c.1946 half-belt leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281248820993
This vintage leather jacket was made immediately post-war, around 1946 or 1947. It feels like horsehide, but without a label to confirm, it’s possible that it’s steer. It has square yoked shoulders, handwarmer pockets on the chest, and flapped pockets on the hips. The back has a half-belt and pleats. The zipper is a Talon of the type used just after the war, with a pre-war style “small hole” pull tab and a U-shaped stop box stamped with the Talon name. The makers tag is long gone, but the original owner’s name, John Meinel, has been sewn into the lining by the collar.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
Length (base of collar to hem): 27″

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1950s Brent halfbelt leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281243867632

This vintage leather jacket was made in the 1950s by Brent, a house brand of Montgomery Ward. It is a heavy leather, probably steerhide, but possibly horsehide- without a label it’s hard to be positive. The jacket has a half-belt back and a slanted zipper closure breast pocket. Zippers are by Conmar. The jacket has a quilted lining and storm cuffs.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25″
Length: 30″

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Sears Oakbrook D-Pocket leather motorcycle jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271351691584

This vintage leather jacket was made in the 1960s by Sears under the Oakbrook Sportswear tag. This style was around for a while, with very little change made other than the label and zippers. 1950s models made under the Sears Fieldmaster label. It is made of black steerhide. It has a large D-Pocket (also known as a pistol pocket), with a smaller cigarette pocket. The other side has a zippered handwarmer. The lapels have exposed snaps, while the collar has concealed ones. The sleeves zip with Serval zippers, while the main is a large gauge Talon. There is a zipper on the collar, presumably for a zip-on mouton collar. The front of the jacket has an attached belt. It has a yoked back, bi-swing shoulders, and spotwork on the kidney panel. Pocket flaps are lined with black corduroy. The coat has a quilted red lining, with black corduroy trim on the pockets and the hem.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-1/2″
Length: 23-1/2″

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Canadian D-Pocket Motorcycle Jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271351711041
This vintage leather jacket was made in Canada. It’s hard to say whether this was made by Brimaco or by Shields/Score Sportswear, as their patterns were so similar, and this one is missing the labels. Both manufacturers jackets were made as copies of the 1940s “Cycle Champ” jacket sold by Harley Davidson. While Harley retired the model, going with more of a Perfecto style, these Canadian manufacturers continued production with very little changes. It has a large patch D-pocket, with a smaller patch cigarette pocket. The other side of the jacket has a flapped square patch pocket. The ends of the pocket openings are all reinforced with domed bar studwork for that early motorcycle jacket flash. The back design, with kidney panel is more typical for the Score/Shields jackets, while Brimaco/British Cycle Leathers/British Sportswear jackets generally had three panels in a V shape. But you do see both designs coming from both makers, so it’s doesn’t clear it up that much. This has the smooth nylon lining more commonly seen on the cafe racers made by these companies, while the more old-fashioned plaid linings were generally put into the D-Pocket models. The main zip is a Lightning, the pocket zip is a Canadian Talon of the same design (same company).

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Waist: 29″ (doubled = 36″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26″
Length: 22″

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For reference, also see:

1950s Windward Steerhide jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271183853958

This vintage leather jacket was made in the 1950s. It was sold by Montgomery Ward under their “Windward” line. Stylistically, it is about halfway in between an A-2 style flight jacket and a utility jacket. It has flapped pockets with side entry handwarmers, and epaulettes. It has a one piece back, with a leather hem and cuffs. The cuffs have decorative buttons at the ends. One is missing on the left sleeve. The jacket originally had a Conmar zipper. The puller is missing and the track is missing teeth, so it will definitely need to be replaced. There are elasticized side panels to provide a sung fit. The lining is qulited, and there are knit storm cuffs in the sleeves.

Chest (pit to pit): 21″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 17″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
Length (bottom of collar to hem): 23″

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Walter Dyer motorcycle jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271176491850

This vintage leather jacket was made by the Walter Dyer company of Massachusetts. It is made of a thick, heavyweight leather, probably steerhide, perfect for motorcycle usage. I’ve heard this style of theirs referred to as a “Luftwaffe jacket”, but really, it’s a standard Cafe Racer style with a collar. There are two handwarmer pockets and two zipped breast pockets. There is an action back, and zipped cuffs. All the zippers are brass and were made by Talon. The jacket has a quilted lining, which has what looks to be an ink stain on it. Great wear and patina to the leather. The “Walter Dyer” tag is of the early leather style. It would have originally had the name in script, written in gold, but has mostly worn off.

Chest (pit to pit): 24″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″

 

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Black CHP jacket

This one I’m keeping for myself.  It’s a Langlitz Columbia / California Highway Patrol style jacket.  7 pounds of leather.

