Minnesota Knitting Works: Underwear (1930s)

Figure 1.--Here the Minnesota Kniting Company shows its range of winter underwear for children. We are not sure when this appeared, but would guess about 1930.

We have an advertisement from the Minnesota Knitting Works. It looks like a magazine advertisement, probably from Parents Magazine, probably about 1930. The ad shows many of the underwear item's in the company line. The Minneapolis Kinitting Works after World War I developed new styles of underwar for children. The ad illustrates several of the company's underwear gtarments. Adiitional items are mentioned in the ad copy.

Minnesota Knitting Works

The Minneapolis Kinitting Works after World War I developed new styles of underwar for children. An ad in Parents' Magazine read, "Minneapolis "M" garments are universally accepted as the correct underdressing in juvenile styles. The fashionable French Type (short trunk) garments illustrated above are made for both boys and girls in all popular fabrics." The advertisement appeared in Parents Magazine during September, 1930, p. 45. This Minneapolis Knitting Works advertisement, timed obviously for mothers who were shopping for their school children at the beginning of the school year, advertises principally waists suits. The ad shows a wide range of underwear garments.

Ad Copy

The Minneapolis Kinnting Works ad copy read,

"Minneapolis "M" Garments: The Perfect Underwear for Children--just the kind of garments that careful mothers want to buy for their children. They have comfort and style that pleases modern boys and girls, quality and value that satisfies mothers, fit that neither washes out nor wears out. The Minneapolis Sleeper offers safe, comfortable night dressing of children. Made in two syles--pure white, all cotton and Bi-Knit fabric combining soft cotton inside for comfort and part wool outside for warmth. The "M" Bi-Knit Shirt is also made of the wonderful Bi-Knit fabric--warm and comfortable.

Every Underwear Need for Your Children--from birth to sixteen--has been anticipated in Minneapolis "M" Garments: Infants' Shirs, Bands, Binders, Panty Waists, Children's Union Suits Waist Union Suits, Vests, Bloomers and Combinations, Sleeping Garments. Ask for Minneapolis "M" Garments at your Dry Good store. Minneapolis Knitting Works, Minneapolis, Minn."

Underwear Garments

The advertisement displays four different garments in this illustration.

Top Figures

The two top figures, a girl on the left and boy on the right, are wearing two different styles of Minneapolis Sleepers. One of these (on the left) appears to be the equivalent of what were sometimes referred to generically as "Doctor Dentons"--i.e., one-piece garments with feet. Notice also the button drop seat, the same arrangement in the back that most union suits had. The suit opens down the front with buttons--also similar to a union suit. The boy on the top right is wearing a very similar garment except that his model seems to have short legs and therefore no feet. Both suits feature long sleeves.

Bottom figures

The two children at the bottom of the illustration show two types of children's underwear. The girl on the left wears an untaped short-legged union suit with the customary button drop seat. It has short sleeves. There are no waist buttons however, so this is a simple union suit, not a waist union suit. The boy on the right wears an ankle-length waist union suit with short sleeves. His suit has over-the-shoulder reinforcing tapes that end at his waist on each side under his armpits. This is where a button is attached for the support of short pants and where there is also a garter tab (probably a metal pin tube) to allow for the fastening of pin-on hose supporters.

Items not illustrated

Other garments are mentioned in the ad but not shown. Garments for babies are mentioned--"Shirts, Bands, Binders".
Panty waists: Also mentioned but not shown are "Panty Waists". These were vestlike bodices or underwaists with buttons at the waist line to allow for the buttoning on of underpants or panties. In addition panty waists always had garter tabs for hose supporters, usually with metal eyelets or metal pinning tubes through which the pin of the garter could be passed. Although the term "panty waist" was in common use by the public, advertisers tended to avoid the word--no doubt because of the sissy image that it had in the minds of older boys whose mothers made them wear underwaists. It is interesting that this advertisement is an exception to that trend.
Bloomers and combinations: "Bloomers and Combinations" are also mentioned but not shown. Bloomers were bloused underpants for girls with elastic gatherings around the legs. Sometimes they were built into waist union suits which had the standard additional buttons and garter tabs. For an illustration of these bloomer waist union suits, see the page on Combinations Suits in the Mail Order catalogue section (1923).


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Created: 2:34 AM 9/27/2004
Last updated: 2:34 AM 9/27/2004