Oct 31, 2012

Antique Cat's Paw Rubber Heel Promotional Postcard

1911 Cat's Paw Rubber Heel promotional postcard from the vintageworkwear.com 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.

Oct 1, 2012


HBO's most excellent BOARDWALK EMPIRE is a no-brainer for most folks who check this blog but the New Orleans based drama TREME stands tall as part two of HBO's powerful Sunday night one two punch. Much respect to series creator David Simon for his music heavy take on the culture and flavor of this neighborhood in The Big Easy as they rebuild post Katrina. Some favorite artists and musicians who have appeared on the show include Alan Toussaint, Dr John, Elvis Costello and The Rebirth Brass Band.
Another artist who is new to me and whose raucous live performance in Sunday nights episode 23 had me immediately both listening & looking for a name is QUINTRON AND THE PUSSYCAT.
The attention grabbing instrument that QUINTRON is seen playing at their Halloween gig is his self made DRUM BUDDY, a 4 oscillator, light activated, mechanically rotating synthesiser/drum machine. This contraption that could be described as part Drum Machine, part Synth, part Scratch Turntable and part Theremin. The ignition switch and key to turn it on and off is also a neat touch. The fact that Laurie Anderson and Nels Cline (two unique artists who over the years have provided much enjoyment and command much respect) own two of the only ten units made provides the proverbial icing on the cake.