Larry King and the Patent History of Suspenders

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With the news last week that CNN’s long time interviewer and host Larry King was retiring, most people on the Internet (being what it is) were as quick to make a joke about his suspenders as they were to spread the news like wildfire. We here at The Intellogist Blog focus on the scholarly aspect of life and would never stoop so low as to reduce an accomplished newsman’s career down to what he wore. That said, here’s a brief history of suspenders patents:

Doing a statistical analysis of a keyword search in PatBase I was able to identify US Classes 2/300 through 2/342 as relating to suspenders (or braces, if you’re from the UK). With this class limitation in place I limited searches by date and patent number and found what I believe to be the first US patent on suspenders: US 1,490, “Construction of Buckles and Clasps” by Peters, published on February 18, 1840. This was undoubtedly not the first instance of suspenders, since they are purported to have been invented by Albert Thurston in 1820. Regardless, I think we can marvel at the “new and useful Improvements in Buckles, Clasps, Hooks and Eyes, and other Fastenings Principally Applicable to Wearing-Apparel.”

A year later, on September 4, 1841, Cook patented US 2,237, “Method of Attaching Suspender-Straps to Pantaloons.” I especially enjoy the drawing which directly labels the pantaloons, a nice touch.

Fast forwarding to the 20th century, we see the development of the two pronged trouser attachments that Mr. King is known for. US 1,564,905, “Suspenders” invented by Simmons on December 8, 1925 shows a nice stitched criss-cross back (with reinforcement, naturally) and button hole tab on the ends for securing to pants.

More recent suspender inventions span a wide range of uses:

US 6,836,899

    – Device for Detachably Holding an Absorbent Napkin Across the Torso, Glasmire, January 4, 2005. This might be useful if you’re a champion hot dog eater.

US 6,790,201

    – Strap Assemblies and Methods of Use Thereof, Meyer, September 14, 2004. A suspender like harness for medical equipment.

US 2008/0229485

    – Garter with Pouch for Auxiliary Items, Cooper, September 25, 2008. While not a pants-to-torso suspender…this was too good to pass up putting in this post. A flask? Really?

With 4,226 patents in the US classifications between 2/300 and 2/342, there’s no shortage of suspenders patents out there. Perhaps Mr. King can start up his own suspenders IP holding company once he hangs it up at CNN!

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Patent Resources Group

This post was edited by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla.


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