Caplin - Health and Beauty (1864)/Appendix B

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Madame Caplin's Corsets.—"Among the first-rate establish­ments in the metropolis for the manufacture of Ladies' Corsets, is the magazine of Madame Caplin, 58, Berners Street. An inspection of the various models, and different species of Corsets, will satisfy every one of the correctness of the prospectus the artiste has issued to the public."—Court Magazine, June, 1843.

"It has often been thought strange that so little improvement, that is, real improvement, should have taken place in one of the most essential articles of Ladies' dress—Stays; yet, it is easily accounted for, while nothing in dress requires more science, being too frequently left in the hands of mere working people, who do not understand the scientific application; and, therefore, the figure is often completely destroyed by the mal-appropria­tion of the material employed. We have heard of the Inventor of the Hygienic Corsets, of the Monitor Corsets, for Children, &c., but the extent of their usefulness we were wholly unacquainted with, till an advertisement drew us to Madame Caplin's, when the utility of the invention, and the danger of employing the inexperienced, was scientifically explained. In the Corsets manufactured by Madame Caplin there is ease, elegance, and comfort combined."—Court Gazette, Feb. 3rd, 1844.

Symmetrico-Restorator Corsets.—"When it is too late for the cure of the distortion of the Spine, the thing to be attempted is, first to afford relief by the application of proper support to the weak part of the body, and secondly, to restore as much as possible the symmetrical appearance of the figure. The means hitherto employed for this purpose have generally been objected to by medical practitioners, on the ground that padding excites too much heat, while on the other hand, the steel shields cause pressure and are injurious. Well convinced of the justness of these observations, Madame Caplin has combined such means as have neither of these inconveniences, and which have met the approbation of the medical gentlemen to whom they have already been submitted; uniting flexibility and lightness, they afford a gentle support, while on the other hand, by the combination of geometrical lines, the Corsets are made outwardly to the shape corresponding to the other side of the figure.—Polytechnic Review, Feb. 3rd, 1844.

Science Applied to Ladies' Dress.—"We can assure our fair readers that a treat awaits them at Madame Caplin's establishment, in Berners Street, where, in a half-hour's visit they will be informed how beautifully anatomical principles have been brought to benefit them in the structure of Corsets; and in the means of promoting comfort, regularity of form, health and gracefulness. It is not easy to convey an adequate idea of the pleasure to be derived by seeing Madame Caplin's specimens, and her admirable mode of measurement, and hearing her very instructive anatomical explanations. Our own friends are grateful to her, and we can, unreservedly, advise all ladies to give her a call."—Liverpool Mercury, Nov. 15th, 1844.

Science Applied to the Female Form.—"We have pleasure in reminding our readers of Madame Caplin's admirable con­struction of articles, Corsets, &c., connected with the female figure, and calculated to promote the health and comfort of the wearer. Our medical friends—those especially who are the best anatomists among them—ought to visit Madame Caplin's establishment, and judge for themselves how admirably physiological principles have been devoted to a most important, but hitherto greatly neglected subject. To our fair friends, also, we are authorized by an intelligent party to say, that they will enjoy a treat in inspecting what has been done for them."—Mercury, 17th Jan. 1845.

Madame Caplin's Corsets, &c.—"We do not pretend to be very learned in the mysteries of Stays, but we have seen such numerous testimonies in favour of the skilful appliances of Madame Caplin that we cannot doubt her ability to construct Corsets, &c., so nicely adapted to the peculiar requirements of each wearer as to obviate all objections which have been, hitherto, urged against this article of female attire."—Liverpool Albion, Jan. 20th, 1845.

Corsets no longer Injurious.—"'Died of tight stays' would have been the verdict of many coroner's juries, had they adopted the simplest form of expression to indicate their judgment; and there are few who have not known instances within their own sphere of life in which good figures of females have been spoiled, and imperfect ones left to grow worse, for want of proper scien­tific management. These evils need no longer prevail in respectable society, at all events, as will be admitted by those who visit Madame Caplin's establishment, and listen to the admirable explanations of the inventions, which, we repeat, our medical friends would do well to investigate, that they may recommend them for the preservation of the perfect figure, and the cure of deformity. All ladies, too, mothers of families especially, ought to see the beautiful contrivances to which we allude, and to learn from Madame Caplin their really important uses and effects. On these points we speak from autho­rity, and as performing a duty to our readers."—Mercury, Jan. 24th, 1845.

