Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1966 Voice of Music Model 362 Three Piece Phonograph or: "Whatever happened to West Michigan manufacturing?"

Made very close to my home town in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the Voice of Music company started making phonographs in 1944.  Not exactly an opportune time to start a new manufacturing company given the United States was heavily involved in WW2.  But V-M kept plugging along, and became a stereo producing juggernaut throughout the fifties an into the mid-60s.

 In the late 60s and early 70s, when all the other major electronics manufacturers were shifting their production over seas,  Voice of Music refused, keeping all of their production in Benton Harbor, which ultimately led to their demise.  The company finally came to an end in 1977 when a power failure in New York City prevented a wire transfer of critically needed funds, and the company declared bankruptcy.

If you're interested in restoring one of these, or the history of the company, everything you need can be found here.

The Voice of Music Model 362 pictured below was in production in 1966 when V-M was at the top of their game.  A true testament to the quality and craftsmanship of American manufacturing, this stereo still functions nearly fifty years later. The sound is amazing an loud.  This three-piece system was well worth the $5.00 we spent for it, and it looks as though it's taken up permanent residence in our living room.

1966 Voice of Music Model 362

Speakers are removable so you can space out your sound.

V-M phonograph with record changer

1966 Voice of Music Model 362 all closed up and ready for transport.

1966 Voice of Music Model 362 backside.

Four Speed Turntable

1966 Voice of Music Model 362

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Leather Jacket

Just picked up this beauty on a trip to the bins this week.

This thing is up for auction tonight here.
It's hard to find much info on this maker, but from what I can gather, they were associated with the J.C. Penny company at some point.  They may have been one of the contractors Penny's used to manufacture their line of leather jackets.  I've found some examples of Daniel Boone labels being sewn over Penny's labels.

At any rate, here's some photos of one awesome 40s horsehide jacket:

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Jacket

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Jacket Back

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Jacket Quilted Lining

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Jacket Label

Conmar "Conmatic" Zipper

1940s Daniel Boone Trail Blazer Horsehide Jacket

Friday, January 20, 2012

US Navy G-1 (m-422) Jacket and it's Civilian Equivalents

Entire books have been devoted to the US Navy G-1 flight jacket.  There have been dozens of makers contracted by the government to produce them.  Rather than try to write the entire history, I'll just direct you here for a good rundown.

Of all of the jackets issued by the military, these are defiantly my favorite.  The shade of the leather, material, and color of the collar make each jacket fairly original and unique.

If you want an authentic USN jacket, there are a few things to look for to make sure they aren't a civilian jacket.  Each Navy issued jacket will have "USN" poked into the windflap behind the zipper.  They feature a heavy Conmar zipper, and an identifying tag at the nape of the neck which will tell you the maker and year issued.  Quite often (although not on these examples) a white "USN" is stenciled on the back of the collar.

The first jacket below is a 1940s civilian jacket made by Durable.  The rich brown horshide, paired with the caramel mouton collar and the angled breast pocket made this jacket a winner at auction.  It was bought from another picker for $100 and sold at auction for $315.

1940s Durable civilian jacket made of Horsehide

1940s Durable Horsehide Jacket

This next jacket is 1940s civilian jacket, as well.  It's on it's way to the leather shop for a new waistband, cuffs, and zipper.  Horsehide leather.  Maker unknown.

Unknown 1940s Horsehide Flight Jacket with new waistband, cuffs, and zipper.

Unknown 1940s Horsehide Jacket

The official military G-1 jacket didn't really come into being until after WW2.  Previous to 1947, the jacket that was to become the G-1 was called the M-422.  The G-1 is still issued for naval flying today by the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

G-1 flight jackets were tight fitting and often worn underneath heavier flight jackets to keep pilots and crew warm at extremely high altitudes.

The leather itself is almost always goatskin, which is extremely tough and durable without being as heavy as other leathers.

These two jackets will be going to auction within the next few days.

