Original A-2 Spun Silk Lining

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

  1. WBOONE

    WBOONE Member

    Messages:
    108
    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:
    108
    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

    Messages:
    48
    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/
     
    WBOONE likes this.
  4. 33-1729

    33-1729 Member

    Messages:
    48
    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.
     
    ButteMT61, Roughwear, 2BM2K and 2 others like this.
  5. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

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    379
    Outstanding !

    BIP
     
  6. Cocker

    Cocker Member

    Messages:
    58
    Nice! Any body has pictures of what they call the A-3/4/5/6 contracts??
     

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