A lot of people out there buying modern high end reproductions of ’30s jacket styles talk about how authentic their jackets are. To prove this point they reference how their jackets weigh eight pounds and can stand up on their own, how they can stop bullets. How anything that’s not made from the worlds stiffest 4oz horsehide is “mall jacket quality”. That kind of thing.  The more I hear about this kind of thing, and the more original jackets I handle, the more I’m convinced these people have never seen an actual vintage jacket.  Most of the vintage jackets I’ve handled clock in at three and a half pounds, post conditioning. The counterargument people will use against that is that they’ve lost moisture and therefore weight over the years, and I know that these jackets do.  But they usually put on several ounces after conditioner is applied to bring them back to their original state, not four and a half pounds.

Back to the jacket at hand.  Like I say, clocking in at 7 pounds, which is a lot for such a short jacket, it’s almost uncomfortable to wear, so sizing is important. This one is a good fit for me, tight through the body, but not uncomfortably so.  A big complaint I have with modern production motorcycle jackets I’ve tried on is their length. As with seemingly everything these days, they’ve become longer and longer, gradually lengthening to close to the length of a suit jacket.

There was a reason that old utility jackets, denim jackets, and motorcycle jackets hit the wearer right at the beltline.  When you sit down, or ride a motorcycle, or do anything that requires any action, a long jacket will either bunch up or ride up.  With a heavy leather jacket like this, the riding up scenario is more likely. With a jacket like this, the bottom of the jacket lines up just about with where you bend in the middle, which means no matter how you move, the jacket stays right where it should.  Some modern jacket makers try to get around this length issue by putting a two-way zipper on their product, allowing the jacket to be opened at the bottom. It’s a good solution, but I fine that more often than not, makers continue the “V” shape of the jacket all the way to the bottom, which means (for me, at least) they are either uncomfortably tight across the hips, or that you have to size up, making them too baggy in the chest.  Give me an old fashioned waist length jacket any day.

You may notice on the long half-belt jackets of the ’30s-’50s that the zipper starts a good six to eight inches higher than the bottom hem, and that on older suit jackets and overcoats, the button stance was higher.  This allowed you, even with a longer length, to keep your jacket buttoned or zipped, keeping the cold and wind out.

This jacket dates from the 1970s, and has a heavy gauge Talon main zipper.  It has zipped sleeve cuffs with mouton panels at the end to keep a tight seal when fully zipped. I like my jackets on the simple side without a lot of hardware. It’s easy for a motorcycle jacket to get into punk or fetish territory in a hurry, especially one like this.  For that reason, I like the concealed lapel studs, the simple pockets, and the un-fussy yoked back.  It is well detailed, but practical, and thought out. I’m not in love with the belt loops, as I have no intention of wearing a garrison belt with it, but I can live with them. The jacket came with a snap on mouton panel, which covers the rider’s chest and throat while the jacket is worn with the lapels open.

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Star Sportswear Kurland Gluv-Tanned leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271137541051

This vintage leather jacket was made by Star Sportswear, under the “Kurland” label.  It is made of “Gluv-Tanned” leather, which , going by period advertisements, was a tanning process Star used primarily on cowhide, which gave it a soft finish.  Star Sportswear is also known for its USN G-1 contract.  This jacket is a classic early motorcycle style, with a D-Pocket map pocket and a front belt.  It has an action back, and a brass Scovill zipper.

Chest: 20″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 17″
Shoulder to cuff:  24″

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Canadian Cycle Champ D-Pocket leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281050498657

Another one of the jackets seen HERE

This vintage leather jacket is a “Wind Cheater” made by the British Mfg. Co. of Montreal, Canada.  At other points in the company’s life, they were known as Brimaco and as British Cycle Leathers.  This jacket was made in the 1960s, and is a copy of the famous Harley Davidson Cycle Champ leather jacket’s design.  It has a large D-Pocket, with smaller cigarette pockets on either side of the jacket.  There are studs on the epaulettes and at points of stress on the pockets.  It has a front belt and zip cuffs.  The jacket has Canadian made “Acme” zippers.  It is fully lined in tartan wool.  Snaps are all “United Carr” brand. Chest: 23-1/2″Shoulder to Shoulder: 19″Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″    Photobucket

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Harold’s Sportswear Civilian A2

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281050515883

This vintage jacket was either made by or sold by Harold’s Sportswear in the 1950s.  It is a typical civilian A-2 influenced design of the period, with flapped cargo and slash handwarmer pockets, eppaulettes, and a knit waistband and cuffs.  It has a crown zipper, scovill snaps on the wind flap, and a great patina.

Chest: 22″
Shoulder to Shouler: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to end of knit): 25″
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