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Next Week: The Berlin Wall Falls

This Week in HistoryThis Week in History: Week 44 (3 November 1914)

First Bra Is Patented

In the USA, Mary Phelps Jacob receives the world's first patent for a brassiere.

In 1914, Mary Phelps Jacob was granted the world's first patent for a brassiere. She made her ground-breaking invention in 1913 and after extensive testing submitted the final design to the US Patents Office. She soon sold the patent to Warner Brothers Corset Co., which made over $15,000,000 from it over the next 30 years.

patent (verb): register an invention with the government
brassiere (noun): underclothing worn as support for the breasts; bra
grant (verb): give (usually formally, e.g. a right, ownership, license, etc)
ground-breaking (adjective): very new; will bring about change
extensive (adjective): a lot of; comprehensive; detailed

The original patent of the backless brassiere, by Mary Phelps Jacob.

Test your understanding:

1. The world's first commercially-produced brassiers were manufactured by

a) Mary Phelps Jacob
b) Warner Brothers Corset Co.
c) the US Patents Office

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2. After testing her design for several months, Mary Phelps Jacob

a) submitted it to the US Patents Office
b) took it to Warner Brothers Corset Co.
c) sold it for $15,000,000

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3. The main reason inventors patent their inventions is in order to

a) test and improve them
b) show that they are useful
c) stop others from copying them

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Next Week: The Berlin Wall Falls

Contributor: Matt Errey