The above ad is from a 1943 edition of Popular Science magazine. It's for "Douglas Shoes - America's Best Known Shoes."
Those were the days, eh?
Here's the headline: A Little Boy's Dream Came True
Here's the inset copy: "When he was only 7 years old, William L. Douglas was "bound out" to his uncle, a shoe maker. Day after day, he pegged shoes in a shadowy attic. It was hard, technical work but he stuck to it..."
Stop there. I think the copywriter was intending to draw the reader into young Douglas's plight and pluck. Sweet jiminy! Is that how it worked back then!? Today, American 7 year olds sure aren't worrying about qualities of Perseverance or Work Ethic. Gawd love'em, but my kids think the attic is for Christmas decorations, not "being bound out."
No, little Douglas was Enterprise personafied. In a "shadowy attic" no less! We all know that great things start in Shadowy Attics by "bound out" grade schoolers. Right now, I'm looking at my Florsheims and wondering what Mr. Florsheim did to earn HIS cred. Maybe he killed cows for their hides with a hammer. At age 4.
Oh well. That was 1943. Things were different. Back then, any self-respecting toddler had a job, you got your vitamins from eating grass, your minerals from sucking on nails. Today? If little Douglas was forced to be whacking shoes in an attic, his uncle would be in jail and his aunt would be on Oprah.
Anyway, Googled® the key words: "child labor shoes" and found this pic. Looks like the next Nike or Rockport might be hard at work in India.
OMG! (slaps forehead). And they're taking American jobs, too! I'm gonna march right home now, rip the Wii controllers out of their chubby little fingers and lock'em in the attic - "Daddy needs new shoes!"