we don ' t.
Years ago, back at the turn of the century, the company
did make some shoes but that's l ong since gone. Haven ' t
don~that in many, many years.
M: Why did you stop making shoes? You weren't around .
G: No , I wasn't around .
M: Tell me the date when your great grandfather began this
G: THey came over from Germany .• lid have to r esearch back .• I
don't have it right on the tip of my tongue •• but they started
the business on September 9, 18 68 . The business was orignally
located on Commerce STreet. At that point in time the address
was 107 West Commerce Street. Then it changed t o 109 West
Commerce and the n they changed it again several years later
and got a different address . But the locati on ~ in the same
building, from 1868 to 1972.
M: I can remember going b~ it. WHat was it next to?
G: Walker Furniture Company was on the corner, then there
was Hammond Jewelry was right next door to it.
M: Is that the south side of the street?
G: The north side o f the street. It would be catycorner
across the street from SchiloAs Delicatessen'
11 : WAs it next to the coin man?
G: The coin man was up on the corner. Wa lker Furniture was
on one corner, the coin man was on the other corner, next
to the river and Rilling was right in the middle.
M:I can remember walking by there. When did you move to
G: 1972. That was river property and there was development
with Hemisfair '68 and all. The building b e longed to my
uncle; that was his. So he decided they would utilize the
building in a different manner and they relocated the bus-iness.
11 : Doesn 't really matter in your business does it?
Grasso 3 •
G: No. Not really.
M: ARe you wholesale or retail?
M: You have at the Festival this year a wonderful display
of old time tools and a picture of old time shoes, womens
shoe, merts shoes, all kinds of shoes and boots. One of t he
0- displays you have is calledAheel shave . . Could you talk about
that a little bit?
G: Basically some of the tools that were used, I'd say 50 to
60 years ago .. I'll use the word pre-machine .• Of course
everything had to be drawn by hand or nailed by hand or
whatever. There is a tool out there, it' s a knife t ool, it has
a knife blade in it ; it's call e~ hee l shave. A heel shave
was used after you nailed the heels on to the side of the
boot and the heel s have was used to shape tha t heel to the
desire o/whatever that parti cular boot make r or shoe maker
wanted at that point. Basically a sh~ping tool.
M: Sort of a slanting deal.
G: ,'1ell , the knive s vary. From not t <XImuch of an angle to a
very sharp angle. The knives have various shapes to them
and these various shapes, when they're put onto the heel
shaves will make a different design or different pattern
a nd actually perform a d ifferent function. Whatever the
praticular bootmaker or shoemaker wants to do on that par-ticular
heel .. But ultimately the over-all design of the
heel shape, basically a shaping tool, that is used in the
final procedures in the manufacture of a boot or shoe to
shape it down and get it down to its final configuration .
Grasso 4 .
M: In the early days, I'm thinking of cowboy boots particularl
y , wi t h quite a substanti a l hee l on them .. they didn 't use
rubber or composition did they?
G: It was all l eather . Everything was l eather then , just like
it i5 now . There are some dif ferences now but a quality boot
or a quality shoe is still going to use l eather.
M: All t he way through . St acked?
G: It' s stacked. What they do i s t ake layers of i t and glue it
together with contact cement and r einforced with nails . There 's
various specialized nai l s that are a lso used . There ' s a hob
nail and a t ack , clenching nail ... various nai ls t hat have
specific purposes .. mainly in the hee l a r ea .. to do a spec i f ic
thing i n order t o attach that heel to the shoe .
M: The layers are cemented and t hen ..
G: They ' re cemented and then r einforced with na ils.
M: You have threehammers . And the one that really tickled
me}it was such a work of art/ i s the French hammer. I t' s the
most beautifu l shape.
G: French hammer is your basic t ool . lt's been used in the manufac
ture o f boots and shoes for I don't know how many years.
I t's j ust an old standardized tool. And it' s called the
French hammer. It has a specific function. It ' s an exacting
hammer mainly used for t he nails I was just describing
previ o usly. It i s also used)because of its configuration
and design , when wor king with glue the head can be t urned
over and do some work on the side to,agai~he l ping the shoemaker
getting t he shoe done with as few tools as possib l e.
As many functions with one tool as you can get.
Grasso 5 .
M: There was o ne tha t was doing something about buttons or
something and also had a pounder t hing attached to it.
