2012.0024.134 Skirt lifter, View 2
  • 2012.0024.134 Skirt lifter, View 2
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Tool (for needlework) (Skirt-lifter)

  • Category:

    Textiles (Clothing)

  • Place of Origin:

    New York, Manhattan, New York, Mid-Atlantic, United States, North America

  • Materials:

    Celluloid; Steel; Brass; Paint

  • Museum Object Number:


  • Complete Details

Object Number


Object Name

Tool (for needlework) (Skirt-lifter)


Textiles (Clothing)

Credit Line/Donor

Gift of Davison B. Hawthorne

Place of Origin

New York, Manhattan, New York, Mid-Atlantic, United States, North America

Origin Notes

US Patent 648186 granted April 24, 1900 (filed December 19, 1898)


Celluloid; Steel; Brass; Paint

Dimensions (inches)

0.118 (H) , 3.78 (L) , 1.18 (Diam)

Dimensions (centimeters)

0.3 (H) , 9.6 (L) , 3 (Diam)

Measurement Notes

Overall length of chain: 38.800 cm.

Object Description

Web - 08/25/2016

A metal clip with a chain and ball clamp, designed to secure a length of fabric from a long skirt. A flat sliding ring locks the width of the adjustable clamp in place. The ball rests in a brass ring. Skirt lifters were used to secure the extra fabric of a long skirt and allow greater (temporary) freedom of movement for the wearer, when crossing a muddy road, for example. This object has an unusual design. Other examples of skirt lifters have a flat "tong-like" appearance and the pads of the working end are covered with velvet and/or rubber. This example appears to be identical to a model designed in 1898 and patented in 1900 by a resident of New York City named Maxime Honore Godfroy Boutineau. The clip portion was designed to attach around a belt and four of these skirt-lifter clamps were used on one belt. This object is described by the inventor as an"ornamental ordinary knob hook" The ring portion (where the knob rests) was designed to be covered with a rubber rim, which would protect the skirt's fabric. This example is marked: "PAT APLD FOR" but does not have any other identifying information. Suggesting that this was produced between December 19, 1898 and April 1900, the period between the patent's application and approval. This object would have been one clamp in a set of four identical clamps, although it is unclear if the set was intended to include a belt. The language of the patent application suggests that the wearer could use their own belt. "This invention relates to skirt-supports for use in wet and stormy weather;" the application states, "and the object thereof is to provide an ordinary belt with devices of this class which are simple in construction and operation." The clip, chain and clamp have a brass finish. The ball is painted with a black and brown finish, giving it the look of a tiger eye gemstone. Tiger's eye was popular during the Edwardian period. The patent indicates that the design was intended to be ornamental and "serve to decorate or ornament the belt when suspending-straps are not employed."