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Dacks and other Canadian shoe brands

COLONEL77

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It is great to have you back on the thread Colonel 77!!! You are a bit of a legend here, and you Dad is hero. He did good things over the years he owned Dacks/Hartt. I have many pairs of shoes from those years. @paul 902 even has a lovely pair of S.E. Dacks.

Stanford Dack sure was a dapper fellow. The spats really stand out to me.

How long did he continue to work at Dacks after your Dad purchased the company? As well when to production cease in Toronto?

I am so glad you are here!!! I have tried to figure out how to reach you several times. You have so much you can teach us. So much of what I have posted has been an educated guess. I would love to be corrected many times.

DACK'S PRODUCTION MOVED FROM TORONTO TO FREDERICTON TO THE HARTT BOOT AND SHOE COMPANY LOCATION BEFORE EARLY 1960s THOUGH CANNOT READILY RECALL EXACT DATE / MONTH THOUGH IT HAD TO BE NO LATER THAN ABOUT 1961 - 1962.

MR. DACK REMAINED UNTIL EARLY 1949 WHEN THEY BOTH MOVED TO CALIFORNIA -

MY FATHER WAS HIS STOCKBROKER WHERE ONE DAY IN SPEAKING MR. DACK SAID HIS DOCTOR DIAGNOSED HEART RELATED PROBLEMS WHICH WAS FELT MIGHT BECOME WORSE WITH CONTINUED DAILY WORK AND HE WAS AN EARLY ARRIVAL / LATE DEPARTURE TYPE, JUST AS WAS MY FATHER -

SOMEWHAT AMUSINGLY, I REMEMBER MY FATHER BEING TOLD THAT IN NOT EXPECTING TO LIVE TOO LONG IT WAS DECIDED TO HEAD FOR A NICE RETIREMENT CLIMATE -

THE STRANGE THING IS MR. DACK LIVED ROUGHLY ANOTHER 20 YEARS SO COULD HAVE JUST CARRIED ON WITH HIS CHILDREN AND OTHERS STILL RUNNING THE COMPANY AND NOT HAVE SOLD OUT !!! -

MY FATHER AND MOTHER HAD PUT A PROSPECTUS TOGETHER TO SHOW TO ANY PROSPECTIVE BUYERS THOUGH IN DISCUSSING IT WITH SOME OF HIS FELLOW BROKERS AND OTHER BUSINESSMEN HE KNEW ALL FELT HE SHOULD BUY DACK'S WHICH HE DID -

WHEN ASKED ABOUT THIS ASPECT BY EVERYONE FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID THAT UP UNTIL THAT TIME ALL HE EVER REALLY KNEW ABOUT THE SHOE BUSINESS WAS WE ALL WORE THEM !!!!! COLONEL77
 

Paul902

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A GOOD ITEM OF TRIVIA IS DACK'S MADE TWO PAIRS OF OF RCMP RIDING BOOTS AS WORN BY THE ORIGINAL ACTOR RICHARD SIMMONS IN THE TV PROGRAM " SERGEANT PRESTON OF THE YUKON " SO LOOK FOR THEM IN CERTAIN EPISODES AS THEY DO STAND OUT -
I had many a morning sitting in front of Sergeant Preston! Little did I know I would someday own the similar boots (and hat). Check out those Dack's!

SgtPreston.jpeg
 
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Jiqea

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Well that is fantastic. I had been under the assumption that S.E Dack had stayed around until about 1955. There you go. I hope you can straighten me out on many of my misapprehensions!!

It is quite useful to know that the Toronto factory stayed open for a few years after you father bought the Hartt's Shoe company. I was unsure how quickly production was moved to Fredericton. It must have been under your father's leadership that the S.E. Dack Extra Quality line was developed. I can find no ads for it before the early 50's. The S.E Dack shoes I have seen personally (4 pairs only), have been sublime.
 
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Jiqea

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On my last thrifting stop early last week I picked up a distressed pair of late 80's early 90's camel Dacks shortwings. I just gave them a 20 minute spa with Lexol, Bicks 4 and NOS laces and they are good to go. Camel and Bison leather is so forgiving.

