Several American companies manufactured stocking supporters. The most famous stocking suppoter brands in America were "Velvet Grip" supporters (manufactured by the George Frost Manufacturing Co.) and "Hickory" (manufactured by Stein & Co.). Velvet Grip and Hickory supporters became very well known across the nation because they were widely advertized in major mass-market mgazines. They were sold, respectively, in the Sears and Wards mail order catalogs, although they could be purchased at most dry goods and department stores throughout the Umited States. We also notice some smaller manufacrurers. We note, for example, the "Polly" brand of supporters. It may have been a local brand, since a reader discovered a box of Polly supporters in California. Children's hose supporters, although made in various qualities with corresponding prices, were very much a standard item of clothing in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century and didn't differ
much in construction from brand to brand. There was especially fierce competition between the two major brands--Velvet Grip and Hickory. Velvet Grip emphasized the rubber button fastener that prevented damage to the stocking top when attached whereas Hickory (as the name implies) emphasized the strength of their supporters, particularly the strength of the safety pin at the top that would not bend or come undone even under the maximal tugging that supporters were subjected to in the
rough and tumble play for which children were notorious. Buster Brown supporters also emphasized strength with an advertising pun: "You can't bust 'er!" Originally hose supporters were attached to underwaists by means of buttons. All the standard brands had the same principal features by the 1910s. The difference was simply in the quality, weight, width, and sturdiness of the elastic and the metal and rubber fittings. Up until the late 1940s when long stockings for children went out of style, Sears and Wards sold various grades of hose supporters from very cheap (about 9 cents a pair) to medium quality (19 cents a pair) to best quality (23 cents a pair). The more expensive supporters simply lasted longer and had better quality elastic in them.
Athleta was a fairly important brand of stocking supporters. We do not know a great deal about the brand, but we have found a vintage display box from pproximately 1910. The box has no date, but we can estimate the date fairly accurately by the price of these supporters at 15 cents a pair. Athleta is a brand name, we are not sure yet if it is also the company name.
We so note a modern company with that nanme specializing in women's athletic wear.
Beltx was a St. Louis-based company which seems to have specialized in items forrwomen that involved elastic. We are unsure when the company was founded. We know it was a St. Louis, Missouri company. We note ads in Good Houskeeping from the 1940s. Company packaging in the 1960s explained that the company offered: Personal Belts, Santy Pants, Garters, Hose Supporters, Shoulder Straps, Pads, and Guards, Bra Back Repairs and Extenders, and Maternity Items: Garter Belts and 2 Way Stretch Fabric Panels. While the company specialized in women's wear, we note they also made elastic garters for supporting children's long stockings. This is not one of the brands we note when long stockings were most common. We note one of these items that look to be made in the 1940s, although they are not dated. The Beltx brnd is the 2000s is owned by Duro-Med Industries, a New Jersey company which seems to specialize in sanitary belts.
"Buster Brown" supporters were sold by the Buster Brown shoe company. Stocking supporters were a side line for the company. Buster Brown was one of the best known manufactirers of children's shoes. We see fewer magazine ads for Buster Brown supporters. They had a variety of gimics for advertizing their stocking supporters. We note a series of celuloid or metal badges given out to children at the time of purchase. We are not sure just how popular these bages were, but they were like little moveable billboards. A collection is available on line. We don't note many exanples of children wearing them in the photographic record. Buster Brown supporters also emphasized strength with an advertising pun: "You can't
bust 'er!" Originally hose supporters were attached to underwaists by means of buttons.
"Butler" stocking supporters were sold by the Butler Brothers Clothing Co. of
Chicago. This appears to have been a smaller manufacturer. We note a 1929 Butler ad
We know very little about this company. The name sounds Enflish and we have not noted marketing in America. We do note their products being sold in an unidentified German catalog during the 1900s
One of the most fmous brands in America were "Hickory" supporters manufactured by Stein & Co.
Hickory supporters became very well known across the nation. They were advertized in major mass-market magazines. A good example is 1916 Hickory ad. They were also
sold in the Wards mail order catalogs. They could also be purchased at most dry goods and department stores throughout the United States. Hickory (as the name implies) emphasized the strength of their supporters, particularly the strength
of the safety pin at the top that would not bend or come undone even under the maximal tugging that supporters were subjected to in the rough and tumble play for which children were notorious. Velvet Grip and Hickory made a point of the non-rusting quality of the metal used since supporters could theoretically be washed in the laundry.
Lindsay hose supporters were advertised in connection with the H. & W. Waist. They both seem to be associated with the De Bevoise Waist Company in Ilushing, New York. See a 1896 ad for H & W Underwaists.
The "Polly" brand of supporters was one we have never heard of previously. I'm not sure who the manufacturer was. It may have been a local brand, since a reader discovered a box of Polly supporters in California. Here are a pair of vintage Polly Brand Children's Hose Supporters dating from the 1920s. We also have a photo of the original box in which this brand of supporters was apparently displayed (and perhaps also shipped). The interior lid shows a brightly colored Pol Parrot, obviously the symbol of the brand "Polly" and meant, I suppose, to appeal to boys and girls. The box contains seven pairs of supporters--all of them sized 6-9, appropriate for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 9. Hose supporters for boys and girls were usually made in three basic sizes or lengths--small (for children 2 to
5 years of age), medium (for children 6 to 9 years of age, and large (for children from 10 to 12).
We have been unable to find any information about this American company We do know that it manufactured children's stocking supporters in the 1940s. As long stckings and stocking suporters were by this time declining, we assume that the company was ctive earlier. We note a Trueworth garter waist being adverized in newspapers during 1947.
One of the most famous brands in America were "Velvet Grip" supporters manufactured by
the George Frost Manufacturing Co. Velvet Grip supporters became very well known
across the nation. They were advertized in major mass-market magazines. A good example is 1909 Velvet Grip ad.
And they were sold in the Sears mail order catalogs. They could also be purchased at most dry goods and department stores throughout the United States.
Velvet Grip emphasized the rubber button fastener that prevented damage
to the stocking top when attached. Velvet Grip and Hickory
made a point of the non-rusting quality of the metal used since
supporters could theoretically be washed in the laundry.
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