Sep 26, 2012

JANESVILLE CLOTHING CO. Vintage Work Jacket & Work Shirt

Vintage Janesville Clothing Co. MONARCH FOODS work jacket constructed of twisted yarn convert cloth a.k.a. salt & pepper. Much less common than the standard dark grey version of salt & pepper fabric, this light variation gets its color by emphasizing the lighter natural color threads. Details lead us to date this jacket to the 1940s era, possibly earlier. Part of the collection.

Monarch Foods roots can be traced to Reid-Murdoch Co. a Dubuque, Iowa provisions company founded in 1853 that sold flour, bacon, sugar and other food staples to wagon trains heading west during the 1850s gold rush. Monarch is still doing business today.

Collarless design
Machine loomed Janesville Clothing Co. label
 Sleeve repairs
Left side lower pocket was removed and fabric used for repairs and patching, indicitive of Depression Era frugality and ingenuity
Original button
Replacement button

The Janesville Cotton Manufacturing Co. 1874 – 1886 was established in 1874 on the upper raceway, north of Milwaukee Street on River Street. They were the first cotton mill in the state of Wisconsin and at the time were the only factory of their kind in the West. 
The factory was enlarged in 1877, and the work force grew to 250 people. The factory had 400 looms and in 1878 manufactured 5,350,900 yards of sheeting. 
The business expanded in 1883 with the construction of a large factory and power plant at Monterey at a cost of a quarter million dollars. Four hundred people worked for the company at that time. Excessive freight rates for cotton due to the great distance it had to be
shipped and the high prices paid to the company's operatives forced the ambitious enterprise into a financial corner. In 1886, a new corporation, the Janesville Cotton Mills, formed to take over the business. It ran it for a while longer but eventually the plant was sold to the Janesville Electric Co.

The Janesville Cotton Mills Company 1886-1900 was incorporated in March, 1886, and was an outgrowth of the Janesville Cotton Manufacturing Company. The new building of the company at Monterey, near the city, was erected in 1884 and opened for business in January, 1885. It was a 300 loom-mill, with a capacity of 16,000 yard of sheeting per day and employs 175 hands. The city, or upper, mill has 400 looms, employs 225 hands and turns out 35,000 yards per day.

Janesville Clothing Co. starts making work clothes for men and boys in 1894.

Janesville Shirt & Overall Company 1906-1970s  was a manufacturer of work clothing including overalls and workshirts. They were located at the old Janesville Cotton Mill.

1940's era Janesville work shirt with chin strap collar made of Pepperell SANFORIZED salt & pepper convert cloth in rare brown color variation via ebay seller antiquegypsy

Sep 20, 2012


Photo via MailOnline/Reuters
September 20 marks the 80th anniversary of the day the iconic Depression Era photo of 11 workers "taking their lunch break" was shot 69 stories above the streets of Manhattan in N.Y.C.  The photograph was taken during the construction of the RCA Building which would later be renamed the GE Building, now part of Rockefeller Center. 
Seems this breathtaking photo wasn't as spontaneous as figured for all these years. The trailer below is for a new film titled MEN AT LUNCH which was recently shown as part of the Toronto Film Festival. 
Thanks to Matt Strickland aka RivetHEAD for the heads up.

Sep 17, 2012

Antique CARTER & CHURCHILL LEBANON OVERALLS Victorian Era Tradecard and Billhead

Carter & Churchill Victorian Era Trade Card courtesy of vpostcard
Carter & Churchill Victorian Era Billhead from the collection.

CARTER & CHURCHILL'S LEBANON OVERALLS antique engraved Trade Card and Billhead.
These vintage ephemera items date to the end of the 19th century with the billhead dating back to November 28, 1892. Some history on the Carter's brand can be found in the previous vintage post here
With the recent reintroduction of H.W. CARTER AND SONS and the CARTER'S Watch The Wear label, vintage inspired chore coats, overalls, aprons, caps & bandanas are once again available from latest incarnation of this storied American brand.

