How Long Does It Take To Make A Leather Jacket?

Discussion in 'General Flight Jacket Discussion' started by Ken at Aero Leather, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

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    1,126
    ............and how long did it take to make an A-2 during WW2

    As someone who has made leather jackets for over 50 years I'd be interested to know what the general assumption is?
     
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  2. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

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    1,244
    For an A-2 jacket...
    ...Since all patterning was done and standardized for each individual contract, my guess =
    Cutting / preparation work...according to a given (size ) pattern 1 hour/jacket
    Stitching the tags, knits liner, leather, metalware= 4 hours/jacket
    Surface of skins/hides used : approx. :4m2 ( 4 square meter)/jacket
    Surface of fabric/liner used: 3,5 m2 ( 3 and 1/2 square meter)...
    Estimated selling price 3 to 5 US$ (in approx. 1941)
    Ken, I do hope, I am not totally off the grid...
     
  3. johnwayne

    johnwayne Well-Known Member

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    1,345
    From what I understand from what I think I've read here, one well trained person, one working day so say 8 hours? That's assuming there's no automation other than stitching of course!
     
  4. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Well-Known Member

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    2,031
    My guess won’t be as scientific
    I’d say with the precision of the Henry Ford style production lines utilized for the war effort...............2 to 3 hours per jacket.
    Figuring that they used multiple cutters , and production lines for pockets , collars and knits and zippers.
    This is based on talking to my mother when she was alive. I grew up in South Philadelphia about 8 blocks from the Philadelphia Quartermasters where 90% of the WWII uniforms were shipped from. She worked there on an industrial sewing machine doing nothing but sewing pockets on M—42 paratrooper pants for 10 hours a day. They turned out hundreds of uniforms a day using the production line approach.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  5. D97x7

    D97x7 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Somerset, England
    Based purely on snippets of info I've read or dreamt, I think about four hours, but I bet it was under an hour back in the day.
     
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  6. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Ken? please enlighten us...Thx .
     
  7. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

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    Location:
    Southern England
    2 hours
     
  8. Persimmon

    Persimmon Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Nottingham England
    Perhaps about 20 mins given mass assembly and worker volumes.
    Perhaps less.
    Given what we see in terms of original jackets today there were so many areas of “that’s close enough to the spec” they were not overly worrying about exact exact details.

    Aero were advertising to the public me 2 versions of the wartime A2 for $9.95 so mass production costs would have to be a few dollars only per jacket to satisfy the wartime government contracts and make some profit.

    I could imagine on assembly lines they were making sections of the jacket with another line(s) doing final assembly.

    If you look at how many B-17’s / B24’s were going off the production per day and they had thousands / millions of parts to put together.

    This was not a one man artisan company - Goodwear - mentality of producing one jacket per day/week or a superior manufacturer - Aero/ Eastman etc having to turn out higher volumes but to an exact spec brief to satisfy the demands and requirements of jacket nerds.
     
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  9. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

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    I'm away for a couple of days, the answer isn't a simple one, a few factors have to be considered........I'll do a reply when I can.............I'd say one answer so far is pretty much correct for WW2 as I'd estimate
     
  10. robrinay

    robrinay Active Member

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    379
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Less than an hour - say 30 minutes to make an A2 from the components with an additional 30 to 40 minutes to mark out and cut out the leather if thats part of the question.
     
  11. John Lever

    John Lever Moderator

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    Location:
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    Are we talking assembly or including cutting ?
     
  12. Brent

    Brent Active Member

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    Location:
    Olathe, KS
    Cliffhanger alert, to be continued. I'll stay tuned in.

    Regards,
     
  13. blackrat2

    blackrat2 Active Member

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    Location:
    Guildford Surrey UK
    Day and a half, start to stamped jscket
     
  14. Happy Hooligan

    Happy Hooligan Member

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    615
    I'd guess 2 hours tops on a slow day.
     
  15. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Well-Known Member

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    Where's Roughwear when you need him??
    C'mon Andrew, we know you've got this nailed down;)
     
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  16. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Norway
    Faster than it takes the local council to dig a hole in the street and fill it up again.
     
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  17. DiamondDave

    DiamondDave Active Member

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    713
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Haha! I wish.

    For a single operator, 12 hours. Add to that any time to cut, and then color leather (if that’s what your firm does)

    Obviously the mass production angle is something else entirely, and can only be answered by someone with that experience.

    If these numbers are honestly what you guys think it takes, no wonder you all think we are getting rich off of your dollars.

    DD


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  18. Happy Hooligan

    Happy Hooligan Member

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    615
    I'm basing my 2 hours tops on a factory, during the war, mass producing a govt contract for jackets, not one person making one. Just like a pair of jeans takes me about 4 hours, and levi's factory probably 10 minutes.
     
  19. DiamondDave

    DiamondDave Active Member

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    713
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Sure I understand completely. 6 hours back in those days was probably accurate. Also bear in mind that all of the different machines were setup to do one or two things tops, and then moved on to another station. The workers were not paid hourly, but rather piece work. One set of workers did the cutting, another set of workers set the snaps, and the throat hook.

    DD


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

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    These times only apply to the Type A-2, it's the easiest and quickest to make jacket I know, it's also the easiest to screw up because any error stands right out so that needs taking into the equasion

    I had a couple of years experience of running a production line (for velvet trousers) during the 1960s, extremely efficient on one hand, a nightmare if one operative has a day off......or an off day. All being well the average turnout approx 7-8 mins per operative on a six girl line. This, and the several thousand A-2s I've probably personally made over the years, helped work our what I feel is likely to be very close to the actual time taken during WW2

    Now The Answer

    Based on the size of Aero Beacon's contracts, the size of the factory judging for period pics, the time taken to deliver a full contract alongside Shearling, I'm guessing at around one jacket per hour per machinist. (Plus Cutting) Cutting in the volume being made and lack of care re maching shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. Linings would laid up maybe 100 to 200 at a time, 30/45 mins to lay up, 20/30 to cut and seperate, roughly I minute each

    There would have almost certainly been three sewing operatives. Lining Machinist, at which point the cut leather and made up lining would go to the leather machinist, later passed on the the knit machinist with the shell made and lining fitted at neck, back to the leather machinist to finish once the knit is attached. Studding then final check (that's a laugh)

    Fast Forward to the Repros

    Fastest machinist I've ever worked with could knock out 8 per day............everyone was f*cked up somewhere and I couldn't get her to slow down, so eventually had to pay her off.
    Working at top speed to best WW2 standards (Not Aero Beacon's) I can do the whole job in just over 2 hours cutting & lining included but I wouldn't want to work at that rate all day every day even if there was a War going on.
    Our A-2 machinists, fully trained working to fuss pot standards and only doing the sewing could take anything between 2 to 4 hours plus depending on experience, raw beginners just over one per day.

    Across the board we hope to get 2 non military jackets per machinist per day, averages out but a few manage more every week and a few are always falling short.

    We don't use production line, umless you consider the lining being made by a lining machinist as part of "a line"

    D97X7 was almost spot on
    I take it DD was having a laugh?
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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