M9188.8.131.52 | The Crompton Corset Company
The Crompton Corset Company
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
9 x 11.9 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Miscellaneous (671) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
Manufacturers and wholesalers also tried to communicate directly with consumers. Agricultural fairs and industrial exhibitions were an excellent opportunity to reach huge numbers of people. They were tremendously successful around the world after 1850, and many were organized in Canadian cities. There would be large pavilions in which masterpieces of art and manufacturing were displayed. For a company, the design of an exhibition stall was extremely important, so a great deal of money was invested in decorating it and displaying the wares. Industrial exhibitions were often competitions, as well. Juries awarded medals to the best products in each category. Winning such an award provided recognition of quality, and a company could boast of it for years.
This engraving by John Henry Walker illustrates a booth set up by the Crompton Corset Company at an exhibition to promote its wares.
The Crompton Corset Company probably took part in trade fairs right across the country. We know that its products were sold not just in Ontario, but also in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
In the 19th century, the corset became an essential element of women's dress. Its shape changed with the dictates of fashion: sometimes it was worn with a crinoline, sometimes a bustle.
Corsets can be made to measure by a corsetière, but most were mass produced. Two of the biggest manufacturers were the Crompton Corset Company of Toronto and Dominion Corset of Quebec City.