Bra History Part I

Bra History Part I

Women have used garments designed to lift, separate and restrain their breast since as early as 2000 BC. From the 1500s until the 1800s the corset was the primary under-garment used by women for the purpose of shaping the waist and lifting the breasts.

In 2500 BC, on the Greek isle of Crete warrior Minoan woman began wearing resembling garment. By the 4th century AD, the chemise was designed out of linen that looks like a tunic. Catherine de Médicis, wife of King Henri II of France, implemented a restriction on “thick waist” on important functions through the introduction of the steel corset. However it causes that ribs and internal organs to deform while reducing the waist. The “Union Under Flannel” created by designer Susan Taylor Converse in 1875, is patented by manufacturers George Frost and George Phelps.

In 1893, Marie Tucek patented the “Breast Supporter” – the first garment similar to the modern-day bra that used shoulder straps with a hook-and-eye closure to support the breasts in pockets of fabric. By 1907, the term “brassiere” began to show up in high-profile women's magazines. Eventually, around 1912, it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary; and at the same year, garment maker Otto Titzling is said to have designed a bra for buxom singer Swanhilda Olafsen, but he neglected to patent it and hence lost the design.

In 1913, New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob took matters into her own hands and fashioned her own corset replacement out of two silk handkerchiefs and some ribbon. Her friends were sold on this innovative idea and encouraged Mary to apply for a patent for her “Backless Brassiere” design. Within a short time, Mary lost interest in the garment business and sold her patent to Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1,500.

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