Original A-2 Spun Silk Lining

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

  1. WBOONE

    WBOONE Member

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    113
    At our local A.F.B museum where there are several originals on display, i did notice a manikin dressed as a WW2 aviator with a original A2 on that, the best i can tell where the jacket hangs open a bit on the front, the lining seems to be a crimson silk type fabric. It;s definitely not the "tobacco brown"/ "mustard colored cotton lining. I cant tell which contract it is."
     
  2. WBOONE

    WBOONE Member

    Messages:
    113
    Also, i had heard that the original spec called for silk, but as it was more important to use the available silk for parachutes once the US got involved in the war, the use of cotton was approved. I've always assumed the A2 on display was a pre-war version when silk was still used.
     
  3. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

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    68
    Silk was preferred over cotton as a parachute material because of its higher strength to weight ratio. In this case top quality, long, reeled silk is used versus weak, damaged or other poor quality silk waste made into spun silk that is carded and woven from a collection of smaller filaments (like wool or cotton). The A-2 lining was to be made from the waste spun silk and not parachute quality reeled silk.

    Nylon was developed before WWII and in 1942, thanks to Adeline Gray, nylon began to replace silk as a parachute material. Apparently there was quite a run on nylon stockings at the time (no pun intended).

    http://works-words.com/NSM-WIKI/WP/...eded-by-silk-is-replaced-by-nylon-parachutes/
     
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  4. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

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    68
    Just a quick update.

    Heard back from the National Air and Space Museum about getting a copy of "U.S. Gov., U.S. Army, Army Air Forces. Specification 94-3040; 1932. Jackets; Flying Type A-2" and they’re understaffed at the moment so it will take a number of weeks. Looking for some other items too and may hit the library next time in D.C.

    For those interested that haven't seen the other thread in "Vintage", here's a brief summary of what we've found thus far.

    • Expect less than fifteen (15) "light brown" spun silk lined pre-production A-2 jackets produced for the Sept. 1930 military service tests, with estimated quantity based upon the sample sizes found in the documentation for the A-1 service test (don't have documentation for the A-2 service tests...yet).

    • April 25, 1934 memorandum reference from the Office of the Assistant secretary of War requests an A-2 order using cotton fabric lining, so up to three contracts may have contained silk linings based upon the original spec (32-485, 33-1729 and the elusive 34-518P).

    • Spec. 94-3040 is important because all other spec. lining references appear to be from the readily available “Type Designation Sheet” shown below, but the standard punctuation format is “item, semicolon, item, semicolon, etc.” and a hyphen denotes either a line break splitting a word or additional text that was omitted. So “Horse hide leather -– spun silk” all on the same line means missing text and not just two items. Maybe cotton lining was an original option, maybe not.

    tds.JPG

    There was a wide difference between cost and availability between spun silk and cotton, especially for a seven dollar (in 1931) jacket, and the pricing/availability data is in the other thread.
     
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  5. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

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    441
    Outstanding !

    BIP
     
  6. Cocker

    Cocker Member

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    Nice! Any body has pictures of what they call the A-3/4/5/6 contracts??
     
  7. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

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    68
    Received a kind letter from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum today and they do not have a copy of the A-2 spec. 94-3040, but recommend checking with the National Archives and Records Administration. Request already in and will keep everyone posted when I hear back (probably four to six weeks).
     
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  8. 2BM2K

    2BM2K Active Member

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    189
    Location:
    Sussex
    Another possible source for the specification is the original jacket making companies, they must have had a copy. There is only one of these companies around today and that is Spiewak.
    Spiewak may have a copy in their company archives.
     
  9. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

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    68
    Good idea. I'll send them a proper letter and let you know when I hear back.
     
  10. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

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    68
  11. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Active Member

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    599
    Thanks for providing this detailed information.
     
  12. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Active Member

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    599
    IMG_6079.JPG IMG_6070.JPG IMG_6073.JPG IMG_6068.JPG IMG_6069.JPG

    I know that Hub Zemkes A2 was posted earlier in this thread but I wanted to include the placard that states how and why the red lining was used to replace the normal linning. What the placard does not tell us is whether the red linning replacement was solely a tradition of his unit the 56th or was it a service wide tradition. If anyone knows the answer please jump in here.
    Thanks
    B-Man2
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
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  13. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    This is excellent stuff. It looks like Zemke's RW 1401-P A-2 was redyed a darker shade at some stage too. As this contract was not awarded until 8th August 1941 it can't have been the jacket he wore in the Spring or Summer of 1941. The waistband, knits and zip are later replacements. Note the top stitching just above the waistband.
     
  14. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

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    2,725
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    So I would assume any of the other info in that placard to be suspect as it is hearsay at best. Even the hard object in front of them is misidentified based on an apparently similarly forwarded memory.
    Back to the topic, I wonder if the darker linings of RWs, ect. were, at a glimpse, considered so much more red in color that it started the assumption in the day? Isn't it rumored that the Germans did similar things?
    Also, the slippery silk suggested earlier as a nice optional liner is a different beast if one is looking for originality.

    JMO,
    Dave
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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