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WalterDyer

JMax

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,331
Is that the one I posted in another thread that recently went for $30 or dollars? If so, that is one sick deal. I have the same jacket and really like it.
 
Messages
15,396
Reviving this thread to show off my newly acquired Walter Dyer cafe racer.

Holy naked cowhide! This jacket is no joke. A real example of old-school craftsmanship.

I don't have any gauge to measure the leather but it's without doubt the thickest I've yet handled. At the same time it's fairly soft with nice graining. This goes along with all the comments above. Nothing flashy in a design sense, but it's overbuilt in a good way. Seems like it would be almost ideal for riding. Nice leather scent, too.

All the zippers are chunky Talons and the sleeves close tightly. The hand pockets are entirely leather-lined. The interior pocket is whimsically lined with what looks like a patchwork cotton bandanna. I found some info about Walter Dyer that portrayed him as a real character, so the pocket lining is no surprise (and a nice touch).

The quilted lining will make it toasty warm and I can't imagine feeling any chill while wearing it, even in really cold weather. I had to take the fit pics quickly before I burned up.

I like the fit, but it's tight at the waist. Like on the edge of being uncomfortable. I suppose it's an incentive to stick to light beer and work off a couple pounds.

The tag should read "Walter Dyer Is Sh*t-Kicker Leather."

View attachment 133352 View attachment 133353 View attachment 133354 View attachment 133355 View attachment 133356 View attachment 133357 View attachment 133358
View attachment 133359
View attachment 133360
View attachment 133361

Yep, that's it. Makes me wanna cry that I lost mine... I'm glad you can see it's a serious piece of motorcycle equipment but yeah, while it's not as flashy as some other jackets, it's very obvious every detail has been worked out and over. Notice the downward closing pocket zippers, for example.

The sleeves close super tight - I had to pull up the shirt sleeves to zip them up on my jacket - and it's very tight at the waist, just as a true riding jacket should be.

The pockets on my jacket were lined in tent grade canvas. Nothing as fun as this. And the zippers were YKK. Oh, and right, it's an insanely warm jacket! I would easily get me through an entire winter! I don't know what are they stuffing that lining with but it's an oven of a jacket.

Even after all these years and all the jackets that I've handled, WD/Natal in this leather is among the best, toughest, coolest looking and fitting jackets I ever wore.

Gamma, if you'll ever be moving that jacket, you know where to find me. Though I don't think you ever will, considering how well it fits you.
 

Gamma68

One Too Many
Messages
1,899
Location
Detroit, MI
I'm almost shocked that WD jackets aren't a bigger part of the larger conversation about mc jackets. Maybe it's because it's a small brand and word never spread much further than its home base.

Here's a newspaper article about the closing of the WD store. It has a nice photo gallery of all kinds of leather goodness: http://www.wickedlocal.com/news/20180311/dyer-outcome

Walter Dyer, the man who launched the brand in his own name, died in 2003. Here's an obit I found online that paints a real interesting portrait:

Walter Dyer of Danvers, Craftsman, 'Liberace Of Leathers', 84
1/18/03

.
Walter Dyer of Danvers, an eccentric leather craftsman who had more
difficulty giving his money away than he did earning it, died Tuesday,
January 14, 2003, at Salem [Massachusetts] Hospital, at the age of 84.

Mr. Dyer drew national attention on Dec. 19, 1980, when he decided to
shower the residents of Lynn, Massachusetts, with 1,500 $1 bills. The
money was to be dropped from a low-flying airplane. Nearly 4,000
people, including Mr. Dyer, assembled in Central Square for the big
event with fish nets and garbage bags to reel in the loot. But the
pilot of the plane miscalculated and the money fluttered out to sea.

Mr. Dyer slunk back to his workshop with chants of "Walter Dyer,
Walter liar. Walter Dyer, Walter liar" ringing in his ears.

But he didn't let it get him down. "I'm glad I did it anyway," the
flamboyant craftsman said at the time. "I'd do it again and I hope
most of the money finds its way into the hands of nice people who
could use it."

He said the purpose of the stunt was to "thank people because I
started in Lynn with $5 from welfare 25 years ago and I've sold $10
million worth of leather goods. Everyone in Lynn knows and is friendly
to me because I'm a character."

