This vintage leather jacket was made in the early to mid 1930s by Guiterman Brothers, under the Town and Country label. The company was founded in 1883, and began the “Town and Country” line in 1904. They produced flying coats for US aviators during World War One, and pioneered early civilian leather jacket designs starting in the 1910s. In c. 1928, the company was bought out by Gordon and Ferguson, who continued the line. This jacket as a rare early example of a button-front Cossack jacket. Early Cossack jackets, c. 1930-c.1934 generally featured leather waistband and plain backs. This is an early example of the transitional style, retaining the collar, cuff and pocket detailing from the early jackets, but moving away into what would become the half-belt jackets of the later 1930s-1950s. The back is belted, with bi-swing shoulders and side adjusters. The front still has an old style button front, instead of a hookless zipper. The jacket buttons right over left, which, along with the shoulder darts, identify this as a women’s jacket. Other than these details, early on, men’s and women’s styles were generally extremely similar patterns. As was typical of many of these early jackets, this one is made with the suede side out. For jackets of this style, it wasn’t until later in the 1930s that weight started to become a major concern. These were really designed as lightweight leather windbreakers for sporting activities. Gordon and Ferguson had the exclusive rights to the Cravenette process for leather, and it is employed on this one.
Chest (pit to pit): 20″
Shoulder to shoulder: 16-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
This vest was made in the 1910s. It is made of brown canvas, with holders for 36 shotgun shells. The manufacturer, Guiterman Bros., pioneered the knit collar this vest bears. They began using it on leather jackets in 1912. By the 1920s, it would find its way onto the A-1 leather jacket. In Guiterman’s 1915 catalog, this model is identified as the M1206, and is described as a “Vest with Cartridge Holders”: “Dead Grass duck shell vest, four rows of cartridge holders for carrying thirty two cartridges, detachable buttons, adjustable strap in back; sizes 36 to 46. Each $10.”
The tag identifies the patent of the “Summit”, as Jan 30, 1912. The tag on the back identifies it as “Dri-Bak Rainproof”. The collar has extremely early U.S.F. snaps. The buttons are sewn, not detachable as the ad indicates. They have a wonderful lined pattern to them.
A bit about the maker: Guiterman Brothers was founded in 1883 and incorporated in 1904. They began using the Summit “Town & Country” name in 1904. In the early 1910s, Guiterman Brothers pioneered the attached soft collared shirt. They also called it the Summit. The company had a plant at 352 Silbey Street, St. Paul, MN, which still stands. They enjoyed prosperity during the 1910s, riding the Mackinaw boom of 1912-1915. They were supposedly the first company to coin the name “windbreaker”. As shown above, their “Town and Country” Coats and vests shared the distinctive double snap Knit-Nek. During WWI, Guiterman Bros. were one of the larger contractors for flying coats for US aviators. In 1928-1929, the company was purchased by Gordon and Ferguson.