Who invented suspenders?

Pair of
Pair of "Y" shaped suspenders. Stockbyte/Getty Images

The purpose of suspenders is hold up trousers. According to, "the first suspenders can be traced to 18th century France, where they were basically strips of ribbon attached to the buttonholes of trousers. As recently as 1938, a town in Long Island, NY tried to ban gentlemen from wearing them without a coat, calling it sartorial indecency." Unbelievably, early suspenders were considered part of a man's undergarments and politely kept completely hidden from public view.

Albert Thurston

During the 1820s, British clothing designer Albert Thurston began to mass manufacture "braces", the British word for suspenders. These "braces" were attached to trousers by leather loops on the braces to buttons on the pants, rather than metal clasps that clasped to the trouser's waistband. At that time, British men were wearing very high-waisted trousers and did not use belts.

Mark Twain

On December 19, 1871, Samuel Clemens received the first of three patents for suspenders. Samuel Clemens' pen name was none other than Mark Twain. Twain is the famous American writer and the author of Huckleberry Fin. His suspenders described in his patent as "Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments," were designed to be used for more than just trousers. Twain's suspenders were to be used with underpants and women's corsets as well.

First Patent For Metal Clasp Suspenders

The first patent ever issued for modern suspenders the kind with the familiar metal clasp was issued to inventor David Roth, who received US patent #527887 issued in October of 1894.

The H, X, and Y of Suspenders

Besides how suspenders are attached to pants, another distinguishing design is the shape suspenders made in the back view.
The first suspenders were joined together to make a "H" shape in the back. In later designs, suspenders were "X" shaped, and finally, the "Y" shape became popular.

Original designs show suspender straps made of a tightly woven wool known as "boxcloth".