Rust knits B10's - argument over?

Discussion in 'Cloth' started by johnwayne, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Cocker

    Cocker Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I was a TFL member back then 'or at least not an active one), so I completely missed that VAT thing you're talking about!

    No talk about SJW, I don't want my blood pressure to spike so early in the morning...
     
  2. Rutger

    Rutger Well-Known Member

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    I was genuinely surprised at HPA's attack at DD (and GW?) on the hat place. I exchanged a couple emails in the past ten years with Charles and always got a quick, well-informed and kind reply.

    Yes the VAT stuff, great reading, was that still with rothenhahn on board?I think he would have had a field day on this thread.
     
  3. johnwayne

    johnwayne Well-Known Member

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    To put this right back on track and or if 'other' colour knits were used in the original manufacture, if as with A2 production inspectors randomly checked orders - as outlined in Gary Eastman's A2 jacket manual, whereby orders were broken down in batches (probably by size?) and jackets were picked at random and stamped with the AN logo/stamp and why not all A2's have said stamp - then surely similar inspections took place say on B10's? I realise here I'm probably shooting down my own attempt to argue rust knits did exist, but given Superior Togs only had one contract and assuming that contract spec was for olive knits, wouldn't our inspector reject wrong colour knits? Similarly, ST wouldn't have made some with olive and some rust across one contract! Has anyone seen/ got an original ST B10 with olive knits for that matter plus do we how many jackets on the one contract?
     
  4. stanier

    stanier Well-Known Member

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    I could be going completely off course here, and apologies if so, but somewhere, somehow I’ve got it lodged that I read the makers didn’t source their own components, they were provided by the government. Now clearly the government doesn’t appear to have provided hides given what we now know of the use of cow and a mix of horse, cow and goat within a contract.

    However, could it be that Superior Togs were provided with knits and they used what was provided? If some were green and some red than so be it that’s what was sent so crack on.

    And the ST contract was a 1944 contract, but whereabouts in 1944 was it produced and how quickly did the jackets filter through to issue? And how many jackets?

    Regardless, I have definitely found pics of a Superior Togs B-10 in my copy of Suit Up, The Flight Jacket, and it has green knits, which may or may not be original and may or may not be representative of the batch. I think we should be careful before reaching any conclusions as we know for example two A-2’s from the same contract could have various hide shades, knits shades and zips etc. For me we need the company and AF records I think to stand a chance of finding out what really happened. We also need to know what Buzz have and what they believe they based their design on.

    At this point, whatever we find from the remaining data only seems to add to the mystery I think, rather than the fact.

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  5. foster

    foster Member

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    Sorry I am a little late to this party, but for what it is (or isn't) worth, here are a few observations from a guy whose family has been involved in textiles for over a century, and who is married to a garment pattern drafter / seamstress educated in apparel design and production.

    On the subject of rust knits on a B-10, most of the discussion is directing at ways to make "what if" explanations of how it came to be there, and I have added my two cents to that topic some time ago which can be found here. Also, my understanding of the knits themselves is that the B-10 uses longer knits than the A-2, so this may (or may not) be of interest in determining if A-2 knits were used as replacements? Meanwhile an extant, unaltered original specimen is the holy grail which we lack, and the discovery of this is what our small community of enthusiasts is in waiting for. We have originals and photos of the white collar B-10's, but the red knit B-10 remains as elusive as ever!

    The olive knits on the L-2A jackets is interesting, and the photographic evidence is reassuring. I would only be able to add to speculation, so take these comments with a grain of salt. There could have been olive knit that the contractor attempted to overdye to blue, and if not done well that could cause the color to wash out over time and with use, and result in the base olive knit underneath. This is purely what-if based on speculation, but it would get the garments past the government inspector. Also the reason one can find some jackets with blue cuffs yet olive knit is because those are made differently; the cuffs are tubular and the waist and collar knit is not tubular. So, the contractor could have had olive knit for cuffs and waist/collar, ran out of the cuff knit or switched to blue before they had blue on hand for the waist and collar knits.
     
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  6. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    I imagine that it's certainly a possibility Foster. I just tend to use Occam's razor for things like this until proven otherwise. For me the simplest reason is that they were in theatre repairs. Interestingly I mentioned earlier that I thought that I remembered seeing a B-15C Mod with the green knits and I managed to find that it was actually on here at VLJ. Sadly the photos are long gone but also of interest in that thread is that Atticus Finch has/had a N-2A (so a Korea War era jacket) which had green wrist knits and blue waist knit which he believed had been replaced. What's really interesting is this isn't limited to just L-2As but B-15c Mods and N-2As which (to me at least) suggests more likelihood for after manufacture replacement rather than several makers over several different types of flight jackets occasionally putting green knits on blue jackets.

    Here's the thread for those interested:

    https://vintageleatherjackets.org/threads/rare-blue-b-15c-with-olive-wrist-knits.11089/
     
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  7. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

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    So I guess my mind is unchanged on the subject. We can speculate on but, as we have seen, such unvetted speculation in other circles becomes "must have beens" and has led to a lot of quotes of limited contracts, etc. from those who must know. If anyone can show me two or more untouched original jackets from the same contract run with these "expedient" factory knit variants I might tend to say it was likely. Any I see will be assumed to have replacements knits or be some sort or a repro.
    That's just me.
    Dave
     
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  8. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly my thoughts too Dave.

