Photo by Karen McBurnie; click to enlarge
I mentioned in yesterday’s entry that I had scored a remarkable flea market find during my August blogcation, and here it is: a spectacular 1940s “Duribilknit” jockstrap display, complete with four sample jocks. It must have looked awesome in an old sporting goods store way back when. I flipped out when I saw it, because it’s precisely the kind of vintage item that I like to display in my apartment, but the seller wanted way too much for it, so I initially thought I’d just take a few photos and then walk away. After a bit of haggling, though, we agreed upon a price that I could live with and the display was mine. Turns out it was an even better find than I initially realized, as I’ll explain in a minute.
The basics: The display is made of wood and is pretty damn big — four feet long by one foot wide. Here’s a better look (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):
Now let’s take a closer look at the individual elements, beginning with the top graphic:
I love the term “Duribilknit” and also love that this design is called the “Bub.”
There are four different models shown on the display (running from smallest to largest), each of which is accompanied by two white boxes of text. Here’s the first one:
I didn’t realize swimmers wore jockstraps, but whatever.
Here’s the next model, which has a slightly wider waistband:
There’s something amusing about the phrase “For average support.” Wouldn’t they have been better off using “standard” or “basic” instead of “average”? Also: It’s incredibly frustrating that there was no “explanatory booklet” included with the display. (More on that in a sec.)
Here’s the next one, which has an even larger waistband and two diagonal support bands:
And here’s the last one, which looks more like a truss than a jockstrap. The little white box at lower-left is worth the price of admission all by itself:
The “Energy Region”! I don’t often have any occasion to talk about my crotch, but I’m definitely going to start using that term from now on.
Each of the jocks has a beautifully designed tag that qualifies as a mini-masterpiece. Dig:
Finally, there’s a little bonus lurking on the back of the display, which features this weathered label:
I like how the label says the display has to be “returned when no longer needed.” That’s fine in theory, but come on — who could ever stop needing this?!
After I bought the display, I had to carry it nearly a mile back to where my friends and I had parked our car. I passed lots of other flea marketers along the way, many of whom offered me a tight-lipped smile and a small nod — the silent acknowledgment of a nice score. Later that night I had to take the display home with me on two NJ Transit trains and then two subways, where various train conductors and passengers gave me lots of weird looks. At one point I was waiting to transfer at the W. 4th St. subway platform and was standing there with the display (it was too big to fit in a bag and there was really nothing to do with it but stand there with it). A guy walked by, looked at the display for a few beats, and then said, “That’s cool, man. I mean, it’s weird, but it’s still cool.” Indeed.
The display is now hanging on the wall in my bedroom (where I’m sure it’ll be, uh, a big hit with the ladies, eh?). I’m sure some of you think I’m nuts to have such a thing in my home, but check this out: I was curious about the display’s background, so I did a bit of Googling and discovered that a Duribilknit/Bub jockstrap and its box are part of the permanent collection at … wait for it … the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
Now, I didn’t need a fancy-shmancy museum to confer its imprimatur of legitimacy on my display — I already knew it was beautiful. Still, it just goes to show that great design is where you find it (and that I know a great flea market score when I see one).
A few other things I’ve discovered:
• Vintage boxes of Duribilknit/Bub jockstraps can be found on eBay. The box design matches the graphic on my display, and many of the boxes come with a pamphlet (here’s the other side), which is presumably the “explanatory booklet” referred to on the display.
• The Duribilknit/Bub product line also included wrist supports.
• The manufacturer, the J.B. Flaherty Co., was run by one John. B. Flaherty. His son Bryan later founded his own operation, the Bryan J. Flaherty Co. — which, of course, made jockstraps.
• The Duribilknit name lives on in jockstraps made by the Flarico brand. (“Bub,” however, appears to be extinct.)
T-Shirt Club update: There are only three designs left for this year’s Uni Watch T-Shirt Club program. One of them will be a completely amazing shirt that I still can’t show you because we’re still finalizing some of the details. Another one — which we might do for October or possibly for November — will be a powder blue design. And I’d like to get some feedback from you on that one.
One approach to the powder blues would be to keep our usual Uni Watch colors, like so (for all of these, you can click to enlarge):
On the one hand, I kind of like the audacity of sticking with our normal colors, even though they don’t completely mesh with powder blue. On the other hand, there’s no denying that green and powder blue aren’t a natural fit.
Another approach would be to take the one Uni Watch color that does go well with powder blue — maroon — and use that:
Strictly from a design standpoint, I think this one is better. But it’s also less interesting, plus it looks sooooo Phillies-ish.
What do you think? Vote here:
Thanks for your feedback. More T-Shirt Club news soon.