G:That' s your pincher ; your lasting pincher . And that is
used in the stre tching of your boot vamp material over t he
c rimping boa rd . You hold it over there and you ho l d i t with
th~ther hand and hit a nai l in it right away. You don 't have
to move a r ound and lose your stretch t hat you' ve got on your
vamp at that point .
M: That cri mping board is a f l a t p i ece of wood in a cert ain
G: Yes, it's f l at to an extent ; it is t apered .
M: The board itself is f l at .
G: The board is basically f l at . I t ' s got some tapered edges
on it~impart a specific curl into this area . And again it's
in there like that when the boot maker or shoe maker puts that
parti cular vamp over t he last t hat he ' s going t o nail i t to
that it reasonably conforms to that last and it's easier to
put o n t here and crimp in and get it nailed down ont o t he
l ast .
M: I want t o go back to t hat h ammer ag~n. I want to describe
it on the tape . It ' s so beautiful. The hammer part kind of
flanges out like a be l l , almost. It's just a beautiful thing.
G: It 's des igned . • it ' s a shoiFhandled hammer. From a functionality
standpo i nt( I guess is the word t o use) that it gives the shoe-make
r the amount of force and the leverage that he needs. The
shoe-maker uses the hammer quit e extensively.There.s a lot of
nai l work as far as the heels, etc .• Whenever they're g luing
ma~Yia l s on the shoe, it' s a l ways glued on there and i t' s
G:always tapped on with the hammer .So they use it as a shorthand
l ed thing. It comes down and strikes at ~pe rpend icul a r
M: Gets a good crack at it.
G: Uh huh. It wouldn ' t be any good for nailing a nail into
the wall; it ' s a shoemaker ' s tool and specifically designed
for that and like I said, over hundreds o f years of use that's
what they came up with and that's what they like to use.They
won ' t use a standard claw hammer or a ball peen hammer that you
find at your local hardware stores.
M: Right below that French hammer, you have displayed a
hammer that looks like a ball peen on the bottom but the top
isn't at all like that.
G: That ' s a crispen hammer .And again it has a specific purpose.
Some shoemakers prefer a crispen hammer to a French hammer
S~me prefer a French hammer to a crispen hammer; some use one
for one function and the other for another function. And
again it's individual preference ...• what they use; what they
want to use. Again, both tools are specifically used in the
boot and shoe making industry. Unique tool to this industry.
You wom't find it in your hardware stores.
M: Actually , a shoe-maker is an artist, i sn't he?
G: Definitely . That ' s what I've been telling people here. They
ask me, "Do you make boots? Do you do this?" And the answer is,
"NO , I do not." A shoe-maker or a boot maker is a craftsman
by definition. And I 'm not! There's some thatcpn; most can ' t .
A good boot maker, that real ly produces a fine boot, particular-
G: ly by hand/is at a p remium and is hard to find.
M: That ' s one reason why I wanted to get you on tape. More
and more we 're getting everything made by machine.
One of the things on your board I didn't know abou t were
bristles. You said you use those for sewing. What kind of
G: There 's t wo types of bristles. There's what they call a
hog bristle and i s in fact a hog bristle from the animal and
there's a wire bristl e . Now the choice between-the bristle is
used to thread, or sew the thread(I guess would be a better
choice of words ) into the boot. Whether you're going t o sew
the welting onto the boot or hand make ... go all the way around
on your stitching on this part out here. This sews the full
sole to the we lting. If they 're going to do it by hand and
go all t he way with it, they go either with a wire bristle
or a hog bristle •. It is considered a quality boot and more
prestigous, hand made boot will be sewn with a hog bristle.
That's still the best. They've used hog bristles for
hundreds of years.
~om e of your boot makers or sho~makers will use a wire
bristle. Again it's just used to thread thread . It's a connotation:"
I made that boot with hog bristle; or I made that
boot with a wire bristle." It's a little more prestigious
job to use hog bristle. But again, it is a threading device
M: Along with those, you have some awls . YOu said they
punched the sole with the aw l and then the bristle goes in.
G: With a sewing awl, you make the smallest sewing hole you
G: can,A boot maker or shoe-maker knows exactly the size
that he wants to make; he's done it so many times .
You take the awl and you poke the hole in there and you make
the hole the size you want . Then you take the thread and the
thread is a combination of .. it's a very small diameter o f
thread .. and you take approximate ly 10 or 12 loops on this
thread and you make a span of about 4 feet .
