Sitting at his kitchen table in Lewiston, Paul Jalbert’s eyes mist as he remembers his father, Adrien Jalbert.

A Lewiston native, Adrien was a championship hockey coach for L’Association St.-Dominique team, marathon runner, musician, father and an innovator in the shoe industry.

“I have a lot of good memories,” Jalbert said.  “He was a very nice man.”

While out on Sunday drives, Adrien would be inspired by a thought, and pull the car over to the side of the road to jot down his ideas for a new invention.

“My father worked 24-7.  His mind was always going,” Jalbert remembered.

Even though he only went to school until the sixth grade, Adrien Jalbert was always a foreman or a supervisor for the companies he worked for and held numerous patents.

His inventions included the combining machine, roughing machine, wedge heeled covering machine, lathe pulling machine, skiving machine, beach buggy, battery-powered fire detector, automatic hamburger flipper, coin wrapper, and numerous other government inventions that still remain secret.

Even to this day, Jalbert sees the machines his father created still in use in shoe manufacturing plants around the world.

Despite spending many years in the shoe industry, he never wanted his children to follow in his footsteps.

“He always said there was something better for you out there,” Jalbert said. “But he did teach me how to buy a good shoe!  I have some leather shoes that are 30 to 40 years old.”

After his father passed in 1971, Jalbert inherited the copies of his father’s patents.

When he realized Museum L-A was having a shoe exhibit, he offered the varying shoe machine patents for them to display.

Now, as a volunteer tour guide for the museum, Jalbert tells people about his father and the shoe industry on a weekly basis.

Jalbert will also accept the Inspiration and Innovation Award for his father at the Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday, June 7, at Museum L-A.

The evening will also feature a keynote speech by Dr. Ford W. Bell, DVM, president of the American Association of Museums.

Jalbert said it was a shock to learn his father was to receive the award posthumously.

“Those patents had been hidden away, doing nothing. They’re really all that I have of my father besides a few photos and memories.”

For more information on the Museum L-A’s awards event and to purchase tickets, visit the museum’s web site at www.museumla.org or call 333-3881.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: