The Eveready Sportsman’s Hand Book, Circa 1914

Never judge a booklet by its cover, I say.  Attracted by the woman in her middy dress, I opened this up to find some great illustrations of sportswomen, not men.

Eveready traces their roots to 1896, but the company was not called Eveready until 1914.  They had obtained the patent for the flashlight which they produced along with the batteries to power them.

Click to enlarge

This little promotional booklet really does have hints for the sportsperson, but the best parts are the illustrations along with poems that describe each scenario.  The “girl” in each is holding and using her Eveready to help her in her quest for sport and health.  Note that the Sight-Seeing Girl seems to be in charge of the tour of the ancient ruins.

 

The Motor Boat Girl needs no headlamp as long as she has her Eveready handy.

The Hunting Girl is not afraid because she is fully equipped with her flashlight. Of course toting a firearm might add to the secure feeling as well.

Night fishing, anyone?

And of course The Camping Girl is in charge of the cooking pot.

The Motoring Girl is most useful when holding the Eveready for the man who can fix her motorcar. And note the hint of Motoring Girl’s reckless driving!

 

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Vintage Miscellany – August 31, 2014

This photo is labeled “Mary & Tante Adafine Hartmann” so along with the wicker beach chair, I think this is probably German.  The beach chair was much more common in Europe than in the USA.  I’ve got to ask you European readers, do you ever see these for sale?

Mary’s white hat and shoes signal that this is probably late spring or summer, but it might serve as a reminder that with a little creative dressing, beach days can extend into the fall, especially here in the South.  September is especially nice, as it is still warm but all the kids are back in school and so the beaches are less crowded, and less noisy.

*  So, what’s the deal with Labor Day and wearing white?  Thanks to Brooke for the link.

*  And I guess I ought to just go ahead and get the issue of the President’s tan suit out of the way.  It used to be that we thought only the dress of women politicians was scrutinized.  No more; we are now a country of equal opportunity scrutinizers.

*  Levi’s made a custom denim tuxedo for Bing Crosby, and his niece is on a quest to find it.

*   Madison Avenue Fashion Heritage Week is a real thing, and will be October 20 through 26, 2014.  The windows of sixteen fashion houses will be turned over to the history of each one during the week.  I love this idea.

*   In “Sign of the Times,” Cathy Horyn discusses the trend toward wearability  in high fashion.  I really can’t see it as a totally bad trend.

*   “The Secret Life of Your Clothes” is an interesting video about how donated clothes end up in Africa and the effect they have on the African clothing industry.

*   Since many of the fast fashion chain designers are so obviously cultural nincompoops, they surely must start hiring history majors who will be able to explain why certain designs might not be a good idea.

*   The ALS ice challenge seems to have its course.  I  appreciate the millions of dollars it generated for research for this puzzling disease, a disease that claimed the life of one of my father’s brothers.  It’s great that something that went viral has actually has a good effect.

I didn’t do the ice challenge, but I did write a check, and another one for my local animal rescue group.  Then I sat with a glass full of ice and oj and cherry vodka.  That’s my kind of ice challenge.  I did really enjoy some of the ice bucket madness, but seeing Anna Wintour’s bob take a hit was the highlight for me.

 

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Mademoiselle, June, 1941

Even though this is the cover of a June issue, the photo reminds me more of this time of year.  The stores and magazines are now full of clothes for cold weather, but here in the South there will be at least another month of warm weather.  Women in the South (and the southern parts of the West) have long known to transition to autumn clothing slowly.  Put away the whites and the light pastels and rely on warm, golden colors in cottons.  Add a sweater on chilly mornings.  The coats won’t really come out of the closets until late November.

I finally had a chance to sit down and thumb through the massive Vogue September issue.  At 856 pages, this issue fell short of the 916 page record, but still it is heavy and bulky and full of things to buy.  It is another season of asking who in their right mind would wear a certain shoe, in this case a particularly ugly Dior model that looks like three different shoes were thrown into a blender and mishmashed together.

And while I didn’t sit and count the pages, it sure seems to me that most of the big fashion houses are really in the business of selling accessories.  For the most part, the shoes look ugly and difficult to wear, whereas handbags are generally sleeker and not as tricked out as in previous seasons.

But the only company whose ads really made me wish I had thousands to spend was Louis Vuitton.  The clothes have a nice uncluttered mod vibe, and there is a little handbag that is like a miniature Vuitton trunk.  There is also an article about the new designer at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere.

