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Thread: Leather Suspenders

  1. #1
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    Default Leather Suspenders

    Been knocking around the idea of making myself some leather suspenders, but I have not seen any evidence of them being worn. Am I simply over looking them, or are they incorrect?

  2. #2
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    I have seen two laborer's images attributed to the late 1850's that both seem to have leather braces/suspenders on. Its always really hard to tell that kind of detail from a period image, but the identical sheen was seen both on the straps and the leather tabs, so that was my conjecture at the time. That said, there is a general lack of provenanced suspenders of any kind, let alone leather, so its completely hard to say with certainty. Now, armed with that knowledge, and finding a quality pair from a known CW vendor, I bought a pair a few years ago. They were worthless - the sweat and heat produced by the body while at work stretched them out, making me constantly readjust them, and eventually they cracked and broke like most leather items over time. Even cleaned and oiled, they cracked, and nobody wants leather oil soaking through to their shirts and jackets anyway. My suggestion, for what little it's worth, is stick to known correct cloth or webbing variants.
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grabenkater View Post
    Been knocking around the idea of making myself some leather suspenders, but I have not seen any evidence of them being worn.
    You might have answered your own question here. Maybe approach your desire to make a pair of suspenders from the other way around. Find an existing pair, or period instructions, and then reproduce those. This way you have a worthwhile reproduction of a known period pair instead of putting a lot of work and time into something based on an assumption.

    As Ross pointed out, there are few original period braces known. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several mid-late 19th century pairs, but most are European and quite fancy at that. You can search for them here: http://www.metmuseum.org/collections...he-collections

    An 1853 issue of Godey's Lady's magazine put out a plate for crochet braces which can be found here:
    http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypld...=4&print=small


    I know that the UDC Museum in Charleston has a pair of knit or crochet braces in their collections as well.

    My thoughts,
    Kyle M. Stetz

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the input, Ross.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grabenkater View Post
    Been knocking around the idea of making myself some leather suspenders, but I have not seen any evidence of them being worn. Am I simply over looking them, or are they incorrect?
    The logical question would be: why the **** would you want something so uncomfortable and hot?
    Bill Cross
    Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards

    'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."

  6. #6
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    I don't see where they would be any hotter or more uncomfortable than heavy web or canvas models.

  7. #7

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    so are the little suspender thingies on lederhosen just decorative? Or is the climate in the European mountains better for wearing leather suspenders?
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grabenkater View Post
    I don't see where they would be any hotter or more uncomfortable than heavy web or canvas models.
    Well, I can give a little insight into the comfort thing. I started making a version of the so-called "poorboy" braces a couple of years ago and my orginal design utilized leather "Y" peices in the front about 8" long. What I learned is that since I did not use elastic, one cannot hike your trousers up with your suspenders to where you would like your trousers to ride. If you do, the first time you bend over, non-elastic braces (whether leather, canvas or linen) will either pull your trousers into a period "wedgie" or pop your buttons off the trousers. So, you will wear your braces a little long so you will have a little give. Over time and several marchs, the leather will get wet from sweat, gets hard and so, will get stiff and poke and ride in difficult to describe bulges under your vest/blouse. I would imagine braces made of all leather would have the same if not more issues. The current braces I make utilize all fabric. One could certainly use leather tabs on the very ends without much difficulty. I dont know if full leather braces would be any hotter or not, but IMHO, probably less comfortable to a small degree. I would suspect that leather riding on the shoulders all day long may create some issues as well. Just my couple of pennies worth..........
    Last edited by harley_davis; 12-18-2012 at 12:37 PM.
    Harley
    5th Minnesota Regt. Vol. Infy.,Co. C
    1st South Carolina Volunteers, Co. H
    New Ulm Battery
    Old West Regulators - Minnesota
    "I love my wife so much, I almost told her the other day!!" Old Norwegian
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  9. #9
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    Interesting discussion!

    I have never had issue with the leather "Hosentrager" on my Lederhosen, but then again I have never worn them for extended periods.

    As for my braces, I am just going to buy a pair of correct cloth ones for my trousers.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2012
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    There is an image in the LOC collection of mechanics at Petersburg. The man seated front and center in the image appears to have on a pair of leather braces. Could also just be the straps of an apron. Difficult to tell from the picture. That being said I personally wouldnt want to wear all leather braces. I had a leather truck belt at work and everytime it got wet at a fire it would strech. I'd imagine leather braces would do the same from sweat, etc.

    http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cwpb.03966/?co=cwp

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