Original A-2 Spun Silk Lining

Discussion in 'Vintage' started by 33-1729, May 8, 2017.

  1. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Active Member

    Messages:
    177
    Without knowing the relative availability of Silk Waste as opposed to Raw Cotton in USA during the 1930s it's hard to be subjective as to when Cotton overtook Spun Silk as the preferred choice for an A-2 lining as legend would have it by late in that decade............assuming that is the case.
    What we do know is
    (1) The original spec choice in 1931 was Spun Silk FACT
    (2) It's not easy to tell Spun Silk cloth from Cotton cloth if the weave spec is the same FACT
    (3) The early contracts were relatively small and it's logical to assume there was a reasonble supply of Spun Silk available in 1931 otherwise the Air Corps would hardly have been likely to specify this material. FACT
    (4) We found Spun Silk to be less that double the cost of a similar grade Cotton from the same weavers while it was available, not a major factor in the costing of an A-2 Jacket FACT
    (5) Assuming (3) as factual, here seems no good reason for using a non specified lining while the specified lining is not only superior but also readily available. LOGICAL IF NOT PROVEN FACT
     
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  2. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Given the large variety of tests to differentiate [animal-based] silk from [plant-based] cotton, hopefully someone repairing a lining will be able to locate one example of an original maker made A-2 with a silk lining. Amazingly odd that no silk lining has been found before, given the hundreds of thousands of original A-2's possibly getting in the market and the incredible attention to detail of some original maker A-2 re-manufacturers.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  3. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Active Member

    Messages:
    177
  4. Grant

    Grant Active Member

    Messages:
    843
    I've posted this pic before, but here's Hub's RW with the red silk lining.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Great picture! Is that a re-lined A-2 or is it an original factory made version with a silk lining or is it known if re-lined or not?
     
    Grant likes this.
  6. Ken at Aero Leather

    Ken at Aero Leather Active Member

    Messages:
    177
    I wish we'd considered this way back in the Thrift Shop days when we rarely had less than a hundred original A-2s in the shop at any one time. Research in the 1970s came upwith the spec for Spun Silk lining.
    Therefore at that time I'd always assumed all the linings Spun Silk and having originally learnt my tailoring making silk shirts, mainly in Spun Silk (as it was so much easier to sew) I knew what it looked and felt like, so why would I assume otherwise?
    All the relines we did in those days were done in cotton, but only because we couldn't find the right Spun Silk ready made.
    When we started reproducing A-2s (1981) we used the same cotton lining but only until we sourced a weaver that could produce Spun Silk to order (1988??).
    As far as I recall it was only after this and once a few other firms statrted making A-2s, ELC. Sefton, a guy in LA forget his name, etc that cotton began to be promoted as the original lining in all A-2s

    I've always considered this to be more "Urban Legend" rather than fact, the more the story is told the "truer" it decomes

    What I can do is to get a test burn on a thread of any re-lines / repairs that come through Aero from now on.
     
  7. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Excellent, Ken! Please let us know what you find.
     
  8. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

    Messages:
    441

    Ken did you ever find the photos of the Thrift shop ,you said a while back you were going to post them .

    BIP
     
  9. Grant

    Grant Active Member

    Messages:
    843
    Never seen an all original RW with red silk lining, so I'd bet it was re-lined when it was re-dyed.
     
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  10. Smithy

    Smithy Active Member

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Norway
    Many thanks for posting that Grant!
     
  11. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Thanks Grant for posting the picture of Hub's relined A2, which I remember seeing but could not find.
     
  12. johnwayne

    johnwayne Active Member

    Messages:
    782
    Hmm, to echo my previous comment I wonder why this was not covered in Gary Eastman's manual? I'm sure I've read here that Gary views this site from time to time so perhaps he can tell us! Although I've not read every original letter contained in his manual I don't recall seeing anything re the lining but does seem a strange omission, don't you think?
     
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  13. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Ageed Wayne. There are other omissions from the book too.
     
  14. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

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    441
    Is Gary Eastman a member here !.
     
  15. Grant

    Grant Active Member

    Messages:
    843
    Sure, no problem. BTW, Hub's A-2 is the only original I've seen lined with red silk. Has anyone else seen another original A-2 with red silk lining?
    I've always questioned that bunk that only aces lined their jackets in red silk.
     
  16. Buck Turdgeson

    Buck Turdgeson Banned

    Messages:
    20
    All due respect to the posters here, I don't have a historical comment rather a observation. My issue G-1 from the USN had of course nylon. It was a pleasure to slip on and off and wore like the devil, never needed replacement.

    Year later, after getting a ww2 repro I was not immpressed with the brown cotton liner. It had lots of drag, not as easy to slide on and off. Worst of all it collected dirt around the collar area and even wore through in record time.

    My next A-2 was the Historical Goat model from G/B and I have never looked back. Tough wearing and a pleasure to put on. It slides ...like silk...because it is.

    I understand that history demands cotton on real A-2's however for a repro I suggest members here to try silk. You will love it. Another option is to replace only the arms with silk/nylon and have the rest of the jacket lined in the correct cotton.

    Cheers
     
    2BM2K likes this.
  17. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sussex
    Over the years I have seen many references to "The original A2 specification",
    usually quoting the original colour, horse hide leather or silk lining specifications.

    One would think that the original specification was commonly available for any one to see. Yet I have never
    been able to find a copy, not in print or on-line.

    I would very much like to read this document and so does anyone have a copy or know where It
    can be viewed, ideally on-line.

    Does it even exist?
     
  18. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

    Messages:
    68
    Certain it exists, but a very valid point as I too have only seen the contents second hand. Probably ought to be a sticky. Sent a request to the US Gov. for a copy. Unless someone beats me too it, I'll post it when able.
     
  19. Smithy

    Smithy Active Member

    Messages:
    751
    Location:
    Norway
    That's what I'd really like to know as well. There must have been others that needed relining. I wonder whether Hub took his to a tailor in London to have it relined rather than on base, and decided to make a bit of a statement and chose red silk, or perhaps it was merely the closest colour the tailor had to the orangey terracotta original RW lining? I still wouldn't put it past being personal choice though, some fighter pilots did like to have a bit of swagger - there's a reason why many picked colourful polka dot or brightly patterned silk scarves to wear rather than monochrome ones.
     
  20. Grant

    Grant Active Member

    Messages:
    843
    Since the jacket was re-dyed as well, I wonder if it was depot request? Anyone's guess..
     

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