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Thread: garters for mens sleeves.

  1. #1
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    Default garters for mens sleeves.

    My question is this, would garters have been periord correct for mens sleeves during the 1860's or is that a later item that came into fashion at the turn of the century ?

    I am wanting to refine my civilian impression and looking for a few touches to add that final item.

    Since i have not seen any gentleman photographed w/o a coat, i am not able to have an answer to my question.

    I have not found any web sites but if i could directed to the proper person for purchase, it would be appreciated.
    Richard Schimenti

  2. #2
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    I have not seen any documented to our period, nor can I recall seeing them in photos or paintings. Their purpose is to get excess sleeve material (both length and volume) out of the way, but if performing manual labor, simply rolling one's sleeves up is a period practice. If wearing a coat, not so much of a worry, anyway.
    Marc A. Hermann.
    The Daybreak B'hoys.
    Liberty Rifles - Hardtack Society.
    Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26, SUVCW.

    Descendant of Pvt. E. Hermann, 45th PA Militia - Capt. Wm. K. and Lt. Geo. W. Hopkins, 7th PA Reserves - Pvt. Jos. A. Weckerly, 72nd PA Infantry - Pvt. Thos. Will, 21st PA Cavalry.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FranklinGuardsNYSM
    I have not seen any documented to our period, nor can I recall seeing them in photos or paintings. Their purpose is to get excess sleeve material (both length and volume) out of the way, but if performing manual labor, simply rolling one's sleeves up is a period practice. If wearing a coat, not so much of a worry, anyway.
    I'd have to agree with the above post. I think the garter around the sleeve is more of a "hollywood" Old West Bartender type thing. They certainly did it in the 1920's and 1930's, but I can't recall any images, sketches or paintings in where a gentleman is wearing them.
    Brandon English
    Farb

  4. #4
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    I'll have to look around but I asked the same question a while back. I believe they are available in our era, but they are more like mini-belts as opposed to the classic Hollywood "scrunchies on steroids".

    You might also look to invest in sleeve protectors; very common in the printing and mercantile industries, and anywhere else you did not want to muck up your sleeves in a professional environment. I'd point you to ones at Gentlemen's Emporium, if you care to purchase. (They are the only thing worth getting from GE anyway.) I think the real ones were tarred cloth. I suppose you could make your own by cutting sleeves off an old muslin shirt, sewing drawstrings on the cut part, and painting the whole thing with whatever is the current recepie [sp.] for tarred paint.
    Noah Briggs

  5. #5

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    My vague memory is the same as Noah's--there might be period images out there, but I can't recall exactly where.

    However, I think it's worth emphasizing what others have said: they're not just a fashion touch. They're meant to be worn during work where one's cuffs or lower sleeves would get in the way or get dirty--bartending, bookkeeping, copying, dealing cards etc. If you're actually doing those activities and there's a problem with your cuffs/sleeves, it's worth looking for sleeve garters or sleeve protectors as a period solution.

    If you're not doing those activities or portraying someone who's just on his way to or from those activities, there's not much need or logic to wearing something to hold your sleeves up. It would be like wearing a bicycle clip on your trousers today, but never riding a bicycle. Um, people do still wear bicycle clips, right? If not, ignore that analogy.

    Hank Trent
    hanktrent@voyager.net

  6. #6
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    Noah -

    Let me know if you find any documentation for "tarred cloth" sleeve protectors. Every thing I have so far mentions they were made from glazed cotton or a similar dark, smooth-faced fabric that would absorb ink, etc. Wouldn't a fabric like a "tarred cloth" just smear it around? Rub off on the shirt underneath? Be subject to cracking and splitting during use?

    Just wondering...


    Hank -
    I don't know about the states, but the proper English gentlemen in their suits and bowlers working in "the City" in London were all wearing bicycle clips as they rode to and from work.

    Regards,
    Carolann Schmitt
    cschmitt@genteelarts.com
    www.genteelarts.com
    Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference, March 6-9, 2014

  7. #7
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    Carolann,

    You are most likely correct; that is how the Gents Emporium sleeves are made. Again, my knowledge on this is pretty slim.
    Noah Briggs

  8. #8
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    Default why not wear rubber?

    Whooops, like a bad penny, here I am again, offering a contrary opinion. This is just a tiny bit that I copied from the section of men's underclothing from a gutta percha booklet of mine, 1856 Geo. N. Davis and Bro's Catalogue, (page 53), one could purchase the various items specifically for the task of wearing under your coat;

    Sleeve Ties and Armlets.
    Assorted Colors in Cotton and Silk:
    4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11, and 12 Cord. Purchased (individual or per gross)

    Garter Webs and Frills.
    Plain, Stripes, Plaids, and Assorted Colors in Cotton and Silk;
    3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 7/8, and 1 inch, or by the yard.

