Sunday, August 31, 2008

Silver Squares

Sorry about last week. We headed out immediately after church to attend a family get-together, down in the Portland area, several hours drive from home, and there was no opportunity to scan or post a tie. Then we spent a couple of days visiting my Mom in Oregon, with no Internet access at all.

So here's this specimen. I chose it because of a connection of sorts with the last tie I posted. What's the connection? The fabric. Like that last tie, this one too is made from a heavy almost stiff kind of fabric, perhaps nylon, or something with nylon or a similar material woven into it. This one doesn't have a label specifying the fabric like the previous one, however.

There IS a label, however, sewn sideways into the large end of the tie, but 10 inches up from the tip. The label reads:

Sander Model Ties

The tie itself is an interesting design, presenting an almost metallic look to it. The vertically oriented squares, which form a pattern over the tilted background checkerboard pattern, almost appear three dimensional, visually standing out as they do from the surface of the tie. But they aren't, not really. With the tie in hand, they almost appear embroidered, but there is no true embroidery, no threads coming through the backside of the tie. It's just a pattern in the fabric, apparently.

It's hard to know for sure the era this tie is from, but I'm guessing forties, like most of those I've posted. I suppose it could possibly be from a later era, such as the seventies, when wide ties again came into vogue, but it doesn't really have the look or feel of that later era.

The point of the small end is worth pointing out. It's not symmetrically cut at all. Quite haphazardly cut, albeit this appears to be the way it was made and sold, since there is a narrow seam sewn around both ends, small and large, symmetrical and asymmetrical though they respectively be.

It's definitely an interesting tie, just not your normal run-of-the-mill forties example.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Green and Orange Nylon

The pattern on this tie is strange enough, but the fabric is what's really strange! Luckily there is a label which illuminates the fabric, somewhat. The label, interestingly, is sewn into large end of the tie, about nine inches up from the end of the tie. It reads as follows:

Guaranteed for LIFE
by Sherman

And yes, indeedy, this tie is most definitely made from nylon fabric. It is heavy duty, course, slippery, ribbed nylon, almost like something you'd expect to find tent fabric, or a wind breaker jacket, or something like that made out of, not a tie.

If you want a fabric to compare it with, the closest of any tie I've posted recently is the one depicting vintage gramophones, which I posted back in April of this year, and which was a special acetate fabric woven by the Rhodia company. But even that tie's fabric had a silky smooth feeling, compared with this.

Nevertheless, the tie ties neatly enough, and it certainly hangs flat. It would be difficult to change the crease, I think. But enough about the fabric.

What is this pattern trying to depict? A clue may come from the orange small-end piece depicted on the right side of the scan. The entire tie switches to this color and pattern about another four inches above the portion contained in the scan of the main piece. This would have caused the tie's not to be entirely in this complementary orange color, originally.

The pattern of green lines on the orange here looks to me like it might be depicting small wavelets of water. And those bizarrely shaped patterns on the face of the tie itself, getting ever larger as they approach the bottom, could perhaps be large droplets of water, splashing down the tie. If more of them were orange, rather than turquoise in color, one might almost thing they were tongues of flame, similar to the ones artists sometimes depict falling on the apostles on the first Day of Pentecost.

Well, perhaps I have too active an imagination. You can decide what they are for yourself, I guess, and write a comment, if you have another view.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dotted stripes of brown on gold

This is an example of not really paying attention and thinking less of a tie because of its current condition. This tie is old, has a stain on it, and has totally lost whatever resiliency it once might have had. The fabric is limp and almost bedraggled looking nowadays. And the colors are not particularly bright or spectacular.

Consequently, I never paid it much mind, or thought very much of it. I wear it once a year or so, when I have an appropriately colored shirt available.

Then today, while scanning the tie, I read the label, sewed inside the small end:

Created Expressly For
Freem's Ltd.
Waldorf Astoria, New York
Roney Plaza Miami Beach
Hand Painted - All Silk

Wow! Who knew? And now that I look more closely, I can see that this was, indeed, one mighty fine tie in its day. Just look at the magnificent brocaded fabric which provides the background, featuring large swirling patterns, reminiscent of a stylized sun or sunflower. Then, the supposedly hand-painted pattern overlaid onto it: brown stripes of varying widths running in a traditional angle down the tie, neither horizontal nor vertical, but 45 degrees between the two.