Baseball News: Good story about the Danville Braves’ mascot, Blooper (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Travis Shaw of the Red Sox is using an Ohio State buckeye merit decal on his bat knob (from Jordan Mayblum). ”¦ Virginia Tech is naming its baseball hitting facility in honor of former AD Jim Weaver, who recently died (from Andrew Cosentino). ”¦ Long, spectacular article about the origin of the “Yankees Suck!” T-shirts (thanks, Mike). ”¦ “On Monday night I was out at a bar and had a lengthy chat with a guy named Will Hoover, who is a former Kingsport Met,” says James Cropcho. “I thought you’d enjoy knowing that he is a fan of yours. He seemed very well versed in your canon and became quite animated while discussing some uniform change or other.” Nice to know. ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s a profile of the MiLB design house Brandiose (from R. Scott Rogers). ”¦ Reds P Burke Badenhop was wearing a mouthguard on the mound last night (from Chris Mitchell). ”¦ Great story about a pair of twins who own the URL twins.com despite the MLB’s attempts to purchase it for the Twins. ”¦ After Cubs P Jake Arrieta threw a no-no at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers gave him the pitching rubber and some dirt from the mound — nice (thanks, Mike).
NFL News: Funny article about Eagles QB Sam Bradford’s sleeves (from Michael Trautman). ”¦ The Texans have posted their home uniform schedule, including pants, for the upcoming season. ”¦ The Titans are selling a Marcus Mariota T-shirt with a Hawaiian lei printed on it (from Andrew Cosentino). ”¦ Oooh, look at these awesome NFL pencils. ”¦ Hacked emails indicate that Sony Pictures altered the upcoming Will Smith movie Concussion to avoid getting on the NFL’s bad side. ”¦ This photo of former Titans scout C.O. Brocato shows a Titans helmet with a grey facemask. “Never seen that before,” says @MaxTE34.
College and High School Football News: Florida is adding a Ray Graves memorial decal. Interesting that it’s grey instead of the usual black — more GFGS, perhaps, or just a play on Graves’s surname? … Nebraska’s top defensive players earned their blackshirts the other day. ”¦ “A week before the season, Nate Ford, a player from Maricopa High in Arizona, was killed when his vehicle struck a cattle hauler on a highway,” says Raymie Humbert. “At their first game, against Agua Fria, all Agua Fria players wore 42 on their helmets, and the Maricopa players had both jersey patches and helmet decals in remembrance.” ”¦ Texas Tech has added a memorial decal for football administrative assistant Jenny Bailey, who passed away in June after working in the program for 28 years (from Justin Barsotta). ”¦ New helmets for Weber State. ”¦ Bowling Green will wear new helmets with metallic orange this weekend. ”¦ Oregon State doing the pandering thing this Friday with their helmet and midfield logo. ”¦ Liberty University is another school adding a memorial decal for the murdered Virginia TV journalists. ”¦ Oregon QB Vernon Adams has FIOB and JrOB — a rare combination. … Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil was wearing a watch in practice the other day — odd (from Dave Wilson).
Hockey News: New uniforms for Clemson. ”¦ The Ducks have changed the top stripe on their dasher boards from red to black. ”¦ Good article on the Kings’ ice being prepared for the season (from Chris Bisbee). ”¦ New pads for Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. ”¦ The Jets apparently have a fifth-anniversary logo, which seems like a bit much. No word yet on how/if they’ll be wearing it.
Basketball News: Michael Jordan’s uniform from Space Jam is going up for auction (from B. Garrity). … Here are one blogger’s picks for the perfect 76ers jersey collection. … New uniforms upcoming for the Harlem Globetrotters. Key quote, from the designer: “My goal for this collection was to reimagine the look of the legendary Globetrotters uniforms by infusing elements of the team’s rich 90-year history with New York City vibes and basketball-inspired swagger.” Uh, great. ”¦ The Hawks will retire Dikembe Mutombo’s No. 55 on Nov. 24 (thanks, Mike). ”¦ Todd Radom and I are both quoted in this article about recent NBA redesigns. … New sweatbacks for Kansas State (from Sean Kautzman).
Soccer News: Here’s a gallery of NBA players wearing soccer jerseys (from Phillip Foose). ”¦ New third kit for Minnesota United (from Clayton Blickenstaff). ”¦ Here’s a good look at the 2018 World Cup qualifying patch.
Grab Bag: Here are the four finalists for the new New Zealand flag design. ”¦ Here’s an article on clothing at Burning Man. ”¦ Faaascinating article/slideshow about attempts to republish an old NASA style guide. Recommended. ”¦ Temple and Under Armour have announced a 10-year extension of their apparel deal. ”¦ New logo for Google (thanks, Brinke). ”¦ A designer has redesigned all 50 U.S. state flags using only red, white, and blue. I don’t really like that premise (certain colors are closely associated with certain states and regions, so why limit that?), but some of the designs are striking, particularly the one for Kentucky (from Andrew Greenwood). ”¦ One day in and the U.S. Open is already unwatchable (thanks, Phil). ”¦ New uniform regulations for the U.S. Navy. ”¦ Auburn and Florida A&M played an orange vs. orange volleyball game last night. ”¦ The Punjab Armed Police apparently have a problem with their uniforms not being sufficiently uniform. ”¦ Residents of Tacoma, Washington, are being encouraged to wear yellow shirts today to show support for wildland firefighters, whose uniforms typically consist of yellow shirts and green pants.