Thursday, May 31, 2012

1886 C.B. Cones' Son & Co. Letters

Two 1886 letters from C.B. Cones' Son & Company to Eagle & Phenix Manufacturing Company. In both letters, it appears C.B. Cones' Son & Co. was having problems with Eagle & Phenix shipping. 

C.B. Cones' Son & Co, was established in 1879 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was one of the earliest users of the Union Label.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1903 Our Own Manufacturing Company Billhead

Yesterday I posted an advertising envelope from Our Own Manufacturing Company in New York. Today I follow that up with the same company's billhead from 1903. Here you can get a much better look at what the graphic on the envelope is. If you live in New York City or are planning a visit, Our Own was located on Broadway between Canal Street and Howard Street.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Late 1890s Our Own Overalls Advertising Envelope

Great advertising envelope from Our Own Manufacturing Company in New York City. While other companies had offices in the city, this was one of only a few companies to operate out of New York City. The cover is postmarked, but it is hard to make out a definite date. The stamp used on the envelope looks like a Scott #279B which was issued in 1897.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

1924 American Overalls Advertising Cover

In honor of Memorial Day, I have decided to post an American Overalls advertising cover postmarked March 1, 1924 from San Antonio, Texas.  American Overalls were manufactured by the American Overalls Company in San Antonio, Texas. The brand was established in 1907.

Friday, May 25, 2012

1930s Hamilton Carhartt Factory Postcard

1930s linen postcard show the Hamilton Carhartt factory, a.k.a. "Carhartt Park," in Sweet Lick, Kentucky. The card has a one cent stamp on the back but was never mailed. Other than being a piece of Carhartt ephemera, there's a couple of other things I found interesting about the card. First, being a graphic designer, I always notice stupid design flaws like the how the center line of type at the top of the card is crooked. The next thing I noticed was the mention of the Back-to-the-Land Movement on the front and back of the card. The back of the card also mentions decentralizing industries. I've seen this card on so many occasions, but never really stopped to noticed the political statements on it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Round House Overalls Flasher

Round House Bib Overalls pocket flasher from around 1978. I know it's pretty new compared to all the other stuff I've posted, but it's still workwear ephemera. I was pretty surprised that Round House is still in business. The brand was established in 1903 in Shawnee, Oklahoma by the Shawnee Garment Manufacturing Company. The name Round House comes from the shape of the railroad repair station in Shawnee which is pictured below.

From the Round House website
Round House has a pretty good history section on their website that's filled with images. You can check it out by going to the link below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guess The Stitches In Levi's Britches

Interesting contest card from Levi's. Customers had to guess the number of stitches in the big cowboy's jeans. Not really sure of the exact date on this piece. The front shows a copyright date of 1927. I believe this image was just used as advertising because the elements on the back date to post 1927. Levi Strauss didn't introduce the Levi's trademark until 1928 and the cowboy really didn't make an appearance until the 1930s. I've seen several guess the stitches ads from the 1960s but they use a more cartoony cowboy. My best guess on this would be from the mid 1940s to early 1950s. This is because when you look at the consumer's address space on the back it has a space for Zone. This refers to postal zone which came into play in 1943 after so many postal workers went to war and newer postal employees had difficulty sorting mail. It was later replaced by the present day ZIP code. If anyone knows the date of this contest, please send me a message.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Railroad Crew Cabinet Photo

Unidentified/undated cabinet photo showing a railroad crew with some great workwear.

Monday, May 21, 2012

1895 Robitshek & Frank, Great Western Overalls, Billhead

Nice illustrated billhead from Robitshek & Frank dated May 23, 1895. The company, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was founded by Joseph Robitshek and Max Frank in 1894. They were the producer of the "Great Western" pants, shirts and overalls. In 1900 the company became Robitshek, Frank and Heller after Aaron Heller joined the company.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Great Day in Denim History

I don't usually post on the weekend, however today marks a great day in denim history.
On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world's most famous garments: blue jeans.
Born Loeb Strauss in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in 1829, the young Strauss immigrated to New York with his family in 1847 after the death of his father. By 1850, Loeb had changed his name to Levi and was working in the family dry goods business, J. Strauss Brother & Co. In early 1853, Levi Strauss went west to seek his fortune during the heady days of the Gold Rush.
In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family's firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco.
Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss' regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points--at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly--to make them stronger. As Davis didn't have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings"--the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them--was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.
Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for "waist overalls," as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501 brand jean--known until 1890 as "XX"--was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi's denim waist overalls were the top-selling men's work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn by men and women, young and old, around the world.

Levi Strauss

Jacob Davis

The main text for this post was taken from

Friday, May 18, 2012

WWII Homefront Workers Photos

This is a lot of five photos that I picked up several years ago. Great images of WWII homefront workers. Lots of nice workwear. My favorite photo is the one picturing all the female workers. Real Rosie the Riveters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Collectors Weekly Talks About WorkClothes Buttons

The website Collectors Weekly has a small piece on work clothes buttons. The link is below.

!880s Trade Card featuring The Empire Overalls

1880s trade card with an ad for The Alden Fruit Vinegar on the front and an awesome ad for The Empire Pantaloons, Overalls, Vests and Jackets on the back. The Empire was produced by John F. Eagan and Company in Wappingers Falls, New York. For more info. on Eagan and his company, check out the link to Your Old Pal, Jim below.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Railroad Crew Cabinet Photo

Unidentified and undated railroad crew cabinet photo. Love the guy on top of the train in his shooting pose.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rider-Wallis White Elephant Trade Card

Trade card advertising White Elephant Overalls, Pants, Shirts, Jackets and Coats. White Elephant was produced by the Rider-Wallis Company in Dubuque, Iowa. For some other Rider-Wallis ephemera and company info, check out the Encyclopedia Dubuque link below

Rider-Wallis White Elephant Shirt Label from Encyclopedia Dubuque

Friday, May 11, 2012

1918-1919 Headlight Overalls Railroad Time Book

1918-1919 Headlight Overalls Railroad Time Book. Headlight was produced by the Larned, Carter and Company in Detroit, Michigan. The original owner of this book used it in 1920-1921. I love the antidote for opium.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Workingmen! Insist Upon the Union Label

Early 1900s Gold Medal Overalls Advertising Postcard

Early 1900s advertising postcard for Gold Medal Overalls manufactured by the Theo. A. White Manufacturing Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A quick search around the web didn't produce to much information on this company other than they did use the union label in their garments and that Theodore White was the recording secretary for The Association of Union Made Garment Manufacturers in 1905. I like that this card has a Union Made stamp on it. I wonder if this was added after the company joined the Union?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Circa 1880s Sweet, Orr & Company Trade Card by Forbes Litho Co.

Great Sweet, Orr & Company trade card printed by the Forbes Company in Boston. There is no date on the card, but I would put it somewhere in the 1880s.  The Forbes Company has a history as detailed as Sweet, Orr does. They operated from 1862 to around 1968. For a detailed history of the company check out this link

The below image is from

Open For Business

After having to take the week off to watch my son Zac, we're back in business. If you're a father and you've never spent a week with your little boy or girl, I highly recommend it. Even though it can be exhausting, the bonding will speak volumes. Thanks Zac.