My G-1 collection

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by pjman, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

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    I received my first leather flight jacket - an Avirex A-2 - as a gift from my parents over thirty-five years ago. But being a huge fan of Naval aviation, I naturally gravitated to the G-1. The A-2 is a smart-looking jacket, and even looks great with a tie and dress pants. But for practicality and comfort, I think the G-1 is far superior. I feel extremely fortunate that I can purchase genuine, issued G-1's in excellent condition, usually for less than $200. I'm still learning about all the history and details of these fascinating jackets, so please correct me if I've gotten something wrong.

    First up is my latest purchase, an issued 1969 D-series Martin Lane. I replaced the cuffs and waistband, but otherwise it's in excellent condition considering it's almost 50 years old. I think the leather should be goat, but it's much stiffer than my 1970 Brill Bros. goatskin jacket, up next.

    Martin Lane G-1.jpg




    This is an issued 1970 Brill Bros. D-series - an extremely comfortable jacket. Pretty sure this is goatskin.

    Brill Bros. 1970 G-1.jpg



    Next is an issued 1984 Ralph Edwards D-series, though the label is extremely worn and hard to read. It's probably my best-fitting and most comfortable jacket. This is almost certainly cowhide.

    Ralph Edwards 1984 G-1.jpg



    Next is a Brill Bros. E-series, probably from the early '80's, which by the looks of the cleaning care label sewn over the bottom of the original label, was pulled from USN stock and sold on the civilian market. Another jacket I assume is cowhide.

    Brill Bros. 1980's G-1.jpg




    Up next is a civilian Cooper, which I assume dates from the mid-80's also. It's labeled a size 42R, but I'm a perfect 42 Regular and this jacket is at least a size too large. The fit is very loose and the sleeves are way too long, as you can see by the tunneling. But the goatskin leather is beautiful and supple, although very thin.

    Cooper G-1.jpg



    Another reproduction jacket is my Flight Apparel Industries G-1. This size 42 fits much better than the Copper, but is a tad narrow at the top of the shoulders. The nylon collar is a lovely russet shade, but it's a lot wider than an issued jacket. Still, this jacket, made in the early '80's, is very well-made with thin goatskin leather very similar to my Cooper.

    Flight Apparel Industries G-1.jpg


    One of the differences in G-1's I've noticed is in the pockets. Some manufacturers, like Brill Bros., clipped off a larger section of the bottom corner of the pockets. Below, from left, are the 1969 Martin Lane, the 80's Ralph Edwards, and the 1970 Brill Bros.

    G-1 pockets.jpg



    All of my issued jackets have two pieces of leather where the bottom of the zipper and waistband meet, but it's a solid piece on my Cooper, shown at the top/

    G-1 zipper start.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  2. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

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    That’s a very nice collection you have pjman! I too have been bitten by the G-1 bug, and like you I have six of them.
     
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  3. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

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    Thanks, El Marrow - which ones do you have in your collection? I'm looking for recommendations on what to get next.
     
  4. Flightengineer

    Flightengineer Practically Family

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    Nice collection! I has Brill Bros cowhide but sold it.
     
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  5. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

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    Very nice collection, thank you for sharing it!
     
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  6. thor

    thor One Too Many

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    Very nice assortment of G-1’s @pjman!
    My own G-1 collection has grown considerably over the last few years, now totaling about 20 jackets. I’m a size 46/48 so finding wearable jackets in my size has been a challenge (but an enjoyable one!).
    I would suggest looking for older vintage jackets that have the real mouton fur collars. You should be able to source quite afew in size 42.
    The 1950’s and early 60’s jackets (7823 AER, and the rare A, B and C models) are some of the nicest jackets with the best goatskin.
     
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  7. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon Practically Family

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    Great collection, thanks for sharing.
     
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  8. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

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    Thanks, Thor - from now on, I'll think I'll limit my jacket search to the '50's and early '60's.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  9. w126c

    w126c New in Town

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    Thor is right, the 7823 AER, A, B and C are some of the best G-1s. Real mouton collars, single ply rib rack waistband and some of the nicest goatskin ever. Most can still be worn daily.

    Regards,
     
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  10. Deacon211

    Deacon211 One Too Many

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    Beautiful collection! Like Thor, I have the challenge of finding size 46/48 jackets.

    Overwhelmingly, the jackets I come across are size 42, so I think you are in the perfect place!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  11. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    I would suggest an early series Ralph Edwards. Ralph Edwards is one of the more sought after G-1s. As you probably know, RE was Cagleco until 1960. Of course, Cagleco started making G-1 type jackets back in the late forties, during the Korean Conflict. As @thor said above, you probably will want to focus on the jackets with the mouton collars.

    Mouton collars were discontinued about half way through the D-series jackets in 1969. So later D-series G-1s have Dynal collars. Beginning with the E-series jackets, G-1 shells could be made from embossed cowhide. Evidently, not every contractor immediately made the switch and some makers seem to have used goat and cow interchangeably. One can find goatskin G-1s dating from any period in the jacket's history...up until at least the 1990s. So, if you want goatskin (and you should) buy D-series or older. Only the E-series jackets will include cowhide examples.

    Our G-1 resident expert should be chiming in pretty soon. He knows more about the G-1 than the rest of us put together (Atticus Finch).
     
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  12. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

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    Thanks, Peacoat - great information! So should my 1969 D series Martin Lane be goatskin? It appears to be cowhide to me, since the leather is much stiffer than my 1970 Brill Bros. I have a hard time determining just from look and feel what is cow or goat, or between wool and Dynal collars.
     
