Mary Phelps Jacob Invents the Modern Bra (feat. Parker Posey) – Drunk History


Hello… – [laughs] – Hello.
My name is Paget Brewster and today we’re talking about
Mary Phelps Jacob, the inventor of the bra.In 1910
women were cinched in
to tiny corsets all the time,but then there
is a 19-year-old girl–
Mary Phelps Jacob,setting up to go
to a debutante ball,
and she is like, Uh, I got this
beautiful silk dress and I have to put
this dumb piece of [bleep] on. Stupid corset
with whale bone inserts. Ugh,
it’s so goddamn dumb. All right, I’m–I’m–
I’m–I’m out. I’m out. I can’t take this.
Marie!Her maid.
Marie! Get me two handkerchiefs,
some silk cording, ribbons, and a sewing kit.She sews togethertwo handkerchiefs
onto herself
and goes to a ball.[epic music]All the girls are like,What is going on
with you, girl? You look better
than you have ever looked.And she says,
Yeah, I just made this [bleep] out of some handkerchiefs. The girls go crazy!And she’s like
My boobles are free to roam.And they all say
– I want one. – I want one.
– I want one. – All right, whatever,
I’ll make you some. I’ll make you my new thing,
whatever, with some handkerchiefs. Then she gets a letter
in the mail from someone she’s never met
saying, “Hey, I’ll give you a dollar
to make me a bra.”And then she realizes,
Oh, this could be a business. So she goes
to the Patent Office and she said,
Hey, I’ve made this thing. It’s a brassiere.The Patent Office guy
was like,
Everyone’s had boobs
for goddamn forever. I understand that you think
you made something, but you [bleep]ing didn’t.And she said
No, I did. The last piece of [bleep]
patent flattens your tits into nothing but one boob.
Do you want one boob?And he’s like,
I don’t–I can’t even– I don’t even know
if I can answer this. No, you want
two [bleep]ing boobs. They separate and lift. Give me the patent
for the backless brassiere.And he says,
Yeah, okay, all right. I’ve never seen that.
I will give you a patent.Slam.
He gives her a patent.
Oh, God.
I’m– I’m not gonna throw up,
but I am– I’m pretty– Gonzo bonzo.
– [laughs]– So she opens the
Fashion Form Brassiere Company.
Meanwhile, she marries this guy
Harry Crosby
and Harry says,
Hey, babe, because you’re gonna be
my wife Crosby, I feel like you should have
a “C” name. And so it’s like C. Crosby. I would really like it
if you change your name to Clitoris.
– [laughs] – It’s [bleep]ing true.
– [laughs]– And she says
Na–what? No. I’m not gonna
change my name to Clitoris.And he’s like
No, it’s with a “Y”. Still, I’m sorry.
I love you, man, honey, but…
not even with a “Y” will I name myself
Clitoris. What about Caresse? That’s better than
Clitoris. Certainly.He says to her
Hey, Caresse– Car–she’s now Caresse. You’re kinda bored
with the bra business and it’s not taking off. I’m kinda rich.
Why don’t you just let it go?She says
All right, fine.She sells her patentto the Warner Brothers
Corset Company
for $1,500.She’s like
I’m out. I’m good. Had fun. So, wait.
I have to fast-forward. I also have to pee. – Which one you done do first? – No, I have to pee.
– Okay, well, then pee. – I’m gonna.
– [snickers]– In 1929 the bra took hold.Everyone bought bras.The corset was dead.The Warner Brothers
Corset Company
makes $15 millionoff of her patent alone. – That’s a lot of titties.
– I– [laughs] – [laughs]
– Here’s the thing about Mary Phelps Jacob.
She never give a [bleep].She was like
Oh, okay. I sold the patent. Not gonna dwell on it. I’m gonna open
a publishing company that publishes every modern
writer known to man. Hemingway,
James Joyce, Henry Miller,
Edgar Allen Poe, uh–uh–
there’s so many more. Someone look it up
on an iPhone. You’ll see.
– [laughs] – Then was writing pornography for money! And she was great at it.And at the end of her life,someone asked her about,
like,
Hey, uh,
you invented something.And she said
Yeah, yeah. My invention–
it wouldn’t take the place in history of something
like the steamboat, but, yeah…
I invented the bra. The bra is kind of
a big [bleep]ing deal. No one gives a [bleep]
about a steamboat. Do you know anyone
who doesn’t have a bra?

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