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Denim Blunders, Reflections and General Nonsense.

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Occupation: capitalist. :D

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Suitedupmon said:

While on the topic of books: has anyone read Jeans of the Old West: A History by Michael Allen Harris? I've wanted to purchase it for some time, but I'd like to know if its mostly pictures or an actual engaging history.

I’ve got it - it’s interesting for reference but there’s no real depth to it in terms of culture or economy 

Edited by Duke Mantee

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2 hours ago, Capsicum Fried Meat said:

THEY ARE MADE OF SELECTED TEN OUNCE AMERICAN DENIM.

So there is no theory saying relatively heavy weight denim been used during WW2.

I’ve been wondering this for some time as well. 
 

LVC uses a 12oz pre soak weight for most jeans from the 40’s onward right? I wonder why it is that so many Japanese brands use 14.5 pre soak weights for repro pairs? I’m sure they’ve done the research and literally disassembled and analyzed the denim in the case of WH,TCB etc. Or am I missing the mark here, and the Japanese brands are aiming for ~14oz post soak? So what weight is historically accurate for the mid-century era? I’m sure this had been discussed ad nauseum somewhere, so apologies in advance. 

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Posted (edited)

Again, not so savvy about vintage stuff, but I might have read somewhere that denim production itself was also impacted by the cotton rationing, so denim used in producing ww2 model was lighter than before the war:ph34r:

I’m thinking, one of the reasons they use heavier denim for the repros are more preferential ... aiming for practicality over accuracy, in that aspect.  But, I’m sure there are brands that churn out more faithful reproductions out there, for the ‘cores.

Edited by BrownMetallic

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@BrownMetallic This makes sense to me; if there was rationing with almost every other resource, I’m sure cotton was needed for the war effort for uniforms, gauze etc. It only makes sense that the denim would have been thinner. 
 

Still, I’m wondering about even post-war, classic 1947 Levi’s. Were those pairs genuinely 14.5oz in a raw state as well? Or is it somewhat preferential depending on the repro brands like you mentioned. I’m sure some of the die hard repro folks know the answer. 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Duke Mantee said:

I just bought this book in electronic format so I can post pics more easily

Does this also mean that translating sections of the book are made easier?

The only reason l ask is translating the book manually (try and photograph the page (difficult), put it into a file, then translate ) is a real hassle.

Plus l am a lazy so and so...

:)

Edited by Dr_Heech

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5 hours ago, SuperJackle said:

I’ve been wondering this for some time as well. 
 

LVC uses a 12oz pre soak weight for most jeans from the 40’s onward right? I wonder why it is that so many Japanese brands use 14.5 pre soak weights for repro pairs? I’m sure they’ve done the research and literally disassembled and analyzed the denim in the case of WH,TCB etc. Or am I missing the mark here, and the Japanese brands are aiming for ~14oz post soak? So what weight is historically accurate for the mid-century era? I’m sure this had been discussed ad nauseum somewhere, so apologies in advance. 

Not 100% sure on denim weights, but l remember Mike Harris (author of Jeans of the old west) and member here (and on Denimbro) @Sansome1877 , said that the weights were dumbed down in general over the years, and that you could add another 2 ounces to all the historical weights for models made before the war at least.

I have no evidence at hand to support this, but somewhere in the old Levis thread on db that information is still there (shock, horror!)

 

 

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Hey y'all, I know a number of you have purchased from Yahoo JP, but I was wondering which proxy/forwarding service was best? I know there's Buyee and ZenMarket... Any preference? Thanks =)

@Broark @julian-wolf Just tagging you guys because I think you've mentioned using Yahoo JP in the past. Anyone else, please feel free to chime in

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I’m not either one of them, but back when I used to buy a lot of sneakers from Japan such as YahooJP,  I used Celga as a proxy.  I don’t even know if they are still in business anymore.

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4 hours ago, Dr_Heech said:

Does this also mean that translating sections of the book are made easier?

