1935- Coopers Inc. sells the world’s first men’s briefs in Chicago, calls it the “Jockey”

January 19, 2023

The options for men’s undergarments have evolved a lot over the generations. In the 1800s and the early 1900s, men wore one-piece underwear that combined an undershirt and drawers. These drawers were often made out of cotton, linen, or wool. In the 1920s the novel “boxers'' emerged as a new type of underwear created by a company known as Everlast. Though boxers were popular, many men longed for a more supportive option. In 1935, a company known as Coopers Inc. changed the game in men’s underwear forever. The company developed a brief style underwear that sold out immediately.

Arthur Kneibler worked for Coopers, a Midwestern business that specialized in manufacturing undergarments. Kneibler received a postcard from a friend vacationing along the French Riviera. It was an ordinary postcard that featured a copy of a famous painting, The Large Bather, by Paul Cezanne. Kneibler was a designer looking for new ideas when he saw the postcard with a vision that would change men's underwear history.

On January 19, 1935, Coopers introduced briefs to a curious public. The setting was the world-famous Marshall Fields department store in Chicago, where 600 pairs of the new briefs sold out in a day. The store put a male mannequin in the store window wearing just the briefs. Men loved briefs because they offered better support than long johns, which were almost as good as a jockstrap. Coopers named their briefs "Jockey" shorts to capitalize on the support they gave men. Further capitalizing on the name, Coopers Inc. changed its name to Jockey Menswear, a fashion name that would continue to gain popularity.


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