The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) has announced that the three women who invented the sports bra will join the latest round of inductees into their prestigious Hall of Fame.
Alongside 22 others, including the inventors of the hard hat and the anti-inflammatory pain medication Ibuprofen, the three women who created the first sports bra will now be taking their own place in the Hall.
The first commercially produced sports bra, created by Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller, and Polly Smith has been hailed by the NIHF as revolutionary.
The bra has empowered women enabling them to participate in athletics and sports and encouraged advances in women’s health.
The history of the sports bra goes back a long way. Lindahl, for example, liked to run around 30 miles each week and really wanted something for support.
She knew that men took advantage of support below the waistline and looked into the possibility of a supportive bra.
Back in the 1970s the idea of jogging really took off and it seemed Lindahl was certainly not the only woman experiencing the problem.
Her first attempt to provide a solution to her issue was binding herself with elasticated straps.
Next, she tried going bra-less but was soon discouraged when she met harassment from drivers passing her on the street.
Wearing a bra that was too small helped stop uncomfortable bouncing but was also constricting and not pleasant to wear.
After Lindahl’s husband jokingly suggested that she used a jockstrap, Lindahl joined with Polly Smith who, at the time, was a costume-maker at the University of Vermont and the two women combined two jockstraps together to form an X across the back.
They then set to work on comfort, adding different fabrics and a better shape. Finally, they developed the Jock bra.
The final member of the team, Hinda Miller who was also a customer and would later become a legislator in Vermont, joined the women and the three marketed the produced as the Jogbra.
In 1990 Playtex purchased the bra and since then it has grown in popularity.
Playtex, along with researchers like Dr. LaJean Lawson continued to research and adapt the bra using better fabrics, construction, and design to make it more comfortable.
One of the earliest versions of the Jockbra has been bronzed and can be viewed in the campus theater at the University of Vermont and two further examples have been housed in museums.