Tight Lacing.—"The waist of well-formed women, of the average height, varies in circumference from twenty-seven to twenty-nine inches; and there is scarcely any difference in its proportional size between male and female. But such is the power of fashion, that the waist is seldom permitted to expand to the dimensions of twenty-five inches; the majority are within twenty-four; thousands are compressed to twenty-two; and some even to less than twenty inches; and by the aid of wood, whalebone, and steel, the capacity of the chest is very often reduced to less than one-half. The penalties attending this infringement of the organic law are as follows:—Shortness of breath; palpitation and oppression of the heart; cough, and pain in the side; headache, with a feeling of weight at the vertex; neuralgia of the face, and eruptions; œdema of the ankles; dyspepsia and chlorosis. The temperature of the body partakes of the extremes; there is generally a chilliness of the whole surface; the viscera of the pelvis are liable to derange­ment, and in married women especially. The lateral curvature of the spine is a consequence, not uncommon, of this pernicious practice."—Medical Times. ["It is in reference to such subjects as these that a visit to Madame Caplin's establishment, in Berners Street, becomes so instructive; for it is there proved that elegance of form is in no degree dependent on tight lacing."] —Mercury, Jan. 31, 1846.

Madame Caplin's Corsets.—"It is rarely that anatomical principles are applied to the fashioning of any article of ladies' attire, and still more rarely that they are applied, as we are assured on competent female authority, with such complete success as in the ingenious and very elegant articles named at the head of this paragraph. Madame Caplin is here on a short visit, and we earnestly invite our fair friends to avail themselves of the brief opportunity of paying her a visit."—Manchester Chronicle, August 29th, 1846.

"Amongst those who have done much to improve the health of women, we must not forget to mention a lady who has been untiring in her efforts. It is not, perhaps, too much to say that Madame Caplin is the first who has ever made the corset tolerable in the eyes of a physician. The ingenuity of her design, and the skill with which she adapts her garment to the body, is deserving of all praise."—Dr. Blackwell's Lectures.

Madame Caplin received the only Prize Medal given for Corsets in the Great Exhibition of 1851.

"Corsets ingeniously adapted for giving support to the trunk without confinement of the thorax."—Report of Commissioners, Scientific Department, page 346.



Great Exhibition.—"We would direct the attention of our fair friends to a glass case exhibited by Madame Caplin, of Berners Street, No. 570a—scientific department—containing samples of Corsets fitted on figures of plaster of Paris, which we understand Madame Caplin has modelled herself. The perfect outline of the human body is so well delineated, that it proves at once the capability of that lady to adapt corsets to the most delicate figure, on scientific principles, which are the only ones adaptable to the human frame. We advise ladies to inspect the various inventions exhibited by Madame Caplin, and judge for themselves of the improvements made in this important depart­ment."—Morning Post, July 4th, 1851.

"At a recent meeting of the 'Athenée des Arts et Sciences,' the subject of Stays, and their action on the development of the female figure, was introduced by Dr. Caplin, who exhibited a Corset of a novel and ingenious construction, invented by Madame Caplin, of Berners Street, London. This Corset (ap­propriately designated Hygienic), differs from all others in many important points: it affords a greater degree of support than can be acquired by any other means, expands the chest, favours the symmetrical development of the female form, and contri­butes, in a remarkable degree, to the general health. After the usual discussion, a commission, consisting of Drs. Caron, Genest, and Ribes, was appointed to examine into its merits, which they did; and in a lengthened report, recommended to the Society that a letter be addressed to Dr. Caplin, congratulating him on the result his wife had attained in the construction of her Corset, as also to encourage her in the pursuit of further im­provements. Madame Caplin's collection is well worthy of attention, as everything that mechanical art, directed by medi­cal science, could do to render the Corset consistent with health, has there been brought into requisition, so as to render it an object not merely of fashionable but of sanitary interest.—"­Daily News, August 4, 1851.

Report of the French Academy on Madame Caplin's Hygienic Corsets, by a Commission composed of the Doctors Caron, Genest, and Ribes:—

Gentlemen,—The Corset now under your consideration, invented and manufactured by Madame Caplin, of London, has been presented by her husband, Dr. Caplin, a corresponding member of the Society, at present residing in London, and who, when amongst us, nearly twenty years ago, used to take an active part in our scientific work, and who frequently met with your approbation for the many communications he made to the society on objects of art.

This Corset, to which she has given the name of Hygienic, is totally different from the other Corsets hitherto made, under two different points of view. But before entering into the details of its construction, we must say, that, like many others, the principal object of the inventor was to find a point of sup­port for the superincumbent weight of the head, the superior limbs, and the organs of lactation and respiration, on that part of the body which, in consequence of the elements of strength that nature has accumulated around it, in delineating so for­cibly the pelvis for the functions it is destined to perform, cannot suffer any irksome influence from certain pressure. Corsets may be considered as made of three contiguous parts, which we are going to describe separately, beginning from the bottom to the top.

