FamilyFamily History Family Traditions: Bronzed baby shoes By Esther January 24, 2016 Share Share Copy Link For generations, parents have been bronzing their children’s first pair of shoes as a family keepsake. Parents often wish to recall the sweet, tender memories of their toddler’s first steps, which only happen once. The bronzed shoes can be mounted and displayed for generations. What is it about baby shoes that elicit such sentimental emotions? Are a baby’s first steps more monumental than their first bite of solid food? What about preserving a lock of hair from a child’s very first haircut? There are so many firsts in a child’s life, but it seems as if choosing their first pair of shoes to preserve for the future is arbitrary. First steps demonstrate a huge leap in a child’s growth and development. Walking is a major event; once he or she begins walking, their life changes forever. They are no longer babies. It’s as if, through bronzing a child’s first shoes, we can capture and freeze a special moment in time and remember our child’s innocence and “babyhood.” Newly-bronzed items are a very shiny gold color and then, with time, show a beautiful patina that we associate with bronze. The shoes look like antiques and other historical relics. Bronzing has been used for centuries to make statues, picture frames, dishes and many other items. Some research dates bronzing back to before the 6th-century. Today, there are still some companies that bronze baby shoes. The process usually takes about four to six weeks and is quite complex. It can include: -Applying a special formula to stiffen the shoes -Tying the laces and forming the shoes -Coating the shoes again for electroplating -Putting them on a plating rack for three to four hours -Polishing the shoes to a high luster -Treating them with another protective coating -Mounting the shoes on a base Modern bronzing companies will bronze just about anything you find meaningful to your family’s history and that you wish to preserve for the future. Does your family have any bronzed heirlooms? Let us know in the comments below!