Mary Phelps Jacob is credited as the inventor of the modern brassiere. She received a patent in 1914 for her design, which began in 1913 with a prototype made from silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbon.
French Queen Catherine de Médicis invented the corset in the 1550s, and it was the standard women's undergarment until Jacob's innovation. Corsets were traditionally held together by whalebone and drawn in uncomfortably tight. Jacob crafted her first bra to accommodate a sheer dress that she thought was unflattering with a corset underneath. Jacob's patent was for a "backless brassiere," which quickly caught on with her friends and family. Jacob started a company named Caresse Crosby to produce the brassieres. However, Jacob soon sold the patent to the Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1,500.