Hamilton, Brown Hardware Shoe Tin Sign, "Under The Knife", St. Louis, MO. Ca. 1910

I find this antique advertising sign interesting to say the least. The Hamilton Brown Shoe Company, which in the early 1900’s when this sign was made was the largest shoe manufacturer in the United States. Apparently the company was so proud of their products that they used the ad campaign, “Under the Knife” to demonstrate that if you burrowed into their soles that all of the material was truly leather. This was important at that time, as streets were yet to be paved, and the sole of a shoe would wear down rather quickly, and leather held up better to preserve the cushion of walking on the owners feet against the rough and rocky city streets or wooden store floors. I do like the graphics of the image showing the inside of the sole being cut through to prove their claim! I just wonder how well an image of a knife alongside a shoe would go over in an advertising company in today’s modern world? But for the Hamilton Brown Company, obviously it did not hurt them as they remained the largest shoe manufacturer well into the 1940’s, being based in St. Louis, MO, where many of the largest shoe companies at the time were based out of also.

The Hamilton Brown Shoe Company was also known for their Buster Brown Shoe brand, which was probably their number one seller for forty to fifty years. Later the company was simply known as the Brown Shoe Company. However even that name has disappeared as the name of the Company is called Caleres, and the company remains based in the Saint Louis marketplace, now Headquartered in the STL suburb of Clayton, MO.