The origin of the Tee shirt is obscure. The shirt has been a part of clothing since
ancient Egypt, consequently, there have been many garments which resemble a
Tee shirt. A type of cotton T-shirt was developed in England around 1880 as a form of
underwear to be worn under men's shirts. It was originally called a "vest" or"under-vest". From 1913 to 1948 there was continuous development.
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Early prototypes of the Tee shirt emerged as an undergarment during World War I, although accounts of its origin vary -- some sources peg it to the "light undershirts" worn by U.S. Navy sailors starting in 1913; others say they were worn by European soldiers during the hot summers and were the envy of American troops clad in wool uniforms.
Whatever the case, the Tee shirt became an official word when it was included in Merriam-Webster's dictionary in the 1920s.
Jockey International Inc. developed what became the modern T-shirt in 1932, at the request of the University of Southern California Trojans football team. Officials were looking for an inexpensive undergarment to absorb sweat and to prevent a player's shoulder pads from causing chafing.
The Smithsonian museum has one of the oldest printed T-shirts on record in its collection: a campaign shirt for New York Gov. Thomas Dewey's 1948 presidential campaign -- "Dew it with Dewey."
The Tee shirt became a status symbol
The Tee shirt became a status symbol by the 1950s when it was worn by such icons as James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" and Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
If you've ever wondered how many Tee-shirts one person can wear at a time, just ask Aaron Waltke, 22, a recent graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington. In December, he broke the Guinness Book of World Records of most Tee-shirts worn
by a man at one time: 160. He bested Matt McAllister, a radio DJ in Santa Barbara, Calif., who in September put on 155 shirts (four hours and more than 100 pounds). You can see Mr. McAllister's challenge on YouTube.com.
And in the latest innovation, Tee shirts are now sporting Philips' Lumalive technology. They were on display during last month's Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. The technology features flexible arrays of colored LEDs that are integrated directly into the cloth.
Tee Shirts bring you these weekly history lessons:
August 9, 1974
Unusual succession makes Ford president
In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.
Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."
Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration's wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.
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