Category Archives: Winter Sports

Catalina Official All America Board of Football Sweater Vest, 1940s

If it were up to me, this label would read “Bored of Football” but then if everyone were like me there’d not be lots of old athletic sweaters to covet.  I’ll admit, I bought this mainly because I thought the label added a lot to the story.

As you can see, this sweater is official, of what though, I’m not entirely sure.  Googling brought up some vague references to a Board of Football helping to select the All American college players for each year.  Unfortunately, I soon got bored with the search and decided to just focus on the sweater.

Athletic letter sweaters are a fairly commonly found item.  Unfortunately, the moths often find them first, as I’ve found many that were nibbled beyond repair. There is a reason these are so common, as the letter sweater was a standard trophy for not only high school and college football players, but also for cheerleaders, basketball players, track runners and even band members.

Older athletic sweaters, before the mid 1930s or so, tend to be pullovers.  My 1936 Lowe & Campbell Athletic Goods catalog has both pullovers and cardigans, for both men and women.  They are called warm-up pullovers and coats.  Later athletic sweaters, from the late 1950s or so, are often made from acrylic yarn.


It’s such a nice hefty knit.  My color here is wrong though.  The real color is what you see in the top photo.  I obviously have not mastered the art of color balance.

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Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Winter Sports

1940s Ski Suit and Caps

If you’ve been reading The Vintage Traveler for a while, you know that I write about my new finds as I investigate them.  But today I have an item that I’ve owned for probably ten years or so.   I had this suit out so I could look at it with some new accessories, and I realized that I’d never written about it.

The suit dates from the late 1940s, while shoulders were still big.  It is made from wool gabardine.  The jacket is actually reversible, though I can’t see why anyone would wear it on the grey side when they could choose this bright red.

The pants are as streamlined as possible considering the fabric, but they are still pretty bulky.  Around the time that this set mas made, Emilio Pucci was revolutionizing ski wear by using a stretch fabric for the pants.  They were cut much closer to the body and gave a slim look to the skier.  No wonder that they were popular.

There are a lot of nice features on the suit, including zippers at every pocket.

The set was made by White Mountain Ski Wear.  I can’t tell you much about the company, but I’ve seen items with the labels on garments from as early as the 1930s, and as recent as the 1970s.

I acquired this cap, even though it was probably intended for wear by men because I have seen photos of women wearing similar hats for winter sports.

And who could resist that button?

I also recently bought this cap.  It was listed by the seller as being from the 1920s, and I can see why she thought that because of the way it fits around the face.  Is is actually a bit later, probably late 1940s.

In 1941 the  Wool Products Labeling Act was implemented in the US, and numbers were given to companies in the order of application.  #7503 was given to Schuessler Knitting Mills of Chicago, sometime in the mid 1940s.  There is a database where these numbers can be looked up, though the number does not give the year of manufacture.  It gives the year the number was issued.  Still, the WPL number is a useful bit of information because it does limit the years that an item could have been made.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Ladies’ Home Journal, February, 1949

To celebrate the first snow for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought a bit of a sledding party was in order.  I love how the mother and children are all dressed alike, right down to the half-belts on the backs of their coats.  And such an effective use of red, seen only on the caps and in their cheeks (and Mom’s lips).  


Filed under Too Marvelous for Words, Winter Sports

Ad Campaign – White Stag, 1953

Black Magic

There’s pure sorcery in the exciting colors of White Stag’s dramatic new ski jacket.  Soft pastel shades are sharply accented by jet black Zelan-treated corduroy and typically White Stag “railroad” stitching.

Wear it straight or with a black web waist cincher, or tuck it in… it’s magic!

Thanks to the US Patent and Trademark Office website, I can tell you that Zelan is a chemical compound that is applied to fabrics to make them waterproof.  It is still trademarked by du Pont – “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry”.

It’s been snowy all day, and I’m sure the local ski resorts are loving it.  Actually, I’m loving it too.  There’s just something special about the first snowfall of the year.