  13. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

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    pjman,
    I have three vintage G-1s and three repros. My vintage jackets are a 1972 E series Star Sportswear, a 1969 D series Star Sportswear, and a late 1950s LW Foster 7823 (AER).
    I would certainly agree with Thor and Peacoat that the quality and appearance of the earlier jackets is far superior to the later ones. My LW Foster is soft and supple with a pronounced grain that rivals buffalo hide. Even between my D series and E-series Star Sportswear, which were made only three years apart, there is a noticeable decline in the thickness and quality of the hides as well as the switch from mouton to synthetic fur on the collar.
    My repros are a black goatskin from U.S. Authentic, a Lost Worlds that I scored off eBay, and an ELMC horsehide G-1. Out of all three the ELMC is far and away my favorite For one thing it fits more like my vintage jackets then any of the other repros, for another thing the horsehide has a great finish and shows a lot of character even though I have only had it a short while.
    I agree with the other guys that you should be hunting for the older, rarer late 50s and early 60s G-1s. I would also suggest you keep your eyes peeled for any reproduction jackets by Eastman as they are quite nice as well. Happy hunting!
     
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  14. pjman

    pjman Familiar Face

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    Thanks for the insights El Marro! If I ever get another repro it will be an Eastman.
     
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  15. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    I would think the 1969 Martin Lane D series would be goat. If Atticus Finch would chime in, he could tell us for sure. Or if I could handle it in person, I could tell. BTW, Martin Lane made a very nice G-1.
     
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  16. nick123

    nick123 I'll Lock Up

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    I too was a little flustered trying to decide if my (now sold) ‘70 D series Star was goat, cow, mouton, or dynal. Not going to lie; it’s not easy. I think it’s easier to tell horse from cow versus goat from embossed cow, lol.

    Either way, some cow G-1s (especially the 2000s Excelled G-1 I sold Thor) are thick as a brick. God I love G-1s.
     
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  17. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Yep, hard to tell embossed cow from goat, especially if it is a good quality cow. Some of it, though, was tough and unyielding, not supple like a good quality goat.
     
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  18. Deacon211

    Deacon211 One Too Many

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    The only way I’ve ever been able to tell goat from cow is by looking very closely at the hide. With cow, you can often see up close that the individual cells or “pebbles” that are pressed into the cow are in fact connected to each other like when they give plastic a leather grain, but much more subtle.

    With goat, you can see that there are individual cells in the hide.

    Some jackets are more pronounced in this respect than others.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Deacon211

    Deacon211 One Too Many

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    Here’s some pics of what I mean

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The top jacket is a goat Cooper, the bottom a cow Pharr. Especially with the angle of the light hitting it, you can see more relief in the Cooper’s hide. The Pharr’s pebbling has been pressed into it and only goes skin deep...so to speak.

    That’s the only way I’ve ever been able to tell and one of the reasons I prefer goat to textured cow, though I’ve seen some lovely jackets made of cow, bison, horse, etc

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  20. w126c

    w126c New in Town

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    1. I posted this on VLJ. Maybe this will help.
    2. This information is from Roger Moore's old web site.

    3. 1950s G-1 Jackets


    4. As noted above the first G-1 spec was the 55J14 which was manufactured from 1947 to 1961. These jackets very collectible and only slightly less desireable than the earlier M-422A jackets. The 55J14 typically have shorter bodies thanthe M-422A and many have a snugger fit fortheir stated size. All of these jackets retain the painted "USN" stencil under the mouton collar.

      G-1, Spec 55J14

      In 1951 or thereabouts the MIL spec jacketswere introduced starting with the MIL-J-7823(AER). All of the jackets in the 1950s, save the 1951 55J14, had this specification. As with the earlier jackets the manaufacturersapparently were given much leeway in the cut and sizing of these jackets. It is interesting tonote that even among the same contrcat andmanufacturer there was often largedifferences in sizing so if you buy one of these to wear...make sure you check the measurements!

      G-1, MIL-J-7823(Aer)




      1960s G-1 Jackets




      In 1961 the A (MIL-J-7823A) series jacket was introduced and only two manufacturers had contracts: Ralph Edwards Sportswear and Irvin B. Foster. The A series is the scarcest of 7823 series and are noted for having awesome goatskin and collars that fade to a nice honey rust color.

      G-1, MIL-J-7823A

      In late 1961 the B series was introduced and lasted until the end of 1963. The 1961 B series is probably one of the hardest 7823 jackets to find. I am fortunate to have a great original example!

      G-1, MIL-J-7823B

      In 1964 the C series (7823C) was introduced and lasted until the end of 1967. These are often considered by collectors to be the last of the "good" jackets as they are the last to universally have the motoun collar. In addition, the early C series jackets used the traditional single ply rib rack waistband but some of the laters Cs and all of the Ds and Es use the inferior folded over two ply waistband.

      G-1, MIL-J-7823C

      In 1968 the D series was introduced and many (but not all had a fake fur collar instead of the mouton used in all of the earlier jackets. The jackets were still goatskin but are very common and therefore not all that collectible. Although they do make great everyday wearers, I have only included one for reference

      G-1, MIL-J-7823D

      In 1971 or 72 the E series was introduced and persists until today. The spec was opened up to allow the use of cowhide (vs. the goatskin of all of the earlier jackets). As a result, while these make great wearers they are not collectible and I do not have any on this web site.
     
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