IMG_4126.jpg
IMG_4130.jpg
 

COLONEL77

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As part of the shoe store photography contest, I decided to jump in my DeLoreon and travel back in time to circa 1900, where I snapped this photo of the Slater shoe store at 448 Yonge Street in Toronto. View attachment 1134772

THIS LOCATION WAS AT SOUTHWEST CORNER AT YONGE STREET AND COLLEGE STREET NEAR COLLEGE STREET SUBWAY STATION ENTRANCE STAIRWAY. COLONEL77
 

COLONEL77

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Well that is fantastic. I had been under the assumption that S.E Dack had stayed around until about 1955. There you go. I hope you can straighten me out on many of my misapprehensions!!

It is quite useful to know that the Toronto factory stayed open for a few years after you father bought the Hartt's Shoe company. I was unsure how quickly production was moved to Fredericton. It must have been under your father's leadership that the S.E. Dack Extra Quality line was developed. I can find no ads for it before the early 50's. The S.E Dack shoes I have seen personally (4 pairs only), have been sublime.

MY MOTHER WAS A TOP GRADUATE OF THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART AND UNDERSTOOD STYLE AND DESIGN SO WAS QUITE INSTRUMENTAL TO BEGIN AS RIGHT AFTER WORLD WAR II DACK'S, VERY MUCH LIKE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES OF EVERY STRIPE, WERE ON THE ROPES HAVING MADE AND SOLD MOSTLY OLDER STYLES AND MILITARY SHOES AND BOOTS SINCE ABOUT 1939 >>> -

THEREFORE A WHOLE NEW LINE OF SHOE DESIGNS / STYLES NEEDED TO BE PRODUCED -

MAY BE WRONG, HOWEVER DO BELIEVE THE S.E. DACK NAME WAS THOUGHT UP BY JOHN DACK, BROTHER OF S.E., AS A TRIBUTE LINE -

HE WAS GENERAL MANAGER AND HAD HIS OFFICE IN THE KING STREET STORE -

YES, THE S.E. LINE WAS VERY LIMITED IN TOTAL YEARLY PRODUCTION AS FAR AS I CAN RECALL WITH A SMALLER NUMBER OF THE MOST POPULAR DESIGNS / STYLES SO YOU WOULD BE UNLIKELY TO EVER FIND THAT MANY REMAINING TO THIS DAY IN ANY KIND OF CONDITION THOUGH IT APPEARS MANY OF YOU FELLOWS DO WELL FINDING NICE OLDER UNWORN / GENTLY WORN STOCK -

OVER TIME WE HAD WIDOWS / WIVES COME IN WITH AN UNWORN PAIR WITH STORIES THEIR HUSBAND / SON HAD DIED AND WE WOULD USUALLY PROVIDE A CREDIT IN MOST CASES BUT THAT WAS BACK BEFORE 1970s WHERE OUR COST OF MANUFACTURING WAS MINIMAL TO WHAT HIGH END SHOES SELL AT RETAIL TODAY -

SOMETHING ELSE YOU ALL MIGHT FIND TO BE SOMEWHAT AMUSING HAPPENED AT THE KING STREET STORE WHEN I WAS ABOUT 12 -

AN OLDER GENTLEMAN CAME IN WITH A DETERMINED LOOK ON HIS FACE AND UNWRAPPED A PACKAGE OF PEBBLE BROGUES WHICH LOOKED TO BE IN PRETTY DECENT SHAPE HOWEVER HE WAS UPSET BY THEM CHECKING / CRACKING IN USUAL SPOTS -

JOHN JOYCE, ONE OF THE FOREMOST SHOE SALESMEN IN SHOE SALES HISTORY, TAKE MY WORD, TOOK THEM ASIDE AND FOUND THEY WERE MADE ABOUT 1932 AND THIS WAS IN 1959 !!! -

HE NEXT CONFERRED WITH FRED RADFORD, OUR TREMENDOUS MADE-TO-MEASURE MAN FOR DECADES, AND THEY SAID THEY WOULD HAVE THE REPAIR MEN WORK ON THEM -

