Volo Classic Auto Museum (part 1)

I spent a good bit of time this past Saturday checking out classic American cars at the Volo Auto Museum. Here are a few things that caught my eye- I got a lot of good stuff so I’ll break this up into two posts, more next week.


Bates US Navy Dress White Leather Shoes

I can’t articulate it, but I kind of love these shoes. Bates makes these for the US Navy. I’ve had two or three of the US Army versions of these, which are black. You can usually find these in any decent surplus store, they are tough shoes. They are graceless, but there is an appeal in their brutal simplicity- that is, in black.

In white, they are surreal, and somehow I like it.


Bates says:

Lightweight oxford for US Navy dress uniform.

  • Leather upper
  • Breathable lining
  • Cushioned removable insert
  • Non marking Bates Lites® outsole
  • Goodyear welt construction
  • Assembled in the USA

General Curtiss Lemay’s Silver Wing Box

From the Wilson History & Research Center:

“This silver box featuring pilot’s wings belonged to United States Air Force General Curtis Emerson LeMay (1906-1990). LeMay organized the strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII (1939-1945), organized the Berlin Airlift (1948) and restructured the Strategic Air Command of the United States.”

I think LeMay had an eye- this box is great. I hope the polish stays away because this patina is beautiful. It’s worth clicking on these photos for a closer look.

Dane Rowe Has A Fan Club

Dane Rowe has a Fan Club, inspired by her mix of style, looks and fearlessness on the racetrack. She’s an interesting lady, a coin expert now.  She was a sidecar-racer in the late 1960′s and 70′s, racing with her husband,  sidecar innovator Rudy Kurth.

Busyman Bicycles

Busyman Bicycles is a Australian based maker of custom leather saddles and grip tape, etc. Nice work!

Bomber Cap, USAAF

Four Pairs of American Boots 1895-1915

Four Blueish Things

Flight Helmets

These are so awesome I can hardly stand it.  Be sure to click at the bottom to see all the photos, I can’t edit them down!


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Bertelli Bicycles

I found this NYC based bicycle builder’s site via core77, beautiful stuff. Gorgeous!

Prototype Helmet, Chad Hodge

Brooklyn based industrial designer Chad Hodge designed this beautiful helmet, a prototype for his senior thesis, University of Cincinnatti. See his portfolio here

Via Bubblevisor

Four Nice Brownish Things

Innertube Tesselations

From Brazilian Wallace Barros, made of inner tubes, looks like ferrofluid, buy bag here.

Indestructible British Canvas

I have been using this WWII era, British Army surplus packs for years.  These things are pretty much bulletproof; made of khaki canvas that is measured in lbs per yard, not ounces.  I’ve had two of these backpacks in the last 12 years or so, and have used it as a carry on, my main luggage while hitchhiking, and have had it on my back to and from work every day. You could load bricks or gold bullion in it and not have to worry about the canvas or stitching.  Over time the straps have worn away but never the pack itself.

What is funny about these packs is that they are a massive pain to use… the straps are too thin and they cut into your shoulders.  The buckles to close the pack are tedious and difficult.  I use them and wonder… why?  I’ve finally realized that it is simply just the canvas!  You can’t find canvas like this anymore.  So, somebody, get a mill to make this stuff again (if they still grow this kind of super-cotton) and update these packs.  Here is what would make it better: wider straps and metal quick connect closure.  The brass buckles are beautiful but just too difficult.

In the meantime, I recommend you hunt down the last of these packs, at 60 years old they are getting harder and harder to find.  One place I have seen them is Belmont Army Surplus in Chicago.

Felt & Leather

Ok, now I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is summer, with little bits of Fall fashion popping up in stores and football season right around the corner.  I’m also looking forward to doing lots of traveling for 3 weddings, 2 holidays, and one mini getaway of our own!

Which means I’m on the lookout for a good ol’ travel bag that can actually fit into an overhead bin, now that no one seems to want to check in their bags.  These bags by Gräf & Lantz seem like the perfect unisex bag, made of 100% merino wool and hand turned leather.

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