In the days preceding air-conditioning, cooling down in the oppressive heat of the summer was an art form and perhaps one of the most joyful ways was to take a dip. With the passage of the Fourth of July, summer is now in full swing and Delaware County Historical Society celebrates with a nod to the occasion by displaying a 20th century male swimsuit. Lavender and black stripes extend across the width of the persimmon suit, punctuating a flourish of style on the woolen garment. One might ask why in the world would our ancestors pick itchy, hot wool as swimsuit material? Cotton, after all, was available then. Wool, however, was conducive for knitting - and was water repellent, making a sit under the shade after a splash more comfortable. The suit also consists of two pieces - a tank-top styled shirt with a pair of trunks. At the time, in some places by law, in others by custom, men were discouraged from baring their chest at the local swimming holes. It wasn’t until the 1930’s when men’s swimming attire would consist of only the bottoms. The turn-of-the-century male swimsuit is on display at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. For more information, ways to get involved or to contribute items of historic significance, please call 610-359-0832. The turn-of-the-century male swimsuit is a seasonal part of Delaware County Historical Society's collection.