THE OLDER FELLOW SAID HE WOULD WAIT SO WE HAD TO THEN DO SOME ' ENTERTAINING ' -

STEVE ROMETO, THE LONGTIME MANAGER OF THE REPAIR DEPARTMENT CAME BACK AFTER A TIME, POSSIBLY 20 - 30 MINUTES, WITH THIS PAIR SHINING LIKE A SUMMER SUNRISE WHICH SATISFIED THIS FELLOW NO END, WHO THEN SHOOK THE HAND OF ALL, ME INCLUDED STANDING TO THE SIDE HAVING BY THEN BOXED AND WRAPPED THEM WITH PAPER AND STRING, AND STRODE ON OUT THE OPEN DOOR I WAS HOLDING SMILING LIKE HE JUST WON THE LOTTERY -

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED WAS INDEED WHAT WE ALWAYS DID IN ALL SITUATIONS - COLONEL77
 

Jiqea

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Perhaps you mother had something to do with the redesign of the Dacks logo that occurred sometime in the second half of 1949. It seems to me the new logo with the thicker "modern" Dacks script is first seen in advertizements around October of 1949. Do you recall anything about how that came about?

That is so fascinating to learn the role you mother played in the creation of the S.E. Dack line. They are the Holy Grail of Dacks shoe collecting. I can find no advertisements for them past 1958. They seem to have been replaced by the "Bespoke Extra Quality" line. I wondered if this was related to production being moved to Fredericton, or if there were other decisions involved.

Did John Dack stay with the firm through the years the company was owned by your father? Were there other Dacks family members employed at the firm?

I would kill to see some pre-1948 Dacks. I have only seen two pairs of WW1 boots and one pair of late teens or early 20's shoes. It seems not many have survived. I owned one pair of shoes that had the modern Dacks logo on the sock-liner but had a pre 1949 old script diamond tag in the one shoe. They must have been made very shortly after your father bought the company.

I have attached a photo of a pair of S.E. Dacks that I owned but passed on to @Paul902, as they were his size.

IMG_1455.jpg
 
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Paul902

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Perhaps you mother had something to do with the redesign of the Dacks logo that occurred sometime in the second half of 1949. It seems to me the new logo with the thicker "modern" Dacks script is first seen in advertizements around October of 1949. Do you recall anything about how that came about?

That is so fascinating to learn the role you mother played in the creation of the S.E. Dack line. They are the Holy Grail of Dacks shoe collecting. I can find no advertisements for them past 1958. They seem to have been replaced by the "Bespoke Extra Quality" line. I wondered if this was related to production being moved to Fredericton, or if there were other decisions involved.

Did John Dack stay with the firm through the years the company was owned by your father? Were there other Dacks family members employed at the firm?

I would kill to see some pre-1948 Dacks. I have only seen two pairs of WW1 boots and one pair of late teens or early 20's shoes. It seems not many have survived. I owned one pair of shoes that had the modern Dacks logo on the sock-liner but had a pre 1949 old script diamond tag in the one shoe. They must have been made very shortly after your father bought the company.

I have attached a photo of a pair of S.E. Dacks that I owned that I passed on to @Paul902, as they were his size.

View attachment 1359966
I was wearing those just the other day for mucking out the barn! ;)
 

Jiqea

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Here are a few images from a 1968 Hochmans catalog that is currently on eBay. I have never heard of this company before, or for that matter Frontier shoes. They may have been a jobber, distributing products sourced from a variety of manufacturers. The catalog is quite extensive with all types of boots, from rubber to cowboy, as well as sneakers and dress shoes. Perhaps @mariusscott might know something about them as they were located in Winnipeg.

s-l1600 (2).jpg
s-l1600 (1).jpg
s-l1600.jpg
 

Jiqea

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WITH RESPECT TO PHOTO OF STAN DACK HIMSELF AS NOTED ABOVE, WHAT IS ON HIS SHOES ARE ' SPATS ' -

AM SOMEWHAT SURPRISED NONE OF YOU VIEWERS WOULD KNOW THAT -


It made me spitting mad when I realized that @Paul902 did not know what spats were. However he was not pleased about me spitting on his floor and we had a brief argument. It was a spit spat.
 

