Stays, an article of female dress, which is usually made of canvas or dimity, supported by whale-bone, and laced behind.
Few articles are of greater importance to the health and comfort of females than stays : hence, instead of being manufactured from hard substances, they ought to be made of such as would allow a free motion of the limbs; for instance, felt, shamois-leather, etc.; without any stiff materials. So great, however, is the prevalence of custom, that such absurd casements are still retained by the most numerous class of women, who lace themselves in whale-bone, to the great detriment of their constitution. To this cause we may justly attribute many of the cancers, hard tumors, and similar affections of the breast; nausea ; indigestion ; compression of the ribs; distortion of the spine; and a long train of painful disorders. - To prevent such frequent disasters, we recommend the use of corsets made of the pliant and elastic texture used for stockings, or gloves; which, if properly lined, and worn with a moderate compression, will not only afford sufficient warmth, but also contribute to the preservation of an erect form. In short, we find from history, that among the most elegant nations of antiquity, namely, the Greek and Roman women, never resorted to such cumbersome articles of dress.
In March, 1801, Mrs. Lloyd Gibbon, of Sackville-street, Piccadilly, obtained a patent for new-invented stays, for women and others. They consist of a back and front-piece, both of which are supported by strips of whale-bone, that are nearly parallel : the two pieces are joined by means of hooks and eyes, or similar contrivances, which meet at the side, and admit of being accommodated to the size of the wearer. Farther, these stays are made of such a length, as not to produce any inconvenience on sitting down; and are asserted to be principally calculated for correcting deformities, as well as for supporting the abdomen, where this aid should be required; as they may be lined and stuffed, or padded, at pleasure.