A pair of US Navy issued Type G-1 Intermediate Flyers Jackets
1961 Type G-1 Flyers Jacket by Ralph Edwards Sportswear
Backside 1961 Type G-1 Flyers Jacket by Ralph Edwards Sportswear
Military issued G-1 jackets have a fairly complex lining which mimics the bi-swing shoulders and waistband of the shell.  They also have one inside pistol or map pocket.
Inside G-1 Jacket

The colors of the leather and collar can very greatly between jackets.

1960s US Navy Type G-1 Jacket by unknown maker

Navy G-1 Flyers Jacket Perforated Wind Flap

Barely legible military spec tag for Type G-1 Flyers Jacket by Ralph Edwards Sportswear

 Many more modern leather makers have created and sold there own versions of the G-1 flyers jacket.  Although they don't maintain the same collectable value as the military issued jackets.  They can still be very valuable and sought after.

This Schott I-S-674 is a bit of a bastard child of the G-1 and A-2 jackets with a little bit of there own twist thrown in.  The hide is much heavier than the military jackets and it's also pile lined for warmth.  It's become one of my favorite jackets and won't be for sale until I find a better replacement.

60s-70s Schott Brothers I-S-647-M-S

60s-70s Schott Brothers I-S-647-M-S

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Early 1900s Doctors Bags or "What the Fuck did We just Find?!"

 Update (12/08/2012):  This thing has found what seems to be a permanent home on our mantle above our fireplace. If there are any collectors out there who have a serious interest in this piece, shoot us an email.

After a little bit of tug-o-war at our regular picking dump, Darcie emerged from the melee with these two Doctor's bags circa 1900-1910.  The bags in themselves were amazing enough, but when we got them opened, the contents totally blew our collective minds.

We really don't know exactly what we're going to due with these.  As of right now, there sitting on my office desk to be played with and admired.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves:

Leather Doctor's Bags circa 1900-1910

Larger, Hard-Sided Bag

Smaller Soft-Sided bag is pretty tattered and torn.  Interior View.

Larger Hard-Sided Bag. Interior View and Contents

The Contents!

Apothecary kits.  Yes... The drugs are still in them.

Antique Straight-Razor circa 1900-1910.  Still Sharp!

Barnsley Bros. Cut Co. --  Monett, MO.  Estimated value  $250-$400

I have a pretty large collection of vintage Aviator Sunglasses.  These folding pair of Willsonites by Willson Products Inc. from the 1920s will be right at home there.

Close up of Willsonites Sunglasses engraving

Car Registration, Train Pass, American Medical Association pins from 1906 and 1915

US Navy N-1 Deck Jacket (WW2 and Post)

During World War 2, the N-1 deck jacket was standard issue to all enlisted Navy personnel.   It originally featured a heavy "Jungle-Cloth" outer shell with a man-made "alpaca" fur lining.  These jackets were/are extremely weather repellant and warm.  This first one is a post-WW2 deck jacket that we recently put to auction and received $206.47.  It was in immaculate shape but had none of the desirable USN stenciling or sailor customization.  Just a fine example of an N-1 deck jacket the way it would have been issued.

Post WW2 N-1 Deck Jacket

Note the difference in the pile lining from the WW2 version.  Also, an aluminum YKK zipper.

This N-1 Jacket is from the WW2 period, complete with stains, stencils, and wear from the era. It appears to have been issued to 2 different sailors, with the second writing his name over the first on the back.  Perhaps the first perrished in combat, who knows.
One of the perks/downfalls of being a picker is that you don't really own anything, you just get to use it for a while.  This N-1 is being used by me personally until it's restoration is completed.  A new-old-stock Conmar zipper will replace the replacement.  The missing buttons will be replaced with originals.  The tattered elbow will mended.  It will receive a mild cleaning to remove the loose dirt, and possibly the USN stencil on the front will be touched back up to make it visible again.  Once all of this is done, and something else catches my fancy, it will be placed at auction.  The projected value is somewhere between $350-$500.

WW2 era US Navy N-1 Deck Jacket

What's left of the U.S.N. stencil on the left breast.

N-1 Deck Jacket Back Veiw

Second owners name written over the first's

Interior Alpaca lining and new-old-stock Conmar zipper

Manufactures label no longer legible.
Wool, knit cuffs in remarkably good condition.

A poor quality zipper had replaced the original.  This Conmar NOS will replace it.