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friendlygoz

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Jiqea

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If it is true that a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut, then perhaps there is a twisted corollary whereby a shoe-nut sometimes finds a rare pair that have long been squirrelled away (out of sight). Today may have provided the proof.

While doing my daily on-line search for vintage shoes, starting with the probable, and moving quickly through the possible, to hopeful, and on to fat chance, I did a last desperate search for "Autocrat shoes". I have never actually seen a pair of Autocrat shoes, but I knew from old advertisements and news articles that they had been manufactured by Scott-McHale at their Tillsonburg factory between 1935 and 1938.

Tillsonburg is a small town located about 35 miles southeast of Scott-McHale's London, Ontario factory. Through the teens and twenties the Tillsonburg Shoe Co. was renowned for their high quality men's footwear. But in 1934, at the height of the depression, the firm fell on hard times and changed hands twice before closing their doors. Scott-McHale purchased the company in early1935 and re-opened it later that year with new equipment and a staff of close to 200. From July 1935 to early 1938 they marketed two new lines of shoes, the "Autocrat" and the "Cavalier", through their existing network of retailers across Canada. By 1938, perhaps rethinking operating two factories or simply realizing a quick profit, they leased the factory to a businessman from Toronto, who eventually bought the company outright shortly before the outbreak of World War 2. I am uncertain why, but the Autocrat and Cavalier lines did not continue to be manufactured under the new management, and quickly slipped from history.

The Autocrat and Cavaliers were priced lower than Scott-McHales premium Liberty and Astoria lines manufactured at the London factory, and were marketed to younger, fashion forward gentlemen. The pair I found certainly qualify in the last regard. They were made for sale by the Reaburn Shoe Store in the village of Chesley, Ontario, located about 150 miles north of London. I purchased them from the granddaughter of the original store owner, along with a pair of NOS boots that I will post upon separately after they arrive. I doubt very much there are another pair of these shoes in existence, and certainly not in this condition.


The brief news announcement is from February 1935, while the advert is from July 1935.

Feb 23, 1935 SM Tillsonburg.JPG


July 30 1935 Mchale Autocrat.JPG

Autocrat1.JPG
Autocrat2.JPG
Autocrat3.JPG
 
Last edited:

stook1

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If it is true that a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut, then perhaps there is a twisted corollary whereby a shoe-nut sometimes finds a rare pair that have long been squirrelled away (out of sight). Today may have provided the proof.

While doing my daily on-line search for vintage shoes, starting with the probable, and moving quickly through the possible, to hopeful, and on to fat chance, I did a last desperate search for "Autocrat shoes". I have never actually seen a pair of Autocrat shoes, but I knew from old advertisements and news articles that they had been manufactured by Scott-McHale at their Tillsonburg factory between 1935 and 1937.

Tillsonburg is a small town located about 35 miles southeast of Scott-McHale's London, Ontario factory. Through the teens and twenties the Tillsonburg Shoe Co. was renowned for their high quality men's footwear. But in 1934, at the height of the depression, the firm fell on hard times and changed hands twice before closing their doors. Scott-McHale purchased the company in early1935 and re-opened it later that year with new equipment and a staff of close to 200. From July 1935 to early 1937 they marketed two new lines of shoes, the "Autocrat" and the "Cavalier", through their existing network of retailers across Canada. By mid-1937, perhaps rethinking operating two factories or simply realizing a quick profit, they leased the factory to a businessman from Toronto, who eventually bought the company outright shortly before the outbreak of World War 2. I am uncertain why, but the Autocrat and Cavalier lines did not continue to be manufactured under the new management, and quickly slipped from history.

The Autocrat and Cavaliers were priced lower than Scott-McHales premium Liberty and Astoria lines manufactured at the London factory, and were marketed to younger, fashion forward gentlemen. The pair I found certainly qualify in the last regard. They were made for sale by a family run shoe store in the small village of Chesley, Ontario, located about 150 miles north of London. I purchased them from the granddaughter of the original store owner, along with a pair of NOS boots that I will post upon separately after they arrive. I doubt very much their are another pair of these shoes in existence, and certainly not in this condition.


The brief news announcement is from February 1935, while the advert is from July 1935.

View attachment 1538876

View attachment 1538874
View attachment 1538878View attachment 1538879View attachment 1538880
Amazing shoe find! But I have to ask... were you saving up your Autocrat Shoe post for this very day for some highly coincidental unmentionable reason?

By the way, who names a shoe brand "Autocrat"?!? I mean, I guess it made sense for its time (kinda/sorta?).
 

JFWR

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Amazing shoe find! But I have to ask... were you saving up your Autocrat Shoe post for this very day for some highly coincidental unmentionable reason?

By the way, who names a shoe brand "Autocrat"?!? I mean, I guess it made sense for its time (kinda/sorta?).
I love the brand name. Gotta rep absolute monarchy.
 

friendlygoz

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Amazing shoe find! But I have to ask... were you saving up your Autocrat Shoe post for this very day for some highly coincidental unmentionable reason?

By the way, who names a shoe brand "Autocrat"?!? I mean, I guess it made sense for its time (kinda/sorta?).
Those are amazing. I'm going to start looking for Authoritarian Autocrats, which was their premium line. I totally made that up. In seriousness, those are really cool. Thanks for sharing the history and the backstory on the hunt.
 

Jiqea

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Those are amazing. I'm going to start looking for Authoritarian Autocrats, which was their premium line. I totally made that up. In seriousness, those are really cool. Thanks for sharing the history and the backstory on the hunt.
I think an Authoritarian Autocrat would certainly trump a plain Autocrat.
 

rwfields68

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If it is true that a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut, then perhaps there is a twisted corollary whereby a shoe-nut sometimes finds a rare pair that have long been squirrelled away (out of sight). Today may have provided the proof.

While doing my daily on-line search for vintage shoes, starting with the probable, and moving quickly through the possible, to hopeful, and on to fat chance, I did a last desperate search for "Autocrat shoes". I have never actually seen a pair of Autocrat shoes, but I knew from old advertisements and news articles that they had been manufactured by Scott-McHale at their Tillsonburg factory between 1935 and 1937.

Tillsonburg is a small town located about 35 miles southeast of Scott-McHale's London, Ontario factory. Through the teens and twenties the Tillsonburg Shoe Co. was renowned for their high quality men's footwear. But in 1934, at the height of the depression, the firm fell on hard times and changed hands twice before closing their doors. Scott-McHale purchased the company in early1935 and re-opened it later that year with new equipment and a staff of close to 200. From July 1935 to early 1937 they marketed two new lines of shoes, the "Autocrat" and the "Cavalier", through their existing network of retailers across Canada. By mid-1937, perhaps rethinking operating two factories or simply realizing a quick profit, they leased the factory to a businessman from Toronto, who eventually bought the company outright shortly before the outbreak of World War 2. I am uncertain why, but the Autocrat and Cavalier lines did not continue to be manufactured under the new management, and quickly slipped from history.

The Autocrat and Cavaliers were priced lower than Scott-McHales premium Liberty and Astoria lines manufactured at the London factory, and were marketed to younger, fashion forward gentlemen. The pair I found certainly qualify in the last regard. They were made for sale by the Reaburn Shoe Store in the village of Chesley, Ontario, located about 150 miles north of London. I purchased them from the granddaughter of the original store owner, along with a pair of NOS boots that I will post upon separately after they arrive. I doubt very much there are another pair of these shoes in existence, and certainly not in this condition.


The brief news announcement is from February 1935, while the advert is from July 1935.

View attachment 1538876

View attachment 1538874
View attachment 1538878View attachment 1538879View attachment 1538880
Just fantastic!
 

friendlygoz

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AE 🦈 Nassaus today.
A77FA9B0-10A0-478D-A28D-106AABCA64D5.jpeg
 

mormonopoly

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If it is true that a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut, then perhaps there is a twisted corollary whereby a shoe-nut sometimes finds a rare pair that have long been squirrelled away (out of sight). Today may have provided the proof.

While doing my daily on-line search for vintage shoes, starting with the probable, and moving quickly through the possible, to hopeful, and on to fat chance, I did a last desperate search for "Autocrat shoes". I have never actually seen a pair of Autocrat shoes, but I knew from old advertisements and news articles that they had been manufactured by Scott-McHale at their Tillsonburg factory between 1935 and 1937.

Tillsonburg is a small town located about 35 miles southeast of Scott-McHale's London, Ontario factory. Through the teens and twenties the Tillsonburg Shoe Co. was renowned for their high quality men's footwear. But in 1934, at the height of the depression, the firm fell on hard times and changed hands twice before closing their doors. Scott-McHale purchased the company in early1935 and re-opened it later that year with new equipment and a staff of close to 200. From July 1935 to early 1937 they marketed two new lines of shoes, the "Autocrat" and the "Cavalier", through their existing network of retailers across Canada. By mid-1937, perhaps rethinking operating two factories or simply realizing a quick profit, they leased the factory to a businessman from Toronto, who eventually bought the company outright shortly before the outbreak of World War 2. I am uncertain why, but the Autocrat and Cavalier lines did not continue to be manufactured under the new management, and quickly slipped from history.

The Autocrat and Cavaliers were priced lower than Scott-McHales premium Liberty and Astoria lines manufactured at the London factory, and were marketed to younger, fashion forward gentlemen. The pair I found certainly qualify in the last regard. They were made for sale by the Reaburn Shoe Store in the village of Chesley, Ontario, located about 150 miles north of London. I purchased them from the granddaughter of the original store owner, along with a pair of NOS boots that I will post upon separately after they arrive. I doubt very much there are another pair of these shoes in existence, and certainly not in this condition.


The brief news announcement is from February 1935, while the advert is from July 1935.

View attachment 1538876

View attachment 1538874
View attachment 1538878View attachment 1538879View attachment 1538880
Incredible shoes. The 1930-40s ventilated spectators like this are my absolute favorite shoes ever made. What size are they? Tiny, like most examples from that era?
 

Jiqea

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Incredible shoes. The 1930-40s ventilated spectators like this are my absolute favorite shoes ever made. What size are they? Tiny, like most examples from that era?
Thanks. High praise indeed coming from you! I believe them to be 9C. I should have them in hand no later than next Monday. I will post better photos after I get them hydrated.
 

happypebble

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Amazing shoe find! But I have to ask... were you saving up your Autocrat Shoe post for this very day for some highly coincidental unmentionable reason?

By the way, who names a shoe brand "Autocrat"?!? I mean, I guess it made sense for its time (kinda/sorta?).
There's still a brand of pencils called Autocrat. And don't forget, back before the war there was the Studebaker Dictator at your local dealer.
 

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