The History of American Field

The Hettrick Mfg. Co. was founded in 1893 (or 1891, depending on the source) in Toledo, Ohio as a manufacturer of canvas goods, largely awnings and wagon covers.

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In 1921, they launched the “American Field” line of hunting garments. A bit of a late comer to the hunting game, they advertised their coats as designed by an “old timer”. Their factory was located at 1401 Summit Street, Toledo, Ohio. Unlike most of the other manufacturers of hunting clothes, Hettrick maintained their other interests after entering the hunting market, producing everything from canvas lawn chairs to tricycles.

1930s-1940s labels
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1940s-1950s labels
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Hettrick was purchased by the F&M Real Estate Company of Lowell, MA and in 1962, Hettrick closed its Ohio factories and moved to Statesville, NC to take advantage of the lower cost of manufacturing in the south. They moved production into the factory of the Empire Manufacturing Corp, who continued producing their own line from the same plant, with a secondary factory in Pink Hill, NC. It is unclear whether they were purchased by Empire, sources are conflicting. Empire ran a strongly anti-union shop, threatening employees in 1968 that if they unionized , they, “would do as up North, hire n. . . and put them on machines with you”. They were sued by employees, the threats were found to be unlawful and the case was used as an example in a Congressional subcommittee on labor.

1960s-1970s labels
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Shortly thereafter, in 1969, American Field was acquired by the Olin Corporation, manufacturer of Winchester rifles. In 1970, the Hettrick divistion acquired the J. W. Johnson Co of Bellwood, Ill and Dickey Oakwood Corp of Oakwood, Ohio. In 1971, Hettrick merged with Comfy Seattle Co and became Trailblazer by Winchester, “managing transactions for Comfy, the Turner Co., Olin Skiis, J.W. Johnson, Dickey Oakwood”, as well as factories in Pink Hill, Statesville and one in Corcoran, California built in 1970. While Hettrick as a company was absorbed, the American Field brand continued to be produced, with production shifted to the Pink Hill plant, reflected on labels.

1970s-1990s labels
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By the 1980s, the operation had been sold again, to WeatherShield Sports Equipment, Inc. (founded 1951) at Petoskey Rd. At Mercer Blvd., Charlevoix, MI. They lasted at least into the 1990s.

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The History of Red Head Brand

E.C. Cook & Bro. was founded in Chicago c.1867 by E.C. Cook (b.1845) and his brother F.W. Cook. They were manufacturers of awnings, tents, waterproof wagon,horse and truck covers, flags, banners and canvas signs. Later they expanded range to include hunters’ and tourists’ outfits, including jackets, cartridge vests, leggings, hats, gun and rifle covers, holsters, belts, cartridge belts, rod cases, and boots.

The Red Head brand name first used 1908. In 1915, a half million dollar contract for boots for the British Army was rejected and the company was forced into bankruptcy. Former employee S. Theodore Anderson, who had been with Cook since 1885 became president of the new Alward Anderson Southard Co, formed along with Charles H. Southard and Edward Hendrickson (with Cook since 1897). The new company took over the closed factory, located at 925 W. Chicago Ave, hired 100 new workers, and resumed production of the defunct Cook’s lines.

Left: 1910s, Middle: 1920s, Right: 1930s
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In 1931, Theodore Anderson died and the company was taken over by his widow, Alma Anderson. The company grew and flourished under her ownership and management, opening a new factory in 1940 at 4300 Belmont Ave. and expanding employment to over 500.

Left: 1930s, Middle: 1930s-1940s, Right: 1940s-1950s
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Anderson died in 1956 and the company was taken over by Clarke F. Hine. Red Head was purchased by the Brunswick Blake Collender Co, of bowling ball fame, in December 1959. Brunswick purchased the DryBak company several years later, selling both company’s similar hunting lines for a time in the 1960s.

Left: 1950s, Middle: 1960s-c1980s, Right: modern
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In 1970, Red Head Brand was again sold and operations relocated to 4949 Joseph Hardin Dr Dallas, Texas.

The brand is currently owned by Bass Pro shops. They have been marketing Red Head as a “heritage brand”, though they do no market any vintage style products, and put the company’s origin in 1856, a date which has no relation anything.

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1930s-1940s aviator jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/401045335421

This vintage jacket was made in the late 1930s-early 1940s.  It is made from brown capeskin leather in the aviator style so popular in that time period.  It has an offset zipper, broad lapels and collar, handwarmer pockets, a zipped breast pocket and zipped map pocket.  It has a half-belt back. The main zipper is an early Crown, with a square topped stopbox and teeth very similar to a Talon (pre-chevron teeth, pre-two way teeth). The back is painted with  nose art close to a Disney/Roald Dahl gremlin, with horned flight helmet and parachute harness, but with a pointy mosquito or bird nose. The lining is missing.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18-3/4″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff):24-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 24″

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1930s-1940s capeskin aviator jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/272084670975

This vintage leather jacket was made in the late 1930s-early 1940s. It is made from capeskin leather in an aviator style, with an offset zipper, handwarmer pockets and large map pocket.  It has a half-belt back with yoked shoulders and a center pleat.  The lining appears to be a replacement.
Chest (pit to pit): 21″ (doubled = 42″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 23-1/2″

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1930s Cossack jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/272084670989

This vintage leather jacket was made in the mid 1930s.  It is made from heavy leather, with an incredible grain to many of the panels.With such heavy wear and differences panel to panel, it’s hard to make a definitive asdessment of the leather,  Panels like the back feel distinctly horsehide, but some of the grainier ones remind me more of a heavy buckskin. Either way, phenominal grain and patina.  It is an early style Cossack jacket, with a leather waistband and short rounded collar. The front of the jacket has some rare detailing, with yoked shoulders leading to a vertical front seam.  It has handwarmer pockets with flapped top entry pockets.  The handwarmers close with large early production United Carr snaps of a variant I have never seen before. They are trimmed with scalloped stitching. The main zipper is an early (mid 1930s) sunburst stop box Talon which has been repaired at some point with a 1950s slider. The zipper needs to be replaced. The back is yoked, with a half-belt, center seam and decorative pleats. There are stitched eyelets to the underarm panels. The jacket is missing the lining.
Chest (pit to pit): 21-1/2″ (doubled = 43″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-1/4″
Length (base of collar to hem): 23″

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Schott Half-belt leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/272084671032

This jacket was made by Schott Bros. of New York under their Rancher label. It is made of heavy steerhide leather, with a no. 10 Ideal zipper front, handwarmer pockets, flapped cargo pockets and a half-belt back.  It has bi-swing shoulders and a plaid lining.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17-3/4″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25-1/4″
Length (Base of collar to hem): 26-1/2″

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1930s Alaskan horsehide jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/401045337942

This vintage leather jacket was made in the mid 1930s by Alaskan from genuine front quarter horse-hide.  It has a pin-lock grommet zipper made by Talon. The jacket has a half-belt, a yoked back and really nicely detailed pleats, which mirror the detailing on the pockets.  There are side adjusters and cuffs with double buttons.

Chest (pit to pit): 20-1/2″ (doubled = 41″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 24-1/4″

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