Treasure Chest Thursday – Dad’s Shoe Shine Kit

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Treasures and Curiosities

The other day I got side tracked from a little job making a couple of pairs of PJ pants for GD1, and cleaned off the shelves in the back storage room. In the process I also sorted patterns, but that is another story. A few things surfaced, which I photographed for Treasure Chest posts.


I remember this shoe shine kit well. I have no idea how I ended up with it, but it contains enough sentimental value to almost bring tears to my eyes. Dad was an undertaker, I guess I have mentioned that enough times. In the good old days undertakers and really all businessmen, wore suits, hats, overcoats, gloves, and leather shoes. There were rubbers or zip front rubber overshoes for winter. Does anyone else remember the rubbers? they were very flexible, like rubber gloves, and fit tightly over shoes. I can close my eyes and see every adult in my childhood life leaning on the wall near the door, either putting the rubbers on, or peeling them off.

Dad polished his shoes with regularity, but I do not remember if it was a certain day of the week, or just when they needed it. Dad’s extra shoes (the ones that were not on his feet) lived on shoe trees, which looked like this:


They adjust from longer to shorter by putting the handle on using the correct holes. First he wiped the shoes off, then he put on the polish. For the uninitiated, the polish came in a glass bottle, with a fleecy dabber attached to the underside of the lid with a wire stick type thing. I can see him carefully spreading the polish on the shoes, holding not the shoes, but the handle of the shoe tree on which they were installed. He was meticulous, there was never any polish on the soles of the shoes, or on the floor, or his hands. The shoes were set aside on a piece of newspaper to dry, then shined with the brush.

If you look at the handle, you can see it serves a dual purpose. It is ribbed, therefore not slippery. You can sit in a chair, put your foot up on the handle, and brush your shoes off, or shine them with a rag. I think only the shoe trees, the brush and the box are original. The polish is all newer, and I have stored it in the kit.

This post was written following the “Treasure Chest Thursday” theme over at Geneabloggers.

Series NavigationTreasure Chest Thursday, BuenilumTreasure Chest Thursday – The Tulip Platter


  1. Love your shoe shine kit story! Thank you for sharing! I had a Sentimental Sunday entry on Spit Shining Shoes recently. 🙂
    .-= Irish Mason´s last blog ..Elsie’s Poem – "To A City Sister" =-.

    • TK on April 30, 2010 at 8:47 am

    What a cool treasure to have–it’s so personal!
    .-= TK´s last blog ..April Ruminations =-.

    • Rae on July 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    some of this passed to b1 . I remember his polish, brush,and buffing cloths. Then later on the R.O.T.C. boots that he would shine and shine. When I remember our later years in Mt. Pleasant I can’t remember him wearing anything else execpt to church. He was a sometimes first base umpire at my little league games and the only one in cutoffs and army boots. Mom would use old newspaper to dry and stretch our wet winter shoes.

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