• Hey guys, I had to upgrade the VLJ software because the old one is being phased out. Please let me know of any issues in the SITE UPDATE THREAD. Thanks!

ORIGINAL COOPER A2 SIZE 40-1941 contract

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
Cooper Sportswear was founded in 1910 in Brooklyn, by the father of Morton Cooper, who was chairman of the board in the 1980s. In the 1930s the firm made sheepskin and leather garments. So yes there does appear to be a strong family link between the wartime manufacturer and the 1980s firm.
 

johnwayne

Well-Known Member
I'm sure it's in the 'Hell Bent for Leather' book at the back end where repro's are mentioned, that todays Cooper (at the time that book was published obviously) was one and the same company, hence my original comment!

Cheers
Wayne
 

deeb7

New Member
Here's Wiki FWIW ...

  • Contrary to popular belief, Avirex wasn't a supplier for the A-2 jacket to the U.S.A.F. in the World War II era. Avirex started out in 1975 and since 2006 is known as 'The Cockpit USA Inc.' In a similar way, Neil Cooper USA (recently[when?] taken over by Ohio-based U.S. Wings) is not the same firm as Cooper Sportswear from World War II times - even though Neil Cooper's grandfather headed the earlier company, and both had contracts to supply A-2 jackets to the US military in their respective eras. Likewise, the Scottish-made Aero Leather Clothing branded items of today are unrelated to Aero Leather Clothing of Beacon, NY.
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
Correct Wayne. :) The point I'm making is that there was a clear family link even though the 1980s outfit was not the same firm. Of course this was not the case with the original US Aero firm and modern Scottish Aero.
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
deeb7 said:
Here's Wiki FWIW ...

  • Contrary to popular belief, Avirex wasn't a supplier for the A-2 jacket to the U.S.A.F. in the World War II era. Avirex started out in 1975 and since 2006 is known as 'The Cockpit USA Inc.' In a similar way, Neil Cooper USA (recently[when?] taken over by Ohio-based U.S. Wings) is not the same firm as Cooper Sportswear from World War II times - even though Neil Cooper's grandfather headed the earlier company, and both had contracts to supply A-2 jackets to the US military in their respective eras. Likewise, the Scottish-made Aero Leather Clothing branded items of today are unrelated to Aero Leather Clothing of Beacon, NY.

Even this extract confirms the family link.
 

deeb7

New Member
Roughwear said:
Even this extract confirms the family link.
Yes, but I'm not convinced that it was the same, or a closely related company, Andrew ... RCS tells us the Neil Cooper didn't even manufacture.
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
deeb7 said:
Roughwear said:
Even this extract confirms the family link.
Yes, but I'm not convinced that it was the same, or a closely related company, Andrew ... RCS tells us the Neil Cooper didn't even manufacture.
I'm talking about Morton Cooper as the family link rather than Neil Cooper. Here is what John Chapman has to say about the firm.


One of the rarest of A-2s is the small contract done by Cooper Sportswear, of Newark, New Jersey. This company has lasted through 2006, having just closed their doors from what we can tell.
The 1940s firm was based in Newark N.J. In 1988 Cooper Sportswear was located in Newark and won a government contract for 53,000 A-2 jackets for the USAF. Morton Cooper says his company drew up its own patterns from an original A-2 jacket, but made the jacket slightly fuller than the old A2s.
 

deeb7

New Member
Roughwear said:
... Morton Cooper says his company drew up its own patterns from an original A-2 jacket, but made the jacket slightly fuller than the old A2s.
This quote from Neil Cooper, there's a gap of over 40 years in the history.

  • Neil Cooper USA

    The Cooper family has a long tradition of making superbly functional and distinctive jackets in the finest quality leather. From 1917-1918, my grandfather made raincoats for the Army, and from 1941-1945 he continuously made the original and revised Field Jackets. In World War II he made leather A-2 jackets for the Army/Air Corps. From 1988-1997, my father, uncle and I made US Navy G-1 and US Air Force A-2 leather flight jackets that have been worn by thousands of pilots and ground crew.

    In 1996 Cooper Sportswear was awarded a contract from the DSCP in Philadelphia Pennsylvania to redesign the A-2 jacket to be more functional and to improve the fit. Side entry pockets were added directly to the patch pockets and inside wallet pockets were added. The fit was enlarged and underarm grommets were added for ventilation. Thus, the collaboration with the US Air Force and Cooper Sportswear created the current military spec A-2.
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
Yep, the original firm appears to have closed in the 1940s and the successor family firm started up in the 1980s.
 

Dr H

Well-Known Member
Hmmm...

I asked the vendor about the decal - whether it was original to the jacket. He replied:

Hi,
The decal looks pretty contemporary, flaking and cracked and is darker than appears on the pictures. It was on the jacket when I acquired it and looks really good.
Cheers Jim...

Something doesn't appear to add up...
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
The decal is contemporary to 2012 not 1942! :eek: When I sold the Cooper to the seller it did not have a decal. So make of this what you will. Perhaps the postman added it to the jacket! :lol: :lol:
 

crazyace

New Member
Didn`t the decal show up on re-dyed or re-issued jacked later towards war end? Although I have seen them on the cloth jackets after the A-2 stopped production.
 

Peter Graham

Well-Known Member
Dr H said:
Hmmm...

I asked the vendor about the decal - whether it was original to the jacket. He replied:

Hi,
The decal looks pretty contemporary, flaking and cracked and is darker than appears on the pictures. It was on the jacket when I acquired it and looks really good.
Cheers Jim...

Something doesn't appear to add up...
Me too. He said that it was on the jacket when he got it.
 

Roughwear

Well-Known Member
The seller's lack of transparency over the decal may not have helped the bids as the jacket did not meet its reserve.
 
Top