Patent for Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Anne Pease's Cape for Lady Cyclists

Description

The sisters Mary and Sarah Pease registered this patent application for an ‘improved skirt, available also as a cape for Lady Cyclists’.

The rise of ladies cycling

In the late 19th century the bicycle became a popular mode of transport for many Victorians, as it allowed people to travel where they wanted, when they wanted. For women especially, the bicycle gave them a renewed sense of freedom and many joined cycling clubs such as the Lady Cyclists’ Association.

Many members, however, expressed that their clothing was impractical for their pastime. The typical attire of the time - tight corsets and long, layered skirts – caused serious safety concerns. The skirts would flap in the wind, ride up over their knees and get caught in the bicycles’ spokes and pedals.

Peases’ cycling skirt and cape

The Pease sisters remark in their application that ‘the rational dress … adopted by lady cyclists’ leave a lady’s ‘lower garments and figure … too much exposed’. Their design for a skirt that doubles as a cape aimed to provide women with the option to cover up their riding trousers, or knickerbockers, after they dismount.

Full title:
No. 13,832. Improved Skirt, available also as a Cape for Lady Cyclists
Created:
1895
Format:
Patent
Language:
English
Creator:
Sarah Anne Pease, Mary Elizabeth Pease
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
No. 13,832

Related articles

The ride for independence: Victorian ladies cycling fashion

Article by:
Charlotte James
Theme:
Expressions

Although seen as commonplace today, cycling in the late 19th century proved to be an activity both liberating and restrictive for women. Charlotte James explores how cycling revolutionised and agitated the fashions of Victorian women.

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