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.....

Saturday, October 5, 2013


This typical French "tanker style" leather Jacket was introduced in the early 1900's at the beginning of the First World War.Its simple and very functional style was later adopted by various trades, such as firemen and aviators.This style was ,after the war,produced in large quantities with some variations in different hides such as capeskin,goatskin and cowhide and that well up into the 40s .

It goes without saying that the many changes that have occurred throughout the first world war , often every other months , made outfitting the troops very challenging .before being available to soldiers at the front, a piece of garment ,often took from the time of its manufacture ,more than a year before being actually distributed to the "poilu" [French soldier's nickname].
It is in April 1917 at the" Chemin des Dames"in the area of ​​Berry au Bac,that French tanks were used for the first time .
At that time , no specific uniform was intended for tank crews , they were dressed as gunners but without suspension straps and ammo pouches.
Quickly changes were made to adapt to the characteristics of this new weapon .
1 - The Adrian helmet totally inappropriate in the cramped space of the tank undergoes several changes on the front visor and crest ;
2 - Tankers trade their heavy wool coats for a more comfortable and more durable leather jacket as featured on this post.
3 - They get an handgun 
4 - And the famous" Avenger "dagger .........