The name "Spirella" refers to the
Spirella Stay which was invented by
Marcus Merritt Beeman in 1904 and made from tightly twisted and
flattened coils of wire. The founders were Beeman, William Wallace
Kincaid and Jesse Homan Pardee.
* 1 USA
* 1.1 Locations
* 2 UK
* 3 Humorous and critical views
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Spirella name was used by the
Corset Company Inc that
was founded in 1904 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA. It was founded
on a patent of dressbone, for bustles, but started corset manufacture
in 1904. The company manufactured made-to-measure corsets . Benefits
for the company's employees included travel, education and health
At its height the company had factories in the USA (Meadville,
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut , and Lincoln Nebraska ), in
Canada (in 1910), in the UK (in 1910; from 1912 in the Spirella
Letchworth ) and in Sweden (
Malmö ) in 1920 and Niagara
Falls NY (in 1917). Their flagship location was
Spirella House on
Oxford Circus , London. A factory built in 1910 in Niagara falls,
Ontario, eventually became the premises of the Bird Kingdom Tropical
Spirella Building in
The UK subsidiary was The
Spirella Company of Great Britain. Spirella
co-founder and entrepreneur
William Wallace Kincaid commissioned the
architect Cecil Hignett to design a state-of-the art factory of
architectural beauty. The design included embellishments in Arts &
Crafts styling. This factory, the
Spirella Building, was built and
expanded in stages between 1912 and 1920.
During World War II, the Irvin Airchute Company expanded its
production of parachutes into the
Spirella Building and women working
for the British Tabulating Machine Company secretly produced
components for the decoding machines called Bombes.
The company's most popular corset was the Model 305. Spirella
products were not sold in shops. Instead, female staff called
corsetiers (or corsetières) were sent to customers' homes.
After an ill-fated attempt to market garments of "Stub-tex", a form
Gore-Tex being used under licence from W. L. Gore "> A 180
degree panoramic view of Oxford Circus, looking south down Regent
Spirella House is the second building from the left fronting
onto the circus.
Spirella Building provided the perfect environment for his
workers to be happy, contented and highly productive, and was worthy
of being called "The Factory of Beauty". In 1979 it was Grade ll*
listed . The
Letchworth Garden City Foundation bought the neglected
building in 1995, restored the interior and re-opened it for leased
HUMOROUS AND CRITICAL VIEWS
From its outset, the
Spirella companies, activities and garments have
attracted humorous and/or critical attention, for instance: · Castle
Corset cartoon · Advertisement for the
Spirella War Savings
Association · An award winning critique of Women's Corsetry
1850-1989 by Rachael Head
* ^ "Exhibitions". Garden City Collection.
Letchworth Garden City
heritage Foundation. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
* ^ "Notes on the European Offices". History of Spirella. Retrieved
11 May 2016.
* ^ Julie A. Lauffenberger, "Baleen in Museum Collections", Journal
of the American Institute for Conservation (1993), Volume 32, Number 3
(pp. 213 to 230)
* ^ "HM1194". Historical marker Project. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
* ^ The Ladies\' Home Journal. Curtis Publishing Company.
1917-03-01. p. 65.
* ^ "A Potted History of
Spirella House". NJC (The National Joint
Council for the Engineering Construction Industry). 5th Floor,
Spirella House, 266-270 Regent Street, London, W1B 3AH: National Joint
Council for the Engineering Construction Industry. Retrieved 15 May
2016. In 1959 a
Spirella shop assistant is reported to have described
three brassiere sizes “The Totalitarian – designed for suppression
of the masses; the Salvation Army – to uplift the fallen; and the
Political Agitator – to make mountains out of molehills”.
* ^ "Bird Kingdom A Tropical Adventure". Bird Kingdom. Retrieved 11
* ^ McEvoy, Louise. "Corsets and Codes at
Spirella in Letchworth".
Hertfordshire Life. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
* ^ "The
Spirella Corsetière". Ivy Leaf's ~Arch