Showing posts with label Mary Phelps Jacob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Phelps Jacob. Show all posts

Feb 7, 2014

Origin of the Bra

Wearing a specialized garment to support a woman’s breasts dates as far back as the 14th century BC in Greece where women wore a band of wool or linen that was wrapped across the breasts and tied or pinned in the back.

It is not clear who was the first to invent the modern bra, as numerous patents in various nations were filed in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. However, Caresse Crosby, born Mary Phelps Jacob, invented her design in 1910 and was among the first to patent her 'backless brassiere'. She got the idea for her bra when she was just 19 years old and going to a ball. Her dress for the evening was a sheer gown. She, with the help of her maid, took two handkerchiefs and some ribbon and sewed them together to make something like a modern day bra, so she could have support, but not need to wear a corset.

Frederick Mellinger, founder of Frederick’s of Hollywood, introduced a padded bra, a push-up bra, a front hook bra, and more colorful bras. The most expensive bra in history, valued at $15 million, was modeled in 2000 by Gisele Bundchen and made from red satin and hand-cut Thai rubies and diamonds.

Corsets dominated the undergarments of wealthier women in the Western world for centuries, until WWI required quite a bit of metal. In 1917, the US War Industries Board asked American women to help their 'men win the war' by not wearing or buying corsets. During the war it is estimated that they freed up around 28,000 tons of steel that could be used for other types of heavy lifting.

Oct 25, 2013

More Inventions by Women

Mary Phelps Jacob was awarded a US patent in 1914 for a Brassiere that supported the breasts up from the shoulders and separated them into two individual shapes. People had experimented with making Brassieres before, but it was the idea of separating the breasts, that made her design unique. Prior to Brassieres, women’s undergarments were uncomfortable, containing whalebones and steel rods. They virtually squeezed the wearer into shape. Jacobs' design was soft, light, and conforming to the wearer’s anatomy. During WWI her bra design became popular when the U.S. government requested that women stop purchasing corsets in order to conserve metal.

Sarah E.Goode was granted a U.S. patent in 1885 for the invention of the Foldaway Bed. The bed could be tucked-up into a cabinet while it wasn’t in use. It made an attractive piece of furniture that could also be used as a roll top desk or a stationary shelf. Bibliographies speculate that Goode was born a US slave and emancipated after the Civil War. Versions of her original bed design are still made today.

Dr. Maria Telkes was a biophysicist who invented the first home solar heating system. She grew up in Hungary and moved to the US in 1925. She became an American citizen after receiving her Doctorate in physical chemistry. Telkes’ other solar-powered inventions included a distilling system for life rafts and a solar oven.