March 24, 2015

Jantzen Was More Then Just Swim Bathing Suits!

In 1910, Portland Knitting Company began in downtown Portland, Oregon, with a few hand-knitting machines above a tiny retail store. Little did founders Carl Jantzen, Roy and John Zehntbauer know that they would achieve both fame and controversy as swimwear pioneers. Producing a wool suit for a rowing team they began offering "bathing suits" in their catalog. Knit on sweater cuff machines, the suits became popular with swimmers. The demand increased for those "Jantzens" and the company name was changed in 1918 to Jantzen Knitting Mills. The suits were made of 100% pure virgin wool. Matching stockings and stocking cap completed the costume of the day. Early advertisements guaranteed the famous rib-stitch "gives that wonderful fit".

Fast Forward...1940's

Business perked up in 1941 after Jantzen added sweaters, foundations (girdles) and active sportswear to its basic line. In December of that year, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed the economic picture through 1945. Production of civilian goods declined while military orders increased. Military items produced by Jantzen included sweaters, swim trunks, sleeping bags, gas masks carriers, and parachutes.With the war's end, the company stressed new styling by nationally known designers such as Louella Ballerino. Nylon was a preferred fabric. The bikini introduced in France in 1946, set the style for brevity in swimwear and became a worldwide fashion classic.










. See Ya Tomorrow! xo

1 comment:

Liz Gruening said...

What an interesting post. I honestly was not aware that they had gotten into maker girdles and such but now I do!

The ads are just fantastic.

Thanks for a great post.

Liz :)

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