Just imagine. You’re a shoe fetishist. You can’t get enough of them. You love the smell of leather, the touch of buttons and bows, the sound of heels and soles on the concrete or cobble stones. And you lived in the Gay 90s, when women’s and men’s fashions were proper and starched. You would have been in heaven in any shop that sold Hamilton Brown Shoes – the largest manufacturer in the world, so they said.
Indeed they were. The Hamilton Brown Shoe Factory was the first large scale industrial operation in Columbia, Missouri. It was built in 1906-1907 by the Brown Shoe Company, the largest shoe manufacture in the world at the time. It was the first plant built outside of St. Louis and was operational from 1907-1939.
The company was a large manufacturer of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes. In 1888, it was a huge part St. Louis industry. By the early 20th century, Hamilton-Brown with six manufacturing facilities claimed world leadership in boots and shoes.
At one time, the company was the largest shoe manufacturer in the world. Their product line brand included the “American Gentleman” and “American Lady” and more featured in this semi-Art Nouveau decorated catalog.