Tag Archives: Red Head Brand
Blue Bill by Red Head Brand hunting jacket
Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Red Head Brand half-moon vest
Chest (pit to pit): 24″ (doubled = 48″)
1900s-1910s Red Head Brand vest
This vintage hunting vest was made between 1908 and 1916 by Red Head Brand, and bears their earliest label.
Red Head Brand hunting jacket
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.
1920s Red Head Brand hunting vest
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
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
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
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.
The History of DryBak
Drybak was a manufacturer of hunting clothing located in Binghamton, New York with factory at 168 Water street and later 67 Frederick Street. Early articles put their founding in 1904, while later advertising claims 1900.
From a 1950 newspaper article on Drybak, largely quoting a 1930 article on the company’s early years
The, “origin of the company dates back to the turn of the century when the Dimmick-Sheldon firm moved here from Newark, NJ. The company made footballs, hunting clothing, uniforms and similar products. It was combined with a local concern, Clark & Turner Co., that made flags, tents, awnings and leggings. The reorganized Sheldon Co. shortly went into bankruptcy and Lewis M. Weed of the old James B. Weed Co. took over its assets. The name of the firm was changed to Lewis M. Weed Co. [Henry] Munger and the late Herman A. Speh bought the firm in 1922. In 1930, Haskell & Davids, Binghamton pants manufacturers and Drybak were merged.
Drybak was given its present name in 1926 in order to capitalize on the company’s trade slogan, Dry Back or Money Back.”
The firm operated in three buildings on Water Street before it was move to its present location in 1936, at which time it employed 200 workers. The Frederick Street factory, one of the most modern clothing plants in the East, was built by Dunn and McCarthy, Inc., shoe manufacturers, in 1929. The firm sold the plant to Drybak in a move to consolidate its operations at its Charlotte Street Plant.”
In 1950, Henry Munger, who bought the firm in 1922, retired and sold his controlling shares in the company to women’s clothing company M.C. Schrank of Bridgeton, New Jersey. In late 1952, Drybak acquired noted outerwear brand, Albert Richard and shifted their manufacture previous owner Fried Ostermann’s factory in Milwaukee to one of M.C. Schrank’s factories in New Jersey with plans to eventually move production to Drybak’s factory in Binghamton. Labels were changed during that period to read, “Albert Richard by Drybak”.
Labels, 1930s-1950s. Label on the right is the most common
In a bid to lower costs, Drybak sold their Binghamton factory in 1954 to the Link Aviation Co., discontinued all operations in New York, and closed a secondary factory in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. In 1955, Drybak acquired the Martin Mfg. Co. in Martin, TN and relocated their manufacturing to the Tennessee plant to take advantage of the lower labor costs in the south.
By 1965, Drybak had been acquired by the Brunswick Corporation of bowling alley fame and production had moved to existing Brunswick factories in Eminence, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois. Around the same time, Brunswick had also acquired one of the other notable hunting garment companies, Red Head Brand. Production of Drybak goods continued for several years, but the brand appears to have been dropped around 1967-1968 so as not to compete with Red Head.
Red Head Hunting Vest
Red Head Brand half-moon vest