    Shoulder Brace and Suspender Webbs.
    In White, Drab, and Striped Cotton, with and without Colored Silk Edge --
    1, 1-1/2, and 2 inches....sold only per yard lengths

    Suspenders,
    Of superior quality of Elastic Webbings.

    Garters and Wristers.
    only sold per gross.

    Or you could have used a stationary band (India rubber band)
    in light or heavy weights, sizes 1/2, 3/4, 1 inch, 1-1/2, 2 inch
    all sold per gross, the light$2.-$2.50,and the heavy $2.50-$6.00)

    I'm sorry that the suspenders, garters, and wristers are rather vague, but that is all the text has for that page

    The catalougue does offer more for elastic cords, and braids and belt webbings and corrugated cloth, all seem to have been suitable or used in place of arm suspenders. The belt webbings came in silk, mohair, and worsted of black, striped, plaid, plain and fancy colors.

    The cords and braids section is quite long but does offer a section of sandaling which is in the men's section, but does not refer to the elastic used on a congress boot, any form of shoes, nor boot straps to keep the trouser's down.
    Sandaling.
    Black, White, and colors, in cotton and Silks
    2,3,4,5,6,7,8 strand. per gross of yards
    Mfr,
    Judith Peebles
    Books! - The Original Search Engine.
    Remember life is short so read fast.

  9. #9
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    I just did a quick search on Google Books. Sleeve ties seem to be an article of female attire. Stationers' bands are, I believe, like "aromatic bands" and other articles used to secure, well, stationery. Nothing else on that list looks like a sleeve protector. An advanced search for sleeve protectors finds no mentions in the 1840-1880 period. I did find an instruction for sewing one dated 1918, and there's a nice picture of one in an ad in The Union Postal Clerk of 1911. A few other mentions go back as early as 1895.

    Not that there wouldn't have been a need for such. From other research I've done I believe that the QM Department in Washington actually used more copying ink than regular ink. Copying ink was formulated to stay wet longer. I don't think it was absolutely necessary for using letter press copiers, but it must have helped. Handling damp documents would seem to call for some sort of protective clothing.

    On the other hand, I distinctly recall having seen (I've no idea where a copy would be) an operations manual for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from the 1880s that gave men permission to roll their sleeves halfway up their forearms in unusually hot weather. This would imply that at that time the average office worker (I don't think they were talking about the press operators) was expected to keep their sleeves down and, perhaps, unprotected.

    If someone has some other information, particularly concerning office workers, I'd be interested to hear from you. I don't mind being wrong -- I'd honestly just like to know whether these were in use in our period and what they might be made of.

    Green eyeshades, too, come to think of it
    M. A. Schaffner
    Midstream Regressive Complainer

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Drygoods
    Whooops, like a bad penny, here I am again, offering a contrary opinion. This is just a tiny bit that I copied from the section of men's underclothing from a gutta percha booklet of mine, 1856 Geo. N. Davis and Bro's Catalogue, (page 53), one could purchase the various items specifically for the task of wearing under your coat;
    I have a similar catalog but mine is an 1860 edition and the main title on my book is _Illustrated and Descriptive Catalogue and Trade Price List of India Rubber and Gutta Percha Goods, Manufactured for and Sold By Bart and Hickocox._ The section you mentioned, in my book is not listed under men's underclothing, but under "Elastic Cords, Braids, &c." There is also a section for elastic cloth that has Congress Boot webbing, shirred or corrugated cloth, and belt webbing. There were images of two styles of "Elastic pant straps" sold in pairs, and a listing for "elastic gaiter straps with cloth insertion" but no image.

    I also did a little research on sleeve protectors. They did not seem to be patented until the 1871 and then there were a number of different designs. Materials suggested were rubber, oiled silk, paper, oil-cloth and starched cloth. The suggested use was for artists, people who wrote, bookkeepers, and housekeepers.

    I did find some images of women in the kitchen wearing sleeve protectors and some references to women wearing them just like they wore aprons but it was in the 1870s. One very late reference suggested using old stockings as a sleeve protector when doing housework. I didn't find any other instructions on making them.

    A word of warning - underarm dress shields were also known as "sleeve protectors" so don't get them confused in your research.

    I did not look at all the patents so I may have missed something.
    Virginia Mescher
    Visit us at www.raggedsoldier.com
    www.vintagevolumes.com

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