July 23, 2010

Avoiding the Prickly, Irritating Feeling

Deimel Linen-Mesh Underwear ad
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.


  1. Dear Mr. Deimel:

    I am currently in the process of writing my autobiography, with the first intent to leave my life story to my ancestors so it could not be changed after I'm gone (I'm 81 years old).

    My grandfather, Otto Deimel, was Dr. Deimel's brother. In the process of writing my autobiography, I ran across your name on the Internet and your request for information about the company.

    Dr. Deimel brought my grandfather to America in 1900 in order to run the NYC office and at the same time another brother left Germany to run the operation in England.

    Please contact me.

    Best regards,

    1. Hope you are still with us, I am the great grand son of Henry. I know a lot if you want to know. ddeimel@ymail.com.

  2. P.S. RichW is a close friend who is assisting me with my autobiography.

  3. Dr. Henry Deimel was my great grandfather. So Robert, you and my grandfather (Thomas) would have been first cousins!

    I'm curious, Lionel, do you know whether your relatives migrated east from California, or did they settle in the east to begin with? Our last name, being rather uncommon, makes me wonder if we can find common roots not very far back.

  4. Oops. Almost forgot: my name is Mark Deimel and I live in Southern California.

    Robert, i would be very interested in getting a copy of your autobiography when it is finished. My email is markdeimel@gmail.com

  5. My maternal grandmother was married to a son of Dr. Henry Deimel so my mother did some family research. According to her, there were once Deimel Linen-Mesh Stores in London, Montreal, NY, SF and Dueren, Germany. She claims Henry Deimel was a native of Hamm Germany, who attended medical school at U. of Chicago. There was still a Deimel Company business of some kind in NYC in the early 1930s because her father Edgar worked there at that time, but again, according to my mother, only the SF (Union Square) and London stores survived the Depression.

    1. That is my great grandfather. My grandfather was Thomas. He and my grandmother Easter were killed in a car accident in 1975.

  6. Hi Lionel & others,

    Some of these posts are a bit old so don't know if this is active but for what it's worth...my maternal great-grandfather was Dr. Henry L. Deimel. I've known the linen-mesh story from early childhood days. My mother has much more information including genealogy. Let me know if you want to share.

    Scott Walter
    New York

  7. Hello All. I have a 1919 pulp fiction magazine (in pamphlet format, before it became eventually a pulp format) with a story by H. L. Deimel. I was trying to learn who this person was, and found the mention of his underwear line, attended Bennett university (1884-1885), and wondered if this was the same person. Many of the writers in this mag are university grads. It is the only instance in which I have found this Deimel to have written a short story, though.

  8. An interesting flyer, I would never have paid attention to it, but he's old enough to judge him. Who needs quality flyers and you do not want to spend a lot of money, I advise you to do them yourself using templates https://poweredtemplate.com/brochure-templates/flyers/index.html. I do these things for parties every weekend and it's really simple.

  9. My name is Dale A Deimel. Henry Lido Deimel was my great grand father. My brother Mark known as madguy above posses literature from the Dr Deimel linen mesh company. Also I have a peice of baby underwear with a lable in it.


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