Several ideas came to mind when looking at the Alan’s photo of the Ipswich cyclists. First there is no Lycra in sight but it seems that boaters and braces were in vogue. This is where I began to get into trouble.
Leather or fabric straps worn over the shoulders to hold up men’s trousers are call braces by the English and suspenders by Americans. English suspenders are somewhat different. That’s why I’ll start on a cycling theme.
Ordinary Bicycle by Agnieszwa Kwiean
(CCSA 3.0 License)
A penny farthing, the early bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel, was invented by James Starley in 1871. Its name derived from the large front wheel and small rear wheel which were as disproportionate in size as the English coins, the penny and the smaller farthing. As the successor to the French velocipede or ‘boneshaker’ of the 1860s, the penny farthing gained mechanical advantage by enlarging the size of the pedal-driven front wheel so that each turn would cover a greater distance.
Two gentlemen ride penny farthings in Los Angeles in 1886
(Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)
I hope you noticed their boaters.
The penny farthing gave people freedom and the ability to ladies to go out independently.
Touring the Countryside in ca 1887
(US Library of Congress)
The lady in this shot is riding a three-wheeled bike. In the 1900’s even the children had got in on the act.
Child on tricycle in the 1960s
Now back to the braces/suspenders theme. There is no mistaking that this young lad is pleased with his first pair.
United States Library of Congress
Surely this shot of suspenders is understood by all:
By Snoman radio on Flickr (CCSA 2.0 License)
But who would have thought that the child on the tricycle would go to a New Year’s Eve party wearing a boater:
More suspense at: Sepia Saturday 62