For some time now I keep remembering Stride Rite
and those fabulous machines. I wish they still had them.
You could see your foot inside the shoe.
In the late 1940's and early 1950's, the shoe-fitting x-ray unit
was a common shoe store sales promotion device and nearly
all Stride Rite stores had one.
It was estimated that there were 10,000 of these devices in use.
This particular shoe-fitting x-ray unit was produced by the
dominant company in the field, the Adrian X-Ray Company of Milwaukee WI,
In 1892, Jacob A. Slosberg (J.A.)
was 17 years old and working for
the John M. Noyes Company,
a shoe manufacturer in
When he saved enough money,
he and his business partner,
Philip Green, founded the
Green Shoe Manufacturing Company.
hey set up shop in a converted stable
in Boston in 1919. In 1933,
Green Shoe purchased the name STRIDE RITE
The primary component of a shoe-fitting x-ray unit was the fluoroscope
which consisted essentially of an x-ray tube mounted near the floor
and wholly or partially enclosed in a shielded box and a fluorescent screen.
The x-rays penetrated the shoes and feet and then struck the fluorescent light.
This resulted in an image of the feet within the shoes.
The fluorescent image was reflected to three viewing ports at the top of the cabinet,
where the customer, the salesperson, and a third person (your mother?)
could view the image at the same time.
The radiation hazards associated with shoe fitting x-ray units
were recognized as early as 1950.
The machines were often out of adjustment and were
constructed so radiation leaked into the surrounding area.
By 1970, shoe fitting x-ray units had been banned in 33
states including Minnesota and strict regulation in the
remaining 17 states made their operation impractical.
Believe it or not, this particular shoe-fitting x-ray unit was
found in 1981 in a department store in Madison, West Virginia.
It was still being used in the store's shoe department!
When it was pointed out to the store managers of StrideRite
that it was against West Virginia law to operate a shoe-fitting x-ray unit,
they donated it to the The US food and Drug
Well, I'll be darned.I wondered why they weren't around anymore.
Did anyone else use this machine at Stride Rite??
Posted by Yvonne @ La Petite Gallery
Comments are welcome