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When Did the First Bra Debut?

Updated on July 19, 2011

Curiously, the bra is a fairly modern creation. Yes, devices have been around to improve or support a woman's breasts for eons, but none translated into the modern "bra". It was not until 1913-14 that a woman was first to patent the modern bra design using handkerchiefs sewn together with straps. Back then, there was no real interest in the corset replacement and the inventor managed to earn extra money. Some simply called it a "contraption".

Mary Jacobs, the inventor of the modern bra, sold it to Warners Brothers Corset Company for $1500. Seeing the potential, it would Warners that turned the design into something women have worn ever since earning $15,000,000 for the company. Up until 1918, it was not called a bra but a brassiere. It was in this year the fashion industry simply began advertising and using the word "bra". The bra's of the 20's were a vast improvement and welcome attire that all modern women sought, Styles had changed and the Victorian look and the amount of undergarments took to dress was obsolete. It was not until the 30's that elastic, that stretchable fabric, had been created and it revolutionized the manufacture and design of bra's. Sizing up to this point was non-existent and it was Warner's that introduced breast sizes for bra's in 1935.

Hard to believe that something as common as a bra is actually a fairly recent development!

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