M: What do you mean .. . 1D or 12?
G: You take l D pieces of thread ..
M: Oh, to make it strong like we do double thread.
G: Correct . Then you take a wax and you wax that thread
real good and it's all waxed and it becomes basica l ly one
thread , so to speak. And then this thread i s what is hooked
through .. I mean wrapped around the hog bristle and hooked
through the wire bristle and then you ' re ready to s ew.
So you take your hole and you run your thre ad through there
and you get it started and you continue on down. In about
1/8 inch, maYbep/ 16 inch , depending, and you keep sewing
'til you get the entire thing sewed up.
M: Really strong , i s n ' t it.
G: very strong.
M: It has to go through •. the boots, have to go through mud
and water , dry and hot .
G: It seals 'em in there; that ' s why you use the wax. Of
course that seals the hole off after it ' s all •.. this
particular wax will take and seal that hole and make that
hole ... The boot maker or shoe-maker will take that sewing
awl and he 'll make the diameter of the ho l e , like I said ,
Grasso 9 •
G:he knows exactly how thick he wants it. He makes it almost
as thick as the thread . He knows how thick that's going to be.
So basically you're pul ling it into a very tight hole at
that point. And the wax that's on that thread seals that
M: Wh~s he got in his hand when he's pulling this thread
M: He's just got the thread in his hand?
G:Uh huh .
M: The sewing awl has an eye i n it?
G: No. The sewing awl is just a point .
M: You've got a ho l e here and you 've got your waxed thread.
Does it go down by itself in the hole?
G: No, that's what the wire bristle is for. You thread the
thread into the l oop of the wire bristle. And the wire
bristle is what you stick through there.
M: And that pulls it through. Now I get it.
G:The bristle kind of acts like a needle.
M: Kind of like a crochet needle.
G: Similar. But more like a needle, I suppose. You've got a
hole and you've got your thread.
END OF TAPE I, Side 1,15 minutes
TAPE I, Side 2
M: One of the things that you've got on display that fascinated
me and you showed me where they were used . . those little fine
shaved wooden pegs.Now they went into the sole; underneath
M: the sole?
G:The wooden peg goes onto the outside of the boot. It's
nailed in from the outside. At one point, it attaches and
kind of curves the full sole around the shank of the boot
and attaches it back into the insole . Of course what the
pegs do,~ement is involved there,too. You coat the surfaces
with some cement .Again you hit the leather with the hammer
and you knock the leather down on there and then you take
what's called a pegging awl .. there's a sewing awl and a
pegging awl. The pegging~ only has apoint on it about an
inch long. You're only doing one purpose with the pegging
awl. With the pegging awl, you take the awl and stick it
into the full SOl~of the leather and you can drive a hole
into and it goes all the way into the inside of the boot.
At that point you take your wooden peg, drive the
wooden peg down in that hole and fill that hole with that
wooden peg. And you do that all along the instep; along
the shank portion of the boot on each side.
M: On each side? The sample that yo~ve got up there on the
board shows it through on the in~~e oH the boot.
G: It ~oes through on the inside of the boot. You've got a
little peg that's about 5/8 of an inch long.
M: Those look like they're hand whittled. Are they?
G: I don't know how they're made. I'm sure they're like a
M: Are you still selling them?
G: Oh, yeah.
G: Oh you have to. This boot is about 3 months old and
you can s ee the pegs on either s i de in it. That's an integral
part o f the boot.
M: Have you any idea why they went to wood?
G: No . I've still got a l ot of studying to do on it myself.
A boot maker cou l d probably t el llou ; I don't know.
We supply wood pegs because the boot maker utilizes the
pegs in the manuf acture of h i s boots . We have a firm that
makes t he wood p egs for us ; get the pegs from them. I'm
sure the process is similar to the tooth pick.
M: It looks like they ' rehand done.
G: They would be done by machine. 1square peg about 1/8 inch
square and 5/8 inch l ong . And you d rive them i nto the boot
and t hat seals. It he l ps to hold, or he lps to hold, that
particular part of t he sole j t he fu ll sale to the insole .
You drive ' em in ; you sand ' em of f on t he outs ide , flush, and
t hen there's a t ool th~t you stick down on the inside of the
boot and you sand ' em off on the inside .
