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Vintage French Shriner shoes -- were these high end or midgrade?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Was this a good brand in the past, or just middling?

Article in question:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...9125&rd=1&rd=1
post #2 of 18
Just judging from the pics, I'd say middling at best.

I did a Google search for them and was surprised to see the brand is still in existence.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Just judging from the pics, I'd say middling at best.

I did a Google search for them and was surprised to see the brand is still in existence.

I have a pair of black monkstraps from them and they are middle of the road quality.
post #4 of 18
i just got a pair of longwings, anyone think they can help date these for me? as far as i can tell, they are pebble grain, tan coloured and they have a combination of a leather sole and a leather/rubber heel. i can post some pictures if someone requests
post #5 of 18
They made some lovely shell shoes, though.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by srivats View Post
They made some lovely shell shoes, though.


here they are. now in my short shoe collection history i've not had the chance to look at a shell shoes outside of an image on a computer screen, so are these shell?
LL
LL
post #7 of 18
Don't look like it, no.
post #8 of 18

One way to tell the age of a French Shriner shoe is whether the full name is French Shriner & Urner or just French Shriner.  The "Urner" was dropped I believe sometime in the 1950s after Samual Urner died.  This company started manufacturing in the late 1800s in Rockland, MA.  Around 1900s. they built a factory on 63 Melcher Street .   They eventually moved their operations to 443 Albany Street in Boston where they continued manufacturing until the late 1960s.  The City of Boston then took the land which was used for parking for the workers by eminent domain and subsequently drove them out of business.  So much for Boston's "redevelopment" plan. 

post #9 of 18
They advertised quite a bit in the New Yorker magazine 50+ years ago. This led me to surmise they were on the upmarket side. Like a lot of fine American shoe brands, their quality may have cycled downward with the passing of the years.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post

They advertised quite a bit in the New Yorker magazine 50+ years ago. This led me to surmise they were on the upmarket side. Like a lot of fine American shoe brands, their quality may have cycled downward with the passing of the years.

The bigger issue is that a lot of the labor saving and quality killing things that are standard today weren't invented yet then, or weren't really useable in certain applications. Even downmarket shoes by those standards would be great today- sears sold a wide array of welted shoes for men and women. Now, welted shoes are growing rarer for men and are virtually non-existent for women. They were fairly expensive, and poorer people would often go without shoes because of it, but the quality was there. Same with suits. Fusing was invented in post war germany because the tailors were mostly jewish, and they needed some way of making suits that didn't require lots of expertise. It took a while to spread, and that's the reason that just about any vintage suit you find from the 60's and before will be fully canvassed- it's not because they were top tier suits, it's because that was just how suits were made.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mthurlow View Post

One way to tell the age of a French Shriner shoe is whether the full name is French Shriner & Urner or just French Shriner.  The "Urner" was dropped I believe sometime in the 1950s after Samual Urner died. 

I'm not sure when they dropped Urner from their name, but Samuel P. Urner died in 1912; so I suspect it was before the 50's. BTW, Charles Shriner died in 1914, but he had a son who then took over the company.
post #12 of 18

I know, his son was my grandfather Blanchard Urner Shriner.  Blanchard too died at a young age (52) from lung cancer which left his three sons, my father being Richard, and his widow Katherine to run the company.

post #13 of 18
Does your family still own the company, or did they sell out? Were you ever involved in the business?

I have two pairs of French Shriner calf LWBs that I would consider as good as anything Alden is producing today. I'll post photos later in the week.
post #14 of 18

The short story is that United Shoe bought the French Shriner name in the late 60's.  This year I visited 63 Melcher Street in Boston (built in 1906 by Boston Wharf for French Shriner) which was the second location of the factory where the shoes were produced.  443 Albany Street was the third (they moved there in the 50s) is landmarked as a historical building.  I did go looking for the original factory in Rockland, MA as I have a picture of it but couldn't find it.  I would vist my father at the factory when I was very young and was a clerk in one of the stores on Cape Cod but the company was pretty well gone by then, French Shriner was a landlord but no longer owned the shoes.  My great grand father and another man whose name is not coming to mind developed and held a patent for a mechanized welting machine which sewed the welting onto the shoes.

post #15 of 18
Here are the two French Shriner pair that I have. I'm not sure how old they are, or even which pair is older; but they were made before the quality started slipping. They are very well made - all leather (with the exception of the heel on the tan pair which is not original) and are welted with a storm welt. The black pair is the Avenue model and the tan pair is the Briar model. The black pair has very slight wear and the tan pair has only slightly more wear. French Shriner made some real crap in the 70's and later, but if you can find some from the 50's or 60's, they are high quality shoes











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