I recently acquired a bunch of old uniform catalogs. In some ways, they repeat a lot of the same stuff we’ve seen in other catalogs from my library. But they also have some things I’ve never seen before. So let’s take a look (you can click on the cover images to see larger versions)…
1955 Stall + Dean Catalog (6” x 9”, 56 pages)
Many of you know the name Stall + Dean, of course, because it became a throwback brand, just like Mitchell and Ness. But this catalog dates back to when S+D was an active sporting goods operation. Among the highlights:
• I love these multi-striped softball jerseys.
• Two interesting things on this page: First, check out the ear cuff on the hockey helmet. And second, that “Puckmaster” logo is an early version of the label design that I recently turned into a T-shirt.
• I’m not sure what I like best on this spread: the feather stripes on the center basketball jersey, or the term “Sundries” at the top of the right-hand page.
• Hmmm, ya think these shorts are short enough?
• I was struck by the hockey pants at the top-right of this spread. It’s basically the Rangers’ design, only in blue. It’s amazing how iconic that simple stripe pattern is.
• I cracked up when I saw the icon in all of the baseball glove pockets. Maybe “Deepressed” wasn’t the best name choice.
• Holy moly, look at the football jersey at the top-right of this spread. Gorgeous!
1927 Schmelzer Catalog (7.5” x 10.5”, 64 pages)
I’d never heard of the Schmelzer Company before. Such a great name — Schmelzer’s. I like how the front cover shows swimsuits (and a seagull!), instead of the usual baseball and football. Unfortunately, the interior pages are one-color throughout, but there are still some good bits:
• Do you see what I see? Striped undershirt sleeves!
• I like the cutaway illustration of the top catcher’s mitt on this page.
• There’s something really funny about this basketball shoe brand. “Dr. Meanwell” — sounds like a cartoon character. Like, he’s a crappy doctor, but he means well.
• Check out this great tennis cap with a “translucent pyraloid” visor. This reminded me of the note on the “Caps” page of Dressed to the Nines, which states, “In 1895, a number of ballplayers, including future Hall of Fame outfielder Jesse Burkett, experimented with baseball caps that had green-tinted, transparent bills. The idea was to allow the fielder a better range of view while protecting him from the glare of the sun, but apparently the see-through bills never caught on.” Sounds like the idea migrated from baseball to tennis.
• Speaking of interesting headwear, I didn’t know a striped beanie was once called a “rooter cap.”
• Mmmmm, thick-guage sweaters.
• Finally, even if it’s only in black-and-white, I can’t resist a display of striped socks.
1938-39 Lowe + Campbell Catalog (6” x 8.5”, 128 pages)
I have another Lowe + Campbell catalog in my collection, but this one is bigger and nicer. A few choice bits:
• Check out the amazing horseshoe-shaped piping on the football pants at lower-right.
• Here’s a very nice assortment of old-school football jersey styles.
• Lots of winged football helmet models on this page. I like how the helmet with the facemask is singled out as a “Nose Guard Helmet,” as if it’s a novelty (which, at that time, it was).
• Sometimes these old catalogs have some odd non sequiturs. For example, why did this page of shoulder pads also feature a roll of admission tickets at the bottom? Guess they had some space to fill on the page.
• Look at the accessory at lower-right — turns any shoe into a kicking shoe!
• I love love love this scoreboard.
• Have I mentioned that I’m a sucker for athletic sweaters?
• Check this out: a basketball hoop with a light-up basket indicator.
• Finally, look at the helmet block/shaper thingie on this page. The listing reads, “Adjustable wooden forms that should be in every equipment room. Indespensible for reshaping and resizing helmets after they have become wet.” Guess that’s something today’s equipment managers don’t have to worry about.
To a tee: A few thoughts on that most utilitarian of garments, the T-shirt:
• The Hungry Hungry Hipster has come up with a few Uni Watch T-shirt concepts that he’s certain will “sell like hotcakes.” Me, I’m not so sure, but I’m wiling to see what you folks think. Send your feedback this-a-way.
• And if you’re interested, just conceptually speaking, in a certain pair of theoretical T-shirt designs — just hypothetically, of course — let me know.
My ESPN column about the sports-related artifacts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally went up on Sunday. You can check it out here.
Party reminder: Uni Watch gathering this Saturday, 6:30pm, at the Devil’s Den in Philly. See you there.
Uni Watch News Ticker: What if every NFL team logo included Peyton Manning’s face? (Big thanks to Cary O’Reilly.) … Love these early-’70s Marshall uniforms with “The Herd” on the front (from Jake Keys). … Just like South Carolina, Auburn’s baseball team has switched headwear outfitters, from The Game to Under Armour (from Jonathon Binet). … Oregon’s new lacrosse uniforms are about what you’d expect (from Jeff Brunelle). … Several readers went bonkers on Friday when this photo of Tulane’s old vertically striped socks was posted on an SI blog. I’ve mentioned those socks several times over the years — you can see additional views here and here. … Unusual design by Perrydale High School in Oregon, whose uni numbers are accented by eyebrow-like markings. “I spent the whole game asking myself, ‘WTF?'” says Phil Amaya (whose son is No. 13 in blue, by the way). … Home high schools in Nebraska are having trouble with poor-quality basketballs (from Chris Bisbee). … Bit of a kerfuffle in DC over the font being used on some new street signs (from Matt Lucas). … Scott Haltom has scanned another one of his grandfather’s old baseball scrapbooks. Amazing stuff. … The Sioux Falls Skyforce — that’s a D-League basketball team — wore Twitter uniforms on Friday night (from Cody Schuiling). … A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy has listed the three things he hates most about spring training. Check out what he listed for No. 3. … Keenan Bailey was at an antiques shop and spotted an old football helmet with a very unusual facemask design. Never seen one quite like that before. … The Rapid City Rush wore these bizarre pink-accented uniforms that looked like they’d been used for a paintball battle (from David Trett). … Oh baby, now that’s an old-fashioned baseball uni (big thanks to Ian Carr). … David Soline was attending a minor league hockey game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana and saw a Pacers memorabilia display that included a Bruno Sundov jersey with a diacritical mark on the NOB. … “I was talking to a new UAB football recruit, and he mentioned that they’re getting new uniforms next year,” says Jordan Ney. “It will supposedly include a green and white helmet and white pants.” … Tim O’Connor sent a uni-related query to USA Hockey and got a very reasonable response. … “I came across my wife’s grandfather’s Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School yearbook from 1945,” says