M: So they 're smooth. I'm thinki ng about t he long-lasting
qualities . The boot gets s uch tough wear I woul d t hink the
wood would rot out. Maybe it 's s o confined in the leather, i t
doesn ' t.
G: It might. I suppose , however , that there are other
materials that would we ar out befo~e t hat. You wear a boot
and utilize it , you ' re u ltimat e ly goi ng to wear your outside
sole off .. And t hen you have i t replaced whic h any shoe -
maker wi ll do. You t ake it in and t hey remove a ll the stit-ching
in here and take t he heel off and they t ake that
outside sole off and here c ome your holes and your pegs.
~ G:AndAthat point it's re-pegged. And put it all back on there.
M: What kind of leather is that?
G: This is caribou.
M: It's kind of a greyish color; it's got a grain it it. It's
interesting, isn't it?
G: There's all kinds of exotic skins that people use.
M: And the decoration is nice.lt's nice and kind of restrained.
I don't like too much decoration.
G: I take it easy on mine.
M: Another thing that goes back to the old times is buttons.
When they were making butt~n shoes, were they always
G: There were also button shoes for men,too. More predom-inate
in the women styles. Again, I'm still researching that.
Our company) having been around since 1868,was obviously
into this era. I've still got some of these tools
and materials. That's the reason I set up the display. I
thought people would be interested in seeing it.
M: It's fascinating.
G: I have no commercial gains whatsoever; just showing
people what went on.I'm learning myself. I've had people
come up to me and tell me some things which I think is
I great. But I would say the buttons were on ladies shoes.
Ive got one that I display; just to show people how it was
with the hooks, the buttOning machines. I use the word, I
guess, in quotations, because the machine back in those days
compared to 1982 .. their definition of a machine was something
G: wou l d be utilized by the hand or by t he foot. There is a
buttoning machine that we have down there that is a hand-operated
device. It's got a little slide tray on the top
of it and you can put about 25 of these buttons in the top of
it and they drop down o ne by one . So you could have a shoe
there that you're going to re-button, put 10,12,15 buttons
on and you could just go down with this "machine " and put your
10,12,15 buttons on. You're not continuously stopping and
putting on another wire , thread, that took time . Somebody
had to sit there and thread the machine but once the machine
is done, t he n it went on.
That's the multi one. I have some others that are j us t
single buttons. These machines were also sold to you or me • .
YOu could have one of these at home and when you broke a
botton off your boot, you could buy the buttons in little
boxes of 2 dozen , take 'em home and have this little
machine . You had A. wire and you broke a button, you could
put your button back on there .
M: They all had metal shanks?
G: The buttons .. I' ve broken some to see how they were
built •. and they ' re all .. it' s a meta l wire, it's a wire type
device with just a little eye hook on the underneath of it.
There were two different ways , that I've been able to r e -
search so far .• some people liked to have the buttons loose
to where it would flop on the shoe; and o ther,sliked to
have it fixed. Real tight to the leather.
We ' ve got a tool that's called a lock shank. And what
this does . • is if you don't like the button flopping around
G: on your shoe, you can take this tool and mash it and
i t takes the wire on that button and mashes it down to the
wire that's attaching it to the shoe and fixes it on
there and you've got a fixed button.
M: What were the buttons made of mostly?
G: As far as I've been able to tell. The few I've seen.
I think there's other materials involved, too.I've got
some buttons out there that are an imitation .• that I've
been told so far are the most expensive buttons that you
could buy for an imitation pearl. And it really looks like
pearls,too. It's a very pretty button.
M: ProbablY evening shoes.
G: Very flressy.
M: I seem to have seen •.• everybody 's got old shoes ..
not everybody, but you go into little old fashioned stores
in small towns, they have old timey shoes. It seems to me'
I've seen some shoe buttons that were shiney like pottery.
Did they ever make them of pottery?
G: Yes. lhey made all kinds. As I said,I've got these
that look like imitation pearls.Most of the ones that I
have ; that we've saved; I say we because my father and my
grandfather and my uncle were the ones that saved them.I've
taken them out and I said,"i'omebody ought to see them.All
this stuff." So I'm looking at it and learning on it as I
display it, demonstrating. But the ones I've seen are
basically all painted. It's painted and wood.
G: I t seems to me to be wood. When we get through talking ,
I'm going to have to c heck . Break one open again .
