I. Spiewak & Sons A2 ….Then Vs Now .

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Hey Guys
Sitting around with some time to kill so I thought I’d share a quick post with all of you, comparing an original I. Spiewak & Sons A2 jacket with one they offered a few years ago. I recently acquired one of their late production A2 jackets made sometime in the 2010 time frame and I thought that a “ Then Vs Now” comparison might be interesting. As you will see , I Spiewak & Sons Inc is still alive and well, and while you really can’t call their late production A2’s a true reproduction, it does have a basic historical connection to the original WWII I. Spiewak and Sons A2 jacket.
There have been a few prior posts regarding the history of the Spiewak & Sons company so I wont get into that, but you can research the company using the VLJ search function if interested . So here’s a short review and comparison of the two jackets .
Starting with the labels of the jacket you can see that there’s a distinct difference between the original Vs the late jacket labels . They aren’t even close to each other .
ORIGINAL
567F855E-B46F-4D20-9C67-21AEBA546C66.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
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So let’s take a look at both jackets using general comparison photos.
ORIGINAL
E45AC849-0E0F-46E6-957A-195CB5F207B1.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
6983E610-7E1C-4ABB-B974-3C54D67C6BE3.jpeg

This first thing that is obviously different is that the Original was made from nice deep Russett goatskin, while the late model was made from a dark seal cowhide. The goatskin on the original is fairly lightweight compared to the heavier cowhide jacket .
ORIGINAL
F33374E6-7342-4416-B58A-BB5DB2C9E959.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
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Looking at the collar and the epaulettes of both jackets the only thing that’s a bit similar are the pointed collar tips of both jackets . The epaulettes are not even close to each other .
ORIGINAL
D84A6D3E-64CF-4ABF-8318-A882AF500638.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
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The pocket flaps and pockets have very little similarity other then a casual resemblance of the point pocket scallop.
ORIGINAL
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LATE PRODUCTION
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The knits on the original are the traditional dark brown knits often seen on A2 jackets from this period. The late production jacket also has dark brown knits which are double thick . Not at all like the two ply knits of the original Spiewak A2 .
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
ORIGINAL
A08A2FDE-052D-41E7-BF67-EA08CB42DC85.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
CFD9D005-4E36-4857-B8E2-21BE35C920BD.jpeg

The original zipper is a shiny plated Crown zip
while the late production model has a less than desirable Ideal zipper .
ORIGINAL
1C17D44E-039C-4322-B810-2E63447B0913.jpeg

LATE PRODUCTION
67F54745-1D23-453B-B4E9-B77FDA670C41.jpeg

Lastly the lining on the original is the traditional cotton twill type lining that we find on most originals of the period . The late production jacket has a nylon lining something similar to what’s found in a G-1 jacket .
CONCLUSION
This is an example where the apple not only fell far, far away from the tree , but disappointingly wasn’t even close to the I Spiewak and Sons original WWII A2 jacket . The history and the specs were there but I Spiewak Inc decided to ignore them and simply took the easy way out . Such a shame as they could have had a perfect A2 repro if they had just followed their own history and patterns.
That’s it from me guys , I hope you enjoyed the post.
Cheers
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Cool thread, Burt! The new Spiewak looks like a neat enough jacket, but just not in the same league as your original.
True Jan …. But speaking from a collectors point of view . I Spiewak and Sons Inc. was in an awesome position to make one of the true stitch for stitch repros of their original WWII contract A2 jackets . They had the patterns , the contracts specs and all of the data needed to just start making jackets, the same way that they did in 1942 . For reasons known only to their corporate executives, they decided not to do it . What I find strange is that they did decide to offer their new interpretation of an A2 jacket . It just doesn’t make sense not going the extra few yards and making something that helped to make your company a load of money back in 1942, and that had the potential to do that again . But I guess they know something that I don’t and that’s the reason they are sitting around the corporate business tables while I am sitting around on my easy chair writhing this .;)
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
True Jan …. But speaking from a collectors point of view . I Spiewak and Sons Inc. was in an awesome position to make one of the true stitch for stitch repros of their original WWII contract A2 jackets . They had the patterns , the contracts specs and all of the data needed to just start making jackets, the same way that they did in 1942 . For reasons known only to their corporate executives, they decided not to do it . What I find strange is that they did decide to offer their new interpretation of an A2 jacket . It just doesn’t make sense not going the extra few yards and making something that helped to make your company a load of money back in 1942, and that had the potential to do that again . But I guess they know something that I don’t and that’s the reason they are sitting around the corporate business tables while I am sitting around on my easy chair writhing this .;)
My guess is, they didn't have the plans anymore. I imagine they scrapped 'em sometime between the end of the war and the present, probably early on as well. I doubt it occurred to them that this jacket they made was a style icon and that 70 years later there would be demand for them to make it again.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
My guess is, they didn't have the plans anymore. I imagine they scrapped 'em sometime between the end of the war and the present, probably early on as well. I doubt it occurred to them that this jacket they made was a style icon and that 70 years later there would be demand for them to make it again.
Jan
All good talking points a for sure, but it does make you wonder if all that is true , why didn’t they just procure one of their own originals and take it apart and make patterns from an original the way JC did . I think it was just a case of a lack of interest coupled with a business decision not to get involved in the repro industry . Fortunately JC makes a fairly spot on repro, but having a spot on repro made by the company that actually made them during the war, would have been pretty cool.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
Oh yeah, they definitely decided it wasn't worth their time. Our demographic is a pretty small one, and they were likely pitching to the demographic that would just read their literature, say "hey, that's cool!" and press "add to cart." I can't imagine they realized there were people like us who actually cared about getting the right details.
 

