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Vintage Photos of Leather Jackets

Dinerman

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Post your vintage photos of leather jackets
Let's try (for the most part) to keep this more in the direction of civilian jackets, 1920s-1950s, and as much as possible to keep to higher resolution and first generation images.

1920s/early 1930s?


(Breaking my own rule, but hey, it's a cool photo) D-1 jackets at a hamburger place. 1940s


Delhi, NY, 1940s
 
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regius

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Very nice Dinerman! More please. I assume those jackets are made from HH? Too bad those manufacturers have gone out of business.
 

regius

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I wonder how expensive was a leather jacket back then compared to income. I'm sure they were not mass produced, wondering how the shops that sell them look like, department store? private brand store (like Langlitz, Schott)? Mail order? Custom made to order (got to be through newspaper and catalogue).
 

Dinerman

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They were mass produced, by a variety of manufacturers. Just like now, you could get one from a high end specialty maker, or from someplace like Sears.
Hard to know what most were made of from an old photo. Capeskin, Goat, Horsehide and Cow were all popular.
 
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regius

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Sad thing now is places like Macy and Sears no longer sell quality jackets, not evven Orvis!
 

Capesofwrath

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I wonder how expensive was a leather jacket back then compared to income. I'm sure they were not mass produced, wondering how the shops that sell them look like, department store? private brand store (like Langlitz, Schott)? Mail order? Custom made to order (got to be through newspaper and catalogue).

According to Aero's site and writing about the HB:

This style remained relatively unaltered until the demise of heavy horse leather production in the late 1950s. The Sears 1939 Catalogue contained the typical example of this jacket at the grand price of $7.79, and versions were still being produced under their Hercules label in 1959, the price having risen to $27.97 at this date.

So using the US inflation calculator The 1939 price is $133.91 in today's dollars, and the 1959 is $223.91. The originals weren't made of expensive CXL of course.

It's fairly easy to find the average US wage for those dates, and then adjust for inflation.

The cost which has risen most for things made in the first world is labour of course. Which is why European and US made stuff has risen so much, and so much offshoring of manufacturing has taken place. Cheap goods has also led to a disposable attitude toward products which was not the case then.
 
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thor

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image.jpg

Here is a photo from the set of "On the waterfront" with Marlon Brando. Quite an assortment of vintage workwear.
 

tropicalbob

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Dinerman, thanks for the photos, but they've got me starting to wonder where I can get a nice, greasy double-cheeseburger at 3:40am. Blast you!
 

Capesofwrath

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A couple of button up leather jackets:

From the Hitchcock film 'Saboteur':
saboteur-1.jpg


From 'It Always Rains on Sundays' (1947):
leather-jacket.jpg

Where would these and other leather jackets in the British pictures from that time come from I wonder? Were they sold here or were they brought from the US? The flyboy style jacket and different variations of it was popular in post war in Britain as was the Irvin type.

I remember I had child's sort of A2 version when I was about five. I was a bit too young to really notice but I don't remember seeing people in the street wearing jackets like these. Most men seemed to wear suits or sports jackets, or demob macs, and it was much later in the fifties when leather jackets became common; and black by then.
 

Two Types

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Where would these and other leather jackets in the British pictures from that time come from I wonder? Were they sold here or were they brought from the US? The flyboy style jacket and different variations of it was popular in post war in Britain as was the Irvin type.

Actually the top picture is an American jacket (well, it's from an American made film).

I think there might be some adverts for British leather jackets in the thread entitled something like 'British Leather jackets'.
 

Capesofwrath

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Yes the Saboteur is a well known Hitchcock picture. It was the other one of Nigel Stock I meant, and the pictures on the other thread of pre 50's British leisurewear.

The fashion for these sort of jackets must have passed by the time I was old enough to start to really notice what people were wearing on the street. If it ever was widespread in the UK. Clothes rationing was still in force, so I suspect that they were worn on screen much more than by real people in the forties. Apart from genuine ex issue ones worn as work clothing.
 
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Dinerman

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Some more from my collection of original prints.

1930s zipper front suede. Knit collar


1930s Laskinlamb


Leather jacket on the female motorcyclist on the right


These next two are the same man in the same jacket. 1920s



Early 1937


It's hard to be positive, but I think both jackets in this photo are leather.
 
Britain had a thriving civilian leather jacket industry. They were very common indeed through the 30s and 40s. I think the 50s, too. Very popular for rambling, hiking, cycling and motorcycling, as well as general workwear (photos of my grandad on leave in 1940 show him in a leather jacket with his Army kilt). D Lewis, Wareings etc. were big manufacturers, along with multitude smaller local makers. Most 30s and 40s general stores catalogues feature leather jackets. Also during times of rationing there was the home seamstress. My second most recent British leather purchase is a jacket made by a lady for her husband in the early 50s. I'll post photos in the British/European sportswear thread once I get it fixed up (bless her heart she sewed the arms onto the wrong holes - left onto right and vice versa).

Their popularity is not reflected in how commonly we find them. Typically they were made of sheep/lamb skin or thin calf. Most of the examples I find (I think I've owned 15 or so, and only 3 or 4 wearable) are completely trashed. First scuff against a wall and the leather shreds badly.

The fashion for these sort of jackets must have passed by the time I was old enough to start to really notice what people were wearing on the street. If it ever was widespread in the UK. Clothes rationing was still in force, so I suspect that they were worn on screen much more than by real people in the forties. Apart from genuine ex issue ones worn as work clothing.
 

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