Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Original Sneakers

Below is an original pair of Ked sneakers made circa 1917.

These are the great-great granddaddy, the Adam and Eve, the Quark of the modern sneakers, running shoes and basketball shoes most of us wear everyday.

This is where it all began for Sneakers.
click photos to enlarge
The U.S. Rubber Company created the Keds shoe brand in the early 20th century. By 1917 Keds was manufacturing and selling the very first rubber soled canvas shoes which they called "sneakers" because of the way they allowed the wearer to sneak around unheard.

The bottom of the soles read:

"U.S. Rubber Co.
Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.
Champion U.S.A."

The Edwardian appearance as well as the primitive but quality construction of these sneakers points to them being some of the first sneakers ever created. This is a rare find, especially in such good condition and with matching shoes.

They are, however, a very small size 6. For a young boy, no doubt. An oddity of childhood at the time.

Next time you slip on a pair of sneakers or running shoes, remember the original Keds sneakers and think of how far things have come and how much things have changed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I found quite a bit of stuff during my recent travels, which I'll show in upcoming posts.

How about 34 ties?

click photos to enlarge

Most are from the 1930s or before in varying condition. There are some very neat ones in there.

Here are some of the more interesting ones.

Two things about this tie: (1.)Fruit of the Loom didn't just make underoos and (2.) it's pink!

Bovis was a high quality tie manufacturer. Love the colors of this one.

A National Recovery Administration (NRA) tie from 1933-1935. It's lined, which is a bit strange for a '30s tie.

This tie is made of somewhat rare "sandpaper" fabric. Needs a good wash.
Who said the 1930s weren't colorful?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Like a Bandit

It's been a while since I showed off what I've horded in recent weeks. I didn't pay more than $12 than an single item shown below. So let's get to it.

The two suit jacket below were found at one Goodwill store along with several ties.

This first jacket comes from 1933-1935. How do I know this? It has an NRA tag (not the NRA you're thinking but rather the National Recovery Administration). The NRA existed from 1933 to 1935 when it was declared unconstitutional. This is my first NRA jacket and makes for an interesting piece of history.
click photos to enlarge
The second jacket is from the early to mid-1940s with some nice shape and great pinstripes. It fits me perfectly but unfortunately it has a big moth hole in the back.
Look at that lapel roll!
I had no idea what this next item was when I first saw it. This weirdness along with the cheap price had me sold.

It has no pockets, no lining, is made of suprisingly lightweight material, has one single faded tag and looks to be homemade but is well constructed. "Simon" is written on the inside collar. Looks like an old time frock coat or even a "Jazz Suit" but it is neither of those.
It is pretty old and the construction shows it.
Check out the beautiful houndstooth fabric pattern:
I've come to the conclusion that this frock-ish coat was made as a theatrical piece roughly 50 to 60 years ago. A vaudeville piece, perhaps.
And lastly for this post are these vintage shoes from the 1940s or 1950s. They are my first pair of vintage shoes and are size 13 narrow. Here they are before a good shine.
The leather uppers are nearly unworn though the soles are have seen more wear, especially the leather part.
More on the way.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Firearms: the Hi-point 995 9mm carbine

Once again we take a short break from sartorial excellence to examine a firearm: the Hi-point 9mm carbine (also available in .40 caliber and eventually .45 caliber).

Before we start let us remember the four basic safety rules of gun handling:
1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded, even when it is not.
2. Keep your booger hook off of the bang switch (keep your finger off of the trigger) until you are ready to fire.
3. Don't point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
4. Know your target and what is beyond it.

Alrighty then, onto the 9mm carbine. These fun little guns are cheap to buy and cheap to shoot. At roughly $200 each, the 995 carbine is the poor man's AR-15. Feeding the little beast is relatively cheap with 100 rounds of 9mm Luger costing roughly $20 (or $.20 each) at the moment, that is if you can find it.

