Dec 26, 2012

BASKETBALL JONES... Cheech and Chong

It's that time of the year when the seminal Cheech and Chong Christmas track Santa Claus And His Old Lady is in full rotation and our thoughts turn to another slice of classic old school humor.
The 1973 song and 1975 animated short film Basketball Jones by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong hits the mark on so many levels, lets hope everyone "gets it" and enjoys it as much as we have for nearly 40 years. The fact that the film was produced at a time (pre MTV) when there were no traditional outlets for these types of music videos along with the "who's who" involved with both music and animation makes the Basketball Jones legacy all the more special. Some of the names who contributed will both surprise and impress. Enjoy!

Cheech Marin - Falseto Vocal as Tryone Shoelaces
Tommy Chong - Keyboards on original demo
George Harrison - Guitar
Klaus Vorman - Bass
Jim Keltner - Percussion
Carol King - Electric Piano
Nicky Hopkins - Piano
Tom Scott - Saxophone
Billy Preston - Organ
Darlene Love - Vocal
Michele Philips - Vocal
Ronnie Spector - Vocal
Lou Adler - Producer
Paul Gruwell - Animation

Dec 25, 2012


VintageWorkwear, Parnelli Jones and Andy Granatelli wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dec 2, 2012

Early 1900's CARHARTT Union Made Clothing Fabric Sample Mailer

Turn of the century Hamilton Carhartt Manufacturing Co. illustrated Union Made Work Clothing brochure with fabric samples. 
Cloth swatches include denim, heart print indigo dyed wabash, yarn dyed black cotton twill and a long time favorite pin-check referred to here as "highest grade and favorites in the south". The swatch of blue twill with grey and white twisted yarn warp or fill seen in the upper left corner is especially interesting. The taupe or olive colored twill seen in the lower right corner was used for New York state work uniforms. A similar color is found on vintage NYC workers uniform garments manufactured by Sweet-Orr. 
In addition to the various fabrics, the illustration of the rail worker holding the oil can (seen in the middle of the fabric swatches) and THE TROLLY CAR-HEART BRAND Union Made Pants and Overalls box logo are also seen in various Carhartt Railroad Time Books dating from 1900 to 1907 and help to date this mailer to the early 1900's.
All photos courtesy of pakagr

Nov 26, 2012

Sundays Best... Vintage Workshirts

A trio of super vintage work shirts recently brought to market dating from the early 1900's to the 1940's. These new old stock beauties will soon be to be on their way to  new homes after decades of storage.
 THE MOORE brand childs shirt with chin strap. Made from indigo dyed polka dot STIFEL cloth. Photos via graciemay0
MONITOR brand 7oz. cotton flannel work shirt. Photos via unpack
IRON ACE brand SANFORIZED grey chambray work shirt. Photos via unpack

Nov 21, 2012


A couple of vintage Thanksgiving post cards featuring workwear and patriotic themes along with the prerequisite tom turkey including Anvils, Airships, Labor, Overalls, Trains and Stars & Bars Shield.
Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 20, 2012

THE DUST BOWL...A Film by Ken Burns

A young boy in dust storm, Oklahoma, 1936. Photo Arthur Rothstein
Last night while program guide surfing I was fortunate to come across part 2 of the THE DUST BOWL the fantastic new film by Academy Award nominated producer /director Ken Burns. Having already been a fan of previous Burns' work including 1994's Baseball and 2001's Jazz, I figured his treatment of this subject would be top notch. The film far surpassed my expectations and put into perspective the plight of the mid west farmers of the Depression Era 1930's, the man-made destruction and restoration of the southern Plains along with the migration west to California in search of a fresh start and new life. 

The FSA photography of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange along with the film The Grapes of Wrath have long been a source of enjoyment and inspiration and Burn's Dust Bowl documentary helps to share some of the history behind those iconic images and story.
Migrant man working on a headlight. Oklahoma, 1939. Photo Russell Lee
Migrant boys in auto. Oklahoma 1939. Photo Russell Lee
Migrant man looking up at billboard. Iowa, 1940. Photo John Vachon
We highly recommend you check your local listings or hit the link for the PBS rebroadcast schedule of THE DUST BOWL including The Great Plow Up (part 1) and Reaping the Whirlwind (part 2).

Browse the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration photos here.

Also check out our friend Matt Strickland's informative blog RivetHEAD for his photo of the day, many featuring Depression Era thru 1950's American workers.

Nov 19, 2012

Vintage 1920's CARHARTT Chore Coat

This exemplary Carhartt chore coat described as dating to the 1920's was recently offered for sale by the fine folks at IN VINTAGE WE TRUST and even priced at just under five big ones, this beauty didn't last long.
Some of the killer details seen in the photos below include angular watch pocket with primitive single stitching and rarely seen early Carhartt Master Cloth label, heart shaped "change" or removable buttons with patent date of 1918, sleeve cuff rivet reinforcement and early United Garment Workers of America union label.
While many of the same type of coats from the same time period featured chin strap collar closures, photos and description of this coat did not reference this feature which was also know as dust proof collar or military style adjustable collar.  A similar coat is seen inside the Carhartt Universal Time Book from 1935.
Carhartt Chore Coat photos via In Vintage We Trust
Carhartt Universal Time Book part of the collection

Nov 17, 2012

CARHARTT PARK, KENTUCKY...Near the Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln

Hamilton Carhartt has long been a source of inspiration, for amongst other things his honorable business practices and treatment of both employees and his fellow man. His respect for President Abraham Lincoln is seen in these vintage Carhartt promotional pieces.

