Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Vintage Skivvies Underwear History


The Early Pioneers

Before long, a whole new industry began to take hold to fulfill America’s voracious new appetite for clean, durable undergarments. Factories began pouring out union suits. Hanes built numerous water-driven mills that greatly increased the fledgling industry's production. They also fueled the growth of the American work force dedicated to making what we now think of as vintage skivvies.

Both man and machinery combined talents to fuel the growth of the undergarment industry. Thousands of immigrants from Ireland and southeastern Europe, eager for employment at any wage, provided ample low-cost labor. Huge machines, like power looms and cutters that could trim dozens of layers of fabric at once, leveraged the factory's output. An undergarment that had taken one to three days to make by hand could now be made by machines in less than an hour.

New England, the Carolinas and the upper Midwest became the centers of production for what was sometimes called "man’s second skin." The 20th century opened with men, women and children all in drop seat equipped union suits. Usually they were covered in knitted fabric from their ankles to their wrists — toasty in the winter and deadly hot in summer.
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