Sunday, December 4, 2011

19th Century Shopkeepers

I found this old photo in a very old dry goods store on 3rd and Market st in Philadelphia.
This is not the store in the photo, perhaps one of their wholesale customers out West? 
The guy on the far left has what look like Stifel indigo fabric sleeves to protect his white shirt underneath. Another fellow to the right has plainer ones as well. You can see they buttoned to the white shirt at the top.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vintage 1930s Mickey Mouse Wool Cap

I found this in a fantastic old store In Philly. Two buildings, three floors of clothing, the newest stuff was from the 1960s. Stretched back to the 30s. This hat is wool knit and bares a tag from the "Honey Hat Co." The hang tag is now gone-if it had one. Perhaps the oldest Disney clothing piece i've seen.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Celebration In Honor of Al Schmid "Pride of the Marines", 1943

A 1943 celebration in honor of Al Schmid who was blinded by a grenade at the battle of Alligator Creek on Guadalcanal. The battle was depicted in Tom Hank's Miniseries "The Pacific" Al was one of the Machine gunners on the front line. He continued to fire even after being blinded with direction from an injured friend.  This ceremony was at Rayburn Plaza in Philadelphia.  This crowd shot is a photo I found among a large collection by a avid amateur photographer and office clerk.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turn of the Century Union Suit

Found this wonderful light weight summer union suit in an old suit case we had in the warehouse. I'm not sure where we acquired it, I guess they were with a large group of things and I didn't notice it. The fabric is a wonderful crisp cotton with a super tiny houndstooth check. The checks are indigo blue. The construction is both hand stitching and machine. A very simple machine btw. The tailored worked buttonholes were overcast by hand. There are pleats on the outside of each leg.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

1940s Men's Sportswear

This is a really cool store display for Rugby Brand men's sportswear. When you find Rugby items, they are usually really nice vintage clothing items. Always well made and usually a bold design. This is a semi translucent card-stock, I am not sure whether its been waxed or plasticized somehow. It was used in a deep frame that was illuminated. Sadly the frame was missing when i found this pinned to the wall in a very old store. The store owner described for me how it originally was displayed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spear and Company Pittsburgh

A page from their " 75th Semi-Annual All Star Value Sale" Catalogue. My guess is late 1920s early 1930s.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Hat Box

The cover of The Stetson Company House Magazine from March 1930

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

1940s WWII USN Dungarees

Very cool WWII US Navy dungarees with the guy's name bleached across the back. Unusual blue line selvedge in crotch seams. Probably pre 1945. Listed on ebay with no reserve, curious to see what they go for.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Restoring A Vintage Wood Tank

So, about a year ago I found this late 19th C wooden tank or cistern. It was removed from a Chester county house. It provided water pressure and continuous supply from the well. Soon after the house was built it was hooked up to public water and the cistern was disconnected and drained. It then sat for almost a hundred years in the dry and dark attic. It has no rot (of consequence) or bug damage. The company that made it is still in business and making classic wooden cisterns. My plan is to reassemble it and hook up modern hot tub heating and filtration to use it "Petticoat Junction " style as a hot tub.

I'm starting with the bottom. It is made up of a bunch of edge joined cedar boards that are doweled together. I've sanded the inside surface to remove a bunch of iron rust sediment and to make sure there are no spots that may cause scrapes or splinters. I also had to plane the edge of one board to get it to mate properly. It had bowed a little. It's nice and snug now. I got badly stung by bees when making this photo, it seems there is a hive in the ground near that old tree in the background. They were pretty pissed at me and made me pay for coming too close.

The hand made dowels are scored along their length and have a flat planed into them long one side. You can see how the hole was located with a pencil mark and a scored line along the grain. All of the dowels are slightly offset from each other.

You can see here that the bottom boards are bevelled twice to fit the rabbet in the staves. The fit to the staves is nice and snug. That's a split that was wedged. Also there are a few small knots that were drilled and small hand made plugs were driven in. 

