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Thread: British leather jackets from BEFORE the 1950s?

  1. #21
    "A List" Customer Mike1973's Avatar
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    Another old family photo I've posted before. Before we get sidetracked with the embarrassment of riches for any army surplus junkie, check out the guy on the left wearing a similar jacket to my grandfather. A suede bomber jacket type affair again.



    Photo is from a Youth Club cycling day out somewhere in the Midlands. Just post war, I guess '46 or '47. Most of the military kit being worn would have been their own issued stuff.
    Vintage on a Shoestring Budget ;-)

  2. #22
    Practically Family pipvh's Avatar
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    Those jackets are interesting, Mike. I did find a photo of an Irish cycling club taken around 1940, and two of them were wearing a sort of cloth A-2 jacket with club insiginia - but they could easily have been suede, because they looked very like the ones you've showed us. The Dublin Wheelers, 1940:

    Coincidentally there's a 'cloth A-2' thread that's just been started...

    With respect, my experience is au contraire. Photographs taken at British motorcycle meetings in the 1920s and 30s show plenty of waist length leather jackets (which I assume we are talking about here).
    No, you're right, Mr J. You can't learn anything from a quick cavort around the webbing. I did eventually find some Isle of Man TT photos showing riders wearing things not unlike the D. Lewis offering.

  3. #23
    Incurably Addicted Baron Kurtz's Avatar
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    I'm finding it difficult, to be honest, to tell whether any of those are suede or wool …

    Here's an unequivocal one. This is a leather jacket; my father remembers my grandad wearing it in the 1950s. I think it was eventually handed down to my uncle; there is some archival film of the family in the early 1960s which i really should get my father dig out. This pic was taken in 1940, on leave from training.



    And a bit of fiddling to get better contrast. Looks to have a small-ish turn down collar, and clearly a zip-front. No elastic at the cuffs or waistband; both seem to be made of leather. The waistband appears to have an extension to a closure on the other side of the zipper.



    I forgot to look out my Shoreditch clothing catalogue, but will do so this eve.

    bk
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  4. #24
    Incurably Addicted Baron Kurtz's Avatar
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    for those interested, here is the jacket people have referenced in this thread (the jacket in the quoted post, below). And one here, similar but different, that recently ended on eBay, and shows the general state of British jackets when you find 'em. Label says D C Jack; this could be maker or owner. I think this one is not as old as the one i've got; the zipper seems to be of later design, but maybe it's replaced.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...ht_6860wt_1167

    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Kurtz
    This is a spectacular example of a very rare style. The leather is in almost immaculate condition, all the more remarkable as it's such lightweight hide - probably lamb or calf.

    The front, highlighting the classic patch pockets with buttoned flaps. See the bottom for these buttons, guys. They are spectacular buttons. I suspect they're Corozo, but i'll be getting them under a microscope tomorrow to have a look-see. Also showing the mandarin-type collar, and the cuffs. And the obvious knit waistband unlike the one above. There are two vent grommets at each armpit, to the front of the side seam.



    3 panel rear and 2 panel arms. Interesting mismatching of colour on panels, especially on the collar back it's quite evident.



    A close-up of the collar area. You can also see the knit wool lining. That hole is where, i think, a label was attached. There is another hole at about the right position to suggest these were where the ends of a rectangular label were attached. See below for close-ups of the zipper; it's a good 'un. The collar is lined in almost corduroy material. It isn't really corduroy, but it's getting there. Ribbed and appears to be cotton.



    Pocket flap. Lovely buttons.



    Here's the front of the zipper. Puller and stopper box are a quite early Lightning variant. I can post pics of a slightly later Lightning, where the slider looks more like a Lightning, rather than this one that looks much more like a Talon. The stopper box is also different from the later Lightnings, which usually had vertical ribbing.



    And the rear. Look at the huge curved portion at the top of the slider. This is where the one-piece cast slider was folded over to complete the engineering process. What a piece of work!



    An attempt to give more detail of the knit cuff. In green, black and white elasticated material.



    And the cuffs. These are very nicely constructed, and lined with the same cream wool as the rest of the jacket. Look at that little securing button on the interior where the button is attached. Nice touch!





    AND FINALLY! Those buttons. Absolute works of art. Really beautiful orange buttons throughout (both pocket and cuff buttons match), with an apparently natural swirl pattern that suggests to me that they're Corozo. Lovely. Shows up the grain of the leather quite nicely too.

