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When a bra design revolutionized women’s fashion

Many inventions today we take for granted. They simply become a part of our everyday and are freely available in stores whenever we need them. Well, let’s take a jump back to 1914, where our friend Mary was tired of expected women’s fashion and wanted to create something different.

A Look Back In Time

Mary Phelps Jacob, also known as Caresse Crosby (or the nickname Polly) led a colorful life which led her to receive her patent number US 1115674A for the Backless Brassiere on November 3rd, 1914.

While other women were squeezing themselves into corsets, Polly ripped hers up and developed a new design that was lightweight, comfortable, and could be worn while playing sports.

Her design was the first patent of its category, but it was not the first bra-like undergarment to be developed during the early 1900s.

Inventor’s Impact

Polly created the Fashion Form Brassière Company where she opened a two-women manufacturing facility to produce her design. Her business never really took off, so she sold her patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1500 who later went on to earn several million from her original design.

In her words, "I can't say the brassiere will ever take as great a place in history as the steamboat, but I did invent it." While her invention didn’t take flight during her years as an inventor, she did influence bra designs moving forward. She also went on to own a publishing company that brought many classic writers to the page (who directly influenced popular culture with their novels and poetry).

What can we learn from our friend Polly? That inventive design often begins with the need for change.

We are on a mission


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