If you have ever wondered about the device used at shoe stores to measure your feet, it is called a Brannock Device, and was patented in 1926 by Charles Brannock from Syracuse, New York. The initial prototype was based on models made using pieces from an Erector Set. Prior to the Brannock device shoe makers referred to wooden measuring sticks.
The Brannock device measures the length, width, and heel-to-ball length of the foot at the same time.
Brannock devices last up to 15 years (when the numbers wear off).