Universal York

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Shoes, Shoes, Shoes Offered by York Merchant

One hundred years ago stylish shoes were just as important as they are today. A large illustrated ad for the B.A. Shorb Shoe Co., 24 West Market Street, appeared in the York Gazette in the fall of 1907.

Good leather shoes were a substantial investment. No cheap plastic–oops, “man-made material” was available. Featured footwear for both ladies and men ran up to $5 per pair. The average wage of household bread winner in 1907 probably wasn’t more than

five hundred dollars a year. No wonder the Shorb shoe store stressed style and workmanship in their “…increasing effort to give you greater values for your money than you can get anywhere else.”
Ladies’ shoes were available in sizes one to eight, AA to EE width. All sizes for men could be had in width of A to EE. Children’s shoes ran from infants’ soft soles for $.25-$.50 cents to “Misses’” and “Little Gent’s” kid or patent for $1.00-$3.00 a pair.
Many styles were of the “high-button” type. No wonder great-grandma had those odd buttonhooks around the house. Besides kid and patent, materials were grain leather, corona leather, horsehide, calf, and kangaroo. Really–kangaroo.
As you can see in the illustration, some styles for women and men were quite similar. The men’s version seems to have a wider, slightly lower heel.
Comfort wasn’t forgotten. Several ladies’ kid shoes are advertised as “Common Sense last (old ladies’ comfort).”
Shorb’s didn’t forget local industrial workers either. A moulders’ $2.00 shoe contained asbestos and was “…especially adapted for moulders working in hot sand or iron.” Talk about a real hot foot.
Still, comfort and value aside, isn’t the first thing that attracts us in a shoe, then and now, the style? Well, maybe not, if you work in a foundry.