The wide stripes have lozenge-shaped openings left in them, like a series of oval dots. Painted on top of these are more dots, off-white in color, but deliberately narrower than the original openings, to allow some of the background color to show through next to the off-white. And the narrow brown stripes have additional dots painted next to them, rather than on top of the stripe.

There is a pair of initials, presumably those of the painter, painted near the bottom of the small end of the tie. "HF" is how I would read them. I have no idea who HF might have been.

Another point worth noting is that on the small end, the background color is a slightly different shade of gold, almost a greenish-gold color. I don't think it's really very perceptible in the scan, but it definitely is when you have the tie in hand. Since this end of the tie has likely had less exposure to light and sun than the large end, one presumes this might be closer to the original color.

A lovely tie indeed, even if today it presents only a shadow of its original presumed glory.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Purple and Yellow

OK, I have so many things to say about this tie that I hardly know where to begin. First, although you can't see it in the scan, it has an off-center construction on the reverse side as do all of the thirties ties I've posted.

However, this tie is lined, unlike the vast majority of the thirties specimens, and it doesn't have its pattern woven directly into the fabric the way those ties do. So I don't think this tie is thirties, but more likely forties. Its style, the design of the pattern, all of that, say forties to me.

Let's talk about that design. The deep purple shapes are like largish stylized leaves. On some of them, you can even see the stems. Because they are so large, no entire leaf shape appears anywhere on the tie. They are always continuing off the edges.

Each leaf has a few large yellow bubbles or spots on it. Generally three or four visible on the portion of the leaf that manages to fit onto the front of the tie. These yellow spots are themselves two-toned, with a darker egg yolk shade of yellow in the center, surrounded by a paler almost taupe color.

However, these spots or bubbles don't confine themselves to the leaves, but appear in the interstices separating the leaves as well. Except that some of the spots located in these interstitial areas have purple centers instead of the egg yolk colored ones.

Then, the rest of the leaf space is filled with additional bubble shapes in various sizes, consisting of nothing but the paler yellow background color outlines. That is, the space inside these bubbles is the same purple color of the leaves that flows around and between them.

All in all, it makes for a complicated and sophisticated design. The fabric itself also sports a brocaded effect which probably won't be very visible at all in the scan. The brocade pattern is difficult to make out, even with the tie in hand, due to the contrasting dark and light colors on the surface of the tie, but it appears to consist of circular sprays of small paisley shaped leafy figures.

OK, now let's talk about the shape of the tie. If you look at the small end, you'll notice how dramatically it flares out towards the end. The large end lacks this flaring effect, but one can't help wonder if it had a similar flare at one time, and suffered its removal for the purpose of narrowing the width of the tie as styles changed. The tie is about 3 1/16 inches in width at its widest point, and 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 inches are more typical widths for classic forties ties.

Not to mention that the tie, when unfolded in back, has fully an inch and 3/4 of fabric that is folded under, and which narrows rapidly, such that merely 4 inches up the tie, there is barely half an inch of folded under fabric. If this tie were unsewn in back, and refolded, the wide end could be made to flare out in a fashion equally as dramatic as is seen on the narrow end, and I can't help but wonder if this was the tie's original shape.

There is enough fabric to make it almost 5 1/2 inches in width, and although I have never found a tie that wide in my personal collecting, I have seen one or two zoot suit ties that are even wider. So it is presumably not impossible to imagine, although I really don't know for sure. I wish someone from that time period could confirm to me whether or not it was customary to "cut down" wide ties through refolding, resewing, etc. to make them conform to a later less flamboyant cut.

OK, that's just about enough discussion of this tie, I think. Just one last detail, the label. One label is sewn into the small end, and it reads as follows:

Jacquard Crepe
Exclusive fabric
Resilient construction