This is the stencil on the side. There is also a round 'Unionmade' stamp in the wood above this. It's hard to spot. 

All of the staves are hand made, unique ( no two are alike in width) and are numbered on the inside. 

Here is one of the pieces of dunnage that it sat on. Note the original owner or installer's ? name and address in marking pencil. I'm going to use new, much more massive pressure treated material for dunnage. As I move along I'll add more updates.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Unique Necktie

I found this tie some years ago and have yet to see a more bizarre design. Sure a few Dali ties have come and gone and they can be pretty cool- The one of disembodied bloody hands playing a piano is pretty wild
But this odd tie with it's slightly hard to read design takes the cake. Often viewers have had to have the design pointed out to them before they can 'read' it. I really like the logo of the designer; Damon as well. I
don't recall seeing any other Damon ties with this logo and wonder if it is the same company as the 1960s-70s men's wear maker. I actually doubt it is. The tie is listed among our current vintage tie offerings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A brilliant Idea From The Past

1931 gave us the perfect solution for sagging stockings! "The Bonton Rayon Air Cushion Garter". A rubber tube surrounded by a rayon covering. Brilliant. I sure hope the tubing was more flexible when new. What's that you say? Your legs have fallen asleep? Numb? According to the unintentionally hilarious patent application these are ideal when you roll the top of the stocking down around them. I bet! The young lady who seems to have lost her balance on the card is a nice touch.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Late 19th C Fabrics

About 15 years ago while driving through what at the time was a notoriously violent inner city neighborhood in Philadelphia on my way to a beloved thrift store, I came across some guys cleaning out
an old building under the El. Just as we drove by we saw them toss an armload of vintage dresses from a second floor window into the dumpster. 30's dresses by the look of them as the floated down. We whipped into a nearby parking spot and convinced the guys to take a breather while we grabbed the rest of the clothing. The store front had been a florists from about 1900. It looked like it probably had not been open since the early 1960s. There were only a couple closets of women's things from the 30s and 40s, But in one very small room was a very large armoire stacked with bolts of cloth. All of the fabric inside the armoire was covered with old newspapers with headlines announcing the latest news of the first world war! It seems the entire second floor of the building had basically been untouched as business on the first floor continued all those years. The fabrics from the look of them were already old by the time they were covered. Miraculously they were in fantastic condition. Here are a few samples of the indigo dyed shirting and various calico patterns as well as some flannels that are reversible. I've folded the flannels so you can see both sides.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1939 Lockfast Zipper

While digging through some old notions for a button I found this little gem. It looks like a Hookless/ Talon zip but is a maker named "Lockfast" Note the holes ready for rivets to secure the bottom stops. There is no mention of Lockfast in "Zipper, An Exploration in Novelty" by Robert Friedel. The Patent drawings are pretty neat for this zipper. 

Earlier, Max Keissler designed this picture hanger:

I've photographed this vintage zipper on a yard of late 19th C indigo dyed cotton shirting with an oversize 'herringbone' print. Here's some pics of the fabric with label:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainy Day

Another late Winter day of rain and mud. A diecut cardboard counter sign
for rubber overshoes  " Litentufs" .

Sunday, March 6, 2011


A very early Sweet-orr sign made of composite material- like pressed wood. Check out the mutton chop whiskers. Sweet-orr signs went through a lot of variations in the way the tug of war was depicted. This one is quite complex and detailed. Most likely to be from the late 20s.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wahini Hawaiian Shirt

One from our collection: 1950s cotton hawaiian souvenir shirt, Very unusual silk screen printed fabric. Not the typical high quality printing you usually find on Hawaiian shirts of this period. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jane Russell 1921-2011

By now you've probably heard of her passing. Read all the obits and stories. Here's a small ode created years ago by a GI in postwar Japan to honor one of the great pinups of the war years. 1946 was the year Outlaw was finally in general release so loads of magazines had centerfold spreads of this image to advertise the movie.