The Enna Jettick Aerocar, 1930s

If you have been looking at vintage shoes  chances are you’ve encountered the Enna Jettick brand.  The company was a division of Dunn and McCarthy of Auburn, New York which had been in business since 1867.  The first reference I can find to their Enna Jettick brand is 1928.

Enna Jettick shoes were advertised as being comfortable but stylish.  They came is a huge range of sizes:

I was pretty excited to find the advertising card above.  It dates to the early 1930s, and features a Glenn Curtiss Aerocar.  Curtiss is remembered most for his airplanes, but late in his life he turned to road transportation, and his contribution was the Aerocar, an upscale travel trailer.

Around 1930 Enna Jetticks ordered four of the Areocars, which were to be used as traveling showrooms.  The salesman would park the Areocar in front of the store where he was making his call, and for a short time people would be allowed in to oh and ah at the latest in modern transportation.

Most Aerocars had a straight back, but the ones made for Enna Jettick had an odd shape, resembling that of a blimp.  This was most likely intentional, because Enna Jettick had a bit of a theme going.  In other words, they also bought a blimp which was used as a promotional gimmick.

The Enna Jettick blimp is sometimes credited with making the only successful docking on the Empire State Building’s airship mooring platform, but one article I read says that the attempt was scrapped as it was too risky.  But the blimp was taken to towns that had a store where Enna Jettick shoes were sold, it would land, and would even take people for short rides.

I happen to have a pair of Enna Jettick’s in my collection, a pair of 1930s sports shoes.  The uppers are two colors of perforated leather, and the sole is an interesting rubber-like substance.  They are quite snappy!

The imprint on the sole reads “Enna Jettick Sport Shoes”.

Oh my, I’ve been playing with Vine.

27 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Shoes, Sportswear

27 responses to “The Enna Jettick Aerocar, 1930s

  1. Cool looking spectators! Look like they could be worn today for a round of golf. Are they golf shoes?

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  2. Teresa

    A very snappy pair of shoes and how amazing is the aerocar!?

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  3. Neat bit of history. I’ve not heard of this company, but after seeing your snazzy shoes, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out!

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  4. I haven’t heard of the company either. The company’s focus on comfort reminds me of the Walter Coon shoes I have and blogged about, which were offered in a huge range of sizes. If only shoes today were offered in the same range of sizes!
    Was the name a play on the word “energetic”?
    Fascinating tidbit about the Aerocar. Would love to see the decked out interior of one.
    Those spectators are indeed snazzy. I hadn’t heard of Vine either. Will we be seeing more vintage articles in the round?

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    • I’m pretty sure the name was meant to sound like “energetic” in a weird accent!

      Vine is a newish smartphone app that is owners and aligned with Twitter. It is a continuous 6 second cycle of video, and is fun to play with. And yes, I’ll probably do some more spinning shoes!

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  5. Ah, I love those shoes, Lizzie! I would so wear those. “An expensive foot”–hah!

    I would also love to travel with the Aerocar. Fascinating story–especially about the blimps!

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    • Can you imagine a blimp coming to your town to advertise shoes, and people actually getting to ride in it? It sounds like something made up, but I found several newspaper accounts of the blimp’s visits.

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  6. Hi Lizzie…I would love to find a pair of well preserved t-straps some day. I have a question for you: have you been to the Retro-Spective exhibit at the FIT? If not, have you heard any reviews? I skulked around and couldn’t find much that was said except it’s small but terrific. I don’t think you’ve been as I didn’t find a post about it.

    Thanks! Emily

    emilyatheart@gmail.com (from alovelyinconsequence.blogspot.com)

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  7. They must have had geniuses working in their ad department. Not only are their print ads really interesting, but to commission a custom shaped Aerocar designed to be a traveling shoemobile–amazing.

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  8. Fashion Witness

    Wonderful Spectator shoes! I’ll be on the lookout for 1930s Enna Jettick ads. I associate shoes with ventilation holes with older women — perhaps because my grandmother certainly wore them in the 1950s. (They might have been purchased in the 30s, for all I know.)
    That range of sizes must have been quite a headache for shoe salesmen, because, even in the 1960s, shoes came with many options, such as B width toes and AA or AAA heels, or D width toes and B width heels. The stores’ inventory must have been a nightmare, but I really missed that “narrow heel” option when it disappeared.

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    • They advertised extensively, so you should have no trouble locating ads. Many companies continued to make those shoes that you associate with old ladies, probably into the 60s, maybe even later. I had a great-aunt who was still wearing them when I was a child in the 60s.

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  9. I have never seen an AAAAA before – 4A’s yes but never 5! Lizzie, I looked it up and Dunn and McCarthy closed March 1990 after filing for bankruptcy in October 1989.

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  10. I love spectators! What a great pair you have!

    Fun that you can do video now! I’ve been enjoying using the 15 sec videos that Instagram now allows. It’s so much easier to tweet and blog with videos when you don’t have to go through the big video sites like YouTube.

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  11. Beth Pfaff

    The shoe size range they offered is amazing. You would think “way back then” most women had pretty small feet. My mother (born in 1929) was a AAAA 9 1/2 which was always a hard size to find, but in recent years became very difficult since most women’s shoes offered just B or C widths.

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  12. My grandmother Beatrice M Speanburgh sewed shoes there. Most locals to the area bought the nursing shoes because they would be able to work in them all day without their feet hurting. If you can find another pair of shoes out there you would truly have an invaluable piece of history. My grandmother worked there til it was shutdown in the early 80’s the buildings of Dunn and McCarthy’s and Enna Jetticks stood there for a few yrs til they finally filed for bankruptcy. Shortly after Dunn and McCarthys caught fire by teenagers inside the building leaving the Enna Jetticks shoe factory by itself. It was finally torn down and now lays empty the brand is now owned by Falcon Footwear. The Enna Jetticks plant i believe closed due to asbestos piping in the building and was costly to remove.

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  13. Joe Hallett

    I found a note in my grandfather’s1937 diary: “Buy shoes. Enna Jettic. $5.50. There is no mention that he bought them for my grandmother… did they make men’s shoes?

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  14. Your Enna Jettick Aerocar Advertising Card has been trimmed. I just listed one today on Ebay that has a border around the photo.

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