Rough Wear 42-1671-P has been found!

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Yes you need to start a thread on the Norwegians A2s great stuff and something I was totally unaware of.
Certainly a very unique looking SQN patch.
I'll start one tomorrow Dino rather than cluttering this one up as it's outside the scope of the OP's interest.

I'm doing a night shift tonight but am free for the rest of the week afterwards which will give me time to scan a few goodies.
 

foster

Well-Known Member
The zipper is different to other Rough Wears. The only contract with a “brown coated” M-39 Talon No. 5 zipper was the Fried Ostermann Co. W535ac-23383, from 22-Dec-41, until this RW 42-1671P example was found. (The only other “brown coated” zipper was an M-40 Talon used on Monarch Mfg., Co. contract W5353ac-23378, from 26-Dec-41.) The M-39 Talon on RW 18091 was [bright] nickel plated.
Interesting; I did not see it as the Brown Coated zipper at first glance. I assumed it was just discolored / oxidized nickel, worn smooth in some places from use. But the zipper teeth do appear to be darker, even though the zipper box looks unpainted / uncoated.

I remember some discussion taking place in years past about when chrome tanned leather was approved / used for the A-2. Is the timeframe of this 1671-P contract at a time when they may have tested that option? The photo of the shoulder epaulet makes me think this hide looks chrome tanned, and the oxidation of the collar hook hardware and snaps seems to validate that IMHO. Again, just another speculation.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
I remember some discussion taking place in years past about when chrome tanned leather was approved / used for the A-2. Is the timeframe of this 1671-P contract at a time when they may have tested that option? The photo of the shoulder epaulet makes me think this hide looks chrome tanned, and the oxidation of the collar hook hardware and snaps seems to validate that IMHO. Again, just another speculation.
Chrome tanning began in the 1850’s and pretty much everything was chrome tanned by the 1900’s, given the greatly reduced time and money required to chrome-tan with similar results. Veg-tanning may have died out if it wasn’t for the risk of ingesting dangerous chrome-tanning byproducts, like in animal harnesses.
 

foster

Well-Known Member
Chrome tanning began in the 1850’s and pretty much everything was chrome tanned by the 1900’s, given the greatly reduced time and money required to chrome-tan with similar results. Veg-tanning may have died out if it wasn’t for the risk of ingesting dangerous chrome-tanning byproducts, like in animal harnesses.
Not everything was chrome tanned. Weapon holsters were veg tanned, as the Chromium salts caused undesirable corrosion on the gunmetal. But the economics of chrome tanned were logical for most uses, no doubt about it.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Got a few better pictures and some more info.

Compared to RW 42-1401P, the RW contract dated a week before this one (8-Aug-41 vs 15-Aug-41), the collar stand, pocket tag, and remaining original dull orange lining are as expected from RW. The leather is similar (may be cow or horse) with a thin, very light, aniline-like finish and the thread is mid-brown like part of the 42-1401P contract (the rest of 42-1401P was dark brown cotton thread). The zipper is unique to a RW contract, being a brown coated M-39 Talon No. 5, as also seen on the Fried Ostermann Co. contract W535ac-23883. The pocket flaps look more like an Aero or maybe a RW W535ac-16159.

This was really the needle in a haystack find!

1671_front.jpg


1671_collar.jpg


1671_collar_detail1.jpg


1671_talon_zipper.jpg


1671_pocket_tag.jpg


RW 42-1671-P.jpg
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
I am not entirely convinced about the jacket's authenticity.

What happened in January shows what can be done with a beat up Roughwear.

A jacket with original lining and the contract label still attached would be a different matter.

For example the pocket tag has a big number for a 300 jacket contract.
 

ties70

Well-Known Member
I am not entirely convinced about the jacket's authenticity.

What happened in January shows what can be done with a beat up Roughwear.

A jacket with original lining and the contract label still attached would be a different matter.

For example the pocket tag has a big number for a 300 jacket contract.
I get your point about the pocket tag...

Lots of different thread colors as well...the zipper might be original to the jacket or might have been replaced at the same time as the lining.

The curve of the windflap is something I personally have only seen on AERO A-2s.
Here is my repro jacket from years ago:

collarcurve2.JPG


Always wondered if this is a flaw in the AERO pattern or an individual construction error...

Ties
 

foster

Well-Known Member
Were the pocket tag numbers used to identify the number of jacket within a contract, or were they some means of identifying a different detail of the jacket (date of production, sewing personnel number, inspector / inspection, hide lot, etc)? I'm thinking Rough Wear is the only maker that added a number in blue to those pocket tag size labels, but I never contemplated what significance that number would have. But the pocket tag lets us know it is a Rough Wear, at least.

It would be so much easier if we knew without question that the label was originally in the same jacket. Depending on what remains of the original lining underneath the replacement, there may be an outline that matches with the label, although most any Rough Wear label could fit on the same outline in the original lining.

Looking at the zipper, it looks as though the stitching at the bottom of the leather tabs (where there is no lining) is still original? It is hard to see in the photo on my screen, but I see a different stitch and thread color starting about halfway up the leather tab at the waist knit. That would make me think this zipper is original to this jacket.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
I am not entirely convinced about the jacket's authenticity.

What happened in January shows what can be done with a beat up Roughwear.

A jacket with original lining and the contract label still attached would be a different matter.