    BR's marketing flannel probably hasn't helped either but it is amazing how many people will buy into some marketing bullshit. It was funny over at the hat place how it was being argued that because BR had made them and they carried contract labels it simply must be true. As a historian I find the whole idea of something being historically factual because a company makes a so-called reproduction completely laughable without any supporting evidence.

    All of this wasn't exactly helped by BR's so called recent "exact copy" of the "blaze red" MA-1s worn by Northrop F-89H test pilots. Although I don't imagine we'll be hearing too much about that from BR or HPA anytime soon!
     
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  9. stanier

    stanier Well-Known Member

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    I do think we’re any further forward, sorry!

    If knits on L2-a’s were being replaced on jackets 2 or 3 years old then either there were some very poor quality knits around, especially as we’re seeing collar and waist band knits all replaced.

    I think too we need to account for olive knits as opposed to later sage knits, which I’m sure did make their way into jackets as replacements.

    And there is the issue of olive lining which has come up more than once in the searches I’ve done.

    For me whichever way this interesting question goes it needs more than speculation, however we’ll informed to draw a line under it.

    Not that it’s worth a hill of beans to most folk!

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  10. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    We're no doubt going round and round in circles here but the reason for knits being replaced would most likely be from operational use not from poor quality. I have handled a fair few flying jackets with knits through work (from A-2s up to modern CWU examples) and many have knits with pulled threads, or which are falling apart and or need replacement of have been replaced, and that's even with the modern jackets worn by Norwegian F-16 pilots.

    If we're going to say that jackets rolled off the production line with non matching knits (which are counter to the specifications needed to pass inspection for distribution for government use) then we really need to back it up with some kind of factual evidence, be it documentary, photographic or otherwise, because this reason is much harder to prove than the more logical reason of these being purely replacements.
     
  11. stanier

    stanier Well-Known Member

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    I think you’re right Smithy, we’re going round in circles.

    If that many L2-A’s needed some of full knit replacement after a couple or so years I’m surprised many if any original a-2’s, for example, show up with original or even contract correct knits let alone made it through the war.

    And for a collar knit to be shredded what’s happening? Pity the poor airman’s neck! But then whatever the knit is enduring the surrounding nylon is fine.

    Totally agree only cast iron evidence will resolve the matter. Our collective speculation might be fun but whatever the point either way it seems there’s a reasonable question.
     
  12. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    Speculation is tons of fun Chris! Sadly it always reaches a point where to back up ideas and suppositions we need evidence. In terms of neck knit wear, this will be from parachute harness and seat harness wear. The straps were worn exceedingly tight and operationally they rub against the neck knits, typically from the outside of the neck knit and the shoulder section of the jacket. It's very common to see on fast jet jackets.
     
  13. stanier

    stanier Well-Known Member

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    I totally get ya Smithy, and I don’t means to be difficult, it’s just that one question seems to lead to another. For example if the the neck knits were worn away by straps and harnesses then how has the nylon survived unscathed over a much larger surface area? On my (admittedly repros) I’d say the nylon is no harder wearing than the knits, and actually possibly less so, though thankfully I’ve had no issues and at the price of it I’m not testing!

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  14. stanier

    stanier Well-Known Member

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    Oh and one day we all need to speculate on the Olive linings in some L2-a’s....;):confused:
     
  15. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

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    I think the olive knits on the L-2 look really cool. It's no wonder they have gotten so much attention. Many more A-2s were produced than the blue nylon jackets and served in many light duty situations or went nearly unworn during the war. I also know that it is really easy to oil up and/or snag a knit especially on cotter keys. I think if I was going to have my wrist knits replaced I would consider having all match.
     
  16. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    One thing I've always liked seeing are A-2 jackets in Korean War service. And something that many forget, the first jet ace achieved it wearing his trusty old A-2 and not a nylon jacket ;)
     
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  17. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect...the first jet Aces ( not wearing A-2’s) were Walter Nowotny and Walter Schuck...flying on several Me262 jet variants..plus others...(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Nowotny)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Schuck
    Walter Nowotny had no chance to wear an A-2, nor a nylon jacket. Walter Schuck, whom I had the great honor and priviledge meeting during a reunion in the US, wore honorably several allied flight jackets.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  18. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Pilot I was sloppy writing that and should have qualified that with, the world's first jet versus jet ace wore an A-2.
     
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  19. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

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    OK, accepted..
    Thx for sharing..
     
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  20. nkang

    nkang Active Member

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    In an interview with Heddels, William Gibson talked about authenticity:

    “Authenticity” doesn’t mean much to me. I just want “good”, in the sense of well-designed, well-constructed, long-lasting garments. My interest in military clothing stems from that...It’s the functionality, the design-solutions, the durability...Military clothing is built to strict contract, but with the manufacturer cutting ever corner they can without violating the specifications. The finishing on a Rickson reproduction is exponentially superior to the finishing on most of the originals, and I’d much
    rather have a brand-new exact copy that’s more carefully assembled.


    While I understand that some people are very into authenticity, my personal preference for Buzz Superior Togs' rust knits resonates well with Gibson's opinion. As long as the design is solid and the construct is durable, I won't mind a deviation from history in terms of the color ;)

    Owned an impeccable A-2 Deck Jacket and while I adored its historical value, I think I'd be happier buying a Buzz or Mccoy repro since they'd be more durable and better built.
     
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