Lifestyle

The History of Bronze Baby Shoes

Shannon Ratliff

Did anyone in your family pass down bronzed baby shoes as keepsakes through the generations? Bronzing baby shoes and other valuable items is actually a tradition that dates back centuries. While the trend definitely isn't always popular, there are various companies that will help you with baby shoe bronzing as well as bronzing other personal items so that you can have a unique family keepsake for years to come. 

One of the most notable and trusted companies was the American Bronzing Company who was the leader in the bronzing process, dishing out high quality bronzed shoes and personal items since 1934. The creator of the company, originally called Bron-Shoe Co, Violet Shinbach, saw bronzed shoes in a store and decided that she could actually make a living creating bronze keepsakes. After making millions of bronzed little shoes for parents all over the country, the company, unfortunately, shut down in 2018 due to a decline in demand when their president Robert Kaynes retired.

Regardless of the decline in the bronze baby shoe trend, it's actually a really special gift idea or family heirloom to remember the precious days when your child was a tiny baby. And just like having a record player or listening to radio programs, it's something that is currently coming back in style. 

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You can take your baby's first pair of shoes or your favorite pair of their tiny little baby booties and take them to a company like The Bronzery to turn them into a timeless memento. The process takes a little over a month to actually take the baby's shoes, cover them in the special bronze mix, and harden them into a shape like they are on the baby's feet. 

Pricing starts at $65 to bronze the shoes but goes up from there if you'd like to turn them into a picture frame that includes a photo of the baby or turning them into bookends. One of the best parts about the process is they don't have to be new shoes for them to be bronzed. Some parents have held onto their baby's shoes for up to 20 years and sent them in to get bronzed. 

Just keep in mind this probably isn't something you should DIY. Bronzing shoes is a somewhat complicated process and there is a specific type of liquid sealer used to make sure the shoes don't melt in the process. Once covered in that sealer, the shoes are suspended into a special tank that allows a copper liquid to coat the shoes and harden into metal. It's definitely best to trust a professional company and Kaynes actually recommended The Bronzery after he retired. If you aren't interested in bronzing shoes it could also make an interesting heirloom to take another meaningful baby item like their first toy or pacifier.

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The History of Bronze Baby Shoes