President suspenders, also known in history as “Perry suspenders,” were first made by Albert Thurston Ltd. in England in the 1820s. The suspenders were originally designed to be worn by British royalty, but their popularity quickly spread, and they became a popular fashion accessory for men around the world. The term “President suspenders” was later adopted in the United States.
Why Suspenders Instead of Belts?
Suspenders, also known as braces, were more popular in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries than today for a number of reasons:
Fashion: In the early twentieth century, men’s fashion emphasized a more formal, put-together look, and suspenders were seen as an important accessory for achieving that look. Suspenders were often worn with suits and other formal wear, and were considered an essential part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.
Function: Suspenders were more practical than belts in many ways. They were designed to hold up pants more securely, and they distributed weight more evenly across the body, reducing the strain on the waistband. This made suspenders more comfortable for long periods of wear, especially for men who were engaged in physically demanding work.
Style: Suspenders were seen as a stylish accessory in their own right, and came in a wide variety of colors and patterns. This made them a popular choice for men who wanted to add a touch of personality to their outfits.
Changing fashion Trends: In the mid-twentieth century, men’s fashion shifted towards a more casual, relaxed style, and belts began to replace suspenders as the preferred method of holding up pants. This shift was influenced by the popularity of denim and other casual fabrics, which were better suited to belts than suspenders.
Distributers of President suspenders, the C. A. Edgarton Manufacturing Company of Shirley, Massachusetts was a textile manufacturing company that played an important role in the industrialization of the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
C. A. Edgarton and Sons opened a factory in 1881 on Leominster Road in Shirley, Mass to produce webbing for suspenders and garters. Charles A. Edgarton had previously worked in the textile industry in Lowell, Massachusetts. Edgarton purchased a large tract of land in Shirley, Massachusetts, and began construction of a large mill complex that would house his new manufacturing operations.
The first product manufactured by the company was cotton batting, which was used as padding for furniture and other products. The company quickly expanded its operations, however, and began manufacturing a wide range of cotton and woolen products, including blankets, yarns, and fabrics.
By the early 1900s, the C. A. Edgarton Manufacturing Company had become one of the largest employers in the region, with several hundred workers employed in its mill complex. The company’s success was due in part to the high quality of its products, which were well-regarded for their durability and reliability. It is likely that somewhere along the way, Edgarton began distributing the English “perry suspenders”. In order to Americanize the product, not surprisingly the name “President suspenders” emerged.
During World War I, the company played an important role in the war effort by manufacturing woolen blankets and other products for the military. Following the war, the company continued to expand its operations, and by the 1920s had become one of the largest textile manufacturers in the country.
However, like many textile manufacturers, the C. A. Edgarton Manufacturing Company struggled in the face of increased competition from foreign manufacturers and changing consumer preferences. The President suspenders brand faded out around 1930. The company began to downsize its operations in the 1930s, and by the 1950s had ceased production entirely.
Advertising of the Times
C. A. Edgarton places display ads all over – you could even see them at the ball park while eating your Cracker Jack. Here is a verbatim 1908 print ad for President suspenders (see image on this page):
The best, most attractive, most sensible Christmas gift you could give any man is a pair of “President” suspenders in a beautiful holiday box. If he has never worn “Presidents”, your gift will be doubly appreciated for you’ll acquaint him with the finest, most comfortable, most durable suspenders ever designed. Be sure you get “Presidents”. Other suspenders are offered in fancy boxes, but they are not “Presidents”, not so comfortable as “Presidents” – and every man knows it.
A box of these suspenders sold in 1908 for $0.50. The ad goes on to say: Sold by all dealers, or sent prepaid to any address on receipt of price. Different weights and lengths to suit all requirements. Buy today as many pairs as you need for your Christmas giving. Makers guarantee: satisfaction, new pair, or money back. The C. A. Edgarton Manufacturing Company, 720 Main Street, Shirley, Massachusetts.
- Year Started: 1900
- Year Ended: 1930
- Origin Of Name: Americanization of a British Brand
- Location Sales: USA
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Albert Thurston, Ltd. / C. A. Edgarton & Sons
- Owner While In Use: Albert Thurston, Ltd. / C. A. Edgarton & Sons
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Albert Thurston
- Naics Code: 315990
- Location Headquarters: Shirley. Massachusetts. USA