    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. All the rest . . . comes afterwards. Albert Camus

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  5. #25
    "A List" Customer Mike1973's Avatar
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    Good observation BK, now you mention it I'm not entirely sure either... And these jackets do look incredibly similar. If I get a chance tonight I'll dig out my old '30's / '40's cycling mags and have a shufti through the adverts in the back, I'll scan the clothing ones in as I think there are a few. (Not looked for a few years though)

    Quote Originally Posted by pipvh
    Those jackets are interesting, Mike. I did find a photo of an Irish cycling club taken around 1940, and two of them were wearing a sort of cloth A-2 jacket with club insiginia - but they could easily have been suede, because they looked very like the ones you've showed us. The Dublin Wheelers, 1940:

    Coincidentally there's a 'cloth A-2' thread that's just been started...



    No, you're right, Mr J. You can't learn anything from a quick cavort around the webbing. I did eventually find some Isle of Man TT photos showing riders wearing things not unlike the D. Lewis offering.
    Vintage on a Shoestring Budget ;-)

  6. #26
    Practically Family pipvh's Avatar
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    Is Dave Himel on FL? I'm sure he'd have something to add.

    I'm also wondering, speaking of D. Himel (http://vintageleatherjackets.blogspot.com/), whether a lot of the pre-war leather stuff in the UK was imported from Canada. He has some really good stuff on his blog - these, among others: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_G9oFbz4HRB...09413185_o.jpg, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_G9oFbz4HRB.../APR_30023.jpg

  7. #27
    Incurably Addicted Baron Kurtz's Avatar
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    Yes he is (Himel).

    I've seen no evidence at all of extensive import of Canadian leather during the time period in question. There was no need, with our extensive in-country leather industry.

    bk
    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. All the rest . . . comes afterwards. Albert Camus

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  8. #28
    "A List" Customer Speedbird's Avatar
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    I too couldn't work out what those are made of ... I thought it was because I use a laptop and the screen resolution isn't perhaps the highest.

    This is a spectacular photo BK .... from when men were men ...! Brrr ... chilly!

    It's the first time I have seen a kilt with a leather jacket (not that I ever looked or noticed before) ... is he in uniform with shirt and tie and thrown on the leather for the photo because it was a bit cold outside to stand around for a photo in shirt sleeves? Or do you think that is a fairly typical combination for a young man in the highlands?


    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Kurtz
    I'm finding it difficult, to be honest, to tell whether any of those are suede or wool

    Here's an unequivocal one. This is a leather jacket; my father remembers my grandad wearing it in the 1950s. I think it was eventually handed down to my uncle; there is some archival film of the family in the early 1960s which i really should get my father dig out. This pic was taken in 1940, on leave from training.



    And a bit of fiddling to get better contrast. Looks to have a small-ish turn down collar, and clearly a zip-front. No elastic at the cuffs or waistband; both seem to be made of leather. The waistband appears to have an extension to a closure on the other side of the zipper.

    bk
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  9. #29
    Incurably Addicted Baron Kurtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedbird

    This is a spectacular photo BK .... from when men were men ...! Brrr ... chilly!

    It's the first time I have seen a kilt with a leather jacket (not that I ever looked or noticed before) ... is he in uniform with shirt and tie and thrown on the leather for the photo because it was a bit cold outside to stand around for a photo in shirt sleeves? Or do you think that is a fairly typical combination for a young man in the highlands?
    I believe it's uniform (except the leather). He was on leave from "basic training". Gordon Highlanders, 51st "Highland" Division. He weren't the kilt-wearin' type. Kilts are very rarely worn.

    As a council painter, he took on the role of Highland Decorator as default. Though neither of these is him, he told quite a few stories of adventures resulting from such painting "missions".



    bk
    There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. All the rest . . . comes afterwards. Albert Camus

    http://baronkurtzvintage.wordpress.com/

  10. #30
    "A List" Customer Mike1973's Avatar
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    Here's the advert I was thinking of, out of a 1937 'The Cyclist' magazine. Interesting they mention 'suedette'... good match though!



    And you can view it bigger here -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2905150...74479/sizes/l/
    Vintage on a Shoestring Budget ;-)

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