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Catalog Data

Manufactured by:
Siros Manufacturing Company, American  Search this
metal , paint , rubber
48 1/4 x 20 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (122.6 x 52.7 x 49.8 cm)
Cord Length: 93 in.
A yellow and gray, metal shoe shine machine with a frame at the top of the front panel holding a cartoon image of a caricatured boy. The frame has embossed text at the top that reads [BRUSH- UP] and at the bottom the read [SHINE]. The cartoon image depicts a caricature of a shoe shine boy with a bald head, a wide white mouth, white nose, white eyes and ears. He is wearing a plaid jacket, black pants and white shoes. Next to the boy is a speech bubble that reads [BRUSH / UP / SHINE] with the text [5¢] below. Next to the frame is a red coin slow with the text [BRUSH / UP / 5¢] written in white above the slot. At the base of the front panel is an opening to insert a foot. There is a small hood above the opening with a sign affixed to it that reads [KEEP SHOE MOVING / LIGHTLY ON BRUSH]. At the top of the machine is a metal and plastic sign case with embossed text that reads [BRUSH-UP / SHINE]. A plate on the top of machine reads [INSTRUCTIONS / BLACK & BROWN SHOES ONLY / RUNNING TIME ½ MINUTE / KEEP SHOE MOVING / TO BRUSH HEEL AND SIDES / PAT. PENDING / SIROS MFG. CO. HOUSTON, TEXAS].
Objects depicting racist and/or stereotypical imagery or language may be offensive and disturbing, but the NMAAHC aims to include them in the Collection to present and preserve the historical context in which they were created and used. Objects of this type provide an important historical record from which to study and evaluate racism.
African American  Search this
Business  Search this
Caricature and cartoons  Search this
Labor  Search this
Stereotypes  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Collection of James M. Caselli and Jonathan Mark Scharer
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
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See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title:
Collection of James M. Caselli and Jonathan Mark Scharer
Tools and Equipment-Occupational
Racist and Stereotypical Objects
Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: The Era of Segregation, 1876-1968
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Concourse 2, C 2053
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture