January 19th, 1935 – An Underwear Revolution

Today-In-History

On January 19th, 1935, during a blizzard, Coopers Inc. sold the world’s first briefs at the Marshall Field’s State Street store in downtown Chicago.

Coopers

Jockey was originally named Coopers Inc., and was founded by Samuel T. Cooper in St. Joseph, Michigan in 1876 as a hosiery business. Cooper began the business when he learned that lumberjacks were suffering from poorly constructed wool socks.

Underwear GroomIn 1900, Cooper began making undergarments. Although business was good enough to merit expansion in 1902, by 1934 Coopers Inc. was nearly bankrupt due to hardships caused by the Great Depression. The company recruited Harry H. Wolf, Sr., to restructure the company.

The world’s first briefs were designed by an apparel engineer named Arthur Kneibler, briefs dispensed with leg sections and had a Y-shaped overlapping fly. The company dubbed the design the maccky, since it offered a degree of support that had previously only been available from the jockstrap. Macky briefs proved so popular that over 30,000 pairs were sold within three months of their introduction.

Coopers, having renamed the company Jockey, sent its Mascul-liner plane to make special deliveries of masculine support briefs to retailers across the US. In 1938, when macky were introduced in the UK, they sold at the rate of 3,000 a week.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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