Buttoned Pocket Flaps A-2 Jackets

Discussion in 'Vintage' started by 33-1729, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Sussex
    The jacket details are a good match for those worn by Spatz, Hoyt and Dargue.
    At a guess produced in 1929 or very early 1930 as this ties in with the drawing number 30-1415
     
  2. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    This makes perfect sense.
     
  3. 33-1729

    33-1729 Active Member

    Messages:
    135
    I would expect a few "Frankenstein" prototypes and we've seen quite a few zippered A1/2-ish jackets posted on this thread. I wonder if private purchases jackets weren't much more common when the Air Corp was getting started in the 1920's to very early 30's.
     
  4. Geeboo

    Geeboo Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    On the contrary, I would think this without epp A2 must be an issued A2, which might be the Earlier Werber contract OR others because
    1) There is not just 1, but a few, almost the same pattern found.
    2) If pilot can wear whatever they like, why not wear A1 - readily available ? If a few pilots worn the same pattern over & over again, I have reason to believe it is an issued pattern.
    3) Why does a private purchase happened to be of the same pattern, found more than once; so it is logical to believe it is based on an issued pattern OR it WAS on fact an issued pattern. Eg we have private purchase B-10, B-15. etc but we don't have private purchase - no name/ arbitrary.
     
  5. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    682
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I have a theory on this one. It matches features found on A.G. Spalding jackets in the late 1920's and 1930's. I have been researching them for a while for some reproductions we are working on. They have a rich history of supplying flight gear to the AAC during that time period. They also made test jackets for the A-1 program. The Spalding jackets share these features:
    1. No epaulets
    2. Very similar pocket
    3. No rivet / eyelet on Zipper
    4. Same type of knit attachment - A-2 style with no top stitching.

    Spalding used to like to cram the rivet box of a Hookless zipper into the jacket and just sew it in without installing the rivets. That could be a Hookless there in this jacket without it's rivets.

    AG-original4.jpg

    Regards,
    Jay
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  6. 33-1729

    33-1729 Active Member

    Messages:
    135
    For the government there would be an A-1, A-2, etc. issue but never something as a sort-of this or that for standard issue. Prototypes are never standard issue, but test samples.

    When switching from the A-1 to A-2 there may have been a temporary shortage towards the end of A-1 production while waiting on the new A-2 that may have promoted private purchases. There are photos of people in private purchase jackets at the time, so it is possible. I just don't know how prevalent.

    As for the similarity across the many "Frankenstein" jackets we've seen, it seems the style of the A-1 was highly favored (it still is!). It wouldn't be surprising for pilots to purchase privately made jackets that were like the A-1. (I would have.) Jay also makes a good point about Spalding. The US would have asked a supplier (or three) to make a batch of prototypes, so a single prototype vendor would account for much of the consistency we have seen.

    At this point, it would be near impossible to distinguish between a test sample and a private purchase without more data. Consider how much effort was needed by the many experts on this forum to identify possible samples of two previously unknown contracts (Goldsmith 31-1897 in post #352 & Werber 32-6225 in post #403).
     
  7. Geeboo

    Geeboo Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    Can someone proof me wrong of this proposition : " The jkt Hep worn was in fact test sample of A2 [ a lot of differences with later on A2], because of its inconveniences of button tab, it then changes to the without app A2 for a limited 25 jackets. In other words, the no epp A2 is the real Goldsmith". Upon the test run of the Goldsmith, ONLY epaulet and snap pocket were added , then the final version of A2 emerged - all later contracts standardized -1st one being Werber 32.
    Sorry, it stirred up the water again.
     
  8. 33-1729

    33-1729 Active Member

    Messages:
    135
    The key item to consider is that these are opinions of what a Werber 32-6225 may be, based upon features seen on early Werber contract examples, but without concrete proof we do not know for certain.

    The same is true for the opinions on what the Goldsmith 31-1897 may be, based upon photograph timing and Lt Col Arnold is wearing it, but again without concrete proof we do not know for certain.

    Test sample? Prototype? Just a guess at his point. In all cases we simply don't have concrete data to know either way.

