I know a good idea when I see one. Or in this case an idea whose time had come for a second time. The Smithsonian shows in its costume collection Victorian gloves. Women’s kid-skin gloves with a map of London circa 1885 discretely worked into the leather. They were to be purchased in custom fitted sets. Each pair with map of a different European capital. Quite a travel convenience for the well-to-do when on holiday.
Later I saw another version. These were men’s gloves for the business traveler showing Montreal. The streets of the city above on the right hand, the underground city below on the left. They were labeled in French, but English versions could be ordered, if you had the audacity to ask.
Where would I find a home in today’s cellphone-pda-gps-text messaging world for this lovely old concept? Disaster personnel were interested, but did not have the lead time to make them practical. Manufacturers of snowboarding and skiing wear crowded so much advertising on the gloves, that the trail maps were lost. Motorcyclists were to face the challenge of reading a map that wound around chrome skulls and past eagle logos while their hands vibrated on the handlebars. Bicyclists wanted electronic displays, but not the added weight.
Finally the answer I should have seen from the first emerged. Disney. A perfect match. On sale now, at all Disney theme parks: Three fingered Mouse gloves with blinking LEDs indicating restroom and ATM locations. One aspect remains the same. At Euro-Disney they raise an eyebrow and pretend not to understand if you ask how to set your pair to display in anything but French.
by – Doug Mathewson