Wednesday, 28 November 2012

 How Did the T-Shirt Get Its Name?Who Invented the T-Shirt?


Origin: 1919
The walking advertisement of late twentieth-century American culture got its start as a humble item of men's underwear and got its name because when spread flat it formed a stubby letter T. Its little sleeves and round collar distinguished the T-shirt from the standard sleeveless undershirt of the day. The sleeves may also have helped bring the T-shirt out of hiding in the 1930s and 1940s, since they offered a gesture toward modesty as well as a cache for a pack of cigarettes.
Once they were on view, T-shirts became canvasses for images and messages. In addition to basic white, they soon came in all shades; and equally important, they displayed first the emblems of schools and teams, and then every design or slogan imaginable. Today a public event is hardly complete without its accompanying T-shirt. Cold weather doesn't slow us down; we just cover the T-shirt with a sweatshirt, a 1925 American invention.
Though it must have been around at least a year earlier (hence our 1919 date), we first read of the T-shirt in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 This Side of Paradise. In the novel, a wealthy, self-absorbed 15-year-old boy from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, heads off to prep school in Connecticut with a wardrobe including "six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T shirt, one jersey...." Exciting words of the Roaring Twenties--FLAPPER (1915), sheik, cat's pajamas--have faded into history, but the two informal garments we began to wear in those times, the T-shirt and the sweatshirt, hang in our vocabulary more prominently than ever.

A T-shirt (T shirt or tee) is a style of shirt. A T-shirt's defining characteristic is the T shape made with the body and sleeves. It is normally associated with short sleeves, a round neck line, and no collar. However, it may also include long sleeves, buttons, collars, or v-necks.
T-shirts are typically made of cotton fibers (sometimes others), knitted together in a jersey stitch that gives a T-shirt its distinctive soft texture. The majority of modern T-shirts have a body that is made from a continuously woven tube, so the torso has no side seams. This is accomplished with special weaving machines called circular looms, which produce seamless fabric for tube tops, stockings, and the like. Conventional stitching is used for the waist band, neck band, sleeves and to close the shoulders. The manufacture of T-shirts has become highly automated, and may include fabric cutting by laser or water jet.
T-shirt fashions include many styles for both men and women, and for all age groups, including baby, youth, teen, adult and elderly sizes.
The T-shirt evolved from undergarments used in the 19th century, through cutting the one-piece "union suit" underwear into separate top and bottom garments, with the top long enough to tuck under the waistband of the bottoms. T-shirts, with and without buttons, were adopted by miners and stevedores during the late 19th century as a convenient covering for hot environments.
T-shirts, as a slip-on garment without buttons, originally became popular in the United States when they were issued by the U.S. Navy during or following the Spanish American War. These were a crew-necked, short-sleeved, white cotton undershirt to be worn under a uniform. It became common for sailors and Marines in work parties, the early submarines, and tropical climates to remove their uniform "jacket", wearing (and soiling) only the undershirt.
Named the T-shirt due to the shape of the garment's outline, it soon became popular as a bottom layer of clothing for workers in various industries, including agriculture. The T-shirt was easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive, and for this reason it became the shirt of choice for young boys. Boys' shirts were made in various colors and patterns. By theGreat Depression, the T-shirt was often the default garment to be worn when doing farm or ranch chores, as well as other times when modesty called for a torso covering but conditions called for lightweight fabrics.

The truth is that the t-shirt has been around a long time, and no one knows its exact origins.
The following are two popular theories.
One idea is this: Men working on the docks at Annapolis, Maryland, in the late 1600s unloaded a great deal of tea.
The simple shirts they wore became known as “tea shirts,” later shorted simply to “T-shirts.”
The second theory comes from across the pond, in the Royal Navy.
Navy men wearing the equivalent of tank tops offended the British Royal Family who insisted they cover their arms enough to hide their armpits.
The shirts looked like “T’s” in comparison to the old tanks and so were dubbed “T shirts.”

  During World War I in Europe, American soldiers made a discovery. While they sweated and sweltered in their wool uniforms, European soldiers took off their heavy jackets and wore a light-weight cotton shirt. They called them undershirts because they wore them under their clothing. News of this comfortable addition to the male wardrobe returned to the U.S. after the war.
    When World War II was declared, the U.S. military decided to take the hint from its European allies. It issued the same type of cotton shirt to U.S. soldiers. This shirt was to be worn under the fighting uniforms. It was designed to keep the body cooler during battles. When the soldiers were doing heavy labor between battles, many decided to take off their uniform shirts and wear only the olive drab cotton shirts they had been issued. In those days, it wasn't polite to be seen in public wearing underclothes, but due to the circumstances, it was allowed. Newspaper and movie news photographers often took pictures of the soldiers wearing just their uniform pants and the cotton shirt.
   The T-shirt got its name from its shape. If you flatten the shirt out from neck to waist and pull the arms out to the side, it forms the letter T. The T-shirt became a regular issue to all military men and women during the early 1940s. Many branches wanted to make sure that the T-shirts were easy to keep track of. They printed their unit names on the shirt. Some soldiers even had their names printed on the shirts so they didn't get lost in the laundry. You might have seen a T-shirt imprinted with "Air Corps Gunnery School" on it to show that the soldier had attended training at a specific school.




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