Tuesday, August 8

10E2596: Cookbook Sale - West of Boston Aug 13th

Readers in the 617 and 508!  It is allllmost county fair time. Until then if you need a leafy drive on Sunday and some pastries as you browse cookbooks - come out to the Acton, MA farmers market this weekend.  The Friends of the Acton Libraries are slingin cookbooks - then you can pop by the nearby True West brewery and pour one out for Sam Shepard. sundaysundaysundaybethere!

Event link. Free.

Hey 'villens - short commuter ride from Porter Sq. Bring yer bike out if you want.

Monday, August 7

10E2595: Kick Start

The fascination with 'scrambler' type motorbikes has a rich vein too in trials bikes. More popular in Europe, popularized on British telly in the 80s with a show called Kick Start.
In the Kick Start format, the riders went over obstacles such as piles of logs, oil drums, rockeries, water troughs, up a wall, up steep banking or a cliff-face and over [cars]. Penalties, in the form of time added to their round time, would be given for putting a foot on the ground while tackling an obstacle or touching or knocking over specified parts of an obstacle (such as the "bunny hop").

A video-game inspired by the series called Kikstart was released for the Commodore 64 in 1985 by Mastertronic. It was also released for the ZX Spectrum [wow...]- via wiki

This was Saturday tv I grew up with in the UK in the 80s - fantastic.  Trials motocross, then rally driving, then boxing.  Full morning of viewing... A whole world of retro source material too if you have never seen before...

Tuesday, June 13

10E2594: Fly Paper

Pull the loop. Feel that stretch of sticky poisonous fruit-roll-up paper. Work out the included thumbtack and pin it up. I actually like the smell of these... I guess it is a memory trigger to childhood, messing around in the barn. Have you ever run into flypaper and had it stick to your head? haha, gross.

Friday, May 19

10E2593: Switchel "Swizzle"

Sounding like something the great BFG might serve at a picnic, SWIZZLE is a switchel-delivery-method of carbonated water/ginger/apple cider and maple from UP MOUNTAIN SWITCHEL.

Switchel, haymakers punch. 4 simple ingredients when Up Mountain Switchel make it for you; local organic maple syrup, local organic apple cider vinegar, organic fresh ginger root, and Berkshire mountain water. This brand gives you a huge hit of ginger. Fantastic on its own or as a mixer. Trialed in the outdoor markets and fairs of Vermont.

"Like maple sugaring, haying a hill farm in the pre-mechanized era was a chancy, nerve-wracking job, in which Gramp's patience with me frequently wore thin... after helping unload the wagon I could run to the milk house cooling tank for the stone jug of switchel which my grandmother made up each morning... the traditional northern New England field hands' drink decocted from pure spring water with a touch of vinegar..."
- Frank Mosher, Northern Borders

Laura Ingalls-Wilder drank it, as did Herman Melville. Unbeknownst to them it provided electrolytes, anti-inflammatories and more - a fenceposter gatorade. Switchel may have originated in the Caribbean (ginger and molasses give a clue) but was transformed in New England with the substitution of maple syrup or sometimes honey.

This brand has always delivered in glass, never plastic. As they note; "In the United States alone, 50 billion plastic bottles were used last year (that's over 7x the entire world population). Only 23% were recycled, which means 38 billion ended up in our landfills, on our streets, and in our oceans." Not on their watch.

Tuesday, May 9

10E2592: Carhartt | Southwestern Style

Recently re-connected with the resident Brand Archivist and Historian at Carhartt, Inc., Dave Moore, who is tasked with creating their physical archive from the materials at hand - as well as setting an agenda for collections and processes.  You can read my earlier interview of Moore here.

Many 10e readers share my fascination with this storied brand and its place in the workwear canon. I have noted before that Carhartt seemed a little late-to-the-party to formally organize an archive, so always interested to hear what is happening now and any academic principals that guided their decisions.

Ranch or 'western' wear made sense as an expansion of Carhartt's construction line and as customers were found south and west, the southwestern influence came back too. Here looking at the specific southwestern designs offered in the 1990s from Carhartt (sometimes called Aztec due to the geometrics reminiscence of South American art). These are pretty handily available on eBay (as noted below) - the rest of the images presented direct from the Carhartt archives.  Enjoy - and thanks again to Dave Moore again for the informative interview!

Image: Carhartt courier pull sheet. 1992.

10engines: I am interested to see first examples (as well as the loudest and "best") of Carhartt's southwestern designs from the archive and catalogs.

Dave Moore: The first Southwest Carhartt products were made in 1991 - a blue denim and black denim jacket, with Southwest pattern linings.

DM: I would say that the award for the loudest is a dead heat between the Aztec Jacket and the Printed Chamois Shirt. 

