Friday, May 7, 2010

Of Bodkins and Braids

Here is a great little item from my collection.  The braid was used mostly for replacement laces for corsets, but could be used for other underwear applications as well.  The bodkin, for those who don't have a clue, is used to run the braid thru the casing or holes in the lace or garment easily.  It wouldn't work for lacing a corset, however, and the ends of the braid would have to be tipped or hardened in some manner to pass easily through the eyelets of the corset.

That's where the bodkin would go if it was still with the package. :(

This patent took me longer to find, as there was no number--but there was a name and a date. Here it is, by Edwin M Goldsmith, of Philadelphia, PA.

A little more exploration into the patents database turned up Edwin M Goldsmith patenting lots of varied items including a Pneumatic Gun in 1899, a Lamp Chimney Raiser in 1891, a Carrying Device for Pocketbooks in 1900, a Soap Holder in 1902, some kind of coin-operated Clock in 1903, a Pencil Sharpener and point protector in 1903, a Paper Holder in 1905, another Braid Holder in 1913, a Ribbon Reel in 1916, a Holder for Elastic and Braid in 1915, some kind of washing Scrubbie in 1918, a Hair Curler in 1923, and the arrival of grandchildren probably prompted this Washable Doll in 1919. Edwin would have been a fun grandpa to have! He even invented a waterproof bathing suit  in 1930. Unsanitary public bathrooms prompted his invention of individual tissue towels wrapped around powdered soap for one-time use in 1925.  I think his Buttonhole Tape in 1930 is my favorite because I really hate making buttonholes. Edwin had a few other inventions involving ribbons and tapes and reels to hold them.

Edwin Meyer Goldsmith and Sarah Virginia (Jennie) Friedberger got married in 1891 and had Cecilia in 1892 and Henry in 1893.  They lived in Philadelphia, PA.  He and Jennie were both first-generation Americans whose parents were born in Germany.  Son Edwin, Jr came along in 1902.  In 1900 Edwin, Sr was a clothing manufacturer.  In 1910 Edwin was a manufacturer of (something) and lace.  In 1920 Edwin Sr was a manufacturer of chocolates, which seems quite contrary to all his other interests. He was 47 when he patented his bodkin and braid invention.  In 1930 Edwin, Jennie, and Edwin, Jr were living in Longport, NJ and Edwin was a textiles manufacturer, so his inventions must have paid off. A search for Edwin M Goldsmith on Google turned up an Edwin M Goldsmith, III, Philadelphia lawyer, his father dying in 1991. Edwin took out a passport in 1923 so he and Jennie could visit France, Italy, and Egypt and here is their picture from that document. Edwin Jr accompanied them for "study", and had his own passport.

They had been overseas at least three other times before 1923 without a passport, and no previous passport was listed on the 1923 one. I will have to research when passports became necessary for travel. I'll bet World War I had something to do with it.

Edwin died in 1944 and Jennie died in 1933; both in Philadelphia.

Here is another Lingerie Braid Holder with Bodkin called Jewel Lingerie Braid by RitCo, and looks like Fig 5 in the Goldsmith invention, above.

There is an illustration of a lady and the back of her corset under the braid.  Also the following copy:  "Jewel Corset Laces combining maximum durability and elasticity, will make your corset easy to adjust and comfortable to wear.  Ask for Jewel Corset Laces wherever Jewel Lingerie Braid is sold."

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