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Eastman Leather Clothing USAAF B-3 Flying Jacket, Perry Sportswear 17808 Mixed Batch

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by HPA Rep, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Dumpster Diver

    Dumpster Diver Practically Family

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    I Just use Neatsfoot oil, Its dirt cheap and soaks in nice without a full body workout and dries Relatively fast without too much issue, Not sure if its healthy for the thread itself but it should be *ok* for wool and also the 100% cotton Thread more or less. I have a good bottle of special Wool Cleaner solution that does a nice Job Removing the Must and mildew and also especially that Chemical *MOTH BALL* smell from the Fleece *yucky*(CHOKE!!!! GASP!!!!)

    My Aero B-3 Soaked up a few bottles of NEatsfoot oil right off, the leather was very thirsty, it brought out the Red tone once I cleaned and wiped it down! ;)

    As for the wool, as soon as I bathed and dabbed it in the wool cleaning solution it Released a horrible Pungent Aroma of Moth balls and It knocked me for a loop!!! This took a long time to clean, Not a fun Job!

    While the Price for the ELC Mixed batch is astronomical to a person in my Income range, I would still Wear it like it was stolen if I bought it Brand new with tags, Life is for living.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  2. bn1966

    bn1966 Call Me a Cab

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    Like your style DD :) Wear it & enjoy it!
     
  3. Dumpster Diver

    Dumpster Diver Practically Family

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    Excepting The Original Jackets of course, I take care of those and keep them guarded close to my heart. Those are for preserving and Saving and not abusing, Those are to be passed down to the next Generation so they have something physical and Tangible to connect better to the Past.

    Original Jackets that were *there* hold a special Magic in them. They are Sacred.
     
  4. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    I'm with you all the way, DD! I just hope the subsequent generations will give a hoot about these tangible pieces of history that reflect bravery and adversity experienced under the most challenging times and conditions.
     
  5. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    I was hunting for this mixed-batch HLB B-3 photo and finally found it. This is an extremely interesting jacket for several reasons:

    It was originally featured in the Maguire/Conway book “American Flight Jackets, Airmen & Aircraft” on pp. 32-33; John Maguire is a long-time good friend of mine and I purchased this B-3 in 1996.

    This is a size 40R produced under HLB’s purchase order 42-5112-P and reflects very early 1942 production with then-new three-piece back and side panels running from armpits to jacket hem, sleeves made from pre-1942 redskin pelts, the typical dark brown skins of post-1941 on the cuffs, medium-brown skins for the entire body on back and front of the type I’ve been discussing that reflect a distinctive checkering from being dried on a metal grate, russet brown horse or cowhide seam taping and epaulets, and very dark brown goatskin for sleeve reinforcements and pocket, and assembly with mostly light-shade OD thread of the type that’s almost goldenrod in color. It also displays the trademark HLB belts on the hips with pointed tips and the one belt of two on the collar with pointed tip; the AN inspector’s stamp is visible on the pointed collar belt, as are the three initials of the airman. The wool color is a very typical of this HLB production run, with deep hues of beige dominating. The hanger in the neck area is leather.

    I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the medium-brown skins, but they appear only on jackets produced in 1942, which is based solely on my own observations, and early 1942 at that, and they can be of the type depicted here that have the grate marks impressed in them, which are the most pliable skins you will ever find on AAF flying clothing, or they can appear without grate marks and in a shade of brown even lighter than what you see here (not as pliable but still quite good). I’ve never seen a B-3 jacket or A-3 trouser set produced entirely of either of the two medium-brown skin types and this jacket comes the closest to being entirely made from one of these skin types, so it’s quite exceptional to me; I am inclined to believe entire garments had to have been made solely from these skin types, but there also may have been reasons why none were so made.

    The grate marks may not be readily visible to you in the photo, though those who are familiar with these marks I’m talking about should be able to discern their telltale signs (the original photo is much larger and detail much better). I would rate the suppleness of these skins with grate marks as better than the redskins are even in their respective best forms, but keep in mind that the redskins have a totally different, hand-applied dye with lacquer core seal vs. the dye and sealant used on the grate-marked skins. The combination seen here with three sheepskin types present, all from an early period in production before poor sheepskin became so much more the norm, plus supple goatskin on the sleeves, combine to make this an exceptional B-3 that could likely be worn, though I oppose any such practices as a pure preservationist collector and I am mindful that the cotton thread that is over 70 years old would likely fail if worn, resulting in splitting on sewn seams.

    One other feature worth noting is the factory-sewn splice of two skins in the side panel under the left arm. These splices were not at all uncommon and I’ve seen many, many sheepskin garments with factory splices and repairs to tears that were fully consistent with directives to waste as little of the material as possible.

    hlb_b3_mxdbtch_zpsbzylo4xl.jpg
     
  6. Dumpster Diver

    Dumpster Diver Practically Family

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    Handsome Jacket, Dashing If I may say so. WOW! :essen:
     
  7. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    Thank you! This is the finest example of a mixed-batch B-3 I've run into, with the bonus being the medium-brown skins dried on grates. Due to the extensive use of these grate-dried skins, HLB 42-5112-P B-3s are my favorites of the post-1941 jackets, though not all of the B-3s of this order employed these skins in their production.
     
  8. mr_lits

    mr_lits One of the Regulars

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    WOW! Ridiculously nice! Can we get a view of the back of the jacket and label?
     
