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V505 Australian A2 tender approved date and maker found

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
V505 Australian A2
This is the only mention of US army flight jackets in the gazette from the years 1940 - 45

Listed under contracts accepted


Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Thursday 24 June 1943 [Issue No.137]
Tendered by the dept. of supply and shipping.
Listed under contracts accepted

10.776 Req. 18669.—Flying jackets, for Department of U.S. Army, £7,252 10s. 9d.—Simpsons Gloves Pty. Ltd., Vic.



flight jcket.jpg



Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd was incorporated as a company in January 1924, with Amos Simpson and Henry Atkins the shareholders. Simpson took on the role of factory manager and Atkins was company secretary and accountant. Henry Atkins' father-in-law, David Forsyth Main Chalmers, also invested in the business in the 1920s. The business opened at 424 Smith Street Collingwood, and in late 1925 moved to 59 Alexandra Parade, Collingwood. In 1928 it moved to a larger building at 488-496 Victoria Street, Richmond, where it remained until 1988.

By 1947 Henry Atkins' son, Arthur Atkins, had become a company director along with his father and Simpson. With Simpson's death in 1953, the directors were Henry Atkins, Arthur Atkins and D.W. Atkins. The business was sold by Arthur Atkins to Alistair Mitchell in 1988, and relocated to 7 Expo Court, Glen Waverly.

Amos Griffiths Simpson (1878-1953) was born in Stafford, England; his father was a shoemaker and Amos also entered the trade. (Simpson chose the Stafford Knot as the logo for the company.) He worked in the shoemaking trade in England and Massachusetts, USA, and then migrated to Melbourne in July 1914 at the age of 36. After working for a shoe pattern-making firm in Melbourne, he formed a business Simpson & Sutherland in 1922, then Simpson's Gloves in 1924.

Henry James Atkins (d. 1975) had migrated from England in 1907, and worked in the accounts department of Hoffman Brick Co in Brunswick as a debt collector. He was an almost fully-trained accountant, and brought his financial acumen to the business.

Simpson's Gloves initially manufactured leather jackets, coats and gloves of a high quality, particularly for an up-market local clientele in Victoria and interstate. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line in 1930, which eventually became the largest part of the business. The company also manufactured wallets, purses, sporting accessories, industrial gloves, caps and helmets.

The company was clearly profitable. By 1927 Simpson and Atkins were each drawing a salary of one thousand pounds per annum, plus earning a dividend on their shareholdings. In 1928 the company made a profit of 2300 pounds; in 1933 it made a small loss of 40 pounds, but the following year, in the midst of the Depression, made over 600 pounds. In the peak of wartime production, it made over 3000 pounds in 1943.

During World War II, the company concentrated on wartime production of jackets, gloves and helmets for the military services, including the United States Air Force. It continued to make dress gloves for the military academy at Duntroon into the 1970s. By the late 1970s the company was primarily manufacturing industrial and safety gloves.

Due to tariff protection, Simpson's Gloves did not face major overseas competition. Products were sold through agents in all states as well as by commercial travellers, who worked on a 10% commission. A showroom at the factory displayed the products, and the company also employed two salesmen. Handbags were exported to South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s.
Products were sold through agents in all states as well as by commercial travellers, who worked on a 10% commission. A showroom at the factory displayed the products, and the company also employed two salesmen. Handbags were exported to South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. The company's fortunes shrank with the reduction in tariff protection in the 1970s and 1980s. The company's history is a typical case study of local leather goods manufacturing in Melbourne from the 1920s to the 1980s.



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Their 1932 catalog, have a look at the mans golf jacket.

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dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
So damn annoying after all the years of wondering who made them I found that information in ten minutes.
There is a govt website here called trove here that has lot of digitised newspapers, photos and other stuff from the national archives but I did not know the commonwealth govt gazette what been digitised.
Because of another members response mentioning the V505 in my Australian flight jacket thread I thought I would see if the national archives had the govt gazette and I was going to request they searched in 1942 and 43 for me, I thought it still would be on paper records and only accessible in Canberra.
If 33-1729 had not replied to my thread I never would have thought of looking, it just got me thinking there has to be a record of the tender awarded somewhere.
 