Like I said, living in the South means that our clothes are lighter.  I have several coats, all vintage, none of which I wear more than a handful of times each season.  Maybe that is why I find the over-abundance of fur in Vogue so odd.  There were three editorial features on coats, and the majority of the ones shown were either made from fur or trimmed with it.  And many of the other features also had furs.  I don’t get the emphasis on a product that many women can’t wear because of their climate, and that many will not wear because they feel wearing fur is wrong.

UPDATE:

I decided to add a photo of the ugly Dior shoes, taken from one of the many Dior ads in the Vogue September issue.  The pink part is actually molded rubber, like the sole of an athletic shoe, and the name “Dior” is embossed there near the heel.  Note also that the very tip of the black part is red, which extends under that cute little over-hang.  In some photos it looks like a tongue.  And finally, I do hope that heel is steel reinforced, as I can see that really narrow part snapping right off.

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Shopping with The Vintage Traveler

I recently did a bit of shopping in northern South Carolina, in the Greenville area.   There are several very nice antique malls in the area, and there was quite a bit that I saw and liked but did not buy.

First up is a salesman’s case from Ferris Woolen Company.  Dated 1939 – 1940, I really liked the graphics.  I already have one from the early 1920s, which I’ve written about in the past.

Isn’t this old croquet box the best?

Had this been a Scottie, I’d probably have had to buy it.  Still, this little child’s wheelbarrow was pretty special.

This calendar is from 1958.  Now I’ve decided that I must have a hat that holds golf tees.

In hindsight, I probably should have bought this zipper display and zippers.  I love metal Talons, and pick them up to use.  These were odd colors so I passed on them.

For Zest and Fun, Drink B-1.  It’s full of vitamins, you know.

Who doesn’t need a Likker Lugger?

This great little sailor man pin shows us how to wear a striped tee.  I love the details, including the diagonal pocket.

I’ve been thinking more and more about getting an old sewing stand.  I’m telling myself it will eliminate some clutter.

This is a sorry photo of a really fantastic hat.  It was really lovely, and it had a great label to boot.

In my part of the world, Pappagallos were THE shoe of the mid 1960s.  Even the lining is cute.

This late 1910s dress had some damage, but the fabric was really terrific.  Those dots are not printed, they are woven.  It was simply a fantastic textile.

The snowsuit of doom, but how about those mittens?

I loved this advertising poster so much. I mean, really, really loved it.

So, did I mess up by leaving these great things unbought?

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Ad Campaign – Cohama Fabrics, 1947

Today’s post is a rerun from over two years ago.  I recently ran across this and decided to share it with all who missed it the first time around.

I suppose I ought to have a category titled, “Things I didn’t know,”  because that is where this entry would have to be placed.  Or it could go under “Things I learned while looking for something else,”  or even, “Things I should have noticed before but did not.”

While looking through my collection of American Fabrics magazines, the above ad caught my eye. It tells how fabric maker Cohama maintained the Cohama Hand-Looming Workshop,  a place where the fabric designers could experiment with their ideas before committing to large runs on the mechanized looms. I thought that this was a pretty neat idea, and gave Cohama some silent brownie points for such a practical solution to what can be a costly problem.

But it turns out that Cohana was not the only wool manufacturer who relied on the hand loom to try out the new ideas of the designers.

In the Fall 1949 issue of American Fabrics there is a small article, “Ideas Tailored on a Moment’s Notice”, in which they show the hand weaving operation at Forstmann Woolen Company.  Called the Provincial Designing Room, it was under the direction of Miss Margaret Swanson, and employed two hand looms on which weavers would interpret the ideas of designers working for clothing manufacturers. The designer could watch the fabric develop, and make changes if necessary. After the designer was satisfied with the sample, it would be processed by the mechanized looms.

I love the quaintness of the Provincial Designing Room!  In the photo above Miss Swanson is working with Ellen Brooke of Glenhunt (a suit and coat maker) and a hand weaver to develop the fabric to Miss Brooke’s satisfaction.

Brooke and Swanson, looking at how the newly developed fabric cuts and drapes.

The hand weaver, Alice Berman, making the sample worked out by Swanson and Brooke.

A swatch of the handwoven sample

And where the run of fabric will eventually be made, on the fully automated looms at Forestmann.

All illustrations are from the Fall 1949 issue of American  Fabrics and are copyright Reporter Publications, Inc.

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Novelty Print Skirt – An Alpine Holiday

About ten years ago I really began to love 1950s novelty prints, and especially the many border prints that were made mainly for full gathered skirts.  I was really drawn to the designs that were labeled in the selvage as “A Regulated Cotton – Never Misbehaves”.  As it turned out, these prints were designed by artist Saul Steinberg, who is probably best remembered today for his covers for The New Yorker.