What the hecklers did not know was that Mr. Dyer's Lynn leather
workshop, which employed about 40 people at the time, was in financial
trouble.

"He was an artist and a craftsman. He wasn't really a businessman and
he never got a handle on how much it cost to make his goods," his
daughter Marie of Marlborough said yesterday. "He was really behind
the eight ball at the time. The business was going straight downhill,
so he said, 'If I'm going to go out of business, I'm going to show my
appreciation to the people of Lynn.'"

Mr. Dyer retired the following year after his workshop was destroyed
in the Great Lynn Fire of 1981. In his heyday, during the 1970s,
wearing cowhide was considered a political statement against
synthetics.

Mr. Dyer had retail outlets in Rockport, Harvard Square, and Charles
Street in Boston. His son Bruce, of Ashland, operates a Walter Dyer is
Leather Shop in Framingham.

Mr. Dyer was born in Bangor, where he learned to do leather work at
the knee of his father, who stitched shoes.

As a young man, he moved to Lynn, where he worked in the shoe
business. After serving in the Army during World War II, he returned
to Lynn and opened his own shop, where he made shoes and moccasins
before expanding into a wide range of leather clothing. To attract
attention to his handmade moccasins, he wore an Indian headdress while
working in the window of his shop.

"He was the Liberace of leathers," said Marie's husband, Jeff Bautze.
"He was his own best salesman. He'd wear outrageous outfits,
mismatched moccasins to demonstrate his various designs, a leather
shirt, pants, and cowboy hat."

An acquaintance told him that his craftsmanship and skill at
self-promotion were wasted in the mill city, so, keeping his workshop
in Lynn, he moved his retail outlet to the tourist town of Rockport,
where he caught his stride.

Taffy-chomping tourists strolling down Bearskin Neck during the dog
days of August always asked him whether he was hot.

"Not at all," he said. "The leather insulates me." Then he'd sell them
the shirt off his back.

"He had an unconventional way of doing business. He was more
interested in turning people on to something new than he was in making
money," his daughter said.

In the days before credit cards were in wide use, he'd often send a
customer off with a coat without the customer paying for it.

"You look great in it," he said. "It'll change your life. You send me
the money when you get home."

They usually did.

"He would've been a multimillionaire if properly managed," said his
son-in-law. "But he epitomized the hippie generation. Hippies were
looking for everything natural and Walter had shoes that felt like you
were wearing another layer of skin."

At 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds with his outrageous costumes and
his pink Cadillac, Mr. Dyer was a man who commanded attention when he
made the rounds to his shops, schmoozing with the customers and
sharing what came to be known in his family as "Walter Dyer logic."

A customer admires a pair of shoes that is in natural brown and would
prefer green?

"Then wear sunglasses and they'll look green," he said.

Worried about wearing his handmade leather jacket in the rain?

"How many cows have you seen using umbrellas?" asked Mr. Dyer.

Then he'd put his pet cocker spaniel Pepper through its routine of
doggie parlor tricks.

"He was an unforgettable character," said his daughter.

A recovering alcoholic, Mr. Dyer stopped drinking in 1950 and became a
member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He sponsored new members and often
spoke at meetings.

"He changed lives," said Bautze. "He was probably known by as many
people for his work with AA as he was for his work with leather."
 

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Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,544
Location
London, UK
Sounds like quite the character. I love the story about him telling people to send him the money when they got home -the fact that they did speaks as much to his charm as their honesty, I suspect. Reminds me of a local true story in Whitechapel about the market trader who, back in the day,let an older lady take a coat with her when she didn't have the money on her, and trusted her to bring the money back when she could. He got his money the very net day, hand delivered to his market stall by her son Ronnie Kray... and he never again was hassled by anyone in the East End.
 

Luminor

New in Town
Messages
44
I knew Walter and Natal from when I used to live in Mass. Both guys made good jackets. Because of globalization, a bunch of leather companies from Massachusetts had to close, like Natal. Walter remained open, but in recent years, his quality went down. I would look for of his older jackets, the 1990s, early 2000s. Those were solid and great for the money.
 

nick123

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,360
Location
California
I'm almost shocked that WD jackets aren't a bigger part of the larger conversation about mc jackets. Maybe it's because it's a small brand and word never spread much further than its home base.

