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General Work Wear Research

Printed From: denimbro
Category: Denimbro
Forum Name: Denim/workwear research
Forum Description: historical
Printed Date: 21 Feb 2020 at 4:50pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 -

Topic: General Work Wear Research
Posted By: Nonriveted
Subject: General Work Wear Research
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2012 at 10:15pm
This thread is for any and all Work Wear Research, images and Discussions.

Posted By: Nonriveted
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 4:08pm
Here is a stack of mostly nonriveted denim, a phenomenon only to have happened in the late 1800's, and some of my favorite designs.......most have never been remade, but I am hoping in the future to have a collection of one of each.....

Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 4:44pm
What is the material on that top pair?

Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 4:53pm
Looks like the A.B Elfelt pants^^

Posted By: illumin8em
Date Posted: 25 Jan 2012 at 9:18pm
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

What is the material on that top pair?

my computer monitor is making it look like a fisher stripe which i don't think that i know the name for or how old the pattern is. surely not old enough

Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 26 Jan 2012 at 3:20am
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

What is the material on that top pair?
Sorry I didn't answer your question, that's denim that's been bleached by the sun in some places

Posted By: Nonriveted
Date Posted: 26 Jan 2012 at 12:53pm
Mr Randal, Well the denim has really streaky fades and the double white line running through the denim is an error from the loom, at least that's our best guess!! its a 3x1 denim....

Posted By: cash
Date Posted: 26 Jan 2012 at 1:27pm
That is some serious loom chatter. I love it. No chance a QA guy in any modern factory would let "flaws" like that out.

Posted By: entertainment!
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2012 at 4:02pm
Here are some patents for cigarette pocket shirts.

Posted By: flatpattern
Date Posted: 06 May 2012 at 6:35am
Well well well.......not sure where to post this but congrats on Sunday Morning guys........sitting here eatting my cereal and who do I see but Mike Harris and Roy congrats!!

Posted By: Snake
Date Posted: 05 Jun 2014 at 5:37pm
I was watching American Picker last night and they found this metal pressed sign for a denim brand I never heard of....Tiger Overalls by JM Robinson, Norton and Co based in Kentucky. Not exactly an original idea with two tigers pulling apart a pair of pants.

Seems to be one of smaller brand from the early 1900s.

Posted By: the bandanna almanac
Date Posted: 05 Jun 2014 at 7:25pm
I think almost every railroad depot had a factory making overalls, different brands all over the place. 

Posted By: *lefty*
Date Posted: 09 Jun 2014 at 9:22pm
looks like vintage hollows to me

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Posted By: hollywoodisgood
Date Posted: 19 Jul 2014 at 6:41pm
Does anyone know when the first red wing iron rangers where made? Before 1910-20?

Posted By: *lefty*
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2015 at 10:26pm
My offer was just accepted for this on ebay. It seems like the perfect lapel/pocket ornament and, like most db fetish items will have that interior detail that will only be known to a few. 

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Posted By: hollows
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2015 at 10:34pm
That is a VERY good find.  Some jealousy here.

I make things out of" rel="nofollow - leather .

Posted By: *lefty*
Date Posted: 05 Mar 2015 at 11:13am
things I bought and learned about today - see the tumblr for more

bandit before bandit

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Posted By: attackwithstones
Date Posted: 05 Mar 2015 at 11:28am

If your collecting CCC stuff, I think I have a pocket knife you would be into.

Sell me your Mister Freedom stuff. :)

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 06 Sep 2017 at 10:26am
List of clothing mfgs from 1905 - Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
A lot of overalls, duck pants... etc

Posted By: Nonriveted
Date Posted: 06 Sep 2017 at 11:52am
Wow, that's great....very interesting

Posted By: Joseph Hill
Date Posted: 07 Sep 2017 at 8:21am
Man, I REALLY want a pair of Dinklespiels!

My coat has nine buttons, but I always fascinate.

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 10:37am
Interesting passage from Ten Years A Cowboy by Tex Bender, 1884:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 5:49pm
California rivet overalls in Las Vegas Daily Gazette Jul 15, 1881:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 5:50pm
San Fran mfgs, 1909:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 5:52pm
Overalls pricing w/description from General Convention, Baltimore  Aug 18, 1901:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2017 at 9:36am
Description of Levi tag from Harpers Bazaar December 1892:

Posted By: Ol' Roy
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2017 at 11:01am
Really fascinating stuff, Buler, particularly the passage from 'Ten Years a Cowboy'. 

