Monday, March 12, 2018

Giant Shoes: Museum and church

When Danny Eskenazi was growing up in Seattle, USA, he often visited his grandfather's shoe store. For nearly 30 years, Isaac Eskenazi kept a pair of giant boots in the window. The shoes belonged to Robert Wadlow, an 8-foot-11-inch tall man who travelled on the lecture circuit in the 1930s and stopped in Seattle at the Pantages Theater. Wadlow suffered acromegaly and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as a giant.

Acromegaly is a condition caused by increased secretion of growth hormone after normal growth has been completed and occurs in adults. When excessive secretion of growth hormone occurs in children before normal growth has been completed, it causes gigantism rather than acromegaly. The cause of the increased hormone secretion is usually a benign pituitary tumour. The pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, controls the production and release of several different hormones. There are no known risk factors other than prior history of a pituitary tumour. Acromegaly occurs in 6 out of 100,000 people.

Robert Wadlow’s life was tragically short and he died very young aged 22. His demise was brought on by an infected foot blister, so there is a warning to us all. Maybe his shoes were too small for him, in any event when Isaac Eskenazi relocated his store in the 1960s; big Wadlow’s boots mysteriously disappeared. Young Danny has spent his life in search of the Holy Grail of Giant Shoes. To this day, he continues to look and there is even a $1,000 (US) reward for the return of Wadlow's boots.

Danny has acquired a collection of giant shoes which in 1997, he generously donated to the new Giant Shoe Museum (Old Seattle Paperworks). A particular unique feature about this collection is it appears in a coin-op museum. For a dollar's worth of quarters, you can see three of the peep shoe exhibits. The museum is sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Oversized Footwear which is one of Seattle's most exclusive clubs. Makes you wonder what these people do for a life. Most of the exhibits are too large for anyone to have worn and likely were made as displays for shoe manufacturers.

According to the Guinness Book of Records the world’s largest shoe measures 6.40 m (20 ft 11.97 in) x 2.39 m (7 ft 10.09 in) and is 1.65 m (5 ft 4.96 in) high and was created by Electric Sekki (Hong Kong) in Hong Kong, China, on 12 April 2013. The shoe was a replica of a Superga 2750 shoe, created in order to celebrate the launch of Superga in Hong Kong. Electric Sekki is the exclusive distributor of Superga in Hong Kong and China.

One of the largest shoe shaped buildings is in Tiawan and is made from 320 pieces of blue-tinted glass, and stands about 17 metres high and 11 metres wide. Recently constructed it is a church.

Reviewed 12/03/2018

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