Here is a look at a couple of old shoes that seem to be extinct.


There are many shoes that have reached that distinction. These two shoes were both patented and advertised in the NHPA's Horseshoe World magazine; therefore it is surprising that neither shoe is showing up in someone's collection inventory.

Both shoes were of unusual design and that may have impeded sales rather than impress the pitchers of the day. Poor sales would mean items are more elusive 65 years later, but not necessarily impossible to find.

click to enlargeThe Madison shoe had the most innovative design and received patent approval November 3, 1936. The design by William Madison, Rochester, New York, had an inner set of large barb hooks in addition to the customary hooks on the points. Certainly this design should have appealed to some of the pitchers of the game. There should have been some sales, especially from the national advertising in the Horseshoe World. The ad in 1936 boasted of 17 consecutive double ringers. At least someone claims to have pitched the shoe!

The Issacs Air-Flow shoe was advertised as early as 1935 in Horseshoe World. The patent application was filed by William Frazier (Hamilton, Ohio) on November 19,1935 and was approved May 11, 1937. Why the shoe bears the brand name of Issacs is not understood, other than the shoes was distributed by W.L. Issacs, also of Hamilton, Ohio.

Interesting but little note, after the patent approval, the model name spelling was changed to Issacs Air-Flo. Advertising in the Horseshoe World continued through click to enlarge1937. Any shoe that experienced three or so years of longevity/ surely had to have some sales success and there would be expectation that some specimens would be found. At least none are known. The Issacs shoe offered a very interesting ad in 1936. The manufacturer of the Issacs Air-Flo shoe offered $100 in additional prize money at the National Tournament. Up to $25 would be paid to any class winners that would be pitching the Issacs shoe. That same ad showed a Canadian distributor W.A. MacKenzie, New Westminister, B.C. Other than Diamond shoes, this is only U.S. made shoe that had a formal Canadian outlet.

If you find a shoe that appears very different and you for a moment think you have found an Issacs shoe, you can quickly make the determination, by the three-notch ringer breaker. The Issacs shoe is the only shoe known have such a feature. The patent draft does not show this feature but the pictured ads clearly show a triple-notch breaker.

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