M: They ' re p~inted . All right if i t' s a b l ack shoe , i t ' s black
and if it ' s a brow~shoe , brown. Did t hey ever make other
G: Yeah , I have some pink o nes out there ; I ' ve got white
ones . White is p r edominate . Different shades of brown. Ther~s
one or two shades of brown . Blacks , of course . There ' s red .
I n this co l lection, f or whatever reason , whites were predominate .
I 'm sure they made all colors .
Another faction on shoes i s hooks . A lot of t he men ' s
shoes used hooks. You could buy hooks , maybe just a plain
o l d black hook . Do you know what I'm ta l king about?
G: I shou l d have shown it to you. Some of the men ' s shoes ..
s hoes were very high , came above the ank l e .. so from a convenience
standpoint, they would have maybe the first 4,5
laces down here at the b ottom part of the shoe were eyelets . .
so your l ace was fixed in there. Then when you got up to the
top, it wo u l d be a hook l ike on your work boots. But
these were very fancy hooks ; some were ; some we r e very plain ..
W~ve go t some down there that are rea l tiny hooks , about 1/8
inch wide . As compared to your workshoe boot s whi ch were 1/4
inch , 3/8 inch, heavy duty . These are very fine hooks. I
have some down there that appear t o be .. a~n pearl .. I will
use the term pearl i zed because they have some material
coated on the top of them that gives 'em a very . . t hese
happen t o be white .. just a very attractive hook. And you hook
your laces i nto them . So you have it so you could unhook ' em
G: real quick and t ake your shoes off.I've got a few of
those that were saved, tool to show the different designs.
M: Any particular history about shoe laces ?
G: No .
M: We r e they cotton or silk or .. ?
G: I have not researched that. I would imagine they were
predominately cotton. Maybe some silk for very fine. But I
would say probably cotton.
M: Can you put a date on when your family quit _ making
boots and just went to findings ?
G: No, I can't. Not at this point.
M: Your great grandfather certainly made boots. Your grandfather
probably made boots.
G: At t~at ~nt, however, I think that was it.
M: Then your Dad ...
G: They were not i nvolved in any kind of shoe making. I know
t hat goes back t o the early 30's. 'they probably quit- around
191 5 ; maybe 1910. Because t ha t fashion plate poster I have
down there I estimate around 1900. I'm guessing. There are
no dates on there.
M: It's a wonderful poster. Do you get a lot of response? Dc
people come by asking a lot of questions?
G: I've had quite a bit of response to it.I've also had
people wa lking off , saying,"It really is a nice display."
That makes me feel good because my first year participating
and only my second year, r ea lly, in this busine ss. We
a l ways come to the Folklife Festival; I think it's really
a unique experience. So we were out there last year and I
Grasso 17 .
G: said "Here we ' ve got the b usiness . I've got all these
antiques. It fits into this back 40 situa tion here because
eve rybody is showing things, I'm going to call and see if
we can get i n or if the y'd be interested in having."
M: They said yes right awa y .
G: I didn't have problems. So I hope the Institute is
satisfied with it. People that I've hear d seem to be r e asonably
satisfied with it . I ' ve had some r ea l good comments come from
some peop le.Some have really asked questions on it. Most
come by and look.
I 'm trying to show the new along with the old and the
comparison and I've had a chance to do that on some things.
I've got a tool that's used today and a tool that was used
75 years ago. Very little difference.
M: I wonder why the Italians went into the shoe business .
G: I wouldn't stem it back no~eceS SarilY to the Italians.
M: I think about t he l~che s e s and your name is Italian.
G: My name is Ita lian but it's s till German descent.All
my ancestors are f rom southern Germany. The name . . some -
where back i n history , 3, 400 years ago .. I remember hearing
this i n highschool •. there was an Italian movement f rom
northern I -tal y i nto southern Germany. And there was quite a
bit. I assume that this i s where the Italian .•
M:Maybe somebody married a Grasso.
G: An Italian Grasso moved into southern Germany. And over
the years, even though t hey still h ad the Grasso name ,
went all German as fa r as t heir heritage , etc. I 'm talking
about several hund r ed years ago.I'm just specu lating , but
G: everything came out from a German standpoint . I would say
from the know- how and the expertise . A lot of the tools that
were used were made in Germany , anyway . I would say where i t
more stems f r om. I 'm not real sure . I have not r esearched it ,
I 'm ashamed to say .
M: Did your great grandfather come direct to San Antonio?
G: Db huh.
