Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Oh, patents! The corset-bra (1898)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

A corset-bra?...  No wonder women burned their bras in the 1960s!

Actually, the corset-bra was originally a French invention, called the corselet-gorge, which eventually led to the commonly used term soutien-gorge.

The corselet-gorge was quite a versatile invention in 1898! First, it could be worn with or without a corset. Without a corset, the two front sections of the corselet-gorge attached to a back laced portion with elastic side pieces. With a corset, the corselet-gorge attached to the corset, functioning in both cases as a breast "improver", since the front sections of the corselet-gorge (termed gussets) included bent whalebone stiffeners mounted on silk or thule, thus providing augmented breast forms!

Herminie Sardon (widow Cadolle), filed several patents in connection with her invention, and exhibited her corselet-gorge at the 1898 Exposition Universelle in Paris, an event that had prompted construction of the Eiffel Tower. 

A list of the Herminie Sardon (widow Cadolle) patents follows with two patent figure drawings, extracted from the British version of the corselet-gorge patent showing the front and the back corselet gorge:

  • FR279823 - 1898-07-16 - Corselet-gorge [Listing only - Bulletin des Lois de la RF]
  • GB189816955 (A) ― 1899-07-15 - Improvements in or relating to Corsets
  • FR326297 – 1902-05-21 -   Corset perfectionné dit “modern style”
  • FR443731C 1902 -10-01 - Corselet-guimpe

The original lingerie store in Paris, Cadolle, founded by Herminie Cadolle, the inventor of the corselet-gorge still exists 24 rue Chaussée d’Antin (Paris 9). Several additional Cadolle lingerie boutiques also exist around the world, where six generations of Cadolle daughters and daughters-in-law have managed the business of luxury custom lingerie!

Bulletin des lois de la République Française - Brevet 279823 - 16 juillet 1898 - Corselet-gorge - Cadolle (Mme veuve) née Herminie Sardon.
Stanley, A. (1995) Mothers and daughters of invention: Notes for a revised history of technology. Rutgers University Press

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