The first one, or the inferior part, surrounds the summit of the hips, and affords the point of support previously men­tioned.

The second part or middle one, extends from the hip to the thorax, and is destined to confine the region of the abdomen, which contains those moveable organs that, from their nature, may be compressed without much inconvenience, for the pur­pose of producing the slender waist so much sought for fashion's sake, and which so many ladies will obtain at any price.

The third or superior part, is intended to envelope and sup­port the thoracic region, and must produce but a very slight pressure, or else it would cause disastrous consequences, by im­peding the respiration, and preventing the development of the organs to which nature has confided the care of preparing the aliments intended for supplying the first food of man.

The Corset invented by Madame Caplin does not leave any apprehension of the danger we have alluded to in the above remarks; not only is the shape calculated so as not to permit any real pressure, but the inventor has found the means of providing for a particular flexibility, in replacing in different parts in the width of the Corset, the hard, unyielding material they are made of, by a very elastic tissue disposed longitudi­nally, and maintained by bones of various lengths; by so doing she has obtained the following results,—that the upper part of the Corsets is dilatable under such a slight power, as to allow a perfect freedom for the movements of inspiration and expiration, without, nevertheless, doing away with the principal end of this apparel, viz.—to sustain the weight of the lacteal organs, and to maintain the uprightness of the superior regions of the body.

To this improvement which characterizes the invention of Madame Caplin, we must notice another, which although per­haps less important in appearance, is deserving of attention; it is relative to the mode of lacing. Madame Caplin, instead of lacing the Corset all at once in one direction, and beginning from one extremity, commences the operation from the middle of the waist, upward and downward; this method allows the means of regulating the pressure according as it may be requi­site to the different parts of the body on which the Corset is applied, whilst by the ordinary process it must, as a matter of course, exert the same power in every part.

The modifications we have related in the construction of an article so generally worn, and which has been much abused, have appeared important enough to the members of the Com­mission you have named, to submit them to your notice as im­provements deserving your approbation; we therefore propose, as conclusions of this report,—

First,—"That a letter be addressed to Dr. Caplin, to congratulate him on the result his wife has obtained in the construction of her Corset, as also to encourage her in the pursuit of other improvements.
Secondly,—"That her invention be favourably mentioned in the printed annual report of the society."

This being the only reward which, according to the regulations of the institution, you are permitted to grant to anyone of its members.

The Society unanimously adopt the above conclusions.

Signed by
Dr. CARON,—Médecin de la préfecture de Police, et du bureau de Bienfaisance, du 4ème Arrondisse­ment. Auteur d'un apperçu d'Hygiène, sur l'alimentation par le café au lait.

Dr. GENEST,—Ancien chef de Clinique à l'Hôtel Dieu; auteur des Leçons de Cliniques Médicales, sur la fièvre Typhoide.
Rédacteur de la Gazette Médicale, pour la Pathologie interne.

Dr. RIBES,—Ancien Médecin du Roi par quartier-Médecin de l'Hôtel des Invalides.

Athénée des Arts, Sciences et Belles Lettres, de Paris,

Sitting 10th April, 1848.

N.B.—The copy of the above Report, duly signed and sealed by the Secretary of l'Athénée des Arts, Sciences, et Belles Lettres, de Paris, is to be seen at Madame Caplin's Establish­ment, 58, Berners Street, London.

Madame Caplin, 58, Berners Street, Anatomical Corset Manufacturer. Class 20, No. 32, and Class 10, No. 370.—"In the useful article of female attire, known as the Corset, but little general practical improvement appears to have been hitherto made; and it was in vain that we looked among the specimens of our continental neighbours, hitherto deemed the leaders of fashion in this article; but fashion, it would appear, is greatly at fault, aiming at the making, instead of preventing, a mode in which the undue and unnatural compres­sion tends to produce pulmonary diseases, and consequent shortening of life. The specimens exhibited by this artiste are ­constructed upon anatomical principles, with a view to effect the desideratum of adding elegance and grace to the human body, and rendering this article, usually one of discomfort, a really useful and beneficial support. They comprise the new and 'self-adjusting Corporiform Corset,' calculated to yield to the various movements of the body, and avoid the usual pres­sure and inconvenience; as also the 'Registered Child's Bo­dice.' She has been the first to apply anatomical and physio­logical science to effect her numerous improvements, and the result has been, that around her Cases in each Class are daily congregated a numerous bevy of fair visitors."—Morning Ad­vertiser, July 17th, 1851.

