Monday, December 16, 2013


Last March, i was invited to a party held at the great "union made" store here in SF ,for what was back then,the unveiling of LVC's spring/summer 2013 collection .for the occasion i decided to wear ,what's in opinion,the ultimate Levi's denim jacket :Bing Crosby's Canadian tuxedo .... the jacket's history can be found on the net with a quick google , so i won't bother reposting it,instead i'd rather share some pictures of it .I can't help thinking that wearing Bing's jacket that day [ packed with LVC people] has something to do with Levi's decision to reissue it this summer as a limited edition.....i won't blame them,as it 's such a cool jacket .just remember you've seen it first on "riveted" 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


From a LIFE mag.series about Patton in tunisia.The general is wearing a 1st pattern tanker customized by the addition of epaulets 

another shot .....

this picture from the 1st armored Div in Tunisia shows the crew of an M3 tank wearing both types of tanker 

rare picture of a modified 1st pattern tanker.its owner clearly added pocket flaps secured by buttons 

In his up coming movie called "FURY"Brad Pitt is wearing an original 1st pattern .i bet we're going to see legions of bad copies offered on the net soon .....

Today's post is about a rare example of ww2 militaria way harder to get than any A-2 any day:the 1st pattern Combat Winter jacket,aka the "Tanker Jacket". Part of the winter combat uniform's line,the Tanker Jacket was basically a take on the classic windbreaker design with its waist cut and medium weight with two outside pockets and zipped front. There were two patterns made, the first featured on today's post,was issued in 1941.

The Winter Combat Uniform was developed in 1941 for issue to crews of armored vehicles. The uniform consisted of a cloth helmet, a jacket and overalls. All three garments were made from olive drab #3 cotton twill and lined with brown kersey wool.the jacket was replaced in 1942 by the classic "slash' pockets style.on the net ,there is a well known series of the 1st Armored Div in Tunisia taken in December of that same year. The complete series shows the crews of nearly 30 tanks, and troops wearing tanker jackets, about half are clearly 1st Models. It's normally difficult to see the pockets in other photos, especially when the wearer has field gear on or is standing in a vehicle. As for issue, these were undoubtedly issued until supplies were exhausted so they would have been worn until the end of the War. 
Although initially designed for armored vehicle crews, troops in all branches of the service strived to acquire them. Europe was cold and wet, and these jackets were far superior to the light weight M41 Jacket.The zipper was more convenient than the button/zipper of the M-41 and the shorter length was an improvement over the longer M-41 for anyone sitting or crouching The tanker became popular and many were obtained by "alternative means" by infantrymen, artillerymen and yes, even 8th and 9th AAF pilots .Tanker Jackets found their way into both the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters. It was especially favored by officers who took much of the available supply......
Variation ,as always ,can be noticed while collecting ww2 militaria but in generalfor these jackets the material was heavy khaki or OD color, If khaki, the lining was "mustard" brown while the OD jackets had a lining of the same color. 8.2 oz cotton for the outer shell with a bi-swing back. There was a knit wool collar, waistband and cuffs, as well as a wool blanket lining. The zipper front closure had a wind flap
Jacket, Combat, Winter Stock Numbers and Labeling if you're lucky to have one still on...should read:
Stock numbers were 55-J-100, 55-J-130 in a range to cover the sizes. The two pattern specifications being:
PQD Spec. No. 26 Pattern 2/10/41 as for the jacket featured today
PQD Spec. No. 26A Pattern 1/9/42 for the slash pockets model

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


So it seems that lately,the southwest,navajo,pendleton, beacon,trade blanket style ,has been all the rage.So i've decided to do a small post about it .......enjoy 

The Beacon Manufacturing Company was located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and originally they made reprocessed yarn. In 1904, the company was bought by the Owen family, who really began the blanket manufacturing business. In 1923 while searching for a location for their spinning operation,they decided to settled in Swannanoa, a farming community about ten miles east of Asheville, North Carolina. Ten years later they began the move to take the entire operation to North Carolina. At that time Beacon was the largest blanket maker in the world.
So you'd ask,"why did Beacon leave Massachusetts for the South?" The simple answer is that it was cheaper to do business than in the North.First,they'd be closer to the source of their raw material  [cotton], so they'll save on transportation costs,but mostly because wages were much lower in the South. Labor unions were almost unheard of and jobs were so hard to come by,that workers developed a strong loyalty to the company its owners. This was not just true at Beacon but to any "mill towns" all over the South.That's why,in the early 20th century many Northern entrepreneurs moved their company south........

