Dedicated to the legacy of Edward Stratemeyer, author & founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate

Artifact — Tom Swift Shoes

A pair of Tom Swift brand shoes.

A pair of Tom Swift brand shoes.

Tom Swift was among the Syndicate’s most successful creations.  The first series was forty volumes published between 1910 and 1941 and featured a young inventor of Shopton, New York, who made airships and other gadgets and these were instrumentals in adventures around the world.

The inventive genius ran in the family.  Tom inherited it from his father, Barton Swift, and his son, Tom Swift Jr. took the family’s inventions into the electronic and atomic ages and interplanetary space.  The thirty-three volumes in this series were published between 1954 and 1971.

The original series sold more than 6.5 million copies.  Tom Swift Jr. had more than double that in the U.S. alone.  Tom Jr. also sold in about a dozen countries around the world in nearly as many languages.  This popularity attracted interest from prospective dramatic, radio, film, and television producers.  It was also not uncommon for inquiries to come in for merchandise connected with these and other Syndicate series.  Very few prospective deals were realized.

However, these shoes do not seem to have any direct connection to any Tom Swift series.  The name appears to be a coincidence or an unauthorized usage.

Newspaper ads for the Tom Swift Shoes parallels the span of time of the Tom Swift Jr. series, from August 1954 to March 1965, following the first decade of the books.

(Provo, UT) Daily Herald, Aug. 15, 1954; Aug. 14, 1955.

(Provo, UT) Daily Herald, Aug. 15, 1954.

(Provo, UT) Daily Herald, Oct. 17, 1954; similar ads in many other cities.

(Provo, UT) Daily Herald, Oct. 17, 1954.

Great Bend (KS) Trubune, July 30, 1958; similar ads in other cities.

Great Bend (KS) Tribune, July 30, 1958.

Springfield (MA) Union, Aug. 28, 1959.

Springfield (MA) Union, Aug. 28, 1959.

(Pittsfield, MA) Berkshire Eagle, Mar. 30, 1965.

(Pittsfield, MA) Berkshire Eagle, Mar. 30, 1965.

The branding went so far on these shoes that the company even branded the Brannock device for measuring the size of one’s feet.

Tom Swift Shoes brand Brannock device.

Tom Swift Shoes brand Brannock device.

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James D. Keeline has been researching Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemeyer Syndicate since 1988. He has written many dozens of articles and conference presentations on these topics and has several books in progress, including a Series Book Encyclopedia, a full biography of Edward Stratemeyer, and Stratemeyer Syndicate Ghostwriters. He has also edited and published several Stratemeyer texts in illustrated and annotated editions under the 24 Palmer Street Press imprint at

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