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I’m a sucker for programmatic classification systems — there’s something satisfying about them. That’s a big part of why I like uniforms, and it’s also why I like catalogs, especially vintage salesman sample catalogs from the 1940s ’50s, and ’60s, which tend to have gorgeous graphics and an entertainingly naÃ¯ve worldview.
I have a fairly large collection of vintage sales catalogs (including lots of uniform catalogs, many of which I’ve written about here on the site), but that collection has been dormant for the past year or two. Not sure why — I just haven’t felt the urge to acquire more of them. But the other day, on a whim, I punched “vintage salesman sample catalog” into eBay’s search field, and the very first thing that came up was a spectacular-looking aluminum siding catalog from 1958. Nobody else bid on it, so I got it for a very reasonable $28. And now that it has arrived in the mail, I’m happy to report that it’s even better than the eBay listing had led me to believe.
The fun starts with the front cover design (see above), which shows a suitably modern-looking home and also has one of those great mid-century ad slogans: “Alside ”¦ Creators of Better Aluminum Siding for Better Living.”
The inside front cover shows the range of color offerings — the classic selection of pastels and earth tones that were popular at the time. I confess I’m a bit disappointed that they’re not described as “decorator colors,” but it’s still a great graphic:
There are so many things about this next page that are just Perfect. The patio lounger, the shoe dangling off of Dad’s foot while Mom happily cleans the house (literally), the tot with the trike, the questionable use of “Luxurious,” and more:
Look how gorgeous your home can be if you use tomorrow’s siding ”¦ today:
Next comes the best part of the catalog. They present a standard wood-shingled house and then provide two plastic overlays to show how much better the house could look with aluminum siding. Here’s a photo of the plain printed page, followed by a video showing the overlays being positioned over the page, and then photos of each overlay:
Hey, you know what would really bring your beautiful old church into the modern world? Aluminum siding, that’s what:
Ah, the smiling sun — a classic. Too bad they didn’t have it wearing sunglasses to boot:
I love this spread showing the company’s R&D team, all of whom are wearing — of course — eyeglasses and white lab coats:
There are no aluminum samples in the catalog, alas, But there are some color swatches printed on cardstock, and they’re presented in this really cool series of flip-out panels:
And hey, just in case you forgot, aluminum comes from bauxite (and goes straight from the mine to the truck):
Naturally, everything takes place in a suburban fantasy world where everyone — the workers, the customers, the engineers, the miners — is white. Wheee!
Finally, the catalog also includes a little cost estimator gizmo, complete with several volvelles!:
There’s actually a lot more, but I left out a bunch of pages in order to keep this entry at a (relatively) manageable size. Thanks for indulging me.
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Friday Flashback: With the Royals wearing their gold-trimmed championship uniforms for two games earlier this week, my weekly Friday Flashback column on ESPN takes a look at the history of World Series champs wearing gold to open the season (including the Giants in 2015, shown above), along with other championship attire. Check it out here.
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Fortunately, I already have plans for that day: Last week the Giants spilled the beans on the various holiday uniform designs for this season, including the all-new pink jerseys and caps for Mother’s Day. Now we have our first sighting of actual merch (see above), and it matches the mock-ups that the Giants showed. All teams will be wearing this same basic template of a dark-grey cap with a pink logo, pink squatchee, pink-outlined vent holes, and pink top-stitching. Looks like shit, and will look even worse with the pink-lettered jerseys we saw in that Giants mock-up.
That photo came my way yesterday from reader Steven Hom, who writes:
My brother and his friend were in Lids today and saw the Yankees’ Mother’s Day cap. His friend tried to buy it, but when they went to ring it up they were told it’s not for sale, and then it was removed from the shelf. Apparently it’s not supposed to go out till April 18.
Obligatory memo to everyone at MLB who’s reading this: I’m sure you’re annoyed about this leak, but your gripe is with Lids, not with me. If you can’t keep your retail partners in line, that’s not my problem. And just think, if you had shown me the Mother’s Day designs in advance, under an embargo, I would have honored the embargo and not posted this photo when it was sent to me. It’s still not too late for you to inoculate yourself against other leaks instead of playing (and losing) this endless game of Whac a Mole, which I find as tiresome as you probably do. Think about it.
KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is now available over on McSweeney’s. It involves a New York City subway token. Check it out here.
LAST CALL for the caricature shirt: Today is the last day to order the shirt featuring Larry Torrez’s caricature of me. