corsetry, a bone
is one of the rigid parts of a
corset that forms its frame,
gives it rigidity, and helps to shape the wearer's body.
Originally, bones were made of whalebone, because no other
material matched it for flexibility and strength. As whalebone
was expensive, wood and cane were also used. Ivory was another
luxury material used for the centre front bone, which was
known as the
busk. In the nineteenth
century, whalebone was superseded by steel. Today, many
corsets use plastic bones, although steel is still favoured
for high-quality corsets.
Bones, and the substances used for the purpose, are often
generically called boning. They are also called
ribs and stays.