The only reason l ask is translating the book manually (try and photograph the page (difficult), put it into a file, then translate ) is a real hassle.

Plus l am a lazy so and so...

:)

It does make it a bit easier Doc - I can read/speak a little bit of Japanese but not enough to wade through a book (although that’s the best exercise). But I can take a page and translate it using other apps

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Capsicum Fried Meat said:

THEY ARE MADE OF SELECTED TEN OUNCE AMERICAN DENIM.

So there is no theory saying relatively heavy weight denim been used during WW2.

 

4 hours ago, Dr_Heech said:

Not 100% sure on denim weights, but l remember Mike Harris (author of Jeans of the old west) and member here (and on Denimbro) @Sansome1877 , said that the weights were dumbed down in general over the years, and that you could add another 2 ounces to all the historical weights for models made before the war at least.

I have no evidence at hand to support this, but somewhere in the old Levis thread on db that information is still there (shock, horror!)

 

 

War effort directives were designed to limit fabric weight and the use of any unnecessary thread work, detailing etc. In any event what is considered heavyweight today certainly isn’t what was called heavyweight a generation (and longer) ago.

Here’s a few more details from 1890 to WWII 

08B81C56-4DF5-4C82-A704-8671F5442714.jpeg

BE4B4D1F-6AF6-47FA-875C-376513030D3B.jpeg

55D2BAF1-36E1-4CD0-9029-C6719B52E9D2.jpeg

B92DFDE3-75D4-4F54-850A-177C9E1C7959.jpeg

7E2E7622-88F6-4C2F-BC8C-CE80FBB5BED9.jpeg
 

You might also notice Levi’s great pride in using white laber (sic)

Edited by Duke Mantee

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@propellerbeanie both Zen and Buyee work well, I think Zen's process of asking for funds to be put into your account wallet before securing the purchase is a bit annoying.
When bidding on Buyee you just have your PayPal or CC information linked and they only take the funds once you win the auction.

I am a little annoyed with Zen right now since I preordered a pair of the Warehouse 25th anniversary jeans and I'd been seeing them pop up on Instagram.
Sent them a message wondering if there had been any updates only to find out it's been at their warehouse since July 1st...maybe they're just busy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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8 hours ago, Dr_Heech said:

Not 100% sure on denim weights, but l remember Mike Harris (author of Jeans of the old west) and member here (and on Denimbro) @Sansome1877 , said that the weights were dumbed down in general over the years, and that you could add another 2 ounces to all the historical weights for models made before the war at least.

I have no evidence at hand to support this, but somewhere in the old Levis thread on db that information is still there (shock, horror!)

 

 

The dimness of memory tells me he makes the argument that the way the denim was measured differed 'back then' so that the older 19th century models were of a similar weight to post-war (and that he made this point to Levi's who roundly ignored him) ... but I may be mistaken ... here he is on the DB lvc page9 ounce was the equivalent to today’s 12 ounce ...

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Ralph Tharpe, perhaps the biggest expert on vintage denim (the fabric) believes earlier Cone fabric was indeed the same weight as later. 

Weight is nominally per square yard but Cone's earlier fabric was a slightly narrower bolt. That explains the disparity in weight.

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@bartlebyyphonics @Dr_Heech 

Is there any proof of what method of measurement Levi’s used, ie, ounce per square yard or ounce per linear yard ... & if they ever switched method at any point?

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Paul, are you able to define “earlier” ie at what time do the historical weights stated align with what we now understand to be correct? Would that be 1930s, 40s, 50s?

According to LVC, it was (raw weight):

  • 9oz 1800s to 1922 models
  • 10oz 1927-37 models
  • 12-12.5oz from 1944 model onwards

Strange that TCB considered the WW2 denim weight to be 14oz, unless Levi’s were still using the narrow bolt measurement at that stage.

