1978 18 Hour Girdle from Playtex

1978 18 Hour Girdle advert from Playtex .

Playtex is a well known brand (and trademark). It used to be associated with bras and women’s undergarments. Currently there are two separate companies with the Playtex name.

The women’s undergarment Playtex manufactures feminine hygiene and infant care products. The name comes from “perforated latex” which sandwiched between cloth gave the underwear its elastic and body shaping character.

A children’s diaper and other baby products company also bears the PlayTex name. This has been and continues to be a source of confusion.


Playtex was founded in 1932 as the International Latex Corporation by Abraham Nathaniel Spanel, an industrialist, inventor and philanthropist who held over 2,000 patents. Spanel’s original factory in New York produced ladies’ swim caps and latex gloves. Spanel is said to have maintained living quarters in the original building and would often walk the factory floor in the evening while wearing his bathrobe. His employees were among the earlier to have air-conditioning and paid life and health insurance. The New York factory was later destroyed by fire. Spanel moved his operations to Dover, Delaware where they remain to this day.

During World War II, Spanel contributed more than $1 million to the war effort, his profit from materiel contracts. When the war ended the company used the materials developed for life jackets for other purposes, particularly for intimate apparel garments such as girdles and bras.

Playtex is noted for a focus on comfortable girdles (the 18 hour girdle and its coordinating range, and the I can’t believe it’s a girdle range) and innovation in brassiere design such as the introduction of the cross your heart patented design which enjoyed a worldwide success. Many different names in different languages such as Coeur croisé in French, Zeuber Creuz in German, Cruzado Magico in Spanish, now with many imitators appeared as the patent expired. All Playtex branded products were manufactured at the Dover complex at the time.

Playtex was the first to advertise tampons on television. Using live models instead of mannequins to model bras in TV commercials was also a first for the company.

In the 1960s, Playtex subsidiary ILC Dover had a contract with NASA to produce their space suits.

info gleaned from Wikipedia

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