On June 12th from 2-4 pm we are having a reception for the opening of our summer Vintage Bathing Suit Exhibit. So, we are continuing to showcase Carolina Beach bathers.
The postcard to the right has a “white border” which means that it dates from 1915 to 1930. It was published by John Plummer for his store on Cape Fear Boulevard across from the Bame Hotel. Plummer was the first mayor of Carolina Beach when it was incorporated in 1925. His store was a popular place to shop since he carried a variety of goods and was also the post office location at one time.
The bathers are wearing suits still made of wool knit but without shoes, stockings and sleeves. Three have webbed belts and look almost like very short dresses; one even has a collar and buttons going down the front. All the ladies are wearing hats.
The linen card to the left with the very glamorous beauty sitting on the beach can be dated 1941 since it has the phrase “The South’s Miracle Beach”. It was used on many cards published after the devastating boardwalk fire of September, 1940. The miracle was that the two blocks of destroyed boardwalk businesses were rebuilt and ready to open by beach season 1941.
She is wearing a one piece suit probably made of wool knit with lastex. In the mid-1930s the U.S. Rubber Company perfected a rubber thread which could be combined with cotton, wool, silk or rayon fibers to make a stretchy thread. It was used for women’s foundation garments, bathing suits and a number of other uses and revolutionized the swim suit industry.