Florence Melton: The Inventor of Slippers

On previous posts we have mentioned that slippers have a very long, rich and extremely interesting history behind, but there’s a person who really changed the concept of slippers and that was Florence Zacks Melton. She was the responsible of developing the slippers with a foam solel and that could also be washed.

Life and Career

She was born in 1991 in a poor family in Philadelphia, and since she was 13 she worked at a local store to help her family. When she was 19 she married her husband Aaron Zacks and she later moved to Columbus, Ohio.

Her husband Aaron and her founded the R.G. Barry Corporation in 1946. While working there she developed a lot of projects, like the use of latex for shoulder pads. And it was then when she realised she could use that material to line the slippers.

The idea proved to be very successful. They had several names such as Angel Treads or Dearfoams, but whatever the name was they sold very well. According to the company, about 1 billion slippers have been sold in the whole world

In later years after the huge success of the slippers Florence let her sons take over of the company while she was a consultant for the Product Development and Design department. Her son Gordon Zacks was the CEO of the company.

She married Samuel M. Melton in 1968, and together with him she created the “Florence Melton Adult Mini-School”. It’s an adult learning program that helps them to gain and learn about Jewish literacy. Teachers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have collaborated with the program, which is still active today with schools in cities like Sydney or Portland.


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