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|Title||:||Bust-up: The uplifting tale of Otto Titzling and the development of the bra|
|Number of Pages||:||106 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Bust-up: The uplifting tale of Otto Titzling and the development of the bra Reviews
What a wonderful book! The author writes with a deliciously astute warm sense of humour which never quite descends into the depths of common bawdy, on a subject I’ve not before seen addressed in a book. This really is educational social history writing at its best; assisted by the intriguing nature of its subject; and the enormous business opportunities available in early twentieth-century America.Of course it takes an older woman, Mrs Riley, to draw Otto’s attention to Miss Olafsen’s (of Icelandic descent) particular needs. As befits a budding opera singer who had managed one performance at the Met., in her frontal proportions she was positively Wagnerian. At this point the detail of the ‘plot’ thickens, and the text begins to read a little like a British 1970s “Carry On” film. Schoolboy humour; irresistible, I suppose, given the subject.Chapter Three broadens the elastic, so to speak, by giving an intriguingly concise history of corsetry from the Minoan civilisation (c. 2000 BC) to the invention (in 1913) of industrial processes for extruding liquid rubber to produce fine threads which could then be woven in to produce elasticised materials. It’s not difficult to feel how this must have been an absolute Godsend to the very much more active lives led by tens of thousands of women who worked as army nurses, military drivers, in munitions plants, etc/usw. in the First World War (1914-1918).Chapter Four discusses the prime physiological requirements for support, so viewed by women as being of a considerably greater importance than attractiveness to males of the species; and also the physiological tailoring challenges engendered by the fact that a significant number of women in the Western World (apparently) have slightly different sized breasts as the result of asymmetric exercise; whether gained through regular fitness plans, or by the nature of their everyday work. I reached for my measuring tape! In Chapter Five, Otto (coarsely describing himself as a ‘meatpacker’! Uggh! Probably in a bar with his mates) meets Hans Delving (at this point I REALLY began to question if these names were for real. Pseudonyms perhaps, to protect the shy?), who became his life-long business associate. Delving’s essential commercial contribution was sheer, talented, business nous. He achieved wide product acceptance and profitable sales for the new foundation garment.So by Chapter Six, this book had become an absorbingly good read on how build a successful business ‘of the talents’, in the early twentieth century in America. Branching out into ‘falsies’ (Chapter Seven) adapted from a 1929 patent, proved to be a good move. Wrapped up in that is a good business tip: study patents to make significant technological and consumer desirable improvements on them, without infringing an existing patent.Product range increased with the invention of the front-fastening bra; unsurprisingly immediately called the “front-opening bra” by men! (Chapter Eight). So very much easier to put on and take off; even if, apparently, women disliked it because on laundry day a front-opener simply doesn’t hang well on a washing line (so very true). It must be remembered that these were the days before domestic electric tumble-dryers. Neither, it must be said, does that style of bra suit the generously endowed. However, just turn the page and hey!, Chapter Nine is right there to discuss (and pretty comprehensively too) the Big-Busted. Thence onto the glossy glamour of Hollywood, mid 1930s ‘cheesecake’ (Chapter Ten) through to the challenges raised by new competition entering the market (Chapter Twelve).Broadly, this is a remarkably entertaining and well told tale of just one business’s contribution within the forging of the industrialisation of America, the foundation (one might pun) which lead to female emancipation and all that we are today. What business men & women must it have inspired! (view spoiler)[ It is the Hollywood ‘cheesecake’, “Helga Lemurr”, who really cannot fail to stretch the elastic to the point of pinging; and which must surely prompt the reader to search Wikipedia for Helga and Otto. All is revealed. Literally. (hide spoiler)]
Ha-ha. A tongue in cheek look at women's undergarments, in particular the bra. Some actual facts mingle in with the faux history and the illustrations though rather few in number are interesting.