We have a World War II veteran to thank for the push-up bra's popularity. Support systems for breasts first became a regular item in women's wardrobes in 1907. But the world had to wait for the push-up until Frederick Mellinger was inspired by his fellow army men to engineer a sexier bra.
Mellinger followed his war buddies' advice, and designed pieces they said their girlfriends would prefer over the available options at the time, according to his obituary in the New York Times. He returned home from the War and, in 1946, opened up a lingerie business, the now infamous Fredrick's of Hollywood.
In 1948, Mellinger introduced the world to its first push-up and called it, appropriately, the "Rising Star."
Although he is widely credited as the inventor of the push-up bra, Mellinger recently ran into some competition for the title. A white padded brassiere made in 1880 was uncovered in the collections of London's Science Museum.
This bra which may be the oldest push-up bra was made out of two round pads attached by a wide piece of fabric, and decorated with lace and feathers.
Over the years, the uplifting undergarment has become a well-appreciated invention. The push-up bra is one of the 100 most important inventions of all time, according to a survey of British adults conducted by Tesco Mobile. The bra came in at No. 77 on the list. The wheel was No. 1.
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