Let us imagine for one moment you are a dapper young man living in London in the 1830s. 1837 saw the dawn of the Victorian age, and most gentlemen about town were still sporting black leather Wellingtons, as designed by the Duke of Wellington himself.

The Wellington Boot



The Wellington Boot

They were designed by the Duke of Wellington in 1817, some two years after the Battle of Waterloo, because breeches, which ended at the knee, began to rapidly go out of fashion and were replaced with pantaloons, or what we know today as trousers or pants.

To be a la modein this era the pantaloons had to be extremely tight fitting. This created problems with the traditional Hessian boot favored by Wellington and indeed the general public up until this time.



The Hessian Boot

The Hessian boot had tassels and therefore became awkward to wear over trousers. Wellington instructed his bootmakers, Hoby in St James’ London, to create a boot without tassels, slimmer along the calf and shorter too, so that they could comfortably be worn over trousers with an over the boot stirrup created to keep the trousers neatly in place.



Pantaloons could also be tucked into the boots. In this era your boots would be identical, there was no left or right, this would not be considered until some decades later. And there were only three sizes, small, medium or large.

It wasn’t until 1852 that Hiram Hutchinson opened a rubber boot company using the new vulcanization process invented by Charles Goodyear. He used a similar style for these rubber boots to the one first designed by Wellington – and they’ve been known as “wellies” ever since and are worn to this day by English country gentlemen.


Here we see British Prime Minister David Cameron wearing them while trying to boost morale following an all too frequent incident of flooding.

The Pocket Watch



When it came to telling the time, you would rely upon your pocket watch. The development of the lever escapement by the English horologist Thomas Mudge in or before 1755 is considered the single greatest development for the pocket watch enabling the watch to remain accurate to within a minute a day. His invention remains a feature in almost every pocket watch made up to and including the present day. Throughout the 18th and much of the 19th century the English were leading the world in clock making, but as with so many inventions, they were superseded by the Americans from the later 19th to early 20th century and then the Swiss from that time onwards.



The word fusee comes from the French fusée and late Latin fusata, meaning "spindle full of thread." While the origin of the fusee drive is unknown, many believe it appeared with the first spring driven clocks in the 15th century. The idea probably did not originate with clockmakers, since the earliest known example is in a crossbow windlass shown in a 1405 military manuscript.



Because of the size of a fusee movement, watches containing the mechanism tend to be bulkier than what we would consider a "modern" pocket watch of the late 19th, early 20th century. By 1865 the American Watch Company, later known as Waltham, were turning out 50,000 pocket watches a year, each of them reliable to within 30 seconds a week.

The rise of the railroad, and the famous train crash on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway on April 19th 1891, – caused by a railman’s watch which had stopped for four minutes – prompted the standardization of the pocket watch for use on the railroads.