Prior to 1932 Beacon was using images of American Indians weaving blankets in their advertising,until the Federal Trade Commission and the Navajo Indian tribe filed a complaint saying:"the advertising was misleading and injurious to real Indian weavers".  The company was ordered to stop using Indian images, and they had to make clear that the blankets were not woven/created by Native Americans.

During WWII like many other companies, Beacon switched it's prod to wool/cotton blend blankets for the war effort.As many of the workers left to join the military, their jobs were filled by women of the community.......
After the war Beacon went back to cotton only blankets.In the 1950s, however, the company began adding rayon to the cotton.  At the same time, the ombre weaves were discontinued, as they could not be woven on newly installed machinery.  By the time the  plant closed in 2002, they were making blankets out of acrylic.......

Saturday, November 2, 2013


What we have here today,is a pair of newly rescued ww2 CORCORAN jump boots.I found them at a yard sale,last week, for such a ridiculous price that i couldn't pass.Real ww2 paratrooper boots are getting so hard to find nowadays that it was worth the effort.Kinda like their patina now ....
The paratrooper boots were ,of course ,designed for a purpose and not fashion.their fonction ,was to give extra ankle support for rough parachute landings It's around 1941 ,that  Lieutenant Colonel Yarborough created them for the 501st Parachute Test Battalion.He's also credited for designing the actual Parachutists Jump Wings, the M-1942 Jump uniform and also various other airborne equipments......
The boots were unique at the time in the US armed forces ,in the sense that they were calf length and completely leather. The reason why this was so unique was that up until this point, American soldiers were issued low-quarter or ankle boots with canvas leggings as a protection against mud /water and so on ..... 

The jump boots became a symbol of the airborne soldiers and were highly sought after by other non-airborne soldiers.Even if they were manufactured by several other companies during the war, it seems that the COCORAN boots won the "ribbon"among troopers and nowadays military collectors.They were so desired that during the war, non-airborne soldiers,would just about trade anything to get a hold on them. This would also cause some fights between real troopers and those who would wear them on leave...... 
CORCORAN Boots was once privately owned and had facilities in Stoughton Massachusetts.The company became well-known for making military combat and jump boots used in World War II and thereafter. At some point in its history,the Corcoran Shoe Company was purchased by Acme Boot of Clarksville,Tennessee.In 1992 Acme sold Corcoran to the Cove Shoe Company of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania. Cove Shoe is a division of H.H. Brown Company. Cove being a manufacturer of private labels and branded footwear.....

In 1944, around the time of Operation Market Garden in Holland, the boots were replaced by the “Double Buckle” M-1943 Combat Boots. Many paratroopers retained their jump boots and continued to wear them until the end of the war and during the early years of Germany and Japan’s occupation. Although the American military had converted to the buckle boots at the end of the war, the popularity and durability of the Jump Boots was hard to ignore and eventually an adapted version, without slanted heels,among other mods, were issued to all soldiers in the Korean War....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Tag baring the PAKBAK trademarked by the DUXBAK co. in 1926

detail of the snapped PAKBAK allowing extra room for small game 

detail of one of the loops holding the fishing rod  

snap is reinforced for extra strength 

Keeping up with the early DUXBAK fishing/hunting gears,here's one of the oldest vest in my collection.It's from the late 20's and holds all of the desirable features that make that kind of vest a must have for outdoor's life........

