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Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

Article about: Russ & Son: The device is certainly unique and interesting, and put into historical context and with fairly complete information on it's background and design, it would make an interesti

  1. #1

    Default Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Has anyone seen of these before? My son stumbled on to this digging through a pile of junk at a local Army Surplus that was going out of business. I had no idea what it was but I offered the guy ten bucks for it. He said no, so I put it down and we drove away. Didn’t get but a mile down the road and curiosity killed the cat, a quick u-turn, another 5 bucks added to the pot and we walked out the front door with this contraption.

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    I have found only one, it was on an eBay listing some time ago, have never found another. We did a patent search and learn a little, very little. Here is what I believe to be the facts. It was designed by a fellow with the sir name of Clarke, a long standing name in the shoe business. In the late 1940’s he developed this contraption to “quickly” measure foot size for Army recruits getting their boot camp first issue, used in the early 50’s and not for long, they were just too darned complicated and so the story of the Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer was a short one.

    If anyone has a different, more accurate or better story behind one of these gizmos, I’d love to hear it. I can’t imagine too many of these things floating around as it appears they were only used by the Army, for a very short time, and it was something used only at boot camps, so not a big need for millions, thousands or maybe even hundreds of them......but we have one!

    Russ & Son

  2. #2

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    never seen one but it does look complicated you will need to start doing some expenrimenting with your feet me thinks
    good buy for 15bucks

    tom

  3. #3

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    The plate, along the bottom of the foot measurer has detailed direction.....of which still sheads no light on how the heck to measure ones foot. Before this came about the US army used the Brannock foot measurer, the same thing you find in most every show store here in the US, two of them mounted on a board. Anyone can figure out a Brannock, they are simple and I belive what is still being used by the military today, I know the shoe store down the street still uses them. This Clarke thing was just way too complicated, with way too many moving parts, to replace the Brannock foot measurer.

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    I was selling at the Springfield, Oh flea market last Friday and ended up buying it for a good client who has an Army Navy store here in Richmond, In. Neither one of us had seen it before. So now we know where two of them are.

    Ken

  5. #5

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Russ & Son: Any chnace you could get a good photo of the instructions that appear to be on the metal black & white plate at the bottom of the device? Something straight on--right angle shot--rather than oblique. That's a neat find and for 15 bucks you are a winner. Dwight

  6. #6

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Quote by ken345 View Post
    I was selling at the Springfield, Oh flea market last Friday and ended up buying it for a good client who has an Army Navy store here in Richmond, In. Neither one of us had seen it before. So now we know where two of them are.

    Ken
    Damn.....ours in no longer one of a kind.........Grrrrrrrr


    I wonder how many were actually produced and of those, just tossed in the trash?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Quote by drmessimer View Post
    Russ & Son: Any chnace you could get a good photo of the instructions that appear to be on the metal black & white plate at the bottom of the device? Something straight on--right angle shot--rather than oblique. That's a neat find and for 15 bucks you are a winner. Dwight
    Yes, can do...let me get the kid to dig it out of what ever closet it is hiding in and get-er-done!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Quote by drmessimer View Post
    Russ & Son: Any chnace you could get a good photo of the instructions that appear to be on the metal black & white plate at the bottom of the device? Something straight on--right angle shot--rather than oblique. That's a neat find and for 15 bucks you are a winner. Dwight
    As requested plus a few extra:




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    Regards,

    Russ & Son

  9. #9

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Russ & Son: Thanks for the excellent detailed photos. That is one complicated device and I can see why it wasn't widely used. I found it amusing that this thing is apparently designed for use on enlisted men--"with hands over insteps of seated enlisted man..." (first detailed photo). I searched for Clarke's Universal Foot Measurer and came up dry. It's an interesting device and certainly deserves more research as to history and use. There is a patent office archive near where I live, so one of these days I'll go down there and put the patent number in their search system to see what comes up. I'll post whatever I find. Thanks again for posting the photos. Dwight

  10. #10

    Default Re: Here is an odd one – Clarke’s Universal Foot Measurer

    Dwight, It would be very interested to learn what you find if you do make your way to the patent office. As I stated in the original post, we did find this patent listed on-line but learned very little. We pretty much ended our search there as I got involved in about a dozen other projects and never made it back to this. I can't imagine more than a handful of these things being made as they were intended to be used in bootcamp as part of new recuits receiving thier first issue. Not many Army boot camps, and not likely many were made not knowing if the US Gov. would even be interested as it turns out they were not. While maybe not of any value, it certainly is unique!

    Regards,

    Russ & Son

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