Electric slippers, nylon / wire / plastic / synthetic fur, made by Sharp, Japan, 1970-1998
The need to keep feet warm in cold climates is a perennial problem. These electric shoes would fulfil a very welcome function, though their mechanism requires that the wearer be wired and plugged into the wall. The design has no doubt been superceded by a battery operated version which would allow the wearer to move around.
The design epitomises a post war period when consumer spending in developed countries soared and gadgets, many contrived and impractical, were very fashionable around the world. Japan flooded European and American markets with their very reasonably priced mass-produced goods. To most Australians, who do not know what it feels like to have really cold feet, the electric shoes are a comical invention, but for those who have to survive cold winters and the elderly suffering from arthritis, they are extremely practical.
The shoes are designed by the Sharp Corporation whose principal activities are to develop and manufacture consumer electric and electronic products. These include TV, video, camcorder, CD stereo, MD player, refrigerators, air conditioning, air purifiers, personal computers, calculators, faxes and mobile phones. The Group operates in the USA, Canada, Central/South America, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Europe, China, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. The 2004 range of products is extremely sophisticated in comparison with that of the 1970s and 1980s when these shoes were designed.
These slippers were made by Sharp Corporation in Japan.
These slippers appear to be unused. They were bought at a community flea market on the site of the Kirin Beer Factory by the donor for 100 Yen in 1998.