Paul902

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@COLONEL77 I was wondering what insight you have regarding the tanneries that Dack's got its hides from. We see in some shoes the "Imported Calf" moniker. There were a lot of exotic hides like camel, lizard, antelope, bison, prairie oxhide, etc, and some of these, like Baffin Seal, for example, we know was also used by Church's at the time they owned Dack's. Do you know what tanneries were used for any of these? CF Stead in England and Horween in Chicago are two tanneries still going today that I wonder if ever were sources for Dack's. Horween is famous for its shell cordovan, among others. Have you ever heard of Dack's using Horween shell?
 

nikolau

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@COLONEL77 I was wondering what insight you have regarding the tanneries that Dack's got its hides from. We see in some shoes the "Imported Calf" moniker. There were a lot of exotic hides like camel, lizard, antelope, bison, prairie oxhide, etc, and some of these, like Baffin Seal, for example, we know was also used by Church's at the time they owned Dack's. Do you know what tanneries were used for any of these? CF Stead in England and Horween in Chicago are two tanneries still going today that I wonder if ever were sources for Dack's. Horween is famous for its shell cordovan, among others. Have you ever heard of Dack's using Horween shell?
If I ever become a man of absurd means, my rotation would consist entirely of camel, lizard, antelope, bison, prairie oxhide, elephant, and ostrich Florsheim-McHale Kenmores. Granted I own literally none- even in calf- but a man can dream.
 

Jiqea

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I am starting to make "social distancing" related impulse purchases. I have this set of four brushes coming in. A matched pair of brown and black "Nuggets" and a cool no name ivoroid brush. Ivoroid is celluloid nitrate, which is created by dissolving short cotton fibers in nitric acid. Celluloid has been around for over a century and is most commonly used to resemble natural materials such as ivory, pearl, and even tortoiseshell. True ivory has grain that runs all in one direction and so ivoroid, which is meant to simulate the look of real ivory, is extruded with fine lines to give it a more authentic appearance.

$_59.jpg
$_59 (1).jpg
 

COLONEL77

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@COLONEL77 Thank you so much for the amusing anecdotes! My father grew up not too far from you, on Hollywood Crescent in Toronto around the same time, and he used to ride around on his bike a lot, too, so I can really picture the scene you describe. Your Dad must have been so pleased and proud to find you waiting in the car the next morning, ready to take up his offer. It must have been an exciting place for a youngster!

No, sadly, I did not know what spats were! SE was really a well-dressed looking gentleman, though.

Do you still have a good collection of Dack's footwear? I know in a previous post you mentioned that you have some golf shoes. My "Holy Grail" would be to find some very old vintage Dack's lace up boots. If you have a pair hidden away in a box somewhere, please let me know!

EVEN THOUGH WE RESIDED YEARS LATER FOR A TIME ON LYNNDALE AVENUE, SOUTH OF KINGSTON ROAD, BESIDE " THE TORONTO HUNT " 9-HOLE GOLF CLUB, OFF THE FALLINGBROOK WOODS, HAD NEVER BEEN IN THE VICINITY OF HOLLYWOOD CRESCENT THOUGH RODE RACING BIKES WITH MY FATHER AND OTHERS ALL THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE BEACH AREA AS THE HILLS WERE TREMENDOUS FOR TRAINING -

MANY ARE UNAWARE MY FATHER WAS A TREMENDOUS CHAMPION CYCLIST WHO RODE IN 6-DAY AND MATCH BICYCLE RACES AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS AND OTHER ARENAS, EVEN COMPETING WITH AND BEAT " TORCHY " PEDEN TWICE - HE WAS ALSO A LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 3-ROUND PRELIM BOXER, RACING CAR DRIVER AND CHAMPION SCULLER AS IN THOSE YEARS OF THE DEPRESSION PEOPLE DID ANYTHING TO MAKE SOME $$$ WHERE HE PLAYED MANY SPORTS AND WORKED MANY JOBS TO STAY AFLOAT - YOUR FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS DID EXACTLY SAME -

SEEMS A GOOD NUMBER DO NOT KNOW OF SPATS AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN MENTIONED MUCH OUT LOUD OR IN COMMON USAGE SINCE END OF WORLD WAR II AND WERE EVEN WANING BEFORE THAT TIME -

