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Sears Motorcylce Jacket History 1949-1963

Peacoat

Bartender
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Time to move this back to the first page.

Since Terry started this project, I have been trying to decide the best way to handle the thread. I could clean up the extraneous comments and move it to the Guides Section. Two problems with that approach: 1) It would disappear from the this section. 2) The extraneous comments, both past and current, only add to the content.

I could make it a permanent sticky, but there have been many other threads that members wanted to be made into a sticky. So many, in fact, that about 1/2 of the first page would be devoted to stickies. That isn't an efficient use of the valuable first page.

So, I am going to temporarily put this as a sticky so that any members who aren't yet aware of its existence, will be aware of it. Also, it will give our new members an opportunity to know that such a valuable resource is available.

Terry will be able to make updates as necessary, and members will be able to continue with comments.
 

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
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6,015
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Illinois
An interested ebayer sent me pics what appears to be a 1951 Hercules jacket. The same jacket as pictured in the iconic 51 catalog image. The owner added his own rabbits foot!

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This 1951 jacket continues with Wool lining, sewn on cigarette pocket, on top sleeve zipper seen on previous models. This year adds the "Built in leather Kidney Support", Through belt design with belt apparently part of the package.

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This jacket is particular interesting for the seldom seen leather label.

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Although this label is rather worn I have seen this label on other Hercules jackets as well as Windward, Appalachian Tanned and Tailored, W.B Place.
I have theorized that Appalachian may have made jacket batchs, for Sears and Wards with that style of label for a short time around 1951. They were a manufacturer. Late 50s early 60s Fieldmaster and Oakbrook jackets are identical to Appalachian labeled jackets.

Note the Nylon Stiched/Nylon lined. Very popular advertising early 50s

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The leather labels are very short lived, maybe a year. All three look very similar to my eye. I do not recall a JC Penney jacket with this style of label.
 

Aerielle Max

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Sears is credited as the largest supplier of traditional cross zip Motorcylce jackets. Not surprising given their huge retail presence in the 1950s. This visual history will look at the catalog pictures and descriptions by year and include contemporary pictures of the catalog jackets. I have many pictures, but not sure if I have a pic of all the styles. I am counting on this forum body to address those gaps. I often miss details that others don't.

1949 is the first year that the Sears catalog shows a traditional motorcycle jacket. Wool lined with black horsehide. The catalog describes red, green, black lining. The wool lined jackets only last a couple of years. Wool lining was quickly replaced with the “new” nylon lining which was the all the rage. Buco dropped their early wool lined jackets for the new material. Wool linings in jackets seem to end around this earlyl 50s replaced with more modern material

1949
This jacket in the Allstate sections appears to be a Buco? A different jacket than pictured in the Fashion section of the catalog.



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This jacket is from the fashion area of the catalog. Note the wool lining.

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These jackets have the older label. Red, green, black wool lining.

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wearable awesome jackets.
 

Claybertrand

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
Question for Terry and all other Hercules enthusiasts:

I am kicking around ideas to get a custom Vintage Style reproduction made by 5 Star Leather.

Now I originally wanted to get them to make me a True Vintage Hercules reproduction with tweaked length for a better fit. But now I am more ambitiously attempting to design my own jacket incorporating as many cool Vintage features as possible without overdoing it and guilding the lily.

As such I have been going over all of the cool Vintage details I would like to have in a jacket. This 30s Hercules Halfbelt (I believe that's the correct era) that I missed out on Etsy about a year ago has interesting front pockets with "Arrowhead" details at the edges of the pocket openings. I always thought these were an early method of making the pocket more sturdy so that repeated use doesn't cause the leather to tear but they are also very common style details that have been used for years. I have certainly seen pockets like this before in some form or fashion on all ranges of jackets and shirts.

My question is: Are these actually original elements of this model of Hercules jacket or were they added by a previous owner as part of, or to cover repairs that were done to worn/failing pocket openings???????? Were these "Arrowheads" present on these early Hercules jackets or not????????

They APPEAR to me to be added later to cover failing pockets. The leather tone, and the stitching etc. look like they were added and NOT original design elements. They look a lil funky......sorta oversized and perhaps out of place. Aero's "Original Hercules" model does not have these--but also does not have a chest pocket either so they chose a different design to replicate OR they chose to omit these pocket arrows (if indeed they were an original element of the Herc).

I am trying to stay true to Vintage era design elements even if I may be mixing and matching some of them in my custom design. I haven't been able to track down other photos of these original jackets to see if they have pocket arrows.

Does anyone know if these pocket Arrows are original Hercules design??? To clarify: I don't care if they were added or not to this particular jacket. I'm just trying to determine authenticity of the design and if original Hercs had these on their handwarmer pockets.



