Jan 29, 2014

Hat of the Week: 1960s Era Penney's BIG-MAC Balloon Top Engineer Cap

First off, apologies to all the readers of this blog for the lack of posts this past year. While we have been sharing with INSTAGRAM @vintageworkwear, it can't take the place of this blog nor does it allow for the multiple photos or written word that help to share just a bit of information about the vintage work clothing we have a passion for. This vintage BIG-MAC denim engineer cap marks the first edition of our new weekly "Hat of the Week" installment and a renewed effort to share information and photos of the vintage workwear we love. Enjoy!

1960s era Penneys BIG-MAC six panel denim "balloon top" engineer cap.
The variation of fading seen on the different types of denim used to construct this cap result in an almost two-tone appearance. Reminiscent of traditional "Eastern" type railroad caps with their hickory stripe crown paired with a denim headband and visor.
Beautiful fade variations between the darker denim of the visor and headband and the lighter edge trim of the visor.
Close up of the lighter weight denim of the headband and visor along with the Penneys BIG-MAC UNION MADE size label.
Close up view of the heavier grain denim used on the six panel crown portion of the cap.

Oct 7, 2013


Sunday night marked three weeks running that various Brown's Beach Jacket garments have been spotted as part of what surely can be said to be some of the if not the best wardrobe currently seen on television.
Four different Brown's Beach Jacket garments can be seen in this scene from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. From left to right- early BB jacket in black with pointed collar, later blue BB jacket with rounded collar, what looks to be an early BB vest and finally an early BB collar-less jacket in black.
Three weeks ago we were provided a glimpse of Richard Harrow sporting a Brown's Beach vest under his coat and scarf. Last week we were treated to scenes of Richard wearing the same vest, seen below both with and without the wool coat. 

Not to get all critical especially since the wardrobe and set dressing is always so good but with Richards vest being in what looked to be in near perfect condition some key details can be easily seen. This particular Brown's Beach vest is a later version as identified by its weave of dark blue, grey, black and white wool herringbone wool and the later Scovil or DOT conventional type snaps measuring 1/2" in diameter. A period correct vest would have been constructed of black, grey and white herringbone weave. The earlier garments sometimes included various shades of brown due to age and exposure to the elements. Another tell tale sign of earlier garments are the much less common larger 3/4" nipple type snaps that were used.

All said, a very good night of television indeed.

 1930s Brown's Beach collar-less jacket or cardigan from the vintageworkwear.com collection
Side by side comparison of 1930's era Brown's Beach Jacket black, grey and white wool herringbone weave (seen on left) and 1950's era Brown's Beach Jacket  blue, grey and white herringbone weave. vintageworkwear.com collection
Side by side comparison of 1930's era Brown's Beach Jacket 3/4" nipple type snap fastener seen on the left and 1950's era Brown's Beach Jacket 1/2" Scovil brand snap fastener seen on the right. vintageworkwear.com collection
Male portion of early nipple type snap on the left and later conventional type snap on the right.               vintageworkwear.com collection 

Backside view of female portion of early nipple type snap on the left and later conventional type snap on the right. vintageworkwear.com collection
Some very nice reproduction Brown's Beach Jacket garments can be found at one of our favorite  shops, Speedway Haberdashery of Sendai Japan. Check out their online store or see their facebook page here. To view item available from their store in English check them out on Rakuten here.
Above images of Richard Harrow and Al Capone's "guys" courtesy of HBO / Boardwalk Empire.

Jun 21, 2013


Workingman's break time treat long before this summers must have

Apr 3, 2013

Vintage CANTRIPUM Two Pocket Selvedge Denim Jacket and Antique Flange Sign

CANTRIPUM brand union made two pocket denim jacket manufactured by Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. of Brattleboro, VT.
This recent auction sale is constructed of narrow loom denim of which the selvedge edge can be seen on the back side of both right and left side button & button hole plackets. The closely spaced white stitching with a large count per inch contrasts nicely with the dark indigo denim. Additional details including wreath & star donut type buttons, Cantripum script loomed neck label and United Garment Workers of America union label likely date this jacket to the 1930's. A similar jacket seen here was featured in the Vintage Clothing Auction of Rin Tanaka's 4th Annual Kulture Recycling Show, Inspiration in February 2012. 

The Cantripum Brand Overalls Coats and Khaki Goods flange sign seen at the top of this post was pulled from the web some time ago and helped in identifying the script label of this jacket.

Apr 1, 2013

THE N.& W. MANUFACTURING CO. Manufacturers of Union Made Overalls, Coats, Dungarees, Etc.

Early 20th Century N & W invoice for goods and NOS Dungarees as seen in LIGHTNING MAGAZINE February 2013. From the vintageworkwear.com collection.
Photo credit: Tadashi Tawarayama

Mar 4, 2013

Markwardt's POLKA DOT "Your Daily Bread" Vintage Work Apron

Vintage work apron for the MARKWARDT'S POLKA DOT BREAD. A bit of research reveals Markwardt's did business in the state of Missouri from the 1930's through the 1950's possibly a longer period of time.
This work or bakers apron is constructed of light colored convert or salt & pepper twill. The apron measures 34" in length and utilizes both sides of the the selvedge edge of the 36" width of fabric. One side of the selvedge edge is seen on the lower hem, the other side is located on the backside of the top of the apron. The upper portion of fabric is folded over and stitched horizontally along the selvedge edge which allows the neck tie enclosed inside the tunnel of folded over fabric to move from side to side or be removed if needed.
The apron features single stitch construction and bar-tack reinforcement and includes attached side ties made of salt & pepper twill. The heavy duty upper neck tie is constructed of grey cotton twill with the ends finished in a triangular fold with triangular stitching. A single patch type pocket also utilizes the finished selvedge edge for the pocket opening.

Mar 2, 2013

Vintage BIG YANK Chambray Work Shirt with Sweat Proof Pocket

1950s era BIG YANK Union Made Sanforized Chambray Work Shirt featuring unique pocket sometimes referred to as a cigarette pocket. The BIG YANK sweat proof pocket design is a classic example of form follows function, having been used on various RELIANCE BIG YANK work shirts since the early 20th century. This rare example is deadstock or new old stock having never been tried on or worn let alone unpinned or opened.

Below the same model shirt with character and fade from years of wear and tear is seen for comparison
1950s era collar was significantly less pointed than its predecessor from the 1940's. This shirt also features signature BIG YANK diamond embossed buttons. Their thicker shape and raised detail were much easier for working men to button and unbutton.
Left side squared off sweat proof pocket with flap closure shares the same basic size and shape as the conventional right side pocket, setting this version apart from previous incarnations with their "big pocket and triangular topped little pocket" design.
Lower hem reinforcement gusset with exposed selvedge edge, again form following function
BIG YANK signature arched upper yoke with two layers of fabric.  The dual layers add  additional protection while carrying loads on the shoulder in addition to added life to the garment, another example of form following function.
 About the only pet peeve is that The BIG YANK UNION MADE SANFORIZED neck label found on shirts from this era were attached with glue and have a tendency to become detached after many washings.  Color variation between the deadstock and used versions of the same shirt can be seen in the photo above.