M: He did. So did t he Luccheses come directly to San Antonio .
G: I wonder why .
M: By happenstance . They were headed (it was an enormous
:\ t he U.S .
family/and papa said , "You two are comi ng to . /\ "They
were headed for New Orleans and on the ship they said ," Why
don't you come to San An t onio? I t' s a great town; i ts booming ;
it ' s a great p l ace to be . "
G: Did Mr . Lucchese ever mention the name of Ri l ling?
When you go back out there , you might me ntion it.
Ri llings a nd the LUccheses d i d qui te a bit of business
many years ago.
END OF TAPE I , Side 2 , 15 minu tes .
HENRY RILLING, great g rand father, came to San Anton i o from
Ge rm any~ Estab lished a l eather and findings business and ,
as an adjunct, manufact ured boots and shoes.
HENRY RILLING,JR.,had a sister Ella who married Adolph
GRASSO , grandfather. He was founder of the retail merchant's
ROLAND GRASS6 , fathe r, was i n business abou t 15 years with
CLARENCE GRASSO, t ook ove r in 1950-
ART GRASSOA took over in 1981.
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FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL INTERVIEW WITH:Art Grasso PLACE : Oral History office , ITC DATE: August 7 , 1982 INTERVIEWER: ESther MacMillan M: ARt Grasso is listed in the program as : Boots, Repair ~ Manufacturing Techniques. This is part of a small project dealing with early shoe maki ng and boot making. I want to ask first about the history of this company be cause it isn't Gras s o, the historic name is Rilling . Right? G: Urn huh. Right. M: What relation was Mr . Ril ling to yOU? G: My great grandfather . M: He was your great grandfather ! Your wife tells me you aren't mak i ng boots anymore. G: We don ' t make anything . WE don 't do fittings or anything. We are a supplier of materials used in the repair and manufacture of boots, shoes, leather products, per se . M: Sell the l eather , too? G: Se ll the leather,too. Everything that's involved with someone making a pair of shoe~o r a pair of boots or making a saddl e or a l eather purse, anything that you want to make out of leather. We sell supplies for that. As far as getting into the manufacture of any of these items , we don ' t. Years ago, back at the turn of the century, the company did make some shoes but that's l ong since gone. Haven ' t don~that in many, many years. M: Why did you stop making shoes? You weren't around . G: No , I wasn't around . ~. Grasso M: Tell me the date when your great grandfather began this business. G: THey came over from Germany .• lid have to r esearch back .• I don't have it right on the tip of my tongue •• but they started the business on September 9, 18 68 . The business was orignally located on Commerce STreet. At that point in time the address was 107 West Commerce Street. Then it changed t o 109 West Commerce and the n they changed it again several years later ~~ and got a different address . But the locati on ~ in the same building, from 1868 to 1972. M: I can remember going b~ it. WHat was it next to? G: Walker Furniture Company was on the corner, then there was Hammond Jewelry was right next door to it. M: Is that the south side of the street? G: The north side o f the street. It would be catycorner across the street from SchiloAs Delicatessen' 11 : WAs it next to the coin man? G: The coin man was up on the corner. Wa lker Furniture was on one corner, the coin man was on the other corner, next to the river and Rilling was right in the middle. M:I can remember walking by there. When did you move to Navarro? G: 1972. That was river property and there was development with Hemisfair '68 and all. The building b e longed to my uncle; that was his. So he decided they would utilize the building in a different manner and they relocated the bus-iness. 11 : Doesn 't really matter in your business does it? Grasso 3 • G: No. Not really. M: ARe you wholesale or retail? G: Wholesale. M: You have at the Festival this year a wonderful display , of old time tools and a picture of old time shoes, womens shoe, merts shoes, all kinds of shoes and boots. One of t he 0- displays you have is calledAheel shave . . Could you talk about that a little bit? G: Basically some of the tools that were used, I'd say 50 to 60 years ago .. I'll use the word pre-machine .• Of course everything had to be drawn by hand or nailed by hand or whatever. There is a tool out there, it' s a knife t ool, it has a knife blade in it ; it's call e~ hee l shave. A heel shave was used after you nailed the heels on to the side of the boot and the heel s have was used to shape tha t heel to the desire o/whatever that parti cular boot make r or shoe maker wanted at that point. Basically a sh~ping tool. M: Sort of a slanting deal. G: ,'1ell , the knive s vary. From not t