Filed under Ad Campaign, Winter Sports

Dressing for Winter

Snow has started across the Northern Hemisphere, and it looks like I’ll be getting a taste of it later this week.   To celebrate winter, the Weather Channel has a photo essay of winter sportswear from the past.  There are some great photos, even though a few of them are dated incorrectly.

I’m only posting about it so I can show off the mention of The Vintage Traveler in the article and the link back to my blog.  I’m on the fifth page of the article.  Is this my fifteen seconds of fame?


Filed under Vintage Photographs, Winter Sports

Vintage Styleknit Sweatshirt Sports Cardigan

This is the find that I nearly overlooked.  Flipping through the rack at the antique mall, at first I thought this was just a modern sweatshirt.  But something about the feel of it made me stop and take a closer look.  I’m glad I did because this is a hard-to-find vintage sports cardigan.  My guess is that it is from the late 1940s or early 50s.

It’s made from cotton knit fleece, like sweatshirt fabric, a fabric that I’ve seen in catalogs dating back to at least the 1910s.  The seams are overlocked, and the label is printed onto cotton tape.

Styleknit: Made to Fit

The buttons are a hard, clear plastic that has yellowed slightly.

See the thread loop to the left of the buttonhole?  Does anyone have an idea as to its purpose?  There is also a loop on the inside.

I’m always so happy to find older active sportswear.  It is relatively scarce because this is just not the type of thing that people tended to save.    That is, unless you are like me.  I saved relatively few clothing items from my youth and young adulthood, but among them is my favorite heathery purple sweatshirt.


Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Lowe & Campbell Athletic Goods, 1935 – 1936

I’ve been spending some time working in my paper collection, looking for interesting things to share here.  I bought the catalog above ages ago from Tina at What I Found, and I’m pretty sure that I posted about it at the time.  The problem is, I couldn’t find the post.

If you’ve been reading The Vintage Traveler since before December 2010, you might recall that the blog used to be on another site.  Due to crazy problems with that site, I moved to wordpress in December, 2010, and at that time I had to manually move over my old posts.  It was a bit of a job, and I’m afraid that in the shuffle, some old posts got misplaced.

But that’s good today, because I get to show this off now that I have more than the 20 readers I had on the old site!  And it’s a really good lesson on not judging a book by the cover.   The catalog is illustrated with sports goods and clothing of all types.  Most importantly, there are plenty of offerings for the girl athlete, which shows how much sports were gaining in popularity among girls in the 1930s.

All these pages can be enlarged by clicking.

I loved this page of football jerseys.  These are seriously collectible, especially if the school or athletic organization can be identified.

These hose are simply wonderful.  And I think I know where a pair is located.  Stay tuned.

I included the hooded pullovers mainly because of how this item of clothing is currently being super analyzed by the news media.  In 1935 a hoodie was worn by an athlete to keep them warm while practicing or while standing on the sidelines hoping Coach would send him in.

Note that the second shoe is a Converse All-Star.  Converse first made the All-Star in 1917.

Cute clothes for the pep squad.

Here is the company’s selection of girl’s basketball suits.  These are a very far cry from what girls had to wear just a few years prior, with bloomers to the knee and long sleeved middies.

They even offered a good selection of warm-up suits for girls.

Last week in the comments about the gymsuits, several readers mentioned that they wore tunics with bloomers for gym and field hockey.  Note the two tunic styles above.

This girls’ softball suit is probably my favorite thing in the catalog.

And of course there was a nice selection of swimsuits.

Lowe & Campbell was located in Kansas City, Missouri.  I didn’t find out a lot about the company until I found an application to make the building that was the company headquarters part of the National Register of Historic Places.  According to the application, the company was formed in Kansas City in 1912 by George Lowe and Keedy Campbell.  The partners merged their company with Wilson Sporting Goods in 1931, but they retained a separate identity.  Their headquarters, which also included some light manufacturing, was built in 1925, and the company remained there until 1961, when it appears that Lowe & Campbell was completely merged into Wilson.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Summer Sports, Winter Sports