Vintage "CARHARTT PARK" Post Card honoring the "Back To The Land" factory located near Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. From the vintage collection
Backside of the "CARHARTT PARK" Post Card seen above, honoring President Abraham Lincoln.
From the vintage collection
Information on the CARHARTT PARK Overall Factory located in Kentucky, near the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln taken from a 1935 promotional Carhartt Universal Time Book. From the vintage collection
 Copper etching portrait of Lincoln and his GETTYSBURG ADDRESS taken from a promotional 1935 Carhartt Universal Time Book. From the vintage collectio
See the film LINCOLN in theaters now, directed by Steven Spielberg and staring the mega talented and much respected Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role as Abraham Lincoln.

Nov 15, 2012

Vintage PENNEY'S BIG MAC Coveralls

New old stock PENNEY'S BIG MAC one piece work suit with original flasher. This vintage suit features two tone •SANFORIZED• herringbone twill fabric and was customized with company name and employee chain stitching. Details include ACTION BACK shoulder pleating for full range of movement, double stitched SAIL CLOTH pockets, BAR TACK stitching at points of strain and TWO WAY ZIPPER. The PENNEY's BIG MAC front pocket label dates this coverall to the early 1950's.
Sold via The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co.

Oct 31, 2012

Antique Cat's Paw Rubber Heel Promotional Postcard

1911 Cat's Paw Rubber Heel promotional postcard from the collection

Promotional postcard for the FOSTER RUBBER CO., makers of Cat's Paw Rubber Heels.
USPS cancellation stamp dates this one hundred and one year old postcard to Oct. 18 1911.

Postcard features an image of what was claimed to be the world's largest Black Cat. The cat appeared every afternoon and evening at the New England Industrial and Educational Exposition and was used to advertise Cat's Paw Non-Slip Rubber Heels. The Cat was operated by man power, and the eyes feature electric lights that could be flashed at will.
Cat's Paw salesman Mr. Noll is seen standing along side the cat to provide size & scale.

Happy Halloween.

Oct 17, 2012

Vintage BIG BEN Salt & Pepper Convert Cloth Work Jacket

The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. had the pleasure of hooking up customer and San Fernando Valley resident Kelly with this vintage 1960s era BIG BEN brand work jacket at The Rose Bowl Flea Market this past Sunday. A simple cossack style short jacket constructed of salt & pepper twist twill cotton fabric (originally referred to as convert cloth) with quilted liner and Talon zipper that will be right at home as part of Kelly's big rig working uniform.
It's always great to see a favorite piece matched up with an appreciative and knowledgeable buyer; it's precisely these type of customers that bring a smile and remind us of just why we work hard to share our passion for vintage workwear.

BLUE BELL / BIG BEN / Wrangler company history.

1897 - 20-year old C.C. Hudson leaves Spring Hill Farm in Williamson County, Tennessee seeking fortune in the emerging textile town of Greensboro, North Carolina. He finds work in an overall factory sewing on buttons for 25 cents a day.
1904 - Hudson's workplace closes. He and a few others buy several sewing machines from the closing company. C.C. Hudson and his brother Homer form the Hudson Overall Company, operating from a loft over Coe Brothers Grocery on South Elm Street in Greensboro.
1919 - Sales of Hudson overalls are booming. The company moves to a larger headquarters and changes its name to Blue Bell Overall Company.
1926 - Big Ben Manufacturing of Kentucky (Est. 1915) purchases Blue Bell for $585,000. The name of the merged companies remains Blue Bell; headquarters remain in Greensboro.
1936 - Blue Bell introduces Super Big Ben Overalls, featuring 100% Sanforized fabric that reduces shrinkage to less than 1%, setting a new standard for the industry.
1947 - Blue Bell Inc. files U.S. federal trademark registration for Big Ben on Oct. 7.

Oct 11, 2012


Vintage HEADLIGHT Overalls with patented bib pocket design
Talon brand brass heavy duty zipper opens to reveal large pocket located behind conventional bib patch type pockets
Close up of the right side patch pocket watch pocket opening shows denim red line selvedge edging
Proprietary bib pocket found on vintage HEADLIGHT Union Made Overalls. Pocket design, Talon zipper and HEADLIGHT loomed label most likely date this pair of overalls to the 1940's era, possibly as late as the 1950's. This particular pocket design was filed by inventor Oscar Berman on November 24th 1936 and was patented on April 18th 1939. The design provided four different pockets located on the front bib portion of the overalls including right and left side patch pockets, watch pocket (separated from the right patch pocket by sail cloth not seen in photo) and the patented larger pocket located behind the patch pockets and accessed via the zippered opening. Patent information is seen below.