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Today will be a short tribute to early Hollywood stunt pilots,shinning the light on a particular bunch called :"the 13 black cats".Featured today for the occasion,my own tribute jacket based on the Buzz Rickson's repro.....
The 13 Black Cats were a troupe of flamboyant stunt pilots who defied both superstition and the odds of survival during the 1920's and 1930's.
The Black Cats advertised their skills for the film industry with the slogan "Anything for a price."here's a sample of the "menu" of the13 Black Cats stunt fees:

Loop-the-loop with men standing on wing tips - $450

Delayed parachute jump with 1,000 feet free fall - $150

Double parachute jump with both men using same chute - $180

Plane to plane or plane to car transfer - $150

Flight tableau on upper wing with 1 man knocked off - $225

Plane blows up in midair as pilot chutes out - $1,500

One requirement for membership was that the member's name must contain 13 letters. If the letters in his name did not add up to 13, he was given names such as 'Fronty' Nichols, [William] 'Spider' Matlock, and [Ronald] 'Bon' MacDougall. All of these pilots and stuntmen often doubled as the first aerial cameramen in Hollywood.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Was going through a pile of old ww2 magazines from my collection the other day ,looking for issues with an October date on them,when i pulled this great cover article,the famous war correspondent Will Lang made in 1944 for LIFE .It features the great General Truscott on the cover wearing a non reg. civilian sport jacket. Truscott's style was more on the practical side and indeed less "flamboyant" than his counterparts: Patton and McArthur ,non the less,it's in my eyes,more interesting and perhaps less "prepped" more "authentic" as we'll say today .... 
Lucian King Truscott, Jr., was born January 9, 1895, in Chatfield, Texas. He enlisted in the Army upon America's entry into World War I. He was selected for officer training and was commissioned in the cavalry in 1917. He served in a variety of cavalry assignments during the interwar period and served as an instructor at both the Cavalry School and the Command and General Staff School.

Early in World War II he joined Lord Mountbatten's combined staff where he developed the Ranger units for special operations.His experience began with learning Commando tactics, and then training American officers and men in commando operations.  He led his Rangers in combat at Dieppe and in Morocco and then began his assent through the various levels of major combat command... Truscott was a reliable, aggressive, and successful leader.

He was the commanding general of the 3d Infantry Division (Mar. 1943) in Sicily and Italy, VI Corps (Feb. 1944) in Italy and Southern France, Fifteenth Army (Oct. 1944), Fifth Army (Dec. 1944), and Third Army (Oct. 1945).
Truscott had phenomenal success, and always rebuilt the morale and fighting integrity of the units he was commanding . He got on with soldiers regardless of race or nationality, and was certainly one of the top ‘Allied’ generals in the way he treated, and was responded to, by his troops.

In the post-war period he commanded occupation forces in Bavaria.

Included among his many awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart.

General Truscott died on September 12, 1965, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


What we have featured today,is what i believe to be an early 1900's Duluth style backpack.This bag belonged to an iron miner from Minnesota and has that great "been there done that" look that i crave .beside its great age the leather straps are in an incredibly good condition ,making this baby still usable.... 

It's now a given ,that the rise of the steel industry in the United States drove America's growth as a world economic power.It wasn't until the 19th century that steel manufacturing became a dominant industry. With the abundant iron ore deposits around Lake Superior and easy access to cheap water transportation on the Great Lakes, the Midwest became the center of American heavy industry...

Minnesota's iron ore was actually discovered while miners were on their way to seek gold. Since their aim was gold, the iron was ignored. As it turned out, the iron would become more valuable to northern Minnesota than the gold.
The mines were operated by hard working miners,using shovels and pickaxes to extract the precious ore from the rock and mules will haul it out of the mine. Later, steam shovels and powered tools were used.
Minnesota mines provided jobs for many European immigrants. Most of them jobs,as very physically demanding,were of course for unskilled workers... .
Towns were built around the mines. As the mines expanded, many towns were moved to new locations because they were built on top of iron ore. Part of the city of Hibbing, known as the "North Forty", was moved to make way for mine expansion. If you visit Hibbing today, you can see remains of sidewalks, house foundations and street lights near the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine overlook.....