Figure 1.--This garment is made of "strong, pre-shrunk cotton, padded with shaker flannel". The boy in the illustration seems to be about 12 years old, but such shoulder braces were made for children of all ages as well as for adults.
The brand of shoulder brace advertised here is "Per-fit" manufactured by A. Stein & Co., the same
firm that sold the famous Paris Garters for men and the well-known Hickory Hose Supporters and Garter Waists for boys and girls. Hickory Garters were widely used by American children to hold up their long stockings. Hickory was a national brand name. They were sold all over the country in various stores and were widely advertised in magazines. They advertized extensively in Parents' Magazine. The fact that they were also sold by Sears doesn't rule them out.
Here is another shoulder brace ad from Parents Magazine (March, 1940, p. 94). The A. Stein Company advertized extensively in Parents' Magazine. The fact that they were also sold by Sears doesn't rule them out. Parents Magazine is the leading family magazine in the United States for parents. It provides practical advise, tips, techniques and advice from America's foremost childcare experts. As originally conceived it was primarily pitched to mothers. This is probably still the case, although men are playing an increasing role in raising children. The magazine was founded in 1925. The magazine is still being published. Besides the articles with advise on child raising, there were many advertisements of products for children. This included clothing and patterns for making children's clothing. A HBC reader notes that there were many ads in the magazine for underwear--apparently a major shopping concern for mothers of the period. Or at least the advertisers who used PM thought so.
A reader tells us, "The expression "Throw back those Drooping Shoulders!" was one I used to hear all the time from my father in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries commonly wore a variety of devices to support long stockings and oyher garments. Some manufacturers claimed that some of the support devices were bebeficial for the child's posture. Notice for example that the garter waists sold during the period also sometimes advertised themselves as shoulder braces or aids to better posture (see for instance the Dr. Parker "Shoulder Brace and Hose Supporter", 1922). Another example is Kern's "Dandy" garter waist advertised by Sears in their 1937-38 catalogue "also serves as [a] shoulder brace." Another connection between shoulder braces and garter waists: note
that the Wards garter waists for 1941 "help correct posture."
Physicians believe that from early childhood steps should be taken to incourage correct posture to prevent adult back problems. We have noted doctors expressing concerns over posture in the 19th century, although often without real insights into the underlying medical science. We have noted a variety of posture corrective devices in 19th century publications. Some seem rather extreme. Some 19th century doctors and parents were very concerned about posture and willing to take aggressive steps to force children to develop better posture. This continued in a less aggressive manner into the early 20th century. The waists suits worn by children in the ealy 20th century offered referred to benefecial posture. Parents today in most cases seem less willing to intervene to improve threir children's posture with the exception of occassional mild oral comments.
This garment is made
of "strong, pre-shrunk cotton, padded with shaker flannel". The boy in the illustration seems to be about 12 years old, but such shoulder braces were made for children of all ages as well as for adults. The ad copy read, "Parents needn't say . . . Throw back those Drooping Shoulders! When Youngsters Wear "Per-fit" Shoulder Braces. Here's comfortable, scientifically designed support to remind your child to stand and sit properly--good posture relives strain on young back muscles, banishes "tiredness," encourages healthy, deep breathing. "Per-fit" Shoulder Braces are well-made of strong, pre-shrunk cotton, padded with shaker flannel, durable washable. A small
investment, but a wise one, for your child's good health: at better Notions Counters in children's sizes, 89 c. In adult sizes, $1.00. Good Posture--prevents drooping shoulders, promotes proper breathing, supports muscles of the back, reduces fatigue, fosters chest development. Guaranteed by the makers of famous Hickory Garters and Waists for Children, Hickory Dress Shields and Sanitary Specialties for Women. A. Stein & Company, Chicago, New York. Perf-fit Shoulder Braces."
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