I tried watching the 2016 Tour de France but lost interest after the first week. I miss the panache and personal style of cyclists from the past. Now, I can barely distinguish one game piece from the next (logos, lego shaped helmets and mirrored shades drown out the personalities of the individual riders. I much prefer the era of leather hairnets, wool jerseys, lace up cycling shoes, Campagnolo parts, and steel bike frames with pinstripe detailing around the lugs or chrome forks and seat stays. In lieu of a $29 streaming media packaging, I’m now browsing through vintage European matchstick covers from my favorite print ephemera archivist, Pillpat. Head over to her vintage matchbox and matchboxes set on flickr to pick the riders for your own personal peloton.
Browsing the Library of Congress Flickr photostream, I stumbled upon these amazing images of female Farmerettes, first participants in the Women’s Land Army of America. Further research revealed that from 1917-1919 these women supported the war effort by filling the agricultural labor gap at home. According to this fascinating article in the Smithsonian: “Most of these women had never before worked on a farm, but they were soon plowing fields, driving tractors, planting and harvesting. The Land Army’s ‘farmerettes’ were paid wages equal to male farm laborers and were protected by an eight-hour workday. For many, the farmerettes were shocking at first–wearing pants!–but farmers began to rely upon the women workers.” While I’m very familiar with the iconic, coveralls and kerchief look of Rosie the Riveter, I have never seen the WWI era uniforms issued to the “Land Lassies.” What strikes me in the first photo is how close the Farmerrete’s coveralls resemble something released by FWK Engineered Garments or Nigel Cabourn.
I’ll be digging deeper to secure more visual evidence of these women and the specific of their uniforms.
Questions: who manufactured the uniforms, what were the specific uniform requirements, were the uniforms region specific, and do any sample garments remain?
Little is known about the Costică Acsinte archives. According to archives metadata, Costică Acsinte was born in Romania and worked as a photographer during WWI. After the war, he opened a commercial studio, “Foto Splendid C. Acsinte.” Ascinte was a prolific photographer; the Ascinte archives contains over 5,000 glass plate negatives, most taken between 1934-1945. What’s remarkable about the Acsinte photos is the interplay between photographic subject and surface image decay. Most of the scanned glass negatives exhibit some level of image degradation. Browsing the collection, I’m drawn to the ones which feature subject obscuring cracks and flaked emulsions or where surface noise has obscured the subject altogether. In the best examples, the imperfections creep into the story world and take up the work of jackets, clothing and hair. Cracks become patterns in fabric, black gaps in the negative substitute for facial deformities. In other examples, the decasia brings an atmospheric charm to the photos – adding life to othewise dull provincial images. Here are a few of my favorites:
From the archives – more heritage paper dolls from Pillpat featuring stylish war time aid workers, Jack and Mary.
We’ve always loved Filson’s clothing and its origin story. But what was the Yukon really like when old CC set up shop to equip the prospectors headed north? From the fantastic Design Observer blog comes a collection of photographs from an album recently sold at auction. I’m shopping from the sturdy pullover shirts, the stout jackets, and the wide-brimmed hats, although unless I’m actually prospecting I doubt such a lid would see much wear.
It may be the wrong time of year to be thinking about jackets, hunting, or hunting jackets, but we can’t help ourselves. Archival reader Burhan sent us some shots of his new-to-him Duxbak, to which he wisely added wool knit cuffs (an Archival favorite) and a few inside pockets.
My father found a great old Drybak at a Eugene garage sale. If I get wool cuffs put on, I hope to use it duck hunting this winter, but in the meantime it’s entrusted to a farrier friend‘s safekeeping. Note the heavy construction and Binghamton, NY origin – that’s our pal Matt‘s hometown.
For another odd duck hunting jacket from the archives, see Lesli’s post on her Beretta.
One of my most prized, obsolete possessions is a Beaulieu S2008 Super 8 motion picture camera. I’ve owned this camera for over twenty years without using it to shoot a single frame of film. I purchased it in the 90s from the original owner who advised me to replace the decaying battery. After costing out my options, I discovered that a replacement battery would cost more than the camera was worth. As it were, I’ve held onto the non functional camera as evidence of an era when film and motion picture cameras were designed to be both functional, durable and beautiful. In researching my own camera, I discovered all sorts of terrific print ephemera on ebay including operating manuals, lens boxes and magazine ads. I’m posting a few of my favorite examples plus hero shots of several stunning Beaulieu motion picture camera models.
From the archives, here are some exemplary snaps of classic summer picnics. What could be better than an impromptu, plein air meal in the trees, next to water or on the patio of a tent trailer. When Tom packs for a picnic, he prefers to bring along real plates, flatwear and glasses. Lynn has been shopping for Made in USA picnic supplies that add a little kick to the spread. Her recent finds include compostable wooden spoons, paper drinking straws and of course, canvas throws. Since I’m spending so many outdoor hours on my bicycle, I prefer to picnic indoors, via my screen surrogate, Doris Day, and her Sleep-Tite pajama factory colleagues. The Fosse choreographed, Once a Year Day picnic, perfectly encapsulates all the wild glee, group dancing, aspirational color blocking and mass mayhem of a first rate American picnic. A future post will address the lost of art of picnic blanket tossing.
When I was a student in Seattle, the University pool leased out woolen bathers for day use. This was 1990. I’m pretty sure the school stocked their supply from the municipal pool in Buster Keaton’s The Camerman
. If you’re shopping for your very own vintage suit, I advise that you browse the listings on ebay. A recent search produced many handsome models. My favorites are those made by the Portland, Oregon based Jantzen swimwear company. The company’s logo – a swan diving lady – is in desperate need of reissue.
Note accessory rubber bathing shoes