National Archives of Australia

Issue 12 December 2013

What a gem! Myer Goldberg and his reversible knickers

Archives staff often unearth exciting or unusual records from among the millions of items held in the collection. ‘What a gem!’ showcases these finds. In this issue, Your Memento looks at a 1920s copyright application for a pair of reversible knickers.

In December 1926, a Mr Myer Goldberg of Sydney submitted a copyright registration to the Commonwealth Registrar of Designs for ‘two knickers in one by reversing’. Before the Copyright Act 1968, anyone seeking copyright protection of their creations had to submit an application form to the Commonwealth. These files are now held in the Archives’ collection, and form a unique record of Australian creativity in fields such as design.

The design for Myer Goldberg’s reversible knickers, 1926. NAA: A1337, 6270

The design for Myer Goldberg’s reversible knickers, 1926. NAA: A1337, 6270

Upon receipt of Mr Goldberg’s application, the slightly prudish Registrar ruled that the title of the design was ‘of a fancy nature, and therefore objectionable’, and proposed the more tempered title ‘reversable trousers or knickers’.

In his statement of the nature of design, Mr Goldberg described the innovative knickers as ‘…made of two thicknesses of material with buttons on either side so that the article is reversible and having a removable lining piece fastening to the rear inner set of buttons…’

Once registration of the design was certified in May 1927, Mr Goldberg wrote to the Registrar of Designs requesting he ‘please return…the sample knickers I sent you’. In response, the Registrar, Chas V Watson, duly advised Mr Goldberg that he would return said knickers.

On 13 January 1928, The Hebrew Standard of Australasia reported on the marriage of Miss Ilma Goldberg to Mr Eli Rosenberg. The bride was sponsored by her uncle, Mr Myer Goldberg, and ‘…wore a beautiful frock of white satin, appliqued with honiton lace and pearls’. Her attendants ‘…wore mauve satin and tulle’. One cannot help but wonder what Mr Goldberg was wearing?

Detail of the application for registration of Mr Goldberg’s reversible trousers and knickers, 1926. NAA: A1337, 6270

Detail of the application for registration of Mr Goldberg’s reversible trousers and knickers, 1926. NAA: A1337, 6270

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