More Old Shoe Trivia


There was more trivia stuff than could fit in the last article, so this is an extension to the trivia quiz. Again the answers are provided.

What brands made both bookless (plain) and hooked models?

This is a unique bunch of shoe manufacturers, as they had to be in business for some longevity and in two distinct periods of our pitching shoe history. Again the short version: Ohio, Indiana, Craftsman, Diamond, Giant Grip, Octigan, Good Luck and Montgomery Wards. Sears also had plain and hooked models, but by different manufacturers. The same applies for Star shoes. In fact there are three unrelated Star shoes by three different manufacturers. A hookless Star was produced by St. Pierre in the 1930's, a Star picnic shoe was produced by the Star Heel Plate Co., Newark, NJ in the 1950's and the most recent Star stainless steel tournament shoe, again by a different manufacturer.

What shoe has a 'B' on one point and an 'A' on the other point, and what is the purpose of that?

Ohio shoes throughout the late 1930's and into the 1940's had this minor phenomenon. Not all Ohio shoes, but many had this duel lettering. It is common for shoes to have a number or lettering designation. One pair of shoes would be As and the other pair would then be B's. Or one pair would be 1's and the other 2's. Ohio is the only shoe with the A and B on the same shoe. The big question is why? There is no documentation found that explains the purpose. Supposedly, it has something to do with flipping to determine who starts a game. If you know for sure, please get in touch. In a similar oddity, Montgomery Wards shoes were G's and O's, which is rather different. The reason however makes some sense. The initials actually represent executive officers of the company - George and Oscar.

What older shoes had the word Ringer in the model name?

The very first was the Lucky Ringer, manufactured in St. Louis MO. The shoe advertised in the 1922 Horseshoe World magazine, one of only three brands that were advertised that year. The shoe was novel in that the brand name was forged in heavy lettering around the entire topside of the shoe. This may or not have been a great grip for pitchers. This is the only shoe with that distinctive brand logo. No Lucky Ringer shoes have been reported in collection, making the shoe either rare or unfortunately extinct.

There is also a Luck-E Official that was found by David Baker. Being a hookless shoe, it might lead some to think that they have found a Lucky Ringer, but not the case. The Luck-L Official is in it's own right is a rare find as only one pair has ever been found.

Another ten years went by before the next 'Ringer' shoe came out - the Eagle Ringer in 1931. This is one of the longest running shoe ever. The Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company manufactured the Eagle Ringer through 1969. Eagle Ringers introduced several new aspects to the evolution of the pitching shoe. The Eagle Ringer was the first shoe to have a ringer breaker (although slight), the first shoe to have full sized hooks and the first to have length-wise heel calks. The shoe also received a patent approval.

Diamond Double Ringers is probably the largest selling horseshoe model of all time and most are familiar with the shoe's existence from 1945 through the early 1990's. There might even be current production of Double Ringers but that is by a foreign manufacturer. Few realize that there was a hookless version of the Double Ringer in about 1935. Those original hookless models had the same orange and green colors that we saw in the later models. Apparently, Diamond wanted to monopolize the use of the word ringer as in 1940 they began producing the Super Ringer. That shoe has continued production ever since, however current production is also overseas.

Sometime during the late 1930's, the Professional Sure Ringer appeared on the market. We do not know for sure who the manufacturer was, but there is some logic to the thought that the company was a forerunner to the Durbin-Durko Company of St. Louis, MO, who produced the Sure Ringer in the 1950's and 60's. The older Professional Sure Ringer were hooked shoes, but a heavily formed shoes that in its day had to be termed a picnic shoe. The name was stamped on the toe with no other clues as to whom made them or where they came from. They are commonly found yet today, so at one time they did have some success.

The Durbin-Durko shoes sport well defined brand logos. Some Durbin-Durko shoes have been reported with the name Professional Sure Ringer, but the great majority simply state Sure Ringer. There are a few Red-D-Ringer by Durbin-Durko also in collection. All three shoes are the exact same picnic shoe model but with a different name forged on the logo. There is no resemblance to the 1930's Professional Sure Ringer, but the name thing does hint to the fact that there probably is some relationship between the manufacturers.

During the 1960's, the Buck Brothers, Milbury, MA., produced the Ringer model. Today, most collectors classify the shoe as a picnic shoe, but the shoe was sanctioned by the NHPA and advertised in the News Digest. There had to be some sales success as the shoes are readily found on the flea market circuit.

Trader Jottings

While attending the World Tournament, do stop by the Horseshoe Trader display. If you have a pair of old shoes that you need identified, bring them in, we will get the job done. If you have shoes to donate to the NHPA Hall of Fame collection, bring them in, the particulars will be noted and we will pass the shoes on for you.