Did Mark Twain really invent the bra strap? 👀

Did Mark Twain really invent the bra strap? 👀

Not everyone enjoyed wearing suspenders, and one such person was Samuel Leghorn Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. In 1871, Twain developed ‘Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments,’ a strap attached to the back of a garment like a shirt, fastened with buttons, allowing for easy removal and a tighter fit. Twain envisioned his device being used on various garments, including vests, trousers, and women's corsets. Despite receiving a patent on December 19th of that year, his invention never gained widespread adoption, as adjustable buckles on waistcoats and the resurgence of belts for men’s trousers made it obsolete.

In 1914, New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob invented and patented the modern bra, using two silk handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon. Its advantages—lightweight, soft, and comfortable—quickly made it an essential piece of women’s lingerie. To ensure the bra strap at the back stayed in place, the clasp used was none other than Twain’s Adjustable Detachable Strap for Garments. Although Twain’s patent had long since expired and he had passed away, his invention found a new life in an unexpected way.

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