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Working It Out

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Charles F. Brannock (1903-1992)
Born: Syracuse, New York

  • Born into the shoe business (his father, Otis C. Brannock, co-founded the Park-Brannock Shoe Co. (1906-1981) in Syracuse, New York), Brannock spent several years, while attending Syracuse University, trying to figure out the best way to measure a foot.
  • Brannock built the prototype of his new foot-measuring device using an Erector set, and gave it a trial run at his father's store. His invention quickly replaced the only other tool of its kind - a primitive block of measured wood - because it dramatically improved the accuracy of a foot measurement.
  • In 1928, Brannock obtained a patent for his device even though he'd already created a company to manufacture and sell it.
  • During World War II, Brannock was hired by the Army to ensure that boots and shoes comfortably fit enlisted men.
  • Through the years, Brannock developed different models of his device, including women's, men's, junior, growing girls', athletic, ski-boot, and military.
  • Over a million Brannock Devices have been manufactured-varying little over the years-and it remains the shoe industry standard.


Compiled from the following sources:
-Watia, Amy K. BRANNOCK DEVICE COMPANY RECORDS, 1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.