Who invented the bra?

Bikini-like breast-bands are known to have been around in the ancient world.

This article was first published in the February 2016 issue of History Revealed

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Who invented the bra?
Brasseries have come in different shapes and sizes over the years – here is a 1935 window display of the latest corset fashion. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

But, in 2008, archaeologists investigating a rubbish pit in Lengberg Castle, Austria, discovered a cache of clothing, including underpants and four very modern-looking ‘bras’, complete with ‘bags’ – what we would call ‘cups’.

Carbon dating shows the bras were worn sometime between 1440 and 1485.

In 1889, a German woman, Christine Hardt, received a patent for a modern bra.

However, in 1914 socialite Mary Phelps Jacob famously patented an invention she’d created from some handkerchiefs and a piece of pink ribbon one night before going out.

This ‘backless brassiere’ became the basis for the bras we know today.

Answered by one of our Q&A experts, Sandra Lawrence. For more fascinating questions by Emily, and the rest of our panel, pick up a copy of History Revealed! Available in print and for digital devices.

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