Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The First Traveling Salesman to use an Airplane

Sweet-orr Overalls had a bunch of 'firsts' including 1st to have a Union Made label,
First to size with inches around waist etc...prior to their change, sizes were in small medium etc..
They had a large very active salesforce that travelled extensively. I learned this from interviewing
the son of one of their main salesmen from the turn of the century period. He also was a salesman for them as a young man and was very proud of what his father had done.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farmer Brown

Has that sort of 1930s Idylic view of the Farmer you'd see in a kid's book or a Thomas Hart Benton Painting. From a denim chore jacket.
THB's "Persephone" from 1938, Oil and egg tempura on canvas covered panel. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Internet Shopping Circa 1915

I can imagine quite a few things I'd like to order with this where it able to cross the decades and arrive on my doorstep. Check out the sizing info on the reverse. Cleverly printed with a tape on the edge. This is from my Uncle's old farm on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vintage World War II Navy Denim Fatigues

Here is a group of WWII military denim all from the same sailor who served in the Pacific. We also received his duffle bag. Here are a bunch of pictures of this cool group. I particularly like the second pair of pants with the bleached name and the low pocket placement.

redline selvedge in the crotch gussets.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Vintage 1920s Blue Jeans Find!

After about 20 years of looking I've found a pair of never worn 1920s blue jeans.  They came out of an old eastern Pennsylvania estate. At least ten years older than a pair of Levi's I'd found with a Best and Co, NY  label in the waistband-  Levi's at the time were not widely available on the East coast, just specialty shops catering to the dude ranch craze and equestrian aficionados. 

This is a pair of "Reputation Brand" waist overalls made by Horn & Co of Allentown Pennsylvania in approximately 1919-1925. The denim is nice and heavy. While both leg seams are triple stitched flat-felled seams, a small bit of selvedge can be seen in a waistband seam that was poorly sewn. The waist band is cut so that the back is higher than the front. Both belt loops and suspender buttons are present. As is a cinch back strap. However most of the suspender buttons have been pulled off. It appears the buyer of these preferred a belt to suspenders and found the chunky metal buttons to be an annoyance. Interestingly, the fly buttons are missing as well. Though there is no damage it may have been that they were sewn on and removed carefully or the pants are irregulars that never had them sewn on or riveted to begin with? There are two button holes in the fly. The top button is there btw. I think the reason these were never worn is that the original owner noticed the missing fly buttons as he was pulling off the suspender buttons and not being able to return them to the store as he'd damaged the pants, simply tossed them in a drawer where they remained for almost a hundred years. The paper label looks like it is letterpress printed and includes the wording " Overalls, Play suits, Coveralls, Brownies".  Brownies were originally boy's brown duck overalls with blue denim details that also came to be available in all denim and also railroad stripes. The term 'Brownies' is commonly used in newspaper advertising from the late 1800s through  1919 and the latest usage i can find is a single ad in 1921 by Stifel in an Ohio Newspaper. The stress points are bar tacked instead of riveted. The bar tacks are machine made. I am still trying to nail down the earliest usage of the bar tack machine. Currently I am told the machine came in to usage in the early 1920s with possible usage in 1919. 

I love the look of these pants, a nice wide leg, huge back pockets and a rugged fit. How these didn't get worn through all the intervening years is amazing. 
Greg West

Thanks to John Gluckow at Strongarm C&S Co. NYC and
Lynn Downey at Levi's 

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Circus Life

High Diver Capt. Earl MacDonald 
On reverse: 
"Taken on Valley Park Baseball Field-Cheltenham & Erdrick Sts.
Oct 12, 1947
Drops from 80 feet high tower backwards turning over once
into a tank of water 6 feet deep & 9 feet wide. Tank rolled up can
be seen on trailer. Gas or oil is thrown on water & set on fire
right before jump."

original period print

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper is Gone

About ten years ago I traded a pair of '31 Levi's Buckle back waist overalls for this self portrait of Dennis Hopper. He's reflected in a polished tray on a low table. The guy was an American original.
 Here's a remembrance in photos The Guardian

Friday, April 30, 2010

Duke Kahanamoku

A tribute song from Sol Bright for the guy who made Surfing an international sport among many other achievements.

A fantastic border print Hawaiian shirt bearing Duke Kahanamoku's label for Cisco Sportswear.

Monday, April 19, 2010

1969 "Hair" Broadway Program -The second year on Broadway

Front Cover
Back Cover
Inside Front

Souvenir book written by Ed Grifford and designed by Willson-Frissora

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

William Steig Collins Glass

Sometimes, I think we all can agree. From a set of 6 we found at a terrific garage sale last Summer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Acme Cowboy Boot Ad Campaign

This is a series of die-cut cardboard signs which slipped into the top of a pair of boots. This one is my favorite. The drawing of the guy is stylized in an interesting way. Check out his pleat front denim jacket. I've also always loved old surplus Willys Jeeps like this one. 

This last one is the largest and unfortunately was trimmed by the store owner i got it from. He wanted to use it in a display of boots from another maker.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lee Colorform Ad

This is a thin sheet of soft clear vinyl printed with the ad which was applied to a wet window with a squeegee. Like a Colorform toy. Probably 1950s and about a foot tall.