Manufacturers of Boys' Clothing: Root's Underwear (United States)

Figure 1.--This is a Root's Underwear advertisement from a 1900 issue of "Cosmopolitan Magazine". THe ad stresses the use of wool in their product.

Root's was aa imortant manufacturer of children's underwear in the early 20th century. The company was located in New York. The copy in a Root's ad read, "Root's Underwear is a comfort and a luxury at reasonable price. Made only from the best of the world's materials by the best American skill. No dye-stuffs. It is the perfect underclothing for the health of your children. It is made in different weights and to fit all sizes of people, from babies to giants. Sold by principal dealers in New York and all large cities. If not by yours, write to Root's Underwear, 1 Greene St., New York." The ad was for boys' and girls' underwear. It appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine> I am not sure about the date. It looks to HBC like the 1910s, but a reader believes it was a 1900 issue of the magazine. The boy sitting on the sign with a fishing pole is dressed in typical turn-of-the-century clothes--straw hat with brim to keep off the sun (reminiscent of Tom Sawyer), shirt, knee pants, and long black stockings. Notice the grazing sheep--an indication that the children's underwear was made of wool even though the season for fishing is presumably summer. As for whether Root's Underwear was exclusively wool I'm not sure. I deduced that wool would be the principal material because of the presence of sheep in the ad. We do know that Root's underwear was made in various weights so it is possible, I suppose, that cotton or cotton and wool mixture might have been used for lighter weight underwear. I have the impression, however, that cotton underwear is a later development.


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Created: April 18, 2004
Last updated: April 18, 2004