Do you often wonder where things originate? You may have thoughts on when the Banana Hammock became so popular or why France has a fascination with the Speedo. Since the banana hammock Speedo is far more popular to wear in public then other more underwear types it is time to share where the Speedo came from and the history of the Speedo; a very sexy topic.
History of the Speedo – Where the Speedo came from
A man by the name of Alexander MacRae who was Scottish man, moved to Australia in 1910 and set up an underwear manufacturing business called MacRae Hosiery manufacturers. MacRae saw the value in beach wear and expanded his operations to include swim wear.
The Speedo brand started in 1914 under another brand name, “Fortitude”, which apparently came from the motto from the MacRae clan crest. There isn’t much mention of Fortitude in researched sources however one can assume that this was the name of a specific swimsuit style during that time. By the 1920’s times were changing and swimming was becoming accepted as a sport. With that being said people became more liberal towards mixed bathing which meant men and women could swim in the same areas together.
In 1928 a new figure hugging, less modest bathing suit some might say was developed which was essentially a less clunky bathing suit. The named the suit the “Razorback”. A staff member coined the phrase, Speed On in your Speedo. From that point forward the Speedo name originated.
In 1929 the company built some legitimacy with the Speedo brand when Arne Borg, a Swedish swimmer broke a swimming record while wearing Speedo swimwear.
In 1932 Austrialian Claire Dennis won the gold medal in the 200 meter breast stroke at the Olympics while wearing the Speedo Brand. There was much controversy apparently as the swimsuit showed a bit too much of her shoulder and was considered a bit racy. My have times changed.
In the 1940’s during World War II 90 percent of the company capacity went to providing equipment to the armed forces.
In the 1968 Olympics 27 out of the 29 gold medalists were wearing the Speedo brand. This is very impressive when wanting to show your dominance in the swimwear industry.
Something I thought was very interesting was how Speedo signed an agreement with China to provide the Chinese team with training and equipment so that they could return to competition after an apparent 40 year absence. This took place in the 1980’s.
Speedo has been brilliant and ground breaking in the swimwear industry and in general as a business. The cherry on top of a long and impressive history was when Speedo sponsored athelete Michael Phelps who ended up being the star of the Olympic Games with a record breaking 8 gold medals in one Olympics.
Most of the information in this history of Speedo came from the Speedo website itself. I placed most of my focus on the highlights of their history however the majority of their history is a highlight. Speedo from Joe’s perspective is more memorable for the athletic accomplishments in their swimwear then fashion. With that being said, wearing a Speedo in the European areas is practically a law. What better type of support for a product could a company have then government support.
All I can really say is bravo Speedo. Your brand is loved for much more than its contribution to athletics. If you know what I mean.