Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let's Go To The Shoe Store! I Want To Look At The Bones In My Feet!

Now that we are on the subject of shoes, in order to get the proper fit for your Red Ball Jets, it was necessary to stick your feet in the X-ray machine. How cool was that? It was better than an all day sucker and bubble gum! Sticking your feet in the machine, looking at the yellow greenish images of your bones, and wiggling your toes!
These machines were call fluoroscopes. They were on the cutting edge of technology. What a perfect way for the shoe salesman to give kids the best fit. According to one manufacturer, "The machine proved to be a valuable ally of the retailer. It enabled him to demonstrate the correctness of his fit and impress his customers."
These devices were in the stores from the 1930's and well into the late 1950's, which were the peak of popularity. At least 10,000 stores in the United States had them.
Then the concerns of radiation grew. Some of the boxes were not tight and radiation leaked out into the surrounding area. What about our feet? Good grief!
In 1957, Pennsylvania was the first state to ban these machines. By the mid 1960's, they were history.


ethelmaepotter! said...

Now, THIS is interesting. I well remember Red Ball Jets, but I never had any, so I was unaware of this dandy little machine. What a shame they retired them! Wonder what one of them would fetch on Ebay?
I follow several blogs, but this is one of my favorites!

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Hey, I remember those machines; they were so cool... You could spend ages just staring into that face face mask. Mum was always happy to let you play, because it gave her peace and quiet to buy her shoes.


Christine said...

I know someone who got cancer in her leg and she wondered if it wasn't from using these machines over and over again as a kid.