Etsy Vintage Herc Front - Pocket Arrows are Cool.jpg
 

tmitchell59

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Illinois
My question is: Are these actually original elements of this model of Hercules jacket or were they added by a previous owner as part of, or to cover repairs that were done to worn/failing pocket openings???????? Were these "Arrowheads" present on these early Hercules jackets or not????????

The Arrowheads pocket reinforcement have been added. The jacket you pictured is the Iconic Sears Hercules as remade by many makers.

The low side adjustmnets have been removed on this example.

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Claybertrand

One Too Many
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1,170
Thanks for confirming this Terry. I knew that you'd know if anyone did. They looked a bit.......incorrect.

Speaking of the side adjusters---Suspecting that the Arrows were added, I also started to think that perhaps the side adjusters had been moved from the rear Half Belt area down to the waistline area. Sometimes people do weird things to vintage jackets after all. But then I saw that its an original design that the adjusters are that low on what seems to be a half belt.

At any rate, it is an iconic jacket and the pics you provided are helpful.

Have a great one man!!
 

tmitchell59

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Illinois
Early wool lined Hercules with notable differences from others of this era, late
40s. Below are some pic showing the difference in these two early jackets.

Not seen an early one with this black label and odd horsehide tag.

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This is the more common label. Both of these labels are from the 40s. The Black label may be early than the white. Both were out of date by 1951 when the "new" label was introduced. These white labels also came with "Made and Styled in California" The horsehide tags also vary.

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The linings have been red/black, green/black/, and less seen grey/black. All are pictured earlier in this thread.

The back design is the standout difference.

Black label back:

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White labeled: This back is also seen with a stitched on half-belt and a half-belt with side adjustments. Readers will note the difference in construction.

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Black label front: Different sleeve zipper positions, but hard to tell. The right hand pocket is not seen, but I assume it is there.

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White label front:

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tmitchell59

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6,015
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Illinois
An Interesting side note:

No Cafe Racer style jackets appear until the transition to the Oakbrook label in the early 60s. I guess this style wasn't widely produced until the early 60s even with the Buco model staring in the 50s?
 

Claybertrand

One Too Many
Messages
1,170
I think I've only ever seen one Oakbrook CR. The Oakbrook that evolved from the Fieldmaster is a great jacket. Working on your strong theory that Appalachian (Taylor) may have made the Fieldmasters/Oakbrooks, I wonder who made the Oakbrook CRs???? I wonder how they are quality wise??? Sears isn't known for their CRs at all. A bit strange since it was such a popular model made by many during that era and Sears was certainly making other Hercules Jackets that are nice during that time. The Sears Leather Shop CRs I have seen look fairly crude and cheap. Perhaps an early Oakbrook would be a different story.
 

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
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6,015
Location
Illinois
I think I've only ever seen one Oakbrook CR. The Oakbrook that evolved from the Fieldmaster is a great jacket. Working on your strong theory that Appalachian (Taylor) may have made the Fieldmasters/Oakbrooks, I wonder who made the Oakbrook CRs???? I wonder how they are quality wise??? Sears isn't known for their CRs at all. A bit strange since it was such a popular model made by many during that era and Sears was certainly making other Hercules Jackets that are nice during that time. The Sears Leather Shop CRs I have seen look fairly crude and cheap. Perhaps an early Oakbrook would be a different story.

I have seen the Oakbrook CRs on ebay, but never handled one. They look substantial. The Leather Shop jackets are questionable.

I often thought of Cafe Racers in the 50s, but other than Buco who made one in the 50s? I believe there has been a discussion of the origin, but I don't recall the details. They really are a popular product of the 60s. Now I understand why all the Taubers CR have the 60s Talon tear drops.
 
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JMax

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8,157
I think I've only ever seen one Oakbrook CR. The Oakbrook that evolved from the Fieldmaster is a great jacket. Working on your strong theory that Appalachian (Taylor) may have made the Fieldmasters/Oakbrooks, I wonder who made the Oakbrook CRs???? I wonder how they are quality wise??? Sears isn't known for their CRs at all. A bit strange since it was such a popular model made by many during that era and Sears was certainly making other Hercules Jackets that are nice during that time. The Sears Leather Shop CRs I have seen look fairly crude and cheap. Perhaps an early Oakbrook would be a different story.

https://etsy.me/3jFoigi
 

Blackadder

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China
I have seen the Oakbrook CRs on ebay, but never handled one. They look substantial. The Leather Shop jackets are questionable.

I often thought of Cafe Racers in the 50s, but other than Buco who made one in the 50s? I believe there has been a discussion of the origin, but I don't recall the details. They really are a popular product of the 60s. Now I understand why all the Taubers CR have the 60s Talon tear drops.
HD also did in the 50s. Someone posted the cover of a 1958 HD accessory catalogue in the other thread.
 
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