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Juanito

Well-Known Member
Holy cow, is all that I can say. What a stunning discovery. What I find interesting about this is that if the value of the contract in known (£7,252, the number of jackets can be estimated.

It would not surprise me if much more will be discovered due to this breakthrough.

Great Job!
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
10.776 Req. 18669.
I'm going to check with the national archives tomorrow if the number after req. is the amount that where contracted, you can tell by looking at the gazette the first number is the tender or some other number as they run in sequence. If the second number is the amount it does seem a like lot, I don't know if they had the capacity to make so many, maybe they did but it is possible they contracted out to other firms to fill the order.
I am doubtful though, just seems too many to me and not enough money paid, it probably means something else
 
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dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
Holy cow, is all that I can say. What a stunning discovery. What I find interesting about this is that if the value of the contract in known (£7,252, the number of jackets can be estimated.

It would not surprise me if much more will be discovered due to this breakthrough.

Great Job!
The mans golf jacket cost /59 in 1932 which is 59 shillings
59 shillings = 2 pounds 19 shillings = two pounds and 228 pence = nearly three pounds
pound = 240 pence
shilling = 12 pence
 
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Skyhawk

Well-Known Member
Fantastic discovery! Yes the mans golf coat.....
We know that the A-1 was designed from elements taken from coats like this one, but that example is a near spitting image of the A-1 jacket! This model is later than the A-1 though as it is stated that it is available with a lightning zipper as an option.

Regards,
Jay
 

33-1729

Active Member
So damn annoying after all the years of wondering who made them I found that information in ten minutes.
There is a govt website here called trove here that has lot of digitised newspapers, photos and other stuff from the national archives but I did not know the commonwealth govt gazette what been digitised.
Because of another members response mentioning the V505 in my Australian flight jacket thread I thought I would see if the national archives had the govt gazette and I was going to request they searched in 1942 and 43 for me, I thought it still would be on paper records and only accessible in Canberra.
If 33-1729 had not replied to my thread I never would have thought of looking, it just got me thinking there has to be a record of the tender awarded somewhere.
Congratulations! That’s a great find. We didn’t have any documentation before that any Australian firm made flight jackets for the US government. Glad we have someone from Australia on this site. :)

There were a number of different flight jackets, so it will be interesting to see what other paperwork may say about them. They may be for the V505. Please let us know what you find!

As for estimating the number of garments, for the American company A-2 contracts the cost was for production-only as the materials were obtained under separate government contracts. So in 1943 an A-2 cost was listed ~8USD, yet excluded material cost, and 1GBP was ~4USD, making ~7250GBP around ~29,000USD. Not knowing how US to Australian contracts worked in 1943 I can’t make an accurate estimate but can set the higher bound at ~3,500 flying jackets, but it may be much less.
 

Stony

Well-Known Member
Their 1932 catalog, have a look at the mans golf jacket.
A decent swing in a leather jacket would be almost impossible, so a bit weird that someone would come up with this. I mean, don't get me wrong, you'll look good while trying to swing a club.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
The next step is to contact the national archives to see if they have surviving paper records of individual contracts for the commonwealth dept of supply and shipping from ww2.
As the number and date are known it should be easy for them to find to if they still exist.
They will digitise records if requested for a fee and normally they are then placed on their website for public viewing.
 
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2BM2K

Well-Known Member
Note that the Australian pound was not the same as a British pound.
A quick search gives some approximations;

1932; £1 Australian = 16 shillings sterling

Wartime; £1 Australian = US$3.224
 

33-1729

Active Member
Note that the Australian pound was not the same as a British pound.
A quick search gives some approximations;

1932; £1 Australian = 16 shillings sterling

Wartime; £1 Australian = US$3.224
Please see post #8. In 1943 it was around 4:1
 
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SuinBruin

Well-Known Member
Amazing. This is the forum at its best.

Between this info and the Goldsmith revelation, Gary's going to have to come out with a second edition of his book.
 
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johnwayne

Well-Known Member
Pat on the back Dino to your patience in the detective work, applause all round. Really like that golf jacket but those aviator caps shown like they are look decidedly freaky/spooky!!!
 
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