The prints in this series were also named.  A favorite seemed to be “Tin Horn Holiday” which has a sort of Old West meets Vegas theme.  There is also “Oasis” which is an Arabian Nights type of scene and “Paddington Station” with trains in the station.  There are others for which I do not know the name such as a scene of the interior of an opera house, an English foz hunt,  and a roller coaster ride.  Unfortunately the selvages were often cut off in the making of the skirt of dress.

But the good news is that the prints are so distinctive that they are fairly easy to recognize.  There seems to be a standard formula that that Steinberg, or maybe the company designers who adapted his work, used.  First, Steinberg drew in a certain style, using a variety of line thicknesses, from very thick to very thin.  The hem edge always has a coordinating border, as you see in the hearts and birds border of this print.  There is a background that usually goes to the top edge of the fabric.  In this case the background is the Alpine landscape.

Steinberg did not sign these prints because he had an exclusive contract with another fabric company to design home furnishing fabrics.  I’m not sure how many prints Steinberg did for A Regulated Cotton, but they all seem to be loosely based around the theme of travel and leisure activities.  Recently I’ve seen several that I’d never seen before, including this new one.

I rarely buy novelty print skirts any more because they have become extremely popular, and so the prices have risen beyond what I want to pay for them.  But this one was so great, and the price so reasonable that I decided to add it to the collection.  It came from Amy at Viva Vintage Clothing, one of my favorite online shops.

I need help naming this one.  I name all my novelty skirts for a movie or book that the print seems to suggest.  I thought about Heidi, and it also reminds me of the “Lonely Goatherd” puppet show in The Sound of Music.  Any other suggestions?

 

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Back to School

If you’ve read my “About” page, you know that I spent twenty-eight years in an elementary school classroom.  Recently I’ve been having dreams about teaching – dreams that are not necessarily pleasant.  The children are either unruly, or there are a hundred of them packed into a room designed for twenty-five.  Or I forgot to get dressed that morning and spend the day looking for something – anything – to cover myself.  It happens every late summer as soon as the “Back-to-School” banners start appearing in stores.

Scary dreams aside, I loved teaching, otherwise I’d never have spent twenty-eight years doing it. But when it came time to retire, I delightedly passed my plan book and 437 apple figurines on to the next teacher to occupy my classroom. The photo above was taken for the yearbook as my “retirement portrait.” I don’t think they used that one, though.

Even though I’ve been retired for nine years, people still ask if I miss teaching. My answer is generally, “No,” but there are times when I realize there is nothing like a good captive audience to make your thoughts and opinions seem important. I miss that, but then I do occasionally turn to this blog to do a bit of teaching, and preaching. And so today we are going to have a little writing lesson.

One of the biggest rules for writing is to write for your audience.  In the case of my fifth graders, I was most often their audience. I stressed to them that they had to write in a manner that allowed them to correctly communicate their thoughts to me, and in order to do so trendy slang was not permitted.  I felt like I was doing them a big favor in not allowing “words” like gnarly (1980s) or phat (1990s) to be used in their writing.  And it’s not just that those words sound dated today, it also helped some of them develop a habit that would help them if they had to do more formal writing in high school and college.

Today I’d be banning terms like cray-cray and amazeballs and dope and totes and fail (used as a noun).  I see these “words” on social media all the time, and I realize there is a need to look cool (one of the few trendy slang words that has endured, being popular in the 1940s)  but slang changes so quickly that one runs the danger of sounding dated.  Who could have been cooler in 1969 than Arlo Guthrie”

“Far out , man… Like I was rapping to the fuzz. Right, can you dig it?”

Believe me, by 1971 that just sounded weird.

Write for your audience. Remember that if you are writing on the internet, you have a multi-generational audience.  You also have an international one. Many struggle to read standard English, much less English that is sprinkled with slang that changes as soon as a celebrity uses a word in a cutsie way and everyone rushes to copy.

If you find that you are guilty of using these slang terms, don’t be offended.  As the teacher I’m here to help, not to criticize!  And, yes I do know that my own writing is not exactly textbook writing.  I’m writing to my audience, my vintage and fashion history friends, so I use a conversational voice.

I wanted to end this with a photo of me in the classroom, but the best I could do was this shot that was taken while watching the class on water safety day.  This was taken in 2000, so I want to stress that I was the person who started the whole nautical stripe trend.  And yes, I do still have and wear that striped tee.

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