Edited by Maynard Friedman

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Posted (edited)

[ ... lots of ink spilt on DB over lvc inaccuracies ... ]

... seem to remember Ryo posting somewhere that the 14oz was decided after their fabric analysis ... can't find the post tho, so may be my unconscious not fact ... 

Edited by bartlebyyphonics

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22 minutes ago, Maynard Friedman said:

Thanks Paul, are you able to define “earlier” ie at what time do the historical weights stated align with what we now understand to be correct? Would that be 1930s, 40s, 50s?

According to LVC, it was (raw weight):

  • 9oz 1800s to 1922 models
  • 10oz 1927-37 models
  • 12-12.5oz from 1944 model onwards

Strange that TCB considered the WW2 denim weight to be 14oz, unless Levi’s were still using the narrow bolt measurement at that stage.

This is exactly what I was trying to say in a much more succinct fashion. Haha. Thanks Maynard!

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Maynard Friedman said:

Thanks Paul, are you able to define “earlier” ie at what time do the historical weights stated align with what we now understand to be correct? Would that be 1930s, 40s, 50s?

According to LVC, it was (raw weight):

  • 9oz 1800s to 1922 models
  • 10oz 1927-37 models
  • 12-12.5oz from 1944 model onwards

Strange that TCB considered the WW2 denim weight to be 14oz, unless Levi’s were still using the narrow bolt measurement at that stage.

Missed that part on Ryo’s explanation... could it be that the 14oz is [actual] post wash weight ?! Cuz if the fabric took more shrinkage than expected, the post wash weight will be greater due to added density ... a pitfall of reverse engineering:biggrin:

 

Edited by BrownMetallic

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@Duke Mantee Thanks for sharing the historical info. Really helpful.

Plus, here are two blogs from a japanese collector, showing the result of calculating the weight of original WW2 Levis jeans. Seems like there is no big difference on weight between WW2 denim and denim before this period. No proof for such 14oz denim theory. Atleast from the experimental results.

http://denimarchieves.blogspot.com/2018/10/501xx1.html Part 1

http://denimarchieves.blogspot.com/2018/10/501xx2.html Part 2

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bartlebyyphonics said:

The dimness of memory tells me he makes the argument that the way the denim was measured differed 'back then' so that the older 19th century models were of a similar weight to post-war (and that he made this point to Levi's who roundly ignored him) ... but I may be mistaken ... here he is on the DB lvc page9 ounce was the equivalent to today’s 12 ounce ...

 

1 hour ago, Paul T said:

Ralph Tharpe, perhaps the biggest expert on vintage denim (the fabric) believes earlier Cone fabric was indeed the same weight as later. 

Weight is nominally per square yard but Cone's earlier fabric was a slightly narrower bolt. That explains the disparity in weight.

Normally selvage would come narrower than non-selvage and I think White Oak was 28” in the early years so for a yard length we have 1008 sq in, and a square yard would be 1296 sq in - that’s 29% more area therefore 29% more ‘weight’ ... so 9oz becomes 11.5oz. That’s what’s directed in Circular No.266 I posted above. Then I guess you might want to consider shrinkage or was the denim pre shrunk?

However I think that’s what you’re supposed to do before you quote or advertise the ‘Weight per Square Yard’ of your fabric - so it seems to me what’s being argued is that Levi’s ignored that directive and quoted weight by the linear yard?

Edited by Duke Mantee

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Posted (edited)

^Mosdef plausible theory ... accounts for the discrepancies.

Edited by BrownMetallic

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Duke Mantee said:

 

Normally selvage would come narrower than non-selvage and I think White Oak was 28” in the early years so for a yard length we have 1008 sq in, and a square yard would be 1296 sq in - that’s 29% more area therefore 29% more ‘weight’ ... so 9oz becomes 11.5oz. That’s what’s directed in Circular No.266 I posted above. Then I guess you might want to consider shrinkage or was the denim pre shrunk?

However I think that’s what you’re supposed to do before you quote or advertise the ‘Weight per Square Yard’ of your fabric - so it seems to me what’s being argued is that Levi’s ignored that directive and quoted weight by the linear yard?



That's my understanding.

My recollection from Ralph is that there was only minimal change in weight. I think Levi's stating 'bigger' figures in the 40s and so was probably marketing-led (alongside a different terminology on linear vs square yard). He was talking specifically about the Cone years, from 1927 on, so he meant that the 10oz and 12.5 oz are likely the same weight. Don't know about the earlier, Amoskeag denim but it's possible that's the same issue. Amoskeag definitely used different looms though - less efficient ones with a manual shuttle change.

It's interesting TCB weighed the fabric as 14oz. From what I know the standard at Levi's has always been 12.5 which when shrunk down is 14oz per square yard. But when manufacturers give weights they must surely be nominal. THe yarn you use, how it's spun, and how tight the weave is must all make a considerable difference.


For those who haven't seen it, I just relocated this interview with Ralph with good Cone dtuff.

Edited by Paul T

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Posted (edited)

I didn’t think magazines would be impacted.  I was wrong. 
 

 

Edited by mlwdp

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If they ship via EMS from Japan why wouldn't they be effected? Given how much you have posted on it why would it surprise you?

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20 hours ago, Broark said:

@propellerbeanie both Zen and Buyee work well, I think Zen's process of asking for funds to be put into your account wallet before securing the purchase is a bit annoying.
When bidding on Buyee you just have your PayPal or CC information linked and they only take the funds once you win the auction.

I am a little annoyed with Zen right now since I preordered a pair of the Warehouse 25th anniversary jeans and I'd been seeing them pop up on Instagram.
Sent them a message wondering if there had been any updates only to find out it's been at their warehouse since July 1st...maybe they're just busy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Many thanks! I'll have a look into Buyee a bit more

Hopefully you get your Warehouse jeans before your TCBs ;)

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On 7/7/2020 at 11:56 PM, SuperJackle said:

I’ve been wondering this for some time as well. 
 

LVC uses a 12oz pre soak weight for most jeans from the 40’s onward right? I wonder why it is that so many Japanese brands use 14.5 pre soak weights for repro pairs? I’m sure they’ve done the research and literally disassembled and analyzed the denim in the case of WH,TCB etc. Or am I missing the mark here, and the Japanese brands are aiming for ~14oz post soak? So what weight is historically accurate for the mid-century era? I’m sure this had been discussed ad nauseum somewhere, so apologies in advance. 

This is a good question. My impression is that some manufacturers have simply gone for heavier fabric as 'more' is better. In much the same way that Samurai and others ramped up the slubbiness and crocking of their denim to make it feel 'more' authentic. There is definitely a 'thing' about 14 oz being better, as that was a selling point for Lee's (Sanforized) denim.

But as we can see, there's also genuine debate about whther some Levi's fabric might have been heavier at some time.

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On 7/7/2020 at 10:10 PM, unders said:

The blurb of the book reminds me that I’ve reflected once or twice, ‘hold on, Levi Strauss got all the glory, but Jacob Davis created the riveted overalls’. I suppose it just comes down to the fact that Levi Strauss bankrolled and produced them, and it happens all the time in business. Just sucks that his name is not properly associated with jeans to the non-denim nerd masses.  

 

Levi's on a corporate level have been pretty good about spreading Jacob Davis's name. He's on corporate histories and is always ackonlwedged as the inventor. He became the factory foreman. His grandson launched the Ben Davis company and, again, they stayed pretty close. Obvs he didn't get his name on the company, but I guess that's life.

He only knew Levi distantly, the fact they were both European Jews likely made him think Levi was trustworthy. In the letter suggesting they team up he tells Levi not to send him his credit balance for cloth, to keep it as he'll need more later.
 

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Thanks. I had no idea that Ben Davis was founded by the same family - good to know and clearly doing ok for themselves then.  And you’re right, Levi’s has done a good job of acknowledging his contribution. Far more than modern companies would. 

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