Here's a newspaper article about the closing of the WD store. It has a nice photo gallery of all kinds of leather goodness: http://www.wickedlocal.com/news/20180311/dyer-outcome

Walter Dyer, the man who launched the brand in his own name, died in 2003. Here's an obit I found online that paints a real interesting portrait:

Walter Dyer of Danvers, Craftsman, 'Liberace Of Leathers', 84
1/18/03

.
Walter Dyer of Danvers, an eccentric leather craftsman who had more
difficulty giving his money away than he did earning it, died Tuesday,
January 14, 2003, at Salem [Massachusetts] Hospital, at the age of 84.

Mr. Dyer drew national attention on Dec. 19, 1980, when he decided to
shower the residents of Lynn, Massachusetts, with 1,500 $1 bills. The
money was to be dropped from a low-flying airplane. Nearly 4,000
people, including Mr. Dyer, assembled in Central Square for the big
event with fish nets and garbage bags to reel in the loot. But the
pilot of the plane miscalculated and the money fluttered out to sea.

Mr. Dyer slunk back to his workshop with chants of "Walter Dyer,
Walter liar. Walter Dyer, Walter liar" ringing in his ears.

But he didn't let it get him down. "I'm glad I did it anyway," the
flamboyant craftsman said at the time. "I'd do it again and I hope
most of the money finds its way into the hands of nice people who
could use it."

He said the purpose of the stunt was to "thank people because I
started in Lynn with $5 from welfare 25 years ago and I've sold $10
million worth of leather goods. Everyone in Lynn knows and is friendly
to me because I'm a character."

What the hecklers did not know was that Mr. Dyer's Lynn leather
workshop, which employed about 40 people at the time, was in financial
trouble.

"He was an artist and a craftsman. He wasn't really a businessman and
he never got a handle on how much it cost to make his goods," his
daughter Marie of Marlborough said yesterday. "He was really behind
the eight ball at the time. The business was going straight downhill,
so he said, 'If I'm going to go out of business, I'm going to show my
appreciation to the people of Lynn.'"

Mr. Dyer retired the following year after his workshop was destroyed
in the Great Lynn Fire of 1981. In his heyday, during the 1970s,
wearing cowhide was considered a political statement against
synthetics.

Mr. Dyer had retail outlets in Rockport, Harvard Square, and Charles
Street in Boston. His son Bruce, of Ashland, operates a Walter Dyer is
Leather Shop in Framingham.

Mr. Dyer was born in Bangor, where he learned to do leather work at
the knee of his father, who stitched shoes.

As a young man, he moved to Lynn, where he worked in the shoe
business. After serving in the Army during World War II, he returned
to Lynn and opened his own shop, where he made shoes and moccasins
before expanding into a wide range of leather clothing. To attract
attention to his handmade moccasins, he wore an Indian headdress while
working in the window of his shop.

"He was the Liberace of leathers," said Marie's husband, Jeff Bautze.
"He was his own best salesman. He'd wear outrageous outfits,
mismatched moccasins to demonstrate his various designs, a leather
shirt, pants, and cowboy hat."

An acquaintance told him that his craftsmanship and skill at
self-promotion were wasted in the mill city, so, keeping his workshop
in Lynn, he moved his retail outlet to the tourist town of Rockport,
where he caught his stride.

Taffy-chomping tourists strolling down Bearskin Neck during the dog
days of August always asked him whether he was hot.

"Not at all," he said. "The leather insulates me." Then he'd sell them
the shirt off his back.

"He had an unconventional way of doing business. He was more
interested in turning people on to something new than he was in making
money," his daughter said.

In the days before credit cards were in wide use, he'd often send a
customer off with a coat without the customer paying for it.

"You look great in it," he said. "It'll change your life. You send me
the money when you get home."

They usually did.

"He would've been a multimillionaire if properly managed," said his
son-in-law. "But he epitomized the hippie generation. Hippies were
looking for everything natural and Walter had shoes that felt like you
were wearing another layer of skin."

At 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds with his outrageous costumes and
his pink Cadillac, Mr. Dyer was a man who commanded attention when he
made the rounds to his shops, schmoozing with the customers and
sharing what came to be known in his family as "Walter Dyer logic."

A customer admires a pair of shoes that is in natural brown and would
prefer green?

"Then wear sunglasses and they'll look green," he said.

Worried about wearing his handmade leather jacket in the rain?

