Whatever Happened to the Goldsmith A2?

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Only A2s I can think of using chrome tanned HH are the ones from LW.
Evidence shows that the majority of vintage A2s used chrome tanned but some were definitely veg tanned.
Is Lost Worlds still making A2’s ? You don’t hear much coming from them these days. Used to be an occasional story popping up every now and then about dealings with the owner, and his eccentric ways.
 

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
Personally, i think the almost exclusive use of veg tanning in modern repros is one of the biggest piss takes going. As is the use of horse. Of course it all helps the hype of exclusive authenticity which in turn helps jack the cost up.........
if it was impossible back in the day to determine a difference in horse and steer, who’s to say that unscrupulous makers or even hide suppliers used what was cheapest or most available for their area. There was no QA other than on the finished garment being strong enough to last the relatively short period they were intended to be used for.
The Sefton Clothing jackets - in steer & chrome tanned - still remain the most authentic looking hides to my amateur eye and they have aged beautifully over time.
 
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jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Horse Hide back in war times was actually cheaper to use than Bovine. There was a surplus of HH. That has flipped today. Now cow is cheaper.
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Horse Hide back in war times was actually cheaper to use than Bovine. There was a surplus of HH. That has flipped today. Now cow is cheaper.
Not entirely accurate.

In Mr. Eastman’s excellent book, Type A-2 Flight Identification Manual, there is a letter from the Chicago Tanning Company dated Sept. 14, 1931 that states “A coat can be made of Genuine Cowhide and it will cost from 35¢ to 50¢ a garment less than Horsehide…”. I don’t know how the prices changed over time, but when the A-2 was first made cowhide was cheaper than horsehide. Don’t know about goatskin.

In the A-2 specification documents, a note dated Aug 18, 1932 was concerned about horsehide supply stating “Due to the indicated shortage of horse hide in case of a major emergency, Substitute Specifications should be prepared which will not require the use of horse hide leather.”

So both availability and cost drove the A-2 to be manufactured out of cowhide versus the original horsehide.
 

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
Horse Hide back in war times was actually cheaper to use than Bovine. There was a surplus of HH. That has flipped today. Now cow is cheaper.
J, i didn’t express myself well. i amended my post to also say which hides were more readily available for the location of the factory. Even if horse were a few cents cheaper, if you aren’t near a ready supply of it but have deadlines and quotas to meet, you can’t afford to be choosy when each performs equally well.
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Not entirely accurate.

In Mr. Eastman’s excellent book, Type A-2 Flight Identification Manual, there is a letter from the Chicago Tanning Company dated Sept. 14, 1931 that states “A coat can be made of Genuine Cowhide and it will cost from 35¢ to 50¢ a garment less than Horsehide…”. I don’t know how the prices changed over time, but when the A-2 was first made cowhide was cheaper than horsehide. Don’t know about goatskin.

In the A-2 specification documents, a note dated Aug 18, 1932 was concerned about horsehide supply stating “Due to the indicated shortage of horse hide in case of a major emergency, Substitute Specifications should be prepared which will not require the use of horse hide leather.”

So both availability and cost drove the A-2 to be manufactured out of cowhide versus the original horsehide.
Thanks for that info. I do wonder if it was subjective to different tanneries though. Certainly the majority of the A2s WERE from HH. So either there are details that we don’t know about or the government was nuts in choosing to go with the “more expensive HH”.

My own guess is HH was more naturally water resistant and also could be more durable though cow is not far behind in that category.
So perhaps the overall cost ended up being less in the long run due to the jackets longevity?
 
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mulceber

Well-Known Member
I could see them wanting the best. They probably could afford it more easily during the '30s and at the beginning of WW2, since they'd spent several years being the arsenal of democracy.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
I'm just guessing, but I think that more cowhide jackets turned up in the mid years of the war, as stock piles of horse hide began to diminish. In the later years the B-10s started to proliferate around the European Theater of Operations because it was a warmer jacket, but many of the guys also hung onto their A2's.

(I just realized I contributed to the hijacking of my own thread...so can we please get back to the Goldsmith?:rolleyes:)
 

33-1729

Well-Known Member
Thanks for that info. I do wonder if it was subjective to different tanneries though. Certainly the majority of the A2s WERE from HH. So either there are details that we don’t know about or the government was nuts in choosing to go with the “more expensive HH”.

My own guess is HH was more naturally water resistant and also could be more durable though cow is not far behind in that category.
So perhaps the overall cost ended up being less in the long run due to the jackets longevity?
Glad to.

A big clothing concern in the cockpit is fire resistance, so they may have preferred the denser grain of horsehide over cowhide though they’re likely very close in fire resistance. Fire resistance is also a reason why the Australian military can use a goatskin flight jacket. I don’t know if the same applies to the hard wearing African Capeskin used in the A-1 or if they were naturally dapper.

Pretty much all the pre-war A-2 jackets were horsehide, but then the government purchased all the materials to make the jackets then the manufacturers put them together based upon what was sent to them. Clearly they had good horsehide supply chains setup when they started A-2 production, but they weren’t able to support the greatly increased war supply demands.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Personally, i think the almost exclusive use of veg tanning in modern repros is one of the biggest piss takes going.
Like Juanito, I agree with this 100% too. It's one of the biggest elephants in the room concerning a very large amount of high end repros and something I've probably banged on too much around here!

I've said it before but I think most repro jackets are not actually manufactured to look and behave like an original jacket made in 1941, 1942, etc but rather to look like a 75 year old original in a very short space of time. That's why they use veg tanned stuff because it ages up super quickly.
 

Juanito

Well-Known Member
I thought chrome tanning cause environmental concern?
Sure does, and I am certain that wasn't a real concern 75+ years ago. In reality, there would be no reason to use veg tanned hides--the process is a month long vs. a few days (time = money) and it is not as durable from my understanding, particularly where moisture and humidity are concerned.

Here's and experiment: Throw a veg tanned and a chrome tanned jacket in the wash and see what happens...
 

Persimmon

Well-Known Member
Whatever happened to the Goldsmith A2 thread...........
Whatever happened to the Goldsmith A2 thread......
Whatever happened to the Goldsmith A2 thread...
Whatever happened to the Goldsmith A2 thread.............

Please please please all yee jacket gods and occasional goddess can we have a thread that actually talks about what the OP actually started the thread for !!!
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Right. At least a conversation is being had now. Ha.
What did you want. A thread being buried at the bottom again. No one appears to know anything new. Since most of what’s known about the goldsmith is conjecture anyway from old photos, why not discuss other things that ARE related and fall into the “conjecture” label as well?
 
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