Stetson Shoes purchased the James A. Banister Company of shoemakers sometime after August 20, 1934. The details of the business transfer appear to have been kept private, aside from the public records for transferring trademarks. There are several websites claiming that Stetson Shoes bought Banister Shoes in the early 1950s. This is incorrect. According to newspaper records and family historical records, Stetson Shoes bought the James A. Banister Company after the death of Arthur Chadwick Banister in 1933. Arthur C. was the final President of the James A. Banister Company. His son, James Henry, was not interested in taking over the family business. With no one to carry on the legacy, and considering the onset of The Great Depression and America's move into mass production, the James A. Banister Company and the worldwide legacy of the Original Banister Shoes ended with the passing of Arthur Chadwick Banister. I suspect this 1950s date being shared online is actually the timeframe of the acquisition by Stetson Shoes of the Banister Shoes trademark, filed on June 16, 1954. Exactly when Stetson Shoes began having the Banister Shoes line manufactured in Italy is unknown. Italian shoemakers had, and have, still, a reputation for highest-quality, artisanal manufacturing. Additionally, Italian shoemakers had access to the finest leather in the world - leather being denied to American shoemakers in the form of duty (tariffs) on the products so critical for the construction of fine shoes. In the United States, the 1950s was a time during which America, sadly, was no longer competing in the global market's manufacturing of supreme-quality shoe manufacturing. Mass production was the new focus. (For the discussion of duty on leather, please see the James B. Banister page.)


Regarding the sale of the James A. Banister Shoe Company, The New York Times printed the following article on May 19, 1934, which provides the strongest published link to the actual date of transfer from Banister Shoes to Stetson Shoes.


May 19, 1934

The Stetson Shoe Company, Inc., of South Weymouth, Mass., announced yesterday that it had purchased the lasts, patterns, machinery, equipment and good-will of the James A. Banister Company of Newark, N. J., manufacturers of men's shoes since 1845. The Banister unit will be handled as an entirely separate division of the Stetson company at the South Weymouth plant. Three executives of the Banister company will be retained: Ralph G. Steele, who will manage the division; C. Douglas Holmes, his assistant, and Perlie S. McLean, who will have direct charge of manufacturing.  


-The New York Times

Once Stetson Shoes owned the Banister name, its factories produced its own brand of shoes, as well as the Banister shoe line, which sold at a more substantial price. From the advertisements, one can see little difference between the two brands of shoes. Upon closer inspection, differences would be seen. The Stetson Shoe brand was the more affordable range because it did not possess Banister's leather quality, detail, and superb cutting and stitching. Quality takes time. Time spent translates to a higher price.


To determine if a pair of shoes was made by the Banister family, one must examine the following details:


~ Date range: Shoes made between 1830 and 1930, with several label types, were original Banister family-made shoes; Stetson made Banister Shoes from the 1934 until 1972.


~ "Made in Italy" as a part of the Banister label? If so, the shoes were made by Stetson Shoes using the "Banister" label.


~ If the advertisement lists the "South Weymouth, 90 Mass." location, these would be Banister Shoes made by the Stetson Shoe Company.


~ Significantly: are Isaac and James A. shown together in the advertisements? If so, these ads are original Banister family shoe ads. Stetson used (at least) two Banister-ish men in their post-1934 ads, but each always appeared by himself. The identity and significance of these Stetson ad men is unknown. Below, are the individual Stetson ad men, shown side-by-side. Beneath them are James and Isaac Banister. It appears the Stetson ad men (top) were modeled after the Banister father & son team (bottom).

Banister's

"GATOR TIE"

Stetson's

"everglade ties"

With a Banister Shoe,

you were offered a choice

of seven different shades of silk

CASUAL PERFECTION

BY

BANISTER


Since 1845 - World's

Most Honored Shoes


Put yourself elegantly at ease in shorts or slacks...

and the Banister tassel step-ins. Handsomest members of the lesiure class, they are equally desirable for their falutless fit... a characteristic few makers achieve in this type of footwear. Light, and supple as a glove on the foot. In all black or charcoal brown, premium quality polished calfskin.

About $25.95 at the finer shops.

Other styles retailing for $24.50 to $75.00, slightly higher Denver, West.

B  A  N  I  S  T  E  R

110 years of most illustrious shoemaking achievement

JAMES A. BANISTER COMPANY

SOUTH WEYMOUTH 90, MASS.

BANISTER'S

Bombay


Since 1845 - World's

Most Honored Shoes


The Far East influence is building up to dominating importance in men's wear this coming season. Bright Indian madras, Oriental Paisely and Japanese fish prints will be the order of the day. Now, to go along with it all, like chutney with curry--here's Banister's Bombay.

The exotic flavor of the orient is captured in this skillfully styled sidestrap by BANISTER -  one of the truly distinctive fashions of the current season. Created of the finest French leathers, it is all leather lined and sports buckles of 24 carat gold plate. If you don't find it nearby, write us.


110 years of most illustrious shoemaking achievement

B  A  N  I  S  T  E  R

(From $24.50 to $75.00, slightly higher in Denver, West)


JAMES A. BANISTER COMPANY

SOUTH WEYMOUTH 90, MASS.

BANISTER

THE PROUDEST NAME IN SHOES

SINCE 1845

“I know a lot about Banister Shoes. I wore them up to the early 1970's when they were bought by Brown shoe company and a great shoe was lost. The were handmade shoes. They couldn't compete with the cheaper machine made shoes. They were all pretty traditional in the beginning. Wing tips etc. They were a favorite of Italian Gangsters. They wore the Italian style wing tips that were different than the English style wing tips. Banister made both. If you ever saw the movie Good Fellah's (sic) and the very young gangster bought his first suit and shoes. The Italian style wing tips are what he wore. Earlier in that same movie you would have seen the two Gangsters in the Cadillac wearing the English version. The English version was more popular than the Italian style. I got my first pair in 1966, they were a slip on version that we called Pilgrim style, they had a pointed toe and a Cuban heel which was as they felt in that time was Kool (sic) for dancing. Being 15 years old at the time and my parents putting out 65 bucks for a pair of shoes was a big deal. I later got another pair that were all lizard skin that set me back 150 bucks. I had a job then. There were other styles two (sic). The El Draco which was a wing tip slip on with a rubber stretch on either side of the shoe with the Cuban heel. In the pictures of Banister hose I saw another style I wore that was a slip on that tied on the side and had a braid that kind of split the front of the shoe, they had tassel(s) and were very popular. The only man made material was the rubber on the heel. In St. Louis Mo where I grew up, there were only certain shoe restoration shops that could return them back to new. You could wear ou the sole and heel but if you took care of the leather upper you could have them for many years. I long ago wore out my last 2 pairs of Banisters. They were a pair of Brown El Dracos and a pair of Italian Olive wing tips. I wore a size 8 ½ then and was 20 years old out of the Navy and moved to California. I'm much older now and still will only buy hand made shoes, after all my feet deserve the best I can afford for them. They've carried me where ever I want to go. I now where Mesians, Belevedere and other European style shoes. Yes I still buy the exotic leathers like Lizard and Ostrich too. But I still remember the days when I went to the Banister shoe store and the sales man would measure my feet, (I wear a 10 now) bring out the shoe's (sic) of my choosing and walk out proudly with the Banister box and bag. Now don't get me started about the Knox hats too. Hahahah"


-Koolkatt, May 22, 2013, Styleforum.com


"But I still remember the days when I went to the Banister shoe store and the sales man would measure my feet, bring out the shoes of my choosing and walk out proudly with the Banister box and bag."

"Been a Banister lover since the 60's. The names we used for the different popular styles then were Pilgrim, Drakos, Half Moons, and Baby Wing Tips. They were sold only in a store named Wolff's in downtown St. Louis. In the Martin Luthter (sic) King exhibit in Atlanta they have a pair of Pilgrims. That's what MLK wore. What stopped us from wearing them was the Edwardian look. Two of the most beautiful shoes ever made were the pilgrim alligator in brown and the Pilgrim grey lizard. Oh yeah, and the brown and white Baby Wing Tip."


-Louis Brown, Nov. 16, 2014, Styleforum.com


Above: Banister's "El Greco,"a 1970s slip-on version of a wingtip called the "Pilgrim Style," with a pointed toe and a Cuban heel. These are perfect for dancing and are beautifully designed. Your host is in love with them and thinks they would make a fine woman's bootie.

(Shown as an example; is not from Your Host's collection.)

Banister Shoes made by Stetson Shoes

from Your Host's personal collection

Banister Shoes made by Stetson Shoes

1934-1972

Left: Banister Shoes labels. Your Host has not seen the gold and taupe label (bottom) nearly as often as she has seen the other three. All of these Banister labels (in shoes made by Stetson) are dated from: 1934-1972.

Left: Although these blue Banisters are not made of suede, one can still imagine Elvis Presley wearing them in his later years.

James A. Banister (son)

Isaac Banister (father)

B A N I S T E R

S C A R P A   E L E G A N T E


... style of international import


This Italian design has come to the fore

...perhaps because it recalls old world elegance

and classic line(s) while its greater width across the ball makes

the foot seem smaller and feel infinitely more comfortable.

Look for this internationally styled Banister only

at the very best stores . . . especially suitable to complement

the pronounced international tailoring of this

season's smartest men's wear.

Banister Shoes retail from retailing for $24.50 to $75.00

B  A  N  I  S  T  E  R

110 years of most illustrious shoemaking achievement

JAMES A. BANISTER COMPANY, SOUTH WEYMOUTH 90, MASS.

Above: Banister Shoes boxes

kawagutufurugichuuko.com/banister