Cotton Fan Laced Girdle By Camp

Cotton Fan Laced Girdle By Camp, c. 1940s, USA. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: c. 1940s

Origin: United States

Fabric: Cotton

Brand: Camp


A girdle in sturdy pink cotton drill, supported with a mix of flat and spiral steel bones. There are gussets of elastic at the front of the waist and hip lines. There is a row of hooks and eyes forming a fastening to the side front of the garment. There are 6 suspender straps made of elastic, with metal adjusters and metal and rubber grips. A system of sturdy cotton tape, cotton lacing and specially designed metal components allow for adjustment of the lacing.

Samuel Higby Camp of Jackson, Michigan, arguably made the first fan laced corset in 1908. Its purpose was to allow women to dress themselves. The concept was patented in the US on 7th June 1921. There were many imitations made of the style, with varying fastenings that did not infringe upon the patent (notably Jenyns of Australia who specialised in fan lacing girdles). A bra patented in 1941 by Avro used a similar lacing system. The fan lacing system was immensely popular, and the girdle style continued to be manufactured well into the 20th century. 

S. H. Camp and Company was founded in 1908 and specialised in maternity and post-operative brassieres and corsets. Their advertising relied on the medical benefits of their products rather than on the style. in the 1930s, Camp ran training sessions to help bra fitters better understand the needs of their maternity and surgical clients, schooling them in anatomy to that they could interpret a doctor’s prescription. According to Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau’s book Uplift: The Bra in America, S. H. Camp and Company “pioneered in relating the size and pendulousness of breasts to letters of the alphabet, A through D.”


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2018-018


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