M18825 | Hoop skirt

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Hoop skirt
About 1867, 19th century
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Hoop (1)
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Keys to History

The cage-crinoline was developed in France and patented in 1856 .

Until this invention, the very full skirts of mid-19th century dresses were supported by three or four petticoats usually stiffened with horsehair. The cage-crinoline freed women from the weight of petticoats, but soon skirts became so wide that the wearer had trouble going through doors. Even to sit down required care, so the crinoline stayed in place and did not move up to reveal a lady's legs and undergarments. .

Crinolines were manufactured commercially and were inexpensive to purchase . As soon it became mass produced, the crinoline was no longer considered prestigious and went out of style by the end of the 1860s as skirts began to be swept towards the back .

  • What

    This crinoline cage is made of 20 metal rings graduated in size suspended from the waistband by tape ; it is designed to give a fashionable shape to the skirt.

  • Where

    This crinoline was manufactured by J.W. Bradley of New York, and was advertised in the Montreal Herald (April 30, 1866) as being sold by Henry Morgan's and John Murphy's- well-known Montreal retailers.

  • When

    This crinoline dates from about 1865, as the skirt was taking a new shape, with the fullness swept to the back.

  • Who

    Crinolines were potentially dangerous if a woman moved too close to an open fireplace or candles, many women received serious burns or even died when their skirts caught fire in such accidents.