Warners’ Legacy of Material Innovation

Warners was founded in 1874 by two physician brothers who wanted to introduce a better-fitting and more flexible alternative to the rigid corsets on the market while maintaining the fashionable silhouette. After finding success with their first product, “Dr. Warner’s Health Corset,” the Warner brothers began questioning not just the construction of traditional corsets, but their material composition as well.

In 1880, they developed the Coraline fiber derived from the agave plant of Mexico as a durable, flexible replacement for the horn and whalebone traditionally used in corsets. Among their concerns was the overhunting of whales—an advanced conversation about sustainability and ethics. Female consumers soon showed a preference for the Coraline corset’s craftsmanship, comfort, and price point, along with the fact that its boning didn’t warp or break. Warners Bridgeport, Connecticut headquarters grew into the largest corset factory in the world, producing enough of the patented material on exclusive machinery to manufacture 6,000 corsets a day—swiftly becoming the top-selling brand in both the U.S. and England.

In the mid-1890s, DeVer H. Warner, the son of co-founder Dr. I. DeVer Warner, joined company leadership and worked secretly with a steel wire company to produce the first completely rust-proof coated flat spring steel. Warners soon introduced a new standard: the most durable corset on the market, guaranteed not to break, tear, or rust with perspiration and washing. “Warners Rust-Proof” boning replaced the Coraline fiber and then horn boning throughout the industry once the company began selling its exclusive innovation to other makers.

Warners evolved its product line to remain a consumer favorite. Women of the 1930s wanted supportive control from their foundation garments, plus greater flexibility for dancing, sports, and leisure. Warners delivered with its patented “Youthlastic” synthetic two-way stretch material woven from fiber-covered latex threads.

Lycra, introduced in 1959, was Warners furthest-reaching material advancement. Experimenting for nearly six years, Warners co-developed the Lycra synthetic in partnership with DuPont and led the industry in introducing Lycra bras and girdles in 1960. Giving stretch and control to intimates, this light, strong, and machine washable fiber revolutionized the entire apparel industry, especially as clothing for fitness and performance skyrocketed in the 1980s.

From molded mesh to stretch lace and microfibers, the stuff of Warners intimates has yielded comfort, support, and easy care—complemented by sleek and attractive style—for generations of women, and the brand continues this commitment to innovation today.