I think this is an urban myth that was partially popularized (at least recently) by the Brook Brothers blog. My father recalls NYC payphones costing $0.05 in the early 1940's and in 1951 there is a documented change to charging $0.10/call. Considering that Weejun's (the first production penny loafer sold in the US) came out in mid-1936, it seems extremely unlikely that is the source of the design because (assuming a phone call was ever $0.02) there would only have been about 4 years that the story would have ever been true (1936-1940). I'm especially skeptical when you take into consideration that 3-4 years from inception to $0.05 payphones is probably not enough time for pennies-on-campus to be a fully realized trend and that prior to the release of the Weejun (which originally came with the penny slot), the shoe design existed in that basic state as a peasant shoe in Norway (very wealthy sportsmen who went salmon fishing in Norway started buying them while on vacation and wearing them as casual shoes in Palm Beach around 1934). I could be wrong, but I think the drunk college student thing just sort of plays too easily off the stereotype of pennies and is just a bit too convenient of a story given the history.I know phone calls used to be a dime - were they ever a penny?
From what I recall, wasn't it a dime per shoe, and then it became pennies when calls became a quarter?I think this is an urban myth that was partially popularized (at least recently) by the Brook Brothers blog.
Now, I wouldn't know anything about dimes or when the name came around, but I am pretty confident the penny aspect was never really for making phone calls. The Brooks blog clearly states that it was pennies and that calls were $0.02, which is where I got it from (and presumably others in this thread as well). But, Brooks is in the business of selling that kind of story to sell a product and not historical accuracy, so I recommend reading brand-blogs with a hearty amount of skepticism, especially when they start talking history and heritage. Just my $0.02, though.From what I recall, wasn't it a dime per shoe, and then it became pennies when calls became a quarter?
When was the first time they were called "penny loafers," anyway?