We start off this story with the Hecht family, Jewish immigrants from a village in what was then known as Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany who came to America around 1848 through New York.
Hecht Family in America
Many of the Hechts settled in Baltimore, Maryland where the oldest, Issac, worked along with his father so the younger siblings could go to school. A separate extension of the Hecht family via cousin Sam Hecht, Jr. opened up a furniture store on Aliceanna Street in 1857. That enterprise eventually grew into Hecht’s Department Store in Baltimore, and if you’re from the East Coast, you will recognize the name.
Issac and his brothers went in a different direction (quite literally) when the eldest Hecht brother relocated to San Francisco and began working as an importer and jobber (distributor) of boots and shoes. When Isaac’s brother Abraaham joined him in (1861), they formed Hecht Brothers and Company, and began manufacturing shoes. Two other brothers got in on the company by the end of the decade.
A New Venture
The 1870s brought the Hecht Brothers into another business venture when they joined their successful shoe manufacturing business with Thomas Buckingham to create “Buckingham and Hecht.” By the 1890s, Hecht Bros. & Co. had become a bond and investment securities firm, while shoe manufacturing carried on under Buckingham & Hecht.
In the late 1890s “Indian tan leather” was something only found up north in Canada and Alaska. By the turn of the century, it had made it’s way to California, and by 1909 Buckingham and Hecht were advertising their new, durable boots and shoes in trade magazines like "The Salesman" as "Indian-tan shoes, strongest leather on earth."
An Iconic Porcelain Sign
That brings us to the sign below. Made sometime after 1909, this porcelain sign features the same "Indian-Tan Shoes, Strongest Leather on Earth" slogan that eventually became a identifier through the 1910s and into the 20s. It even helped Buckingham and Hecht secure profitable contracts with the United States Army.
This rarity can be found at our shop. Click HERE or on the picture below to be taken to our Products page to find out more.