Apparently, a bane of civilization 120 or so years ago was woolen underwear. One alternative was provided by the Deimel Linen-Mesh Company. (The underwear apparently was made from a linen-cotton blend of some sort.) I had heard of Dr. Deimel underwear, and, rather by accident, ran into the above advertisement from The Daily Princetonian of February 11, 1904. I have seen Dr. Deimel underwear described as being made by a British company, but the only addresses I have found for the Deimel Linen-Mesh Company are in New York and San Francisco.
The New York Times of November 29, 1903, provides this information:
Dr. Deimel, a physician who left Denver in 1891 and went to Southern California in search of health, says that while living in a little mountain resort he learned the benefits of wearing linen next to the skin, and upon this discovery has been based the large business which he has reared. He has relinquished the patents on his machinery, he states, so that the advantages of his methods of manufacture may be spread as widely as possible.I suspect that Dr. Deimel is Henry L. Deimel, a German immigrant, who was president of the company in 1909.
The article from the Times describes the Deimel Company as quoting from the Bible in an advertising booklet, emphasizing the use of linen in ancient times. (E.g., from Ezekiel: “They shall be clothed with linen garments, and no wool shall come upon them.”) One Dr. Henry W. Roby is quoted in this booklet:
“I think that from sanitary and economic reasons we shall yet get back to the régime of the ancients who lived from 100 to 900 years. In those halcyon days of the race everyone wore linen.”Apparently, we’ve been missing a bet here.
I have no reason to think I am closely related to Dr. Deimel of underwear fame, but I am nonetheless intrigued by the product and the company that produced it. If you know anything more about the company or the underwear, please write to me.