A portable beechwood Freestanding Boot Jack by Peal & Co.
This type of Boot Jack, although much bigger than most others, is the most practical to use with leverage applied to both the heal and the top of the toe. This version is unusual in that it is also made to dismantle. The uprights are fitted to the platform and the handle by wide mortice and tenon joints which are each fixed by a single screw. This is not purely for construction as the joints are also stamped A or B so the corresponding sections are fitted correctly. The tongue, which swings on metal pins, simply slots into each upright before they are fixed. Added to this the uprights are plain and square sectioned to pack easier.
The company was founded in 1791 by shoe maker Samuel Peal in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. He moved to Stepney Green, London and established his reputation by patenting an Indian rubber solution that waterproofed clothing materials. His footwear soon became known for being comfortable, dry and long lasting. The company quickly grew, moving to smarter premises at 7 Frederick Street off Tottenham Court Road and then to 11 Duke Street in 1830, 487 Oxford Street in 1886 and finally 48 Wigmore Street in 1958. The company remained in the family's hands through 6 generations. They promoted their business by going to their customers, taking their wares to numerous horse trials and exhibitions. From the late 19th century they also sent their salesman all over the world to garner orders and that would offer one explanation for the Boot Jack dismantling. Another would be that it was used by a Cavalry officer or someone who travelled often to ride at events. Their list of celebrity clients, from movie stars and writers to royalty and politicians, from both sides of the Atlantic is very long and shows the height of Peal's reputation. The address to the logo dates the Boot Jack to after 1886 and before 1958. There is also an owner's name label of J.E. Henson although nothing is known of them. A practical Boot Jack by a good maker. Circa 1900.