Who Invented It: Charles Goodyear, Jr.
Year Introduced: 1869

Thanks to the Goodyear welt, expensive dress shoes and work shoes could get repeated leases on life. The machine was invented by Charles Goodyear, Jr., and it replaces the hand-sewn process of welting shoes. Yes, the manufacturing process  drives up the cost of footwear, but it also makes the quality much, much, better than cheaper alternatives.