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Cal-Leathers Shop Visit, Ventura CA.

TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

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2,014
Nice. Looked like they have a lot of old/vintage jackets? Do they stock and sell vintage?
the row of jackets hanging from up top are their "museum" pieces. They take them on road shows. I think I saw on their website that they had a couple for sale though. And I'm sure if you ping Gwen about what you're looking for, she might be able to flag one down for you if it ever comes through her shop. But there's always a good supply on Ebay in various conditions and prices.
 

feltfan

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Oakland, CA, USA
the row of jackets hanging from up top are their "museum" pieces. They take them on road shows. I think I saw on their website that they had a couple for sale though. And I'm sure if you ping Gwen about what you're looking for, she might be able to flag one down for you if it ever comes through her shop. But there's always a good supply on Ebay in various conditions and prices.

Sigh. Not so many in size 50. Not too long ago I visited the Langlitz store in Portland, OR. They keep quite a stock of old jackets. Pretty rare to do that.
 

TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

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Went back and picked up my jacket. They did a great job replacing/matching just the male side of the zipper so I was able to keep that gorgeous Talon head. They also patched up an inside pocket, some liner patches, and a lot of loose stitching. Jacket is ready for another 100 years. As a reminder, they work on all leather jackets, so if you need a repair, alteration, etc. have confidence in contacting them.

I also got some company history sorted out. Think there was a separate thread on this somewhere.

Star Glove started off in the 1920s. After WW2, two employees bought the company-- Gary Garibaldi and Archie Frischling. Shortly thereafter they landed the LAPD jacket contract and rebranded to Cal Leathers 1948ish. Gary passed away in 1964 and Archie kept running the business. He then passed it on to his son. About 20 years ago Gwen bought it and essentially brought it back to life (set up shop in her dads upholstery warehouse, etc.). So essentially 3 owners over the past 100 years.

Gary served in a bomber squadron and was shot down twice. Gwen has some cool nose art from the planes he served in. She wants to do some sort of flight/bomber jacket inspired piece and use the art. Gary was more of the sales guy and Archie was more of the designer/creative. For those that don't know, Ventura area is well known for their agriculture. Lots of strawberries, tomatoes, etc. Gary's family mostly grew little starter plants to sell to farmers, but Gary was the one break out sibling. After the war, he went to work for Star Glove which was mostly making gloves for the local market. He and Archie hatched a plan to buy the company, which they did, and the rest is history.
 

JMax

I'll Lock Up
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8,159
Went back and picked up my jacket. They did a great job replacing/matching just the male side of the zipper so I was able to keep that gorgeous Talon head. They also patched up an inside pocket, some liner patches, and a lot of loose stitching. Jacket is ready for another 100 years. As a reminder, they work on all leather jackets, so if you need a repair, alteration, etc. have confidence in contacting them.

I also got some company history sorted out. Think there was a separate thread on this somewhere.

Star Glove started off in the 1920s. After WW2, two employees bought the company-- Gary Garibaldi and Archie Frischling. Shortly thereafter they landed the LAPD jacket contract and rebranded to Cal Leathers 1948ish. Gary passed away in 1964 and Archie kept running the business. He then passed it on to his son. About 20 years ago Gwen bought it and essentially brought it back to life (set up shop in her dads upholstery warehouse, etc.). So essentially 3 owners over the past 100 years.

Gary served in a bomber squadron and was shot down twice. Gwen has some cool nose art from the planes he served in. She wants to do some sort of flight/bomber jacket inspired piece and use the art. Gary was more of the sales guy and Archie was more of the designer/creative. For those that don't know, Ventura area is well known for their agriculture. Lots of strawberries, tomatoes, etc. Gary's family mostly grew little starter plants to sell to farmers, but Gary was the one break out sibling. After the war, he went to work for Star Glove which was mostly making gloves for the local market. He and Archie hatched a plan to buy the company, which they did, and the rest is history.

Great post. Thank you. Cals are Mount Rushmore-type jackets to me.
 

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
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6,016
Location
Illinois
Shortly thereafter they landed the LAPD jacket contract and rebranded to Cal Leathers 1948ish.

Someone needs to do a Cal Leather Illustrated History. You got a lot of information now. I've seen plenty of their jackets here. I'd read it!

I've got one Cal Leather for the Book

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TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

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Someone needs to do a Cal Leather Illustrated History. You got a lot of information now. I've seen plenty of their jackets here. I'd read it!

I've got one Cal Leather for the Book

View attachment 309300 View attachment 309299 View attachment 309301
that's a beauty, Terry.

She told me, although she's never seen any, but supposedly they were making a lot of Type 3 style back in the day. Most likely aren't tagged, so who knows where they are,, but be on the hunt. Not sure there's any sort of signature give aways like the fur in the wrist/sleeves so might not be so easy.
 

yellowfever

One of the Regulars
Messages
179
Someone needs to do a Cal Leather Illustrated History. You got a lot of information now. I've seen plenty of their jackets here. I'd read it!

I've got one Cal Leather for the Book

View attachment 309300 View attachment 309299 View attachment 309301

Wow Terry, you are killing me! That is perfection right there. Clean, perfect, minimalist design. People (rightly) rave about the Langlitz cascades’ “less is more” super clean design, but this almost makes the Cascade look fussy and overdone! Look at how few seams there are - it is just the fewest possible number of large panels of beautiful leather solidly stitched together, with that majestic one piece back as the ultimate expression of less is more.... it’s like “no need to worry about seams tearing in a crash, as there aren’t any seams!” The only leather jackets with fewer seams are the ones still worn by the cows or horses!

And the condition of this one looks just immaculate too, from the diamond pulls it must be 60+ years old but it still looks new! Build it once, build it right...
 

El Marro

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3,115
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California
Here you go. A 52, but I'd ask for measurements because we know, those numbers don't mean much.

Vintage LAPD - Black Horsehide — Cal-Leather Jackets (cal-leather.com)
That is pretty damn amazing right there! I am always on the lookout for a nice size 46 LAPD and they do not come up very often. I’m sure a size 52 only appears once in a blue moon!
I second the recommendation to check the measurements of course. One thing I have found looking at Cal’s is they tend to run pretty damn short, makes sense because they were meant to be worn as uniform jackets on a motorcycle.
 

technovox

One Too Many
Messages
1,164
Location
San Francisco
Good to see Cal Leather getting some attention. Long overdue. Gwen is a miracle worker when it comes to repairing the CL vintage jackets...and such a wealth of archival info. The trip to her shop in Ventura is well worth the effort. I hope they get more business.

Here's a CL Cafe that Gwen resurrected years ago. It was a complete basketcase and she brought it back...still one of my favorite jackets.

CalLeatherMain.JPG


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