Who Invented Trousers?

Mom suddenly asked this out of the blue, so we consulted Jeeves, Yahoo and Wikipedia and found out lots of interesting information that I won’t bother to repeat here.  However, it seems that our primitive ancestors didn’t like having cold legs any more than we do, so there have been variations on the theme for thousands of years. Those who rode horses also discovered that it was more comfortable if they wore some kind of protective covering on their legs.

I was most intrigued by these photos of early trousers, from around 500 BC, and the 4th century AD. Nobody would turn and stare if you turned up in these today, and in fact they could pass for designer pants. But leave the bow and quiver at home.


Skythian archer, ca 500 BC


Amazon in trousers, ca 470 BC


Trousers found in Thorsberg bog, 4th century AD







As for modern trousers, it seems we have Beau Brummel to thank for these. And to end on a rather zany note, here’s a delightful poem about that event:

The Man Who Invented Trousers

George Bryan Brummell went down to his garden shed
It was autumn 1820 and it was raining
George was an inventor of sorts
Tinkering in his shed was his true joy
Playing with his lathe and chisels and screws
He really wanted a Black and Decker power drill
But they hadn’t been invented yet
And George was in a hurry to die penniless in a French asylum

George was an inventor of sorts
Not a great inventor
But an inventor of sorts
He was probably best known for a pair of shoes
For walking on water
But they didn’t work very well and people drowned
And we have boats now anyway.

So fame avoided George like feet should avoid lawnmower blades
But on that wet autumn day in 1820
George Bryan Brummell dared to poke a toe into the Flymo of history
A perpetual motion machine in the making
It doubled as a corkscrew
Brummell’s mind was tampering with the impossible
Yet he dreamt of being a John Logie Baird or Alexander Graham Bell
But they hadn’t been born yet
Which is why he was to die penniless in a French asylum

Another screw here, a drop of paraffin there
A wallop with a claw hammer
A puff of smoke
An explosion of sorts
Big sorts
George called the fire brigade
But neither phones nor fire brigades had been invented yet
And George wished that he was dying penniless in a French asylum

The smoke cleared
It took some days
But the smoke cleared
George Bryan Brummell ventured back into his garden shed
It wasn’t raining anymore 
Which was good because the shed didn’t have a roof
Or walls
Just ash and a handsome pair of Khaki slacks
George Bryan Brummell recognised them immediately as trousers
The word trousers hadn’t been invented yet
But George knew it would just as soon as he had died penniless in a French asylum

George Bryan Brummell died penniless in a French asylum
Twenty years after inventing trousers
Did that make him a pantaloony?

Copyright © faiton … [2006-03-31 05:18:53]
(Date/Time posted on site)

Brummell, engraved from a miniature portrait

Brummell, engraved from a miniature portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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