I have a confession to make: I love old machines. It does not have to be machinery that specifically relates to shoe production (although that helps a lot). I think it comes down to the fascination of all those gears and machinery all working towards one goal, such as stitching a sole on a shoe.
Past a certain point of iteration, all the processes come together and you have a machine best suited to the purpose, or that takes advantage of such modern things as electricity. However as I focus on handmaking, my interests lean toward hand-assisted machinery. I have been lucky enough to have acquired over the years 3 machines (that decide on a daily basis if they are working or not): the quaint Junker & Ruh 28, the mysterious Junker & Ruh SK, and the little engine that might – The Frobana Barmen.
All of these have their own vagaries. I am currently working on the Junker & Ruh Sk, and I must admit that is part of the fun. So the Junk & Ruh Sk (let us just call it the SK for future reference) is a strange old beast that sits in the unique position between hand stitching and a big upright sole stitching machine. The SK has a small bench mounted foot print and operates via a push pull movement of a lever, and here is a picture from the manual. The interesting point about this machine is that it is a chain stitch machine rather than a lock stitch machine. The decision to make it a chain stitch means you do not need two threads (the thread loop in on itself each stitch creating a chain) and you can then have less moving parts and a smaller machine footprint.
To share the machinery love, here are some more photos: