Friday, April 17, 2009

REAL History | Detachable


By the turn of the century (1900, that is), it was fully understood that the male wardrobe needed - if not wholly required - an ample stock of sturdy, stylish, starched detachable collars of a variety of styles. With the prescribed format of men's clothing firmly in place, detachable collar and cuff styles offered a sophisticated yet practical bit of variety within the code of white shirt with brown, black or grey trousers+waistcoat+topcoat+gloves+hat. And at a time when laundering garments was hugely labor intensive and something that only happened semi-frequently, the notion of having removable collars and cuffs that could be cheaply purchased and quickly replaced was quite welcome; the body of the shirt being laundered as needed, while still guaranteeing a clean and polished appearance by way of these detachables.
And, to make the commodity even more accessible to the masses, the collars were offered in heavily starched fabric, disposable paper variations, and a hybrid product called "linene"- a laminated fabric/cardboard product.

I adore these collars. I collect these collars. I dream about these collars, and I reference these collars in my work all the time. They are such a steady font of inspiration and history; I want them around me all the time. I love having them as a part of my day to day life.

And as I work the idea of a detachable collar into my new collection, I was thrilled to find
Amazon Dry Goods. A mere 5 hours from my hometown in central Wisconsin, Davenport Iowa is the home to the original machines that patented and made the very collars I dream about. And get this....THEY STILL MAKE THEM THERE. ON THE SAME DAMN MACHINES THAT MADE THEM IN 1862.

Woah.


When I learned of Amazon Dry Goods, I simultaneously announced a pilgrimage to the factory to honor and cherish these beautiful relics from our past that proudly live on. I want to see the machines that make them. I want to meet the craftspeople that produce each collar. It would all mean so much to me.

Some people head toward Mecca. Some people follow The (Grateful) Dead. I make my destination the original home of the Reversible Collar Company.

Thank you George K. Snow.


MC Goes Detachable

From the Amazon Dry Goods Website:

In 1862 George K. Snow invented machinery to improve the manufacturing of paper collars. Detachable collars were at this time the height of fashion. Soon to follow was the founding of the Reversible Collar Company as a byproduct of Snow's invention. The old cardboard collars went out of style around the Civil War so Snow invented a new machine to laminate cardboard and cloth in continuous rolls a process previously done by hand. This was the birth of the "linene" collar line. The Reversible Collar Company created this industry.

Our Company is in a third generation of continuous production. It began in 1862 as the Reversible Collar Company of Cambridge Massachusetts, then, while still in Massachusetts, becoming the Gibson Lee Collar Company. The company is now located in Davenport, Iowa as Amazon Drygoods Collars and Cuffs. We own the original Reversible Collar Company's cast iron presses and continue to manufacture most of our collars on those very same presses as they did in the 1860's. Each collar is crafted one at a time to the historically original standards and 100% cotton laminated linene material. If you are in our town please stop in to see our unique piece of history punching out your collars in our work shop. The only other collar press we know still to exist is on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. We are sure you will find exactly what you are looking for in our selection of both formal and traditional collars. We also stock a wide selection of collar buttons and accessories to complete the look you are searching for.


12 Comments:

Anonymous Michelle Moore said...

I was JUST reading an article about the history and obsession with chins in a recent issue of Vogue (or something) and it mentioned where the first detachable collar was invented and why (in the 1800s.) Coincidental!

6:44 PM  
Blogger MC said...

Its in the air!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Mindy Sue Meyers said...

This sounds lovely, Mikey.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Eeek! I love, love, LOVE the idea of a detachable collar! Especially ones that can be made on the original machines. Woah is right.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

You are a rare treasure of a person.
You know the disposable collars & cuffs were precursors of all the excess throwaway crud the world, but something had to come first.

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