Chest (pit to pit): 24″ (doubled = 48″)
This vintage hunting vest was made between 1908 and 1916 by Red Head Brand, and bears their earliest label.
This vintage jacket was made in the late 1930s by Red Head Brand. It features their convertible collar, which unzips and conceals a split, zip-up hood. It has large double-round front pockets and a doubled breast pocket. The game pouch empties with a hook closure and a zip running down the center. All zippers are Talon, with one of each of their main styles of pulls that were produced at that time, a rectangular pull with small rectangular hole, a bell shaped pull and a round holed Hookless style pull.
This vest was made by the J. Peterman Co. of Lexington, Kentucky, based on hunting vests of the 1930s. It has the distinctive “half-moon” opening on the front of the vest to the internal game pouch, as well as unusual pockets with the front stitched to keep everything secure even when moving vigorously.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.