For example the pocket tag has a big number for a 300 jacket contract.
Yeah, the thought had crossed my mind as well. I’ve been proceeding under the assumption that it’s genuine because it’s more interesting that way, and I don’t stand to lose anything by being wrong, but I don’t think I’d buy this jacket, if it was offered to me.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Were the pocket tag numbers used to identify the number of jacket within a contract, or were they some means of identifying a different detail of the jacket (date of production, sewing personnel number, inspector / inspection, hide lot, etc)? I'm thinking Rough Wear is the only maker that added a number in blue to those pocket tag size labels, but I never contemplated what significance that number would have. But the pocket tag lets us know it is a Rough Wear, at least.

It would be so much easier if we knew without question that the label was originally in the same jacket. Depending on what remains of the original lining underneath the replacement, there may be an outline that matches with the label, although most any Rough Wear label could fit on the same outline in the original lining.

Looking at the zipper, it looks as though the stitching at the bottom of the leather tabs (where there is no lining) is still original? It is hard to see in the photo on my screen, but I see a different stitch and thread color starting about halfway up the leather tab at the waist knit. That would make me think this zipper is original to this jacket.
I think it’s a positive tribute to the members of this site that they’re THINKING about what they’re seeing. Keep it up!

Foster has a good eye. The zipper at the collar stand is untouched but the zipper stitching has to be undone a bit when replacing the knits. That would explain the messy thread at the bottom of the [original] zipper and the replacement knits.

I thought the lot system on the pocket tag was related to the number of jackets in a contract, but also learned that isn’t true.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
I am interested to know what the meaning of the lot number is.
The pocket tag was apparently used as part of a tracking system to identify the leather shell size for assembly per Mr Eastman’s excellent book. I [incorrectly] thought it was related to the contract size or number produced, but as a manufacturing tracking aid any number would do and each company probably had their own unique system.

Given the small size of the contract I was thinking what mulceber said in post #25 about the jacket being for a relatively small specific group, since all the other contracts around this one were in the thousands. The family that sold it said their grandfather wore it as a 490th bomber pilot (Burma Bridge Busters). Maybe mulceber is on to something.

The "brown coated" M-39 Talon No 5 zipper has been seen on only two contracts, this RW 42-1671P and the Fried Ostermann Co. W535ac-23383. If the zipper is clearly original to the jacket these jackets can be easily distinguished from each other. The Fried is goatskin and this RW is cow/horse, the Fried has a unique collar stand construction with the back panel being top-stitched versus the normal RW, the Fried shoulder seam is centered under the epaulette and the RW isn’t, etc. Maybe if others in the 490th (Burma Bridge Busters) had this jacket that might explain the small contract size. Worth a look if you know where one is. Let us know what you find!
 

2BM2K

Well-Known Member
In the past I have not given the lot number much consideration. But now I have and have come up with this idea which could also be used as a tracking device.

The preceeding Roughwear contract was the 1401 for 30000 jackets. If jackets were made in the sizes from 34 to 48 (8 different sizes) then that would average 3750 jackets per size. Of course some sizes would be in more demand than others and so exceed 4000.

The lot number could be a numbering system for each size.

The RW 1671 contract followed the 1401 a week later.

Maybe there was a demand for more size 40 jackets and 300 extra were ordered.
The number on the tag isn't clear but could be 4548. Which could be a continuation from the 1401 size 40 numbering system.

As for the Talon zipper, possibly Talon offered a better deal for a mere 300 zips!
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
@2BM2K, that's an interesting thought. Eastman observed that the last three A-2 contracts (the only ones in 1943) mostly seemed to be in smaller sizes, so there's some precedent for the idea that a contract might be ordered in a narrower size range just to fix supply issues. I'm just not sure why they would have done that in a separate contract one week after the previous contract instead of just ordering what they needed for the 1401-P. Hard to believe something would have changed in that one week.
 
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33-1729

Well-Known Member
I thought about needing a specific size, but with three contracts totaling 50,000 jackets on 8-Aug-41 alone and other contracts before and after that date into the tens of thousands, then three hundred jackets are almost a rounding error by comparison. If they were all a weird size, like 54 or something, then it might make sense.
 

foster

Well-Known Member
I have tried to apply some deductive reasoning to the small number of jackets in this contract. What follows is a lot of speculation that should be taken lightly, perhaps with a relaxing beverage of your choice.

This contract was from 1941. At the time, the US was not in a state of war, although based on the other 1941 contracts, we can see that preparations were being made. I do not see any feasible means by which the August 8th contract with Rough Wear would have been completed before the 1671 contract for approximately 300 jackets was issued a week later.

The uniqueness of the blackened / brown coated zipper has me curious. The other contracts known for dark zippers were also from 1941; those being Monarch and Fried Ostermann. The US Navy jackets tended to prefer these darker zippers, so I question if the US Army Air Corps was considering darkened zippers for concealment in the event of a downed airman. The A-2 has a wind flap offering some concealment of the zipper which the USN jackets lack, but maybe there was some desire to test the difference of a darkened zipper in A-2 use and issue. If such a test was done, my guess is that the difference was marginal and the darkened zipper was not deemed necessary in an A-2, so most later contracts tend to have standard nickel zipper teeth and pullers.

Alternatively, was this small contract issued as an experiment to determine realistic delivery times from the contract issue date to the time the USAAC received delivery of the contract? Since the contracts of the 1930's were for such small amounts of jackets compared to recent orders placed in 1941, it would not be out of the question that the Army desired to gain an accurate estimate on the production capacity and delivery time for increased A-2 production. Perhaps it was easier for Rough Wear to distinguish the different contract with a different zipper, as there is a good chance both of these contracts were being produced in the factory at the same time, or in quick succession to one another.
 
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