  9. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    I found the photo of the label but not of the jacket's back. You can see this jacket's back in the book I cited at the outset of this thread; unfortunately, this jacket is now stored away and I just don't have the time to dig it out and setup a photo shoot of the back, so apologies on this.

    _DSC0002crpadjwo.jpg
     
  10. O'DubhGhaill

    O'DubhGhaill New in Town

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    If only Eastman made the Perry without the Time Worn process, this would be an instant for me.
     
    Jim B. likes this.
  11. O'DubhGhaill

    O'DubhGhaill New in Town

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    That's what the Time Worn process does, make new leather look worn/old - otherwise the leather looks new. I like to "Time Wear" my own leather, not have it artificially done for me sans all the memories and personal heritage a good jacket accumulates with the wearer over time. Just my $.02.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  12. O'DubhGhaill

    O'DubhGhaill New in Town

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    Now I understand and agree.
     
  13. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    The Perry B3 has only ever been for sale as Time Worn.
     
  14. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    I was quite against TimeWear when ELC first introduced it, but the Perry B-3 grew on me as more came and went in our inventory, thus I ended up getting one and have loved it ever since. Then I got an SFAD B-3 when these became available as TW only, and this is my primary B-3 now. I also own a BR B-3 that I applied my own vintage wear to and, frankly, like seeing the sheepskin jackets artificially (and artfully) aged now so much, I would not consider owning one that was new looking out of the box. New is just too new for me, and it will forever be newish to greater or lesser degrees. The subtle TW ELC applies is done really, really well and doesn't look contrived, and it achieves a look (darkening of the belts, for example) that you would NEVER achieve if you wore the jacket for even 20 years under normal conditions.

    To each their own, and ELC offers most styles with or without TW, but believe me when I say that I was absolutely against the TW until I opened my mind up to what my eyes were seeing over time. And to say that "broken grain" is artificial without knowing the process and without putting it in the context of what other makers today are doing to their hides is rather fatuous.

    Tanning leather is artificial, too, and tanneries today used by top manufacturers known for their great, vintage-looking leathers are implementing processes in tanning to bring out the grain to attempt to match what we see in some vintage leathers, which is not what tanneries were doing back in the day that yielded the leather most of us covet. So the various graining we see from ELC, BR, GW, BK, etc. is a result of a deliberate effort to enhance or bring out the grain - there was no such effort applied among tanneries in 1942 when generating tanned hides for government contracts.
     
  15. O'DubhGhaill

    O'DubhGhaill New in Town

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    Very interesting information Charles and thanks for your input - even though it is fairly early in the day, I can now say I learned something new today, quite a bit actually. The S.F.A.D. is quite a style, just not for me. I very much like the tanning process used by ELC on all its leathers - I just haven't accepted the TW process as appealing to me. That might change as it did for you. Meantime, I'm mustering the means to procure a standard ELC B-3 in seal brown trim...
     
  16. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    I find it interesting that the very old sheepskins are much more desirable and sell for higher prices than the new ones.
     
  17. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    As explained in previous posts of mine, the use of aniline dyes is due to the fact that pigment dying today is unlike that done in the good old days due to environmental laws now in place; aniline yields a more authentic look than what can be generated from pigment dyes today (in the mind of those who employ it, in my mind, and in the minds of many, many others). I own an Eastman Rough Wear 1401-P A-2 with the pigment dyes you reference from 1994, and while it looks quite good, it took many, many years to get that way, and when it was new, the pigment dye looked very plastic like, unlike aniline now used, which looks good immediately and wears in nicely in weeks.

    Tanning involves the use of chemicals, both natural (vegetable) and non-natural (chrome); tanning is a chemical process that creates a reaction in the hides and it involves tumbling in machines (I can't imagine any tanneries having their hides fully manually prepared as they were 1,000 year ago). Further, one could argue that tanning itself is "unnatural," since it is a process created and generated by man, which would not simply result on its own.

    Eastman doesn't reveal the formulas and processes they employ to achieve the finished products they sell just as any other manufacturer may elect to do so as to keep their goods unique and, indeed, their own. Each of the top manufacturers making vintage-style leather jackets today is faced with a dilemma: how to create the look and feel of vintage leather jackets while working within the laws in place that have rendered the use of the same processes and chemicals from 45-plus years ago illegal. How each maker chooses to affect the result is potentially proprietary, and since they can't duplicate the actual vintage processes, then anything they do is in some way contrived. Ultimately, the leather you like from 1995 wasn't processed using the same chemicals and processes as had been used in 1945, thus it also lacks authenticity if one applies an objective standard.

    You have concluded that because a manufacturer doesn't state in detail the processes they employ to tan and process their leather, they must be doing something "unnatural." Not only does your conclusion not follow logically, but the concept of "natural" and "unnatural" needs to be defined in relation to trying to make a finished product that best emulates the look and feel found on vintage leather jackets. Simply using a pigment dye today that lacks the chemical composition of the vintage pigment dyes and which does not appear (to the manufacturers, at the least) when new or even when worn-in to yield the most authentic look and feel of hand is, at best, a subjective, flawed standard.
     
  18. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    That's because you've hyped them up, John. ;-)
     
    John Lever likes this.
  19. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    One thing I do observe is though the Perry looks great is that it has a toughness that I personally find uncomfortable to wear.
     
  20. HPA Rep

    HPA Rep Sponsoring Affiliate

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    It's a pleasure to attempt to assist and review the nuances associated with each different style type, as well as my own experiences as they relate to what has played out over time. And the fact you are so enthusiastic to receive tidbits of knowledge is the cherry on top!
     

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