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Iowa History Daily: December 13 - Birth of the Clip-On Tie in Clinton

On December 13, 1928, Joseph W. Less of Clinton, Iowa’s One-In-Hand Tie Company introduced the world to a new invention: the one-handed tie (fore-runner to his later invention: the clip-on tie). Starting with the company’s initial ‘self-tying tie’ in the 1920s and moving toward the more familiar metal-clasp clip-on of today, the invention makes up for lack of sophistication with a story of Iowa innovation.

Less, a native-son of Clinton a gifted violinist, spent much of his early adulthood sawing bowstrings in events ranging from church services to symphonies during the early 1920s. After making meager means performing and offering violin lessons, Less found himself in the clothing business with his three brothers after a problem with his tie following a concert led to an idea for a self-tying necktie.

Joseph, Walter, Stephen, and Louis Less founded the One-In-Hand Tie Company during the late-1920s to offer a first in men’s fashion: a tie which could be tied with one hand. Their initial product featured a looping mechanism meant to allow a user to effortlessly pull the long end of the tie behind the knot to create a perfect tie every time.

The business struggled by the 1940s due to retailer reluctance to sell the unique self-tying product, however, the brothers continued to file patents as they perfected their products before patenting the modern bowtie in 1965. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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