Metal Corsets, Covers and Bodices

All enlargeable

More input regarding the continuing controversy concerning iron 'corsets' ('corset covers?') of old, this from Noel. 
 It certainly IS an interesting subject.

"Some time ago you asked why the holes in the front were so low down and far apart.
These are not for the breasts, as the corset was lined with leather and perfectly cone shaped.

These large holes were designed to give the wearer some degree of comfort over the lower ribs where the pressure of the
corset would be the greatest. The breasts, as in all 16th century corsets, would be pushed up and confined, and not seen.

It is made in 16 sections all neatly riveted together, and guide strips hold the back from moving.  Not clear how back fastened.

It must have been worn a lot as can be seen by the repair to the front busk. This wear could have been caused by the lady
resting the point on a hard surface to try and press against the front point which would give her some kind of pleasure. This
 was supposed to z be a common practice."

The picture above is probably very familiar to most of you.  It has appeared in many books dealing with corsetry, most times with the inscription "Wallace Museum, circa 1600."

We have been contacted by a gentleman who is planning to make a fiberglass replica of this iron corset cover and is searching for information about it,
perhaps about its origin, or perhaps about why the holes for the breasts are so far apart, or whether the many holes suggest that material was sewn on it.

If anyone can help, please write.


John: "This photo is from a web site linked from LISA
Could it be the famed Mrs. Keyne? She was reputed to have a 13" waist
 and wore a steel corset, so it looks possible that it IS Mrs. Keyne."

Ed: Anyone shed some light on this? Write, please.


Apparently, there is some controversy with the picture John sent (above).  At left is a larger version. Peter O. maintains that the curtain - is drawn over her waist so that part of her waist is BEHIND it, this making it appear smaller. The wrinkle/folds in the curtain seem to support that contention. Nonetheless, John has sent these pictures which is apparently the corset (click picture for more).  Thoughts anyone?



"Carn" adds this interesting information:

According to Jan Rosing, who was for many years a close friend of the late Iris Norris, is that this corset was in the keeping of Gardeners, the traditional corsetiere of Bansbury Square, Islington, London - for whom Iris worked and where she learnt her trade.  She told me that it was stolen from their basement store some time before or shortly after WW2. Unfortunately, Jan - a lifelong tight-lacer herself - has disappeared from the scene in the last few years so I cannot get any further details."

...and further, from Stuart:

"The steel corset is actually shown on Mrs. Kayne, not Mrs Keyne.  The corset was originally kept on display at Gardners, the now-defunct famous corsetmakers in London, although they didn't make it. About 20 years ago it was mysteriously stolen, and is now believed to reside in the collection of some disreputable collector somewhere."

Crinolyn sends this observation.


"(Such pictures as above) lead me to recall others I've seen over the years in museum collections. Quite a few exist,
but there are at least three thought to be Victorian fancies based on late medieval examples. (Here is) one such corset,
 which is currently in the collection of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  

I leave you to conclude its use, but it does look the same in style to the one in the photo on LISA and it too has a 13" waist. This one is first recorded in the 19th century, which makes me wonder if the one owned by Mrs. Kayne is either another
made at the same time or a later copy."


Ancasta writes further: "Interesting items I have found recently on the Internet:
Firstly, an interesting newspaper article about corsets, with reference to early steel corsets.,,1926926,00.html

ED: The article puts forth that these metal articles were 'corsets,' but they were really corset covers, as a fabric corset was worn underneath to constrict the waist first. This is not the only incorrect information in the article.

 "Secondly (right), a photo of a 16th century steel corset (cover) from the Victoria and Albert Museum photo library. You can still see the holes where you attach what would have been the silk and linen lining."


Two more examples of metal corset covers,
the one at right from the era
of the reign of Queen Elizabeth


Two more examples of metal corset covers,
the one at left resides at Musee Carnavalet,
the right at Musee de Cluny,
both in Paris. 



Left: Lescq des Tournelles Collection

Right: Dupont Auberville Collection. 



Peter O. writes:
This is this iron corset cover is featured in the below-captioned book. Interestingly, the details reveal it was forged by TWO blacksmiths.
The three gratings are of better workmanship than the lock and lower edge in the back; I believe this corset cover is a conversion from one
style to another. The holes are worn. Perhaps the three gratings of the original was only strengthening for a fabric corset."
(ED: most metal covers are...)
Object resides at the Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan


Text: Corset c1580-1600 French Iron with scroll motif; one front and two back pieces; opening at center-back.Fashion:
A History from the 18th to the 20th Century
 by Akiki Fukai



From a past Jam Factory exhibition


(above left) brass


"A nice looking steel corset in 
(mass) production
- here."





Jenny: "...a little project my friend and I have been working on.  I have been making fabric corsets as a hobby for about
ten years and my friend is a metal worker and armourer in his spare time. There is some more info on our blog posts:"


Julie M.:

 "I have seen LISA's page on metal corsets;
here is a metal corset my husband made for me."

Fetish model Diana Knight in an apparent one-off
by a manufacturer called Phoenix Designs.

...taken at Fetishcon in 2007.     Foto by Fader




From a photography magazine entitled Zoom,
about 1980-5

Compliments Stefano



Charles S. has found this copper corset on a Flickr page -
all rights reserved



LaGala sends this Thierry Mugler creation




Phil Boarder writes:

"Reading my National Geographic 
(October, 2002 issue), 
I was amazed to see this picture in an article about Turkey.
Not tight lacing but interesting just the same."


LaGala points out this wonderful corset cover from


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