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June 24th, 1930 Dated, U.S., Woman's, Peach Color, Girdle/Corset, with Original Matching Box
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This girdle/corset is, remarkably, dated June 24th, 1930. Dating can be confirmed by the fact that there is a inked in printing on one of the inner bones that reads: "Patented June 24, 1930, Patent No. 1,768,223" (WOW! How rare is that to find an actual date and patent number!). The garters confirm the dating as well as they are of the more complicated type that are usually encountered in 1930's period undergarments. It is also known that this corset is of U.S. origin based on the writing printed on the side of it's original box. For this particular corset, the length runs rather long, reaching up to just under the breasts. It just may appear to be long enough to be considered as a long line corset. But we will leave that final determination up to you.
There are 4 garters attached to this specimen that definitely are of the complicated 1930's pattern. Lucky for us all, there is a internal tailor's tag found sewn in this particular garment. This wonderful tag is of a white color with blue color, bevo style lettering which reads: "Beau-Svelte, Slenderizing, Cotton - Rayon". Another great feature is that there is a "316 W 44" found inked on one of the inner bones. This is a great find for the collector as this number EXACTLY MATCHES the numbers on the accompanying box (more on that box to follow). The size of this piece runs a bit larger than a period medium size (they always run smaller in size than today's pieces), or so we think. But as with all of the garments being made available by the museum, none are being sold to wear as they are all vintage collectibles.
The material of this corset is of a average weight linen. It is of a fairly common pink-ish/peach color. It looks like it was fairly durable, yet still remained somewhat flexible. There is a little added in the way of additional fine detailing suggesting that this corset was, more or less, pretty much intended for daily wear. It does however, have a little bit of interesting seam detailing. Such "frilly" details suggest that it was a bitty-bit more expensive than the run of the mill, unadorned common type corsets. But what is really cool is that this corset does have some interesting additional design features that make it quite special. The main body construction of this corset has incorporated 5 elasticized sections. Two are in the shape of a dart and the other 3 sections are in the shape of triangles. They were added here and there to provide extra "give". There are also 2 vertical running linen panels added along the length as well. The side of this corset has the usual metal closure hooks, and brother did they ever use a whole lot of them. But as an unusual design feature, it would appear that the main body of this corset was intended to be really not much more than just an outer shell-like covering which then hides the real "innards" of this rather complicated corset.
The waist reduction that this corset provides the lady really is being performed by an attached inner corset, of sorts. Found sewn inside is what appears to be the real corset. It is designed much like a standard corset except that in this case it has been sewn inside of the outer corset shell. This complicated inner corset contraption is comprised of many pieces. It includes it's own boning comprised of different width bones (and there are a whole bunch of them too). But interestingly this inner corset does not rely on any elasticized panels like the outside shell corset does. To obtain restriction and full closure this inner corset has been made into 2 major halves. On the 1 half you can find 7 metal closure hooks. In addition to this feature this half also has full, matching color laces that make this half section actually a 2 piece section all unto itself. Harry Houdini himself would have found it difficult to break out of such a heavily reinforced inner corset section that incorporates both metal hooks AND laces! As far as the 2nd half goes for this inner section, it actually is quite a big section that was also originally built as 2 separate sections all unto itself. One part of it is sewn to the inside of the main outer corset body and it also has no elasticized sections. But this 1/4 section does have matching lacing added for closure.
It's opposite 1/4 section side looks almost like a mini-sized wrestler's kidney belt trophy. This elaborate 1/4 section is heavily boned throughout with different width bones. But to add super-duper restriction to the waist line, this 1/4 section has 2 massive horizontal cross straps sewn in. These 2 extra wide cross straps reach from it's 2 outer edges, that are sewn into the main corset body, to a central point where an extra wide, tear drop shape bone is sewn in the middle. Each of these 2 wide cross straps have an elasticized section sewn in to allow for some stretch. As if this were not enough, this 1/4 section then had 7 metal closure hooks added. Need we say that this corset is very robust indeed? So there you have it......a corset that almost has a second corset built inside. Someone must have been very paranoid about accidentially bursting out of their undies to have built this battleship of a monstrosity. All of these built in features would have added additional cost to the selling price of what should have been a rather inexpensive undergarment otherwise. However, added features in lady's girdles/corsetry were "expensive" at the time. We have seen all sorts of catalog advertisements for such complicated corset designs as this in the likes of period Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs.
Apparently, added deluxe features are not all that unusual to find in a daily worn garment that otherwise would be a mundane piece. As for the condition of this girdle/corset, we rate it in a SOLID EXCELLENT CONDITION. It shows very light wear, but has the usual gamut of very minor age yellowing, snags, a few lose threads, and some extremely tiny stains. None of these defects are detracting to the eye. And now, here comes the cool part. This corset includes it's matching serial numbered storage box. When you buy any antique, just look at the differences in price if you can ever encounter an original boxed piece. Any antique found in it's original box is very rare indeed and thus much more in demand. Their selling prices reflect this greater demand. But what makes this box even more rare and desirable is that this box is actually "serial numbered" with a matching code number that is BOTH found on the corset AND found on the box. Dare we say "WOW" again! Found on this box is some blue and gold color logo/lettering that has much to say. It reads: "Beau Svelte, Trade Mark, Made By The Standard Corset Company, Style 316 W (*WHICH EXACTLY MATCHES THE CODE NUMBER FOUND INKED ON THIS MAGNIFICENT CORSET!), Biatex, Long Side Hook Girdle With Uplift Innerbelt, 44*". OK.....now can we say a big "WOW" again? This box is in OK condition showing some seam splitting and the usual box grime, but nothing so ugly as to be a detraction.
Comments from the Curator:
This girdle/corset is as good as you can get, or one that you could ever possibly need for a woman's vintage clothing display. While it is called a "girdle" on the box side, this contraption is much more of a corset in design then so purported. Call it what you may, it is a corset to us as any such undergarment that has boning in it's construction is more of a corset to us then some wimpy wet-noodle of a girdle. Nevertheless, this corset is in remarkably nice condition for a undergarment that was worn at one time or other. While it is of a fairly standard design, it is till one with interesting construction features. This rather complex undergarment would be a perfect fit for any 1930's/1940's mannequin that needs waist line restriction so that small sized outer garments can be fitted. Priced right for such a ultra-rare BOXED set.
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