 [via eBay]


 [via eBay]

 [via eBay]

10e: When did the range actually start?

DM: 1991, although these were Southwest linings only. 1992 was the first year that Southwest-style patterns began to appear on the exterior of the garments with the Southwest Look Sweatshirts (see above). The last year Southwest products were produced was 1995.

Aside from garments, we sold Blanket Southwest Look Caps in 1992 and 1993. They came in quite the variety - bills in different fabrics that were either unwashed, stone washed, or acid washed, and a ton of different patterns. When ordered by retailers, they came one dozen to a box with “assorted colors.”

[via eBay. Insanity - ed.]
[via eBay]
[via eBay]

DM: We also offered versions of some of our most iconic products with Southwest linings, including the Chore Coat, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. This is a garment that has not seen a huge amount of experimentation in its blanket lining over the years, so the inclusion of the Southwest influence in the ‘90s is particularly of note.

10e: And these were an offshoot from western wear?

DM: 1992 was the first year that Carhartt made the garments that are most synonymous with our Southwest styling. Two of the products were, indeed, an evolution of Carhartt’s Ranch/Western Wear, which traces back to the 1960s.

DM: The Southwestern Style Jackets were billed in their product descriptions as having “Traditional Western styling”.

DM: Carhartt also produced a version of our classic Active Jac with Southwest styling. These garments were a bit more muted than 1994’s Aztec Jacket, as the Southwest pattern only appeared in a stripe across the chest. They were, however, produced in an array of colors that were right at home in the ‘90s, such as teal blue, carbon blue, cactus (a bright green), plum/damson, and redwood (a bright red).

[via eBay]

DM: It consistently blows me away how many of these various products you can find on online auction and vintage sites, often in good condition, considering they were only made for about a five year period.

10E: Do you have any knowledge of the designers behind the choices? Sources of their inspiration?

DM: According to Mark Valade, Carhartt CEO/Chairman of the Board: “There were other western wear manufacturers at that time that produced these products, but our then sales manager – who was also our product developer – knew the jacket style could be a market for us as our western consumers already knew the brand… meaning we had credibility in the western wear market. Carhartt was a smaller company at the time, and we found new markets through trial and error. The webbing color and patterns came from US mills that specialized in western prints. [Current VP of Product Development] Deb Ferraro improved the jacket and updated the prints as she became our first professional product designer.”

DM: According to Deb Ferraro, Carhartt VP of Product Development: “The western items were in the line when I started. I updated the pattern that was on the chest of the duck jackets and I worked on the printed jacket and printed chamois shirt. The influence was the western market at the time. For the chamois shirting, I worked with Cone Mills to create the print design. I believe Avondale Mills printed the duck [DM: they have since gone out of business].”

 [via eBay]

10E: Any scans or images of promo materials from this style. I have not seen much have to say.

DM: Very limited selection - by my records, it doesn’t appear to have ever been marketed as its own line, per se. These are scans from a pamphlet dubbed the “Carhartt Courier,” which was a communique sent to retailers of Carhartt products to inform them of new offerings, advertising campaigns, co-op materials, etc.

10E: So the timeline would be...

1991    Southwest linings appear
1992    Southwest Look Sweatshirts and Caps released
1993    Traditional Western Wear products and Active Jac released in Southwest patterns
1994    The Aztec Jacket and the Printed Chamois Shirt, some of the most eclectic products ever in the line, appear
1995    The final year Carhartt’s Southwest products are produced

10E: Do you know if Carhartt plans to reproduce any of these historic products?

DM: We, of course, work pretty far out on product R&D, and I do work with the design department pretty regularly. Vintage patterns and styles are very much in the current mindset for product development. As far as reproduction of historic products in general, this year we’ll be releasing a 100th anniversary limited edition Chore Coat, which will include historic styling elements and a Faribault® lining.


Some great stuff - thank you again Dave Moore and Carhartt for dipping into the past. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 25

10E2591: Topo Designs Foam&Mesh Trucker

Blackadder:     Impossible sir. I know from long experience that my men
                have all the artistic talent of a cluster of colourblind
                hedgehogs... in a bag.

Melchett:       Hm. We needed a man to leave the trenches immediately.

Blackadder:     Well yes... I wonder if you've enjoyed, as I have sir, that
                marvellous painting in the National Portrait Gallery, "Bag
                Interior", by the colourblind hedgehog workshop of Sienna.

Not to call this hat's color scheme 'blackadder' [though not bad -ed] or to suggest the folk at Topo are colorblind - just mean this hat has as much color applied as the inside of a bag...  Too much?

$Thirty bucks. Solid. Under your Bell helmet.