Sep 16, 2012


Antique SWEET-ORR advertising piece that was sent to prospective dealer accounts confirming an upcoming Fall 1915 sales visit. This particular piece includes a "see you on or about" date of May 11 1915. Post Card features lenticular technology also known as flicker flasher, flicker pictures and wiggle pictures which when manipulated shows SWEET-ORR TUG-O-WAR trademark in motion. The antique finger pointing graphics seen to the right and left of the BEND TO AND FRO instructions provide the proverbial icing on the cake.

Sep 14, 2012

1900's L. GREENTREE Vintage Work Cap

Primitive vintage cotton work cap / hat sold by the L GREENTREE clothier of Cheyenne Wyoming. This deadstock cap is over 100 years old, dating to the early 1900's.

Sep 12, 2012

1930's, 40's & 50's Era Brown's Beach Jacket Print Advertising

Some recently unearthed Brown's Beach Jacket print advertising dating from the 1930's thru the1950's. Shared along with the photos below was a bit of information that sheds light on some of the later history of this iconic brand.
WWII era Brown's Beach Jacket promo poster
Various 1940's Brown's Beach Jacket & Vest dealer promos
1936 Brown's Beach Jacket print ad
1940s Brown's Beach Jacket dealer promo
1941 Brown's Beach Jacket Holiday ad
1955 Brown's Beach Play 'n Sport SHORTS print ad
1951 Brown's Beach Cloth BOOT SOX print ad
WWII era Brown's Beach Jacket print ad
Early full color Brown's Beach Jacket print ad. A variation of this ad can be seen in our 2010 post here
Letter from Brown's Beach Jacket Founder and President Samuel W. Brown to dealers
Jacob Finkelstein and Sons acquired the rights to manufacture iconic Brown's Beach Jackets and Vests at his factory in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and received the prior advertising history of the Brown's Beach products upon transfer of ownership. The print ads and dealer promotional signage seen above are just a portion of this early Brown's Beach Jacket advertising history. Information provided has Finkelstein and Son's selling the garments across the country in addition to offering them via their outlet store in an old horse barn in Middleborough, MA (Mass.). Since the advertising history obtained by Jacob Finkelstein and Sons covers the time period up until 1955, the transfer of ownership and manufacturing move to Woonsocket Rhode Island seems to have taken place after 1955.

Most of the dozen or so Brown's Beach Jackets and Vests that we have sold, traded or that currently reside in the VINTAGE WORKWEAR.COM collection have had the interior label that included the Worcester, Mass. manufacturing location, or no location listed on the label. One exception to this norm was one of the very first Brown's Beach Jackets I owned and this jacket had the less common Woonsocket RI label. Various Brown's Beach Jacket and Vest print ads from our archive that have been shared via this blog have also referred to the 35 Chandler, Worcester, Mass. location. One Brown's Beach Jacket ad previously shared does reference the 128 Singleton St. Woonsocket Rhode Island address. 

To make things more interesting, a deadstock 3 pocket model currently residing in our collection sports a label that looks to be of more recent design and includes a Norfolk, Mass. address and can be seen here. The original hang tags that reside with this garment and a deadstock Surcoat model with zipper front closure include the WPL number 4416.  
WPL numbers were issued from 1941 through 1959 under the Wool Products Labeling Act. WPL numbers begin at 00101 and end at 13669. This does not mean that the garment was produced in that time span, only that the number was issued to the company during that time.

Look for more history and information on this legendary company and their products to follow.

Sep 7, 2012


The recent news of singer, guitarist and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame Glen Campbell's return home to Arkansas as part of his goodbye tour reminded me of his beautiful version of the Jimmy Webb penned tune Wichita Lineman. Fond memories of hearing this song along with other Campbell hits Rhinestone Cowboy, Galveston, Gentle On My Mind and By The Time I Get To Phoenix on the car radio while growing up. Wichita Lineman's emotion and heart (along with Glen's guitar twang) coupled with his owning of Webb's blue collar lyrics are more poignant today than ever. True greatness from an American icon and living legend.

Could this song play a subconscious role in our longtime appreciation of Lineman's Bags including the BELL SYSTEM Linesman's Tool Bag and Heavy Duty Riveted Canvas Tote Bag?

Sep 1, 2012


In celebration of the contributions and achievements of the American blue collar worker.