Sunday, October 25, 2009

GENERIC VS BRAND NAMES ...Depression era's work clothes generic buttons

Here's a standard selection of metal buttons from the depression era.Often found on light weight denim clothes[overalls, shirts or jackets] .What we nowadays ,call "cat's eye buttons " were called back then "fish eye buttons".
Celluloid ,bakelite or plastic these were commonly found shapes and colors on 20's/30's work clothes.
Your perfect combo for a chambray shirt .....bakelite ,bone or even wood ,you've got them all......
The standard style for your beloved chinos.A khaki's favorite .
A "dressier" alternative for khaki and olive drab shades .Perfect for your span-am or ww1 impression .
These buttons were often found on old 20's /30's hutting jackets
An original "bachelor" button fron the 30's ...Read the 1934's Sears ad bellow

Sign of the times,or just pure coincidence!!?? The great depression is"back with a vengeance".Speakeasies ,bangs, flappers and distressed looks are in demand,back in our streets and on the racks of trendy stores.Brands such as RRL ,post o'alls ,engineered garments to say the least,are without mercy copying their forerunners.So it's not surprising to see anything remotely old nowadays,advertised on EBAY as being from the 20's/30's.As a follow up to my former post on the subject,i've decided to showcase some of the most often encountered [brand less] generic buttons from that era .Hoping that'll help you not to be taken for a ride ,when hunting for the real deal at your local flea market......good luck !!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The essence of cool i'd say.Paul and steve were the ultimate cats no doubt about it.From the moment i've seen this picture ,i've always wanted to get my hands on one of these....go figure!!This picture was taken in 1956 by Sanford Roth during the filming of "somebody up there likes me" a movie about the famous boxer Rocky Graziano.It will put Paul Newman on the map and make him an instant star.

OL' SALTY the saga of one N1 deck jacket ....Navy-ism part4

"Ol' salty" on a San Francisco's dock.I've found it at a local flea market.
The stencil tells its story,that is if you know how to read them.Here we have a real ww2 N1 who's owner was a crew member onboard the USS SPERRY [ AS12] .The ship was launched in december of 1941 in California.The AS12 was a submarine tender .Tenders were ships able to support,supply and even fix submarines at sea,as the were equipped with workshops.In that case,the jacket's owner was assigned to USS 227 ,aka DARTER.The DARTER was a submarine launched on june 1943 .It sank 3 Japanese ships during its 1944 campaign,but was grounded on a reef ,while pursuing a damaged Japanese cruiser.Efforts to get the submarine off the shoal failed so it was abandoned to the elements .
Frontal view of a "clean" N1.The contract # on the tag,tells us it's from around september 1944.I've been asked many times what the NXSX prefix means .Well!! i'll try to make it simple... N-is for naval.XS-is the designation for the bureau of supplies and accounts.The bureau that oversees all contracting bureaus ,such as,Aeronautics,Ordonance and so on ....The last designation represents the cognizant bureau which account is X represents the bureau of supplies and accounts .In this case NXSX means the bureau of supplies and accounts awarded itself a it !!?
Was harry in the navy !!?? Close up of the special cord fabric .
Gotta love the patina .

Today's post showcases 2 examples of the same jacket : the N1 US navy deck jacket .As the longest serving jacket in US navy history,the N1 is probably the most beloved and copied piece of clothing,maybe second only to the pea coat.The N1 jacket first appeared in 1944 and is the result of numerous changes and lessons learned from 2 years of warfare under the most challenging conditions.The result is a perfect piece of garment, perhaps the ultimate cold weather jacket .the N1 served navy men up until the 60's,when stock were exhausted and it was superseded by the A-2.Needless to say that the older it gets the better it looks,as wear and tears ad to its character. Just look at the 2 jackets pictured above .Both are from ww2 .One is almost dead stock from the early part of 1944 and the other "has been there and done that".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

IT'S THE N4 .......the ww2 us navy field jacket .navy-ism part 3

On the beaches of Normandy in june 1944 .beach battalion's personnel wearing their self customized jackets ,helmets and overalls.......
The N4 us navy field jacket with its special white stencil in the back
Front view of the standard factory applied usn stencil
The N4 is darker and cut slimmer than the M41 .No epaulets and back straps.
ww2 conmar zipper
What's left of the original tag ........

Today i'll talk about the N4 us navy field jacket,you know...... the jacket every wanna be expert calls the navy m41 by lack of information.Well!! today's post will feature a special N4 from ww2.i started to collect in the early eighties and back then only strove to get items in the best condition main source was the Clignancourt fleamarket in Paris where this jacket was found.that day i was on the look out for a descent M41 but didn't get a "clean" one because they were even back then hard to get.So i've decided to settle for the NAVY version even if there was a stencil in the back. back in the days i was ,stupid me, passing on anything with writings, stencils ,drawings and so on .i should have known better right !?anyway that day i've changed my mind ... lucky me .after few years of collecting and reading i've discovered the significance of the markings on the back of the jacket .back in june 1944 in order to have navy shore parties not being mistaken for their army counter parts on the beaches of Normandy ,Navy personnel, were asked to mark all of their gears with a wide USN .So asap ,helmets and jackets were self customized and as a result variations were plentiful as can be.Today though they are as rare as can be .Real us navy d day items are rare and i'll cherish that trove as long as i can .

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Just a quick post as i could not resist to share that newly acquired picture of a pipe smocking sailor proudly wearing his 1943 deck jacket .....

Monday, October 5, 2009


As promissed to my friend Gregg,here's a little addition to the former post .we will prove here,that not all navy buttons were created equals. if you need to restore a vintage navy uniform,you need to be aware of this .Differences in materials and designs,even if not obvious to most of us,do exist.Pictured above,from left to right, is a small sample of them.The first one,from civil war area,is made of rubber.In 1839 Goodyear,secured a patent for vulcanisation.It was a process using extreme heat and sulfur along with hard rubber to form the final product.Details were often crude .The second button,dates from ww1 and was made of celluloid .It was a material created at first as a substitute for ivory or wood .Celluloid buttons first appeared around 1897 and can nowadays,be widely seen featured in old SEARS and ROEBUCK catalogues .These buttons were extremely fragile and often break.Look how thin and detailed the anchor is on that example. Last ,but not least, the first stage of the button we all know .This button dates from the early part of ww2 and is made of bakelite .Bakelite became very popular and stylish about the 40's and 50's and is easily detectable as it produces a fresh worm feel,as opposed to plastic .Later,during the war ,plastic will be the final material of choice.