For all of today’s photos, you can click to enlarge
Paul here. As most of you know, I’ve been away on vacation for the past week. It was a great trip, and I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow. I’m still catching up on stuff, so thanks in advance for bearing with me as I get back up to speed. Meanwhile, please join me in giving a standing O to Mr. L.I. Phil Hecken, who did a great job of keeping the site running in my absence.
Now then: I’ve written many times about my ever-growing collection of old sports uniform catalogs. Occasionally, though, I’ll acquire a vintage catalog for non-sports uniforms, and we’re going to look at one of those today.
I saw this 1948 Unitog catalog on eBay recently. I was familiar with the company’s name because I have this old Gulf jacket with Unitog tagging, but I’d never seen one of the company’s catalogs before, so I scooped it up for $10. It’s really more of a folder or brochure — one sheet, folded in half. But what a design! You can see the front cover above, and check out the interior spread:
That spread features lots of good details that are worth a closer look, beginning with these two swatches (man, I loooove swatches):
I love how the text accompanying the swatches says that the suit jacket “opens for action and closes for looks,” and that it’s “form fitting for the man of today.”
Interesting to see that Unitog offered three different hat styles:
And here’s a closer look at the emblem that appears in the center of spread:
Next up is the back cover. I particularly like that it says to “State your regular dress hat size” when ordering caps, since most men in those days wore fedoras and presumably knew their hat sizes. Actually, the rise of cap merchandising may have created a new generation of cap size-literate consumers, no? Anyway, here’s the back cover:
The catalog came with this letter from Unitog sales rep E.M. Riddle, indicating that it was mailed to De Cola Motors of Newark, Ohio:
I found a few vintage items on the web relating to De Cola Motors, including this 1950s postcard, but they’re apparently no longer in business.
The catalog also included an order blank. Here are the front and back:
Unitog, incidentally, has an interesting history. According to this page, it was founded in 1932 (during the worst of the Great Depression — a tough time to launch a business). I like this passage:
The nucleus of [company founder Arthur] Brookfield’s idea for Unitog was this: Businesses needed to convey a professional image that would establish a company’s identity and quality through well-groomed employees. Unitog would provide one-piece neatly tailored uniforms that would boost employee morale and increase visibility for the company. …
The name Unitog was birthed from Brookfield’s background as a former teacher of Latin. Unitog is a derivative of the Latin word “Unus,” meaning one, and the Greek word “Toga,” a Roman garment.
In the 1950s, Unitog became a key supplier of U.S. Postal Service uniforms. By the 1990s, the company was buying up smaller competitors, but in 1999 Unitog was itself acquired by Cintas. The uniform world: It’s a jungle!
’Skins Watch: The Virginia state legislators who recently formed the Redskins Pride Caucus have issued a series of statements defending the ’Skins name (from Tommy Turner). … Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain says Native Americans in his home state of Arizona have told him that the name is offensive and that he’d therefore change the name if it were up to him.
Baseball News: While looking for something else, I came upon this cool set of MLB jersey pins. … And then a few minutes after that, I spotted this completely amazing vintage jersey for a pharmacy-sponsored team. Look at that chest patch! … And yet another vintage find: Look at the Spalding label at the top of these stirrups. Never seen that before. … And here’s a great 1950s American Legion jersey with a cool Ford dealership patch. … The Springfield Cardinals wore USA Olympic hockey-inspired jerseys last night. Here’s the rear view (thanks, Phil). … “Fresh Prince”-themed jerseys last night for the State College Spikes and the Williamsport Crosscutters. … Back in 1990, the Jamestown Expos wore TNOB. “I have seen this before from time to time in volleyball and soccer, but never with minor league baseball,” says Marc Viquez. … Yesterday’s Ticker had a photo of a camo-vs.-camo high school game from Ohio, but here’s a much better shot of it (from Gary Rasberry Jr.). … Good piece on the visual history of the Lake Elsinore Storm. … When the Yakult Swallows travel in Japan, their charter flight number is 2896 — which is also their mascot’s uniform number (from Jeremy Brahm).
College Football News: Here’s an interesting combination of a FIOB and a nickNOB. That’s Houston Cougars RB Chuck Weatherspoon, most likely from 1990, when they also had Linton Weatherspoon on the roster (nice find by Dennis Jones).
Soccer News: Neymar began Saturday’s Brazil/Chile match wearing gold shoes but then switched to red (from Yusuke Toyoda). … Also from Yusuke: St. Pauli’s jersey has a cool detail hidden under the collar.