ONE OF OUR COLLECTOR VEHICLES HAS LICENSE PLATES " SPATS 56 " WHICH IS START OF EVERY CONVERSATION WHEN AT SHOWS -

FROM WHAT I WAS TOLD, MR. DACK NEVER LEFT THE HOUSE WITHOUT CHECKING HIMSELF FROM TOP TO BOTTOM IN HALL MIRROR AND WAS ABOUT BEST DRESSED MAN YOU MIGHT FIND ON ANY GIVEN DAY - LIKE MY GRANDFATHER, ON MY MOTHER'S SIDE, HE WOULD ARRIVE AT THE OFFICE, HANG HIS SUIT JACKET, REMOVE CUFFLINKS, ROLL SLEEVES TWO TURNS THEN DIVE INTO THE BUSINESS OF THE DAY ALTHOUGH IF ANYONE VISITED WOULD REVERSE THE ENTIRE PROCESS RATHER THAN NOT -

WE STILL HAVE ABOUT 30 PAIRS OF DACK'S / HARTT / CHURCH / FLORSHEIM / J & M / VARIOUS CUSTOM MADES AND OTHERS - NOT TOO MANY BOOTS THOUGH HAVE TWO DRESS PAIR OF MOUNTIES STYLE IN TRADITIONAL AND BLACK WHICH MY FATHER RODE WHEN HORSE RIDING - PLUS SOME EXPERIMENTAL SHOES IN EXOTIC LEATHERS WHICH ARE ALL IN SALESMAN SAMPLE SIZE OF 7 OR 8 -

AM FEELING MANY OF THE SHOES YOU FELLOWS FIND OUT THERE WERE LIKELY SALESMEN SAMPLES WHEN FOUND IN NEVER WORN SHAPE -

DACK'S HAD AS MANY AS 6 ROAD SALESMEN IN THE YEARS WAS IN THE BUSINESS WHERE THEY CARRIED 3 OR 4 CASES LOADED WITH SHOES OF VARIOUS STYLES AND ALL IN SIZE 7 / 8 TO FIT THE CASES AND SHOW BETTER IN THOSE SMALLER SIZES WHEN HELD IN ONE'S HAND RATHER THAN ANYTHING LARGER - IT WAS OFTEN ALL IN THE PRESENTATION WHICH BEST SELLS ANY CUSTOM MADE PRODUCT -

GOLF SHOES SAVED WERE ALL BUILT ON OUR STYLES AND ARE NOT ANYTHING LIKE WHAT DEXTER OR OTHERS MADE IN THE 1960S - 1970s - MY FATHER HAD A PAIR IN ALLIGATOR WHICH WE DONATED TO THE BATA SHOE MUSEUM AFTER HIS DEPARTURE FROM THE SCENE WHICH THEY LATER AUCTIONED OFF IN A BIG CHARITY NIGHT EVENT WHICH WOULD HAVE PLEASED MY FATHER NO END AS THEY REALIZED A FOUR-FIGURE AMOUNT !!!!! -

SOMETHING ELSE WATCHERS HERE MIGHT FIND AMUSING WAS AT AGE 12 I WENT THROUGH THE FACTORY BEGINNING AT LEATHER CUTTING TO FINISHING ROOM PRODUCING A PAIR OF BLACK BALMORALS IN MY THEN SIZE, 12 ( WAS ALMOST 6' AND 175 POUNDS AT AGE 12 ) WHICH STILL HAVE TO THIS DAY BUT NOW WEAR A 13 WIIIIIDE !!! -

LIFE CAN BE CRAZY AS OVER TIME I GAVE AWAY HUNDREDS OF PAIRS OF ALMOST EVERYTHING TO FRIENDS FOR BIRTHDAYS / CHRISTMAS / BUSINESS ASSOCIATES / CHARITY EVENTS WHERE COULD EASILY HAVE SAVED A GREAT DEAL MORE SO NOW THAT EVERYONE IS SAVING EVERYTHING, MYSELF INCLUDED, THAT WAS SOMETHING WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN SMARTER ON MY PART. - COLONEL77
 

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