"How many cows have you seen using umbrellas?" asked Mr. Dyer.

Then he'd put his pet cocker spaniel Pepper through its routine of
doggie parlor tricks.

"He was an unforgettable character," said his daughter.

A recovering alcoholic, Mr. Dyer stopped drinking in 1950 and became a
member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He sponsored new members and often
spoke at meetings.

"He changed lives," said Bautze. "He was probably known by as many
people for his work with AA as he was for his work with leather."

My kind of guy. Same city as the famous Star Sportswear.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,004
Location
Cleveland, OH
I knew Walter and Natal from when I used to live in Mass. Both guys made good jackets. Because of globalization, a bunch of leather companies from Massachusetts had to close, like Natal. Walter remained open, but in recent years, his quality went down. I would look for of his older jackets, the 1990s, early 2000s. Those were solid and great for the money.
I have been wondering about the story of Natal for a while now. What can you tell me about them? I'm really curious about the Natal/Natel spelling, how expensive they were originally, years they were in business, etc.
 

Luminor

New in Town
Messages
44
I met Natal in Salem back in 2009 or 2010. He had a small store where he was liquidating what ever he had leftover. He was Portuguese American, which is common in that area. We talked a few times, and he shared his insight about the business. Once upon a time there were dozens of small companies in Massachusetts making their own leather products, such as Natal, WD, and L&J (AKA Bikers Outfitters). Back in days, if you went to a motorcycle show or event, it was filled with vendors who produced their own products. Nowadays, you would find a 100+ vendors selling the same ugly t-shirts and leather goods poorly made in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the price of the Pakistani leather goods is so low that most people stopped buying American leather products (or simply good leather products) a long time ago.

I was and remain friends with the guys from Bikers Outfitters. They were one of the last companies to still make leather goods in America (meaning small vendors like WD, not Schott or Vanson type of operations). They stopped production this year, which is a shame. They carried Schott and even those jackets were hard to move.

Going back to Natal, I bought a couple of vests from him and a used jacket that he altered (the owner never came back). I paid $100 for the leather jacket. It was a great value, and I wore that thing when crossing the country by bike twice.

At some point, Natal had a big operation going on. He said he had as many as 50 employees during the 19080s and 1990s. When I met him, he was down to 15, and he knew that he would continue growing down. I believe a year later, he had stopped production altogether.
 

Luminor

New in Town
Messages
44
Last thing I heard about WD leathers is that the son has cancer so he might be stopping production soon, if it didn't already happen. They also had a store down in Daytona, Florida.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,004
Location
Cleveland, OH
Last thing I heard about WD leathers is that the son has cancer so he might be stopping production soon, if it didn't already happen. They also had a store down in Daytona, Florida.
Their website said they were shutting down, clearing everything out earlier this year. It's sad. I wish I'd known about Natal back when they were around. Every one of their jackets that I've handled has been impressive.
 

TheGuitarFairy

Practically Family
Messages
608
Location
Just West of Boston
howdy friends,
thought i'd jump into this already existing WD thread.
WD <was> a few minutes from my house and was always a fun place to visit.
i prefer their older styles and have been keeping an eye out for this one in particular. picked this guy up from original owner who said he bought it in 75'. leather is way heavier than i'm accustomed to on a CR(?) jacket weighs almost 5lbs.
IMG_4211.jpg
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IMG_4208.jpg
IMG_4212.jpg
 

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Messages
15,396
howdy friends,
thought i'd jump into this already existing WD thread.
WD <was> a few minutes from my house and was always a fun place to visit.
i prefer their older styles and have been keeping an eye out for this one in particular. picked this guy up from original owner who said he bought it in 75'. leather is way heavier than i'm accustomed to on a CR(?) jacket weighs almost 5lbs.
View attachment 165936 View attachment 165937 View attachment 165938 View attachment 165939

That is SUCH a nice jacket! Can stand up to anything.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,004
Location
Cleveland, OH
That wasn’t mine actually and WD closed up shop a few years ago I believe. From what I observed the later model jackets were junk.

They did. The proprietor retired and shut the business down. He was selling off the last of his inventory on ebay for awhile.
 
Messages
14,906
Location
Chicago
Shame. Seems like sourcing decent cow isn’t nearly as easy as it once was. I remember the later jackets looking like a spaghetti bowl of zippers and stamped hides.
 

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