Historic Ideas That Aged Like Complete Garbage

An X-Ray Shoe Fitter device. Wired Magazine

39. The Idea Behind X-Ray Shoe Fitters

In the early 1920s, a Dr. Jacob Lowe demonstrated a modified medical device at shoe retailer conventions in Boston and Milwaukee, that X-rayed people’s feet. Other inventors in the same period had the same idea, and came up with similar devices. Known as Shoe-Fitting Fluoroscopes, and also sold under the names X-Ray Shoe Fitters, Pedoscopes, and Foot-O-Scopes, the devices were metal constructions covered in wood, about four feet high.

Installed in shoe stores, child or adult customers would don a pair of shoes in which they were interested, stick their feet into the device while standing, then look down through a porthole at an X-ray view of their feet in the shoes. The bones and the shoe outline were clearly visible. A pair of other viewing portholes on the machine’s sides allowed the shoe salesman and anybody else accompanying the customer to look at the toes wiggling, to get an idea of how much space there was in the shoes.