Victorian women wore “convertible skirts” so they could ride without abuse, academic discovery
April 16, 2018
A university scholar has discovered that Victorian women invented the “open-skirt” with the secretive pulley mechanism that allows them to ride freely.
Although nineteenth-century bicycles are popular among women of the upper middle class, restrictive corset skirts sets and dresses mean that the bike can be dangerous.
Long skirts and dresses are common on bicycle wheels or pedals.
Onlookers often throw jealousy and stones at female riders, and conservative social attitudes mean that wearing public pants is unacceptable.
According to Dr. Kat Jungnickel, senior lecturer at Goldsmith University of London, the changeable skirt allows women to secretly switch between walking and cycling without being harassed.
Her research shows that the invention of the belted clothes, hidden loops and buttons make travel easier and safer.
Cycling women can arrive faster without being accompanied by men in public.
As part of her project, Dr. Jungnickel redesigned some of the designs and tested them with vintage bicycles.
Dr. Jungnickel said: “The British Victorian bicycle is often referred to as a tool for women’s liberation.
“But on another type of vehicle that creates a new mobile public life through women – the cyclic wear, people do not pay much attention.”
Dr. Jungnickel’s research focuses on cities such as London, York, Maidenhead and Bristol, and tells the story of six women who build women’s bicycle clothing.
She said: “The patented convertible suit is an exciting example of women’s creative contribution to the past.”
“As these stories reveal, women respond vividly to the social, material and technical challenges of their freedom of movement. They actively and directly relate to the obstacles surrounding them and try to stop them from riding a bicycle. To participate more widely in public life. ”
Tailormaker Alice Bygrave from Brixton in south London registered a patent for a corset skirts sets consisting of a double pulley system sewn to its seams.
Other designs from this era include a three-part bike set, a hidden system of rings and buttons to lift the skirt, and a garment called Hyde Park Skirt that gathers fabrics at a time interval through a series of side buttons.
Sisters Mary and Sarah Pease from York obtained the patent and the skirt can quickly be transformed into a fashionable high collar cloak.
Dr. Jungnickel’s research was published in a new book, “Bike and Blo omers Bloodshed,” released today.
“I am very happy to be able to recreate these inventions and study these women. I look forward to sharing these discoveries through my books and summer trips,” she said.
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