    Stirring is good and encouraged. :)

    (A letter dated July 19, 1932 says the first three contracts were already procured as shown in post #1 and the A-2 specification 94-3040 section III.3 dated May 9, 1931 (1st approved spec) and another dated August 18, 1932 version says "All button holes shall be leather faced" so it is reasonable to assume all of the first three contracts, Goldsmith 31-1897, Sat 32-485, and Werber 32-6225 only had button pocket flaps. At least until data appears to say otherwise.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  9. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,947
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    Wow...Great work by everyone. This fella with Eddie Rickenbacker definitely has the jacket I am calling the "XA-2."

    His patch looks to be that then used by Eddie's old outfit, the 94th Pursuit Squadron (which had merged with the 103d and dropped its famous hat-in-the-ring insignia in favor of the 103d's chief's head)*.
    FS-94-1041-A.jpg
    And one assumes he had to have been pretty senior to get an XA-2, meaning he was probably squadron CO in those days...as Eddie had been in WW1. Thus the picture with the two together.

    The 94th's CO then was 1Lt Harry A. Johnson, who was a mustang enlistee from WW1.
    Unfortunately pictures of Johnson aren't plentiful online. Here he is in 1925, (I believe) with Eddie in 1931, and as a major general in 1953.
    Harry-A-Johnson-Ref29p18.jpg 1925 Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.37.26 PM.png 1931 Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 7.26.20 PM.png 1953

    *Eddie had trademarked the hat-in-the-ring for his car company. That's why the 94th stopped using it! In 1942, they took it back.
    images.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  10. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,947
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    And yet another XA-2 candidate...taken at the very same 1931 National Air Races.
    Maj. George Brett was CO of the 1st Pursuit Group - all of 72 fighters, including Ross Hoyt and his 17th Sq., and Harry Johnson and his 94th - who flew from Selfridge Field to Cleveland to kick off the races that year.
    (I could swear he has an inside pocket, and something in it. It's too low to be in his shirt.)
    Untitled-19.jpg
    And another pic dating to 1931. That flyaway collar is becoming unmistakable.
    Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.19.26 PM.png
    In 1941, Maj. Gen. Brett was very briefly Chief of the Air Corps. Later he commanded Allied air forces in SWPAC and the Caribbean. The Swoose, the famous and last remaining B-17D, was his personal plane.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  11. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    682
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Let us rewind a bit,

    This is true but in regards to the goldsmith jacket that Arnold is wearing, it's picture is too late to be a test jacket, but mostly, the unique features are not found on any other makers jackets. We have seen A-2's from every other maker and the details don't match. Not even the pocket flap, shape, or size. That is pretty solid evidence that it must have been made by a company that we have never seen an A-2 jacket from.......... Goldsmith.

    Regards,
    Jay
     
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  12. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    913
    Just to further muddy the waters this jacket, if my (old) eyes aren't deceiving me, appears to have an internal wind flap AND an external windflap
     
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  13. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Sussex
    Well spotted.

    94th.jpeg
     
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  14. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    913
  15. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Sussex
    Yes I know, just highlighting that the internal windflap is visible in other photo's of different wearers.
    In other words the jackets are of the same design.

    Very good spot.

    The internal windflap could explan why the early A2 contracts had a leather jetted seam on the windflap side.
     
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  16. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    682
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I saw that too. Double wind flap. Interesting.
     
  17. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    913
    I always thought that was designed to stop the zipper teeth snagging on the lining, early days of the open ended zipper, no previous experience , you'd be surpised to know how many Aero customers have trouble getting used to a Hookless zipper!
     
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  18. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    Sussex
    That's what I thought, but the 2951 contract doesn't have it and would it need to go the whole length of the zip?

    Just wondering if it is related to the internal windflap design.
     
  19. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    913
    Yes to the length
    If the internal wind flap was used for the same reason, to protect the liner, then yes, at least to the top of the knit but that would look a bit odd if it stopped 3" /4" from the bottom
     
  20. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,947
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    Wow. I saw this detail, obviously, but could not spatially process it. So I just skipped it over.
    The second flap was a solution to a problem no one had thought would *be* a problem.

    The question is: was it carried over into another jacket type? Or did the putative Goldie 31-1897 adapt it to a jetted* strip?

    *A jetted seam, this one down the back of a dress shirt. The term "jetted" usually applies to pockets, and is less common than "double welted" or "double besom pocket."
    Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 10.12.53 AM.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018

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