One archive folder of patent documents, correspondence, photographs and newspaper cuttings relating to the invention and development of illuminated celluloid heels, designed by Joseph and John Jordan, 1934-1937.

The shoe heels were constructed from celluloid, which was not damaged on contact with hard flooring surfaces. A hollow was made inside the heel, which was large enough to hold a miniature battery and a light bulb. As the wearer of the shoe brought the heel into contact with the ground, the pressure created a contact so that the bulb lit up. Although the brothers acquired a patent for their invention, the heels never went into production. Shoe manufacturers in Britain told the brothers that they were ahead of their time with their invention. There was interest from manufacturers abroad but, because of their desire to keep production local, the brothers never took up any of these offers. The brothers had also negotiated with the pantomime director Julian Wylie for the heels to be used in the 1935 production of Puss In Boots at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. The entire chorus line was to wear heels in different colours, and the stage was to be plunged into darkness as they danced. Unfortunately, Mr Wylie died a few weeks before the production was due to start, and the idea was never put into use.


1 folder
Open access.