Fitzwell Sportswear Co B-15

Discussion in 'Cloth' started by Steve H, May 16, 2013.

  1. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I've got this on the way- good size and damage seems minimal! However, the zip tape colour (color for our US friends!) seems odd- is this normal for this contract and what zip type is normal? I don't know what is fitted.

    (sellers pics)
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  2. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,330
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Can't help you with the zip question Steve (my ELC B-15 is a copy of a Roughwear and the tape is very pale buff colour; the zip is a copy of a Conmar).
    Love the colour of that collar - very nice indeed.
     
  3. Steve H

    Steve H Member

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    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Yeah, Gentlemen prefer blondes Ian !!!!!!


    its kind of blonde but more like Japanese-girl-dyed-hair-blonde! :lol:
     
  4. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...personally, I prefer redheads Steve, as my wife would confirm, but not where jackets are concerned.
    In true 'Japanese-girl-dyed-hair-blonde' tradition, I see that the upper surface of the blonde collar doesn't match the black throat latch on the underside :cool:
     
  5. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    Ireland
    Steve, sorry to say that you've been caught by a postwar copy. The contract is bogus and the dead giveaway are the words "Original Type" on the label. You will find that the quality is way below that of a genuine government contract jacket. It's still a nice jacket but if you paid top dollar for what was described as an original piece I'd be looking for my money back. Again, sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.
     
  6. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Bad news indeed.... Thanks for the info Peter. I'll check it out when it arrives and see where I'm at with it. I didn't pay top bucks on it so I may keep it if it fits and is reasonable quality. It cost way less than en ELC so fingers crossed....

    cheers

    Steve
     
  7. TankBuster

    TankBuster Active Member

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    2,868
    Location:
    Midwest
    Peter is right. Most guys selling these know what they are but don't come out and say it. Similar post war civilian style jackets can be bought at local shows here for around $50. I bought a couple for $40 just to take off the mouton collars in case I ever needed one for a future project.

    Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the jacket and I hope it fits. It can still make for a fun wearer.
     
  8. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Any idea who made them? Were they intended as a repro?
     
  9. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    Ireland
    It's something I've pondered myself in the past. Your jacket was probably made by the firm on the label, Fitzwell Sportswear, but most of the postwar copy jackets had no labels at all so you made them is lost to history. The B-15 seems to be the most popular type of jacket copied, followed by the B-9 and B-11 parkas and the N-1 deck jacket. I really don't know why these copies were made at all. Surely in the immediate postwar years there must have been an abundance of genuine government contract jackets on the market. I've seen B-15 copies with the three coloured AAF stencil so the manufacturers went to some lengths to make these jackets look military but hold one up against an original and the differences are obvious. I know that military surplus was popular with the hotrod crowd after the war but I would have thought that the last thing your average Joe would have wanted to wear was a military surplus jacket, and even worse, a fake one ! There's research to be done on this subject. I find it fascinating and I'd love to hear the opinions of others. Steve, enjoy your jacket. That's the main thing.
     
  10. bjoy

    bjoy New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    California
    Recently I came across a document on the web containing some past FTC decisions. One was "IN THE MATTER OF BRONCO MFG. CORP. AND MURRAY AND PETER SPIEWAK" from 1954.

    It seems that Bronco Mfg was manufacturing garments that "closely resemble the jackets and outer garments issued and furnished to to members of the United States Armed Forces in color, pattern and style" yet were not manufactured for the armed forces nor in accordance with the required specifications. It said typical were labels like:

    AIR PATROL
    Spec. #BR-641
    Order NO. Ql079
    JACKET, B-15 TYPE

    and

    N-1
    Type
    B-15 TYPE
    SPEC. #56478
    STOCK #TL-19653
    U.S.A.

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/docs/Vol 51/ftcd-vol51(JULY-JUNE1955)PAGES410-510.pdf
     
  11. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    Wow, however did you come across that info. Fascinating. They even specifically mention the AAF roundels. Looks like Bronco got off lightly. They were told to "desist" from making bogus government contract jackets but didn't get fined.
     
  12. TankBuster

    TankBuster Active Member

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    I agree with Peter. That is some great info. Should be placed in a flight jacket book for reference and made a sticky here. Thanks for posting it up!!
     
  13. bjoy

    bjoy New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    California
    Bronco Mfg wasn't the only one doing this. Another FTC decision went against All American Sportswear for the same thing in the same year 1954. Typical labels for them were listed as:

    JACKET, INTERMEDIATE, FLYING
    TYPE B-15
    SPECIFICATION NO. 1872FS
    STOCK NO. 754-28837
    ORDER NO. 55-7283

    ARMY AIR FORCES TYPE.
    B-29
    SPEC. NO, 2078-
    STOCK NO. 30202-160

    TYPE US. ARMY.
    TANKER JACKET
    SPECIFICATION NO. 1872FS
    STOCK NO. 754-28937
    ORDER NO. 55-7283

    ARMY AIR FORCES TYPE.
    ARMY AIR FORCE STYLE
    B-9 PARKA
    CONTRACT MFR. 6475

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/docs/Vol 51/ftcd-vol51(JULY-JUNE1955)PAGES410-510.pdf
     
  14. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Unreal info! Thanks for sharing. They must have seen the production as a threat of sorts to have gone to those lengths?
     
  15. bjoy

    bjoy New Member

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    California
    Just did a search specifically about Fitzwell and found the following dated 1954. The wording makes me wonder if Fitzwell Sportswear ever actually had a military contract.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=AO...a=X&ei=IYGdUaTeKqSBiAKvl4B4&ved=0CDwQ6AEwATgK
     
  16. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    So could we assume that these Fitzwells date from before 1954? Sounds like there are a few out there.
     
  17. TankBuster

    TankBuster Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hey Bill,

    Fitzwell did indeed produce some legit contracts for the AAF. I believe they are referring to post war after their previous contracts had expired.

    Steve,

    There are a lot of these post war produced civie jackets out there. Some are made better and more accurately than others. At any given time there are 3 or 4 on eBay. Not all are marked Fitzwell however as a few different manufacturers got in the game. There are quite a few that just have labels sewn in that say B-15.
     
  18. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

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    3,330
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Fitzwell Sportswear....

    :lol:

    I see what they've done there :roll:
     
  19. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    5,251
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    Steve, there is a Fitzwell jacket on page 139 of Gregory Pons excellent book "8th Air Force, American heavy bomber groups in England, 1942-45". I guess someone wasn't up to speed in their research. Sorry, my scanner is broken or I'd post a pic. It's got an identical label to yours but the zipper tape is the more typical OD-7.
     
  20. Steve H

    Steve H Member

    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I just re-checked all my jackets- guess what- my B-11 is a Fitzwell and says original type on the label. :evil:
     

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