The Bra


Who invented the Bra? The name of the person credited with inventing the Bra is Caresse Crosby (1891 - 1970). Caresse Crosby is not only famous as the American inventor of the Bra but also as a publisher and patron of the literary arts. When was the Bra invented? Caresse Crosby invented the Bra in 1913, during the WW1 period of invention (1914 - 1918). The invention of the Bra originated in America and is considered a useful addition the field of Clothing and Apparel.

Definition of the Bra: The Bra is defined as an undergarment, also called a brassiere, worn by women to support their breasts


Facts about who invented the Bra


 Inventions and Inventors Index


Fact File about the Invention of the Bra: Invention: Bra *** Date of Invention: 1913 *** Name of Inventor: Caresse Crosby *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1891 - 1970 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: WW1 (1914 - 1918) *** Category: Clothing and Apparel *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the invention of the Bra ***

Fact 1: Who invented the Bra? The Bra was invented by Caresse Crosby in 1913 during the WW1 era of inventions (1914 - 1918) a great addition to advancements made in the area of Clothing and Apparel.

Fact 2: Who invented the Bra? Prior to the invention of the Bra in 1913, women wore a variety of different undergarment s through the ages. Ancient Greek women wore a form of breast band called an apodesme, which was adopted by Roman women. Minoan women on the island of Crete apparently wore garments that partially supported but also revealed their bare breasts.

Fact 3: Who invented the Bra? During the Medieval era of the Middle Ages the breast tended to be flattened with straight bodices or supported by tightly fitting clothes. Alternatives were the

Fact 4: Who invented the Bra? The corset, an article of dress with boning designed to cinch the waist and lift the breasts, appeared in the mid-15th century during the Tudor and Elizabethan era.

Fact 5: Who invented the Bra? The fashion of wearing corsets was influenced by geometric shapes which were achieved by tight underwear. The corset which gave a flattened and triangular shape was worn by both men and women!

Fact 6: Who invented the Bra? Elizabethan women also were a garment called a partlet which was a high necked shift designed to cover a low necked dress. The bodice, a sleeveless vest tightly laced in front, was also worn by women to cover the upper part of a woman's body.

Fact 7: Who invented the Bra? During the 1700's through to the early 1900's women wore a chemise, a long, often sleeveless undergarment, under their clothing, or alternatively the corset.

Fact 7: Who invented the Bra? Corsets were extremely uncomfortable items of clothing with laces and stays made of whalebone or metal. A corset could squeeze a woman's waist to as little as 16 or 17 inches (40 - 43 cm). It was painful and highly restrictive. The laces and stays had to be pulled and tugged into place by another person, usually a servant, so the corset was most often worn by the upper classes. Women's underwear took a massive change when Caresse Crosby invented the bra in 1913.

Fact 8: Who invented the Bra? The inventor of the Bra, Caresse Crosby, was born Mary Phelps Jacob on April 20, 1891 in New Rochelle, New York, United States and died on January 24, 1970.

Fact 9: Who invented the Bra? The early years of Mary Phelps Jacob (later to become known as Caresse Crosby) were spent in New Rochelle, New York, United States where he was raised by her prominent New England family. Her family nickname was "Polly" an she received an excellent education at a private school.

Fact 10: Who invented the Bra? Polly had a privileged lifestyle  (she was formally presented to the King of England at a garden party in 1914). Moving in elite circles all her life she was fashion conscious and wore the finest clothes.

Fact 11: Who invented the Bra? In 1915 Polly married her long-time sweetheart, Richard "Dick" Rogers Peabody a member of the American aristocracy. The couple had two children, a son, called William Jacob, and a daughter called Polly. The marriage to Dick Peabody ended in divorce in 1921 and on September 9, 1922 Polly married Harry Grew Crosby. At the end of 1924, Harry Crosby persuaded Polly to formally change her first name to Caresse. Her marriage to Harry Crosby ended in 1929 after he and his mistress committed suicide.

Fact 12: Who invented the Bra? The woman who would become known as Caresse Crosby invented the Bra in 1913. The story of the Caresse Crosby bra began in 1910 when she purchased a special gown for an important social event. Much to her annoyance, the corset's whalebone poked out from her plunging neckline. She and her maid worked together to create and alternative undergarment by by stitching two silk handkerchiefs together with some pink ribbon and cord. Although it was risque the light comfortable bra was so much better than the restrictive corset. 

Fact 12: Who invented the Bra? Although Caresse Crosby is closely associated with the invention of the Bra, she was not the first to make such a garment. On August 3, 1875 Susan Taylor Converse of Massachusetts, an advocate undergarment reform, patented a garment called the Emancipation Suit. The Emancipation Suit had a gathered section across the bodice that freed the breasts from compression, and sets of buttons at the waist and hips to help suspend several layers of skirts.

Fact 13: Who invented the Bra? In 1889 a French lingerie maker called Herminie Cadolle (1845–1926) invented a two-piece undergarment called "le bien-ętre" meaning the 'wellbeing'. The upper section of the garment supported the breasts by means of shoulder straps. The Herminie Cadolle was a great success with her clients but she failed to market her invention preferring to keep it a secret for her customers only.

Fact 14: Who invented the Bra? On 28 March, 1893 Marie Tucek of New York city patented the Tucek Breat Supporter (patent number US494397 A) designed to replace the corset. Her device included separate pockets for the breasts, which were fastened by hook-and-eye closures with straps that went over the shoulder. Marie Tucek also failed to market her invention and women were still stuck with the corset.

Fact 15: Who invented the Bra? Caresse Crosby was the first to patent an undergarment named  the 'Brassiere'. The word 'Brassiere' derived from the French word meaning "child's chemise; shoulder strap".

Fact 15: Who invented the Bra? The patent for the 'Brassiere' was granted on November 3, 1914 under her name at that time which was Mary P Jacob when she was residing at Mamaroneck, in the State of New York. The purpose of the 'Brassiere' was to confine and conceal the corset top.

Fact 16: Who invented the Bra? The patent  application for the 'Brassiere' state that the garment  was made for "extreme simplicity by freedom from bones so that it may be finished with laces or embroideries for wear beneath a sheer waist or diaphanous gown". It also stated that it was comfortable, cool and so efficient that it may be worn even by persons engaged in violent exercise such as tennis.

Fact 17: Who invented the Bra? Caresse Crosby never bothered to create a business for her invention of the Bra and sold the brassiere patent for $1500 to the Warner Brothers Corset Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Fact 18: Who invented the Bra? Selling her patent for the invention of the Bra was a massive mistake for several reasons. The first was the outbreak of WW1 (1914 - 1918) when in 1917, the U.S. War Industries Board requested women to stop buying corsets to free up metal for the war effort. During the war women started to work in factories and the wearing of corsets was completely impractical. The Great War ended and fashions completely changed in the Roaring Twenties when flappers dominated the headlines with their new daring clothes that were suited to the unrestrictive brassiere.

Fact 19: Who invented the Bra? The Warner Brothers Corset Company went on to earn more than fifteen million dollars from the bra patent over the next 30 years. Caresse Crosby went on to become a poet and lead a a scandalous and Bohemian lifestyle. Caresse Crosby married again in 1937 to Selbert Young but this relationship also ended in divorce

Fact 20: Who invented the Bra? Caresse Crosby died on January 24, 1970 n Rome but always be remembered as the inventor of the bra and the woman who freed women from corsets.

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