WingAndaPrayer

Well-Known Member
Jan
All good talking points a for sure, but it does make you wonder if all that is true , why didn’t they just procure one of their own originals and take it apart and make patterns from an original the way JC did . I think it was just a case of a lack of interest coupled with a business decision not to get involved in the repro industry . Fortunately JC makes a fairly spot on repro, but having a spot on repro made by the company that actually made them during the war, would have been pretty cool.
If the original company makes the jacket the exact same way, is it really a reproduction? I think the only distinction is that the older ones would be classified as wartime issues. Not get into a ship of Theseus debate, It’s only an 80 year hiatus right? I know they modernized it so it’s a mute point. But I suppose it’s similar to the mil surp firearms. The colt 1911 for example was made the same for almost a 100 years. It’s just the wartime issue are more collectible. I think if they cranked out a wartime jacket it would be fair to drop the reproduction moniker.
thoughts?
 

warguy

Well-Known Member
I know you have posted the original several times in the past, but I just have to say what a spectacular jacket that is. There cant be many other original A2’s out there that nice. This was an interesting thread, thanks for posting.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
And it’s made all the nicer by the fact that the Spiewak contract was unusually prone to red rot. Burt’s jacket managed not only to evade that menace, but come out looking better than new.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
If the original company makes the jacket the exact same way, is it really a reproduction? I think the only distinction is that the older ones would be classified as wartime issues. Not get into a ship of Theseus debate, It’s only an 80 year hiatus right? I know they modernized it so it’s a mute point. But I suppose it’s similar to the mil surp firearms. The colt 1911 for example was made the same for almost a 100 years. It’s just the wartime issue are more collectible. I think if they cranked out a wartime jacket it would be fair to drop the reproduction moniker.
thoughts?
Hi W&P
You pose an interesting question. In theory you would be correct that if the Spiewak company initiated another production run of the same jacket, it could be considered an extended run (all be it 80 years later). However practically speaking, unless the Spiewak company could source all of the parts used in the production of the jacket ie knits, zippers, hardware, linings etc from the same companies that produced them during the war, utilizing the same specs used in their production , then It wouldn’t be the same exact jacket …. would it ? And if the companies making those materials were no longer in business and newer or other materials had to be sourced from different companies …… could you still consider it the same jacket as one made during the war ??
It’s an interesting conversation for sure . So what are your thoughts on this ?
 
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WingAndaPrayer

Well-Known Member
Hi W&P
You pose an interesting question. In theory you would be correct that if the Spiewak company initiated another production run of the same jacket, it could be considered an extended run (all be it 80 years later). However practically speaking, unless the Spiewak company could source all of the parts used in the production of the jacket ie knits, zippers, hardware, linings etc from the same companies that produced them during the war, utilizing the same specs used in their production , then It wouldn’t be the same exact jacket …. would it ? And if the companies making those materials were no longer in business and newer or other materials had to be sourced from different companies …… could you still consider it the same jacket as one made during the war ??
It’s an interesting conversation for sure . So what are your thoughts on this ?
I think you call it an original still. Even though the hardware and other parts are made by non original manufacturers, they are assembled by Spiewak. Thus the finished product is in the end an original Spiewak, just not a wartime issued one with NOS parts. Because unless you find some original ancillary parts, it’s the same question, just with knits, zipper etc. On a side note, has anyone here done any research on what companies were making the knits and liners? We know who did the snaps and zippers, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything on the other bits?
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
I think you call it an original still. Even though the hardware and other parts are made by non original manufacturers, they are assembled by Spiewak. Thus the finished product is in the end an original Spiewak, just not a wartime issued one with NOS parts. Because unless you find some original ancillary parts, it’s the same question, just with knits, zipper etc. On a side note, has anyone here done any research on what companies were making the knits and liners? We know who did the snaps and zippers, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything on the other bits?
Another good question. I don’t have a clue about which companies provided the hardware or hooks and catches . I’m not sure it’s ever been discussed here .
 

Lord Flashheart

Well-Known Member
That's quite a step away from the original to the modern jacket and I can only assume the marketing department failed to read about the companies history and just said "Yeah a flying jacket, great...".

Makes you wonder if the pointed collar tips are any more than a lucky co-incidence. Is it me or does the label hint at the same drawing number? And I've no idea whether the contract number of the modern jacket comes from the land of Unicorns but you have to wonder if the chaps in marketing had a random number generator.

All of that aside it's an interesting comparison Burt and thank you. As I think you've said most of us got here after owning a modern "flying jacket" (I know I did) and it looks a perfectly wearable jacket.
 
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