Thank you for posting so generously! 

Instagram: @roy_arthur

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2017 at 11:23am
Thanks, Ol' Roy.
Levi Strauss legal details from Printers Ink Oct 1, 1914:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2017 at 9:33am
Possible reference to the Greenebaum strengthening patent in this ad from The Springfield Globe, Ohio, Jul 11, 1885:
"Brown Duck Overall with single pocket, with leather pocket stays, seven buttons and strap and buckle 26c."

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2017 at 9:44am
Ad for Champion brand (Elfelt) from the Vancouver Independent, Washington, July 19th, 1877:
Ad for Champion and Pioneer brand overalls (A.B. Elfelt) in the Mineral Argus, Montana, July 22, 1886:

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2017 at 7:07pm
Elfelt newspaper article, The Vancouver Independent, Washington, July 12th, 1877:

Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2018 at 5:51pm
Picked up some old ads, if anyone wants clearer shots of these I can take some non-bokeh photos later:

First one is for Big Yank flannels and a shirt jacket, from the Farm Journal, 1925:

Pretty humorous; the flannel has an interesting double elbow that unfortunately never shows up clearly. Here's the shirt-jacket:

Another Reliance Mfg Co., this time for the Big Yank Cig Pocket shirt; I'd have to look again, I think this is from Popular Mechanics. It's listed as 1930 but there's no date on it:

Last but not least, a couple pages from Popular Mechanics, I think, this time from 1919 for a Signal wabash polka dot, detachable cub collar shirt. I'm a big fan of the front placket and it's lack of any bartacking or horizontal stitching at the bottom, pretty elegant:

Two shirts in one:

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Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2018 at 6:07am
Some patents you may find interesting. You'll have to look them up to read the text description.

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Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 11 Mar 2019 at 5:12am
Great stuff, Buler!

Here's today's find; Sears Roebuck catalog, 1910:

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Posted By: denimsince65
Date Posted: 11 Mar 2019 at 7:10am
Good stuff! Thanks for upping


Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2019 at 10:35pm
I made a blog post recently giving a brief overview of work shirts from 1900 to 1930, especially my favorite styles and including clippings from my collection and what I've managed to find in online scans of catalogs and newspapers; I would copy-paste it here but it's formatting strangely, so here's a link instead:" rel="nofollow -

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Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2019 at 11:17pm
Very nice little write up lron horse, must have taken a while to collate. Great to see passion and interest in this (fairly) unique area.
And l always wondered about those little cut outs on work shirts and chore coats.
Thanks for the education.

Posted By: Duke
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 12:09am
Looking forward to the next instalment Bryan

I don't swim. I can swim. I just don't have much cause to do so in the normal run of things.

Posted By: HP Sauce
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 5:19am
Having spent most of this winter locked inside stitching up clothing, I took a real delight in reading your blog post, Iron Horse. So much attention to building in a long lifespan.

I love how when you know what went into the making of a garment, you can more easily spot the cleverness of design decisions. Sort of like a pleasant version of donning the sunglasses in John Carpenter's They Live...

HP Sauce

Posted By: bartlebyyphonics
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 9:51am
thanks for sharing that research IH!

Posted By: BlueTrain
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 2:03pm
The stories about the early 20th century work shirts is fascinating. It is surprising that black sateen was one of the fabrics offered for work shirts.
Even quite early, army surplus uniforms, shirts especially, were being worn by workers and I have a photo (which I can't reproduce) of an uncle wearing both an army OD flannel shirt and breeches, worn with wrap leggings. Also, back when getting the Sears catalog was a major household event in the 1950s, I recall that Sears (and Wards and Penny's) had lots of work clothes and in different grades, too.

Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 21 Mar 2019 at 3:24pm
Thanks guys; BlueTrain, looking back through so many catalogs, photos, etc. has given me an itching to get a pair of breeches. Dunno if they’ll suit me though!

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Posted By: BlueTrain
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2019 at 3:09am
I mentioned somewhere else that I'd really like to find a pair of Filson breeches--in my size. I doubt they have made them since the 1940s, though. I have seen one pair years ago on eBay, which naturally weren't in my size. They weren't cheap, either. Curiously, I have seen a lot of heavy wool Woolrich breeches, all in that red plaid pattern.
I have tried on WWII army khaki breeches and they were much too tight through the knees, at least for "foot breeches." I probably wouldn't have the nerve to wear them in public anyway.

Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 24 Mar 2019 at 7:20pm
Blue, the Filson ones were really nice; here's a pair that sold already over at Cocky Crew Store:" rel="nofollow -

I like how they're more tapered at the thighs than many riding or dual-purpose riding/working breeches were. That sort of officer/riding look is a bit too costumey for me to wear in public. Some of the Freewheelers breeches are also quite tapered/straight at the thighs and lack the billowiness. 

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Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2019 at 8:54pm
The sequel to my previous blog post is up; this time focusing just on the 1930s:" rel="nofollow -

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Posted By: killer b
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 2:11am
I've picked up some nice waxed cotton and wanted to make a jacket out of it - anyone got any idea where I'd get a pattern for a simple chore coat or french workers jacket type thing?

Posted By: buler
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 6:17am
Originally posted by killer b killer b wrote:

I've picked up some nice waxed cotton and wanted to make a jacket out of it - anyone got any idea where I'd get a pattern for a simple chore coat or french workers jacket type thing?

Try searching "American Tailor and Cutter" in google books. Those issues have patterns in them. You may find a coat pattern.


Posted By: BlueTrain
Date Posted: 03 Jul 2019 at 1:02pm
Thanks for posting the link to the Filson breeches. Riding breeches worn with boots around 1900 did not have that large flare that came into style sometime after WWI, although I think officer's breeches in WWI had more flare than the issue ones for the men. Civilian styles actually meant for riding were apparently quite wide in the thigh in the late 30s and 40s. But breeches were also commonly worn as work and outing garments during that period, usually narrower in the thigh. Today, of course, they have no flare at all.
Regarding the large number of manufacturers of work clothes in the past, somewhere I ran across a business directory for West Virginia from a long time ago (don't remember precisely), perhaps the teens or twenties. Again, there were a surprising number of woolen mills listed, with the number of employees given. Don't remember any garment factories but it's been a while since I saw that directory, which was reproduced in its entirety. But I think a similar directory from more recent years up through around 1990 would have been surprising, too. However, nearly all the businesses listed were fairly small.
I think I may have been trying to find information on the laundry and dry cleaning plant in my hometown, where my father worked. It was the second largest business in town with dozens of employees at one time. That was before wash and wear. The largest employer in town was the Virginian Railroad shops, which employed about 1,000 men and possibly three or four women. The operation was moved in the 1970s, which devastated the town.

Posted By: BlueTrain
Date Posted: 03 Jul 2019 at 1:38pm
I found my reference for West Virginia businesses. It was published for the years 1919/1920. Child labor laws were just passed in 1919.
The state was surprisingly industrialized then, at least in places. The larges employers were railroads, followed by steel, glass, chemicals and probably lumber. There were still business making harnesses and saddles, ice, and gas lights and there were bottling plants everywhere. The report runs to 99 pages but half the report is a listing of businesses with violations in detail, including underage employees. Martinsburg had a large factory that made socks under the Interwoven brand, with about 1,000 employees in 1920. There were labor troubles in the 1930s and 1940s. The operation closed in 1976. And that was the end of that.

Posted By: bartlebyyphonics
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2019 at 2:43am
given the pruning of the vintage overall thread, wondering if best to put this here rather than start a new one...

a follow up to finding a nice denim oshkosh b'gosh strap-back pair last year (perhaps from 50s)...

[couple of pix here, with union tag of AFL - dating to pre-55 I realise]" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

... found what seems to be a fairly old hickory stripe vestbak... [in the back of a vintage store, they hadn't tagged / priced it yet, I whisked it out of there asap... smelt like it had been near some pretty nasty chemicals in its time...]

searching the internet seems pretty fruitless for dating it (vestbak as a term brings up the multitude of baby-wear the company has been concentrating on since the 90s...) but sharing it nonetheless...

the only dating factor I can think of is hardware and the union-made tag in the bag left pocket [which to my minimal knowledge places it between 1955 (when AFL and CIO merged) and when oshkosh stopped making adult clothes; some time in the 90s]; anyone have any idea about to look further on tags? finding some things on AFL-CIO tags but not specific to oshkosh...

anyway; pics, stitching, hardware, fit, etc. etc." rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">" rel="nofollow">

Posted By: BlueTrain
Date Posted: 26 Oct 2019 at 3:24am
Do you suppose there are people who won't buy something if it displays a "union-made" label?

Posted By: Iron Horse
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 8:50pm
Testing the image function again with this Big Yank matchbook I just got:

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Posted By: bartlebyyphonics
Date Posted: 14 Nov 2019 at 4:01am
spatula for me pls!

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