The 995 is by no means a long distance shooter and has average penetration performance when compared to other calibers, especially high-power rifle rounds. But in the role of home defense the little 995 excels. The 9mm Luger round is less likely to over penetrate the target or walls than, say, a 5.56 round fired from an AR-15.
Also, the short length of the 995 makes it ideal for close quarters movement and shooting like that seen in home defense. But perhaps the best thing about the little 995 is the ability of the shooter to customize it to his/her own need or desire.

Check out the 995 below:
click photos to enlarge
It has been altered to accept a low power scope (shown) or non-magnified reddot sight for fast target engagement and a quick detach bipod for stablized distance shooting.

Here I am firing said 995 with a reddot sight replacing the scope.

I would load one 10 round magazine up with 4 rounds and the other with 2. Then, with the 4 rounder in the gun I would fire two double taps and, while moving to a new position, eject the empty mag and load the 2 round mag into the gun before firing another double tap.
I did several different variations of this drill. The carbine was quick to dump the empty mag and easy to load a fresh one. With the red dot sight all I had to do was point and click and a hole would appear where the dot was at.

Perfect accuracy at 25 yards.

Next I replaced the red dot with the scope and deployed the bipod. The scope is a Wally World special but is a decent scope for my purposes. After getting it sighted in at 50 yards I set up four clay pigeons on the 50 yard board and loaded four rounds into a mag, one round for each target.

A challenge of sorts: four shots, four kills.

After getting settled in I let the four rounds fly.

The result? Four dead targets.
The Hi-point carbine is a surprisingly accurate and reliable gun that is cheap enough for most anyone to buy. It is easy and comfortable to use even for a lefty like myself and the light recoil of the 9mm round won't scare off beginners.
Be aware that Hi-point has finally recently come out with a new 'tactical' stock that is more stable than the original and comes with a built-in recoil pad, a last shot hold open feature, more rails for mounting lights, foregrips, lasers, sights and even a mini-bayonet.
Or if you want something a little sleeker a company called ATI sells a nifty stock that looks like it's out of a sci-fi movie. But I like the ugly utilitarian look of the original stock shown in the pictures above.
Whether you are an avid shooter or just a beginner the Hi-point 995 9mm carbine is the perfect plinking gun and even home defense weapon on the cheap: reliable, accurate, customizable and cheap to purchase and feed. What more could you want?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1940 Mont. Ward Spring Summer Suits, Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Note the very shapely tweed (in Spring!) jacket on the left paired with what could be wool or even gabardine trousers of a slightly different shade. The green is very sharp. Also note the "pinched" front of the green jacket, a short-lived fad that was meant to give the jacket more shape and one that died out with the American entry into the Second World War. A pair of spectator shoes finishes the look.

click to enlarge
The jacket on the right is well proportioned with a belted and pinched back.

click to enlarge

Monday, June 8, 2009

WIW- the '50s

An early '50s suit I've never worn before. I picked it up at a junk shop for $3. The jacket fit fine but the trousers needed some altering, specifically the waist taken in an inch and the cuffs sacrificed for length plus the addition of faux cuffs.

click to enlarge
This is what I would consider the stereotypical and my 'perfect' early '50s suit: single breasted, iridescent medium blue gabardine fabric, patch pockets and very high waisted trousers with a Hollywood waist (no waistband).

I'm not a huge fan of the "Bold Look", especially in double breasted (something about the low button stance and boxy look of the Bold Look double breasted turns me off), but a single breasted Bold Look suit like this tickles my fancy.

The photo below shows the true color.
click to enlarge

The hat is an early '50s Royal Stetson and the tie is Bold Look era as well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

1940 Mont. Ward Spring/Summer Suits, Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

The numberous style choices out of one company were amazing. Plain back, sports back, double breasted, single breasted, the rainbow of colors and fabrics...
click to enlarge

Monday, June 1, 2009

WIW Sunday

The two tone French-cuffed shirt once again busts out of the closet and makes an appearance.

The hat is a Mallory 'Nockabout' from the late 1930s I would estimate. It's a summer weight hat without a liner and made of some of the finest and softest felt I've seen.

click to enlarge

Nothing like giving people seizures with my tie.

The lucky horse tie clasp is from the late 1940s and was given to me by my sister.


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