If you have been reading The Vintage Traveler for a while you know that I’m a collector of women’s sportswear. But I also am always on the lookout for items that relate to clothing and sports, but don’t really qualify as garments. The Wes-Mor Sure-Grip Shoe Cleat falls into that category.
If you are ever bored, spend an hour or two on the Google Patents site. Some of the oddball ideas will amaze and delight. And what is fun is to actually find a product like mine that has the patent number right on the box. Talk about making research easy!
Knowing this product was protected under patent number 2103472 led me straight to the patent and the accompanying drawings from the inventor, John Lascari. He filed for the patent in July, 1937, and the patent was granted in December of the same year.
According to the patent:
This invention relates to a shoe cleat and more especially to a device designed to be attached to boots, shoes or the like, to prevent slipping or sliding upon slippery surfaces such as those of ice or wet floors.
An object of this invention is to provide a device of this class which may be readily attached on, or detached from, the sole of a shoe when desired.
To test out the claim of “may be readily attached on, or detached from, the sole of a shoe when desired,” I tried the cleats on a pair of my own shoes. I had my doubts, as the metal piece seemed to be quite stiff, but as you can see, the cleats worked perfectly.
In an era when most people could not afford to have special shoes for golf or hiking, this was a clever solution to the problem of smooth soled shoes.
Because the patent date is printed on the box, we know that the cleats cannot be dated to before early 1938. The illustration of the woman on the box seems to show clothing from the late 1930s or early 40s. There was a trademark application made for Wes-Mor by the Morrone Mfg. Company of Westerly, Rhode Island. According to that application, the name Wes-Mor was first used in 1945. I have found, however, that the “first used” date on trademark applications is often incorrect, as it is so often based on the applicant’s memory of something that happened years earlier. So, my guess on the date is 1939 through 1945.