Madame Caplin's Prize Corsets.—"According to the title of this paper, we consider it our duty to bring before our readers the articles most worthy of their notice, and we would now draw attention to Madame Caplin's establishment, 58, Berners Street, Oxford Street, finding from the Jurors' Report on articles exhibited at the Great Exhibition, that she is the only person to whom a Prize Medal was awarded for Corsets in the United Kingdom, and as this must prove interesting to ladies in general, we were induced to pay a visit to her establishment, for the purpose of judging for ourselves how far she was deserving of the high honour thus conferred upon her, and are happy to say that the result of our inquiries caused us to leave with very different opinions to what we had before entertained with respect to that portion of ladies' attire called the Corset. Madame Caplin commenced her explanation by proving that she is thoroughly acquainted with anatomy, and that her principles are founded upon scientific knowledge, her starting-point being the outline of the human body, with all its beautiful perfections, then adapting those principles to each case by ingeniously con­structing her Corsets so as to give support to the trunk without confinement to the thorax. Madame Caplin then went on to state the necessity of Corsets adapted on these principles, which protect the yielding parts of the body from the weight of the underclothing, and pointed out the evils arising from the bands and strings of the underclothing, each forming a point of pressure, while a well constructed Corset affords support on the power of surface and proves a protection to the body. She, moreover, convinced us that there are many unjust prejudices existing against the use of Corsets, and detailed many cases wherein Corsets are absolutely necessary, if constructed as above named. For instance, where the weight of the body is carried forward, the chest is contracted, the ribs are lowered, and the abdomen is thrown out of its natural position; the muscles of the back likewise become weak and elongated to accommodate the stooping. In a case like this, let us see the effect of a Corset anatomically constructed; it will support the back, keep the body in an erect position, restore the centre of gravity by raising the ribs, expanding the chest, thereby allowing the free inflation of the lungs, and thus restore the figure to its normal state. She also explained that if Corsets prove the means of restoring the equilibrium of the body, they must also be a preventive means, if applied in time; and amongst other things mentioned the erroneous opinion that Corsets are generally the cause of deformity, which is accredited for the want of investiga­tion; as deformity is frequently found to arise from weakness, which may be produced by the rapid growth of a child, or the result of infantine diseases, mal-position, standing upon one leg, want of bodily exercise, physical education, &c., &c."—The Lady's Newspaper, October 4th, 1852.

A Gentle Hint to the Fair Sex.—"We beg to call public attention to the efforts—the most successful efforts made by Madame Caplin, of Berners Street, to give ease and elegance to the female figure; at the same time studying and securing the health of those who trust themselves to her care. We do not speak ignorantly on this matter. We have waited personally on Madame Caplin—examined with great care everything she has invented to carry out her grand object—and satisfied our­selves that she has conferred on society obligations for which they can never be too grateful. The conversation we had with Madame Caplin was truly instructive. It was positively delightful to hear her explain her principles of action, and we listened to the lecture throughout with feelings of admiration."—Kidd's Own Journal, June, 1853.

"We are pleased to see that Dr. Tilt quite takes our view of this great question, and that Madame Caplin's almost super­human efforts to bring people to reason are not lost upon him. Philanthropists are not met with every day, and they deserve the encouragement of all good men and women—alas, how few!"—Kidd's Own Journal, April, 1854.

"I have often given comfort by advising a light abdominal supporter, such as are made by Madame Caplin, of Berners Street."—Dr. Tilt on the "Change of Life," p. 124. See also his work on the "Health of Women."

"The 'Hygienic' Corset embraces every attainable advantage, and were the principle more generally adopted a great evil would be obviated. We commend the invention of Madame Caplin as an unprecedented exhibition of female skill."—Globe.

"Madame Caplin's collection is well worthy of attention, as everything that mechanical art, directed by medical science, could do to render the Corset consistent with health has been brought into requisition, so as to render it not an object merely of fashionable but of sanitary interest."—Daily News.

"We advise ladies to inspect the various inventions exhibited by Madame Caplin, and judge for themselves of the improve­ments made in this important department."—Morning Post.

"The scientific knowledge of the authoress has availed for the invention of Corsets and other articles of attire suitable for all the varying necessities and advancing infirmities peculiar to females."—Lady's Newspaper.

"Madame Caplin possesses the requisite knowledge to adapt the Corset scientifically to the wearer, and understands the principles to be observed in clothing."—Sun.

"If ladies must wear Stays, let them go to Madame Caplin. Her inventions are ingenious, and the principle of her Corset is to give support without creating pressure."—Weekly Times.

"Madame Caplin's object is two-fold, the comfortable and the beautiful. ... We can have no doubt that she is entitled to the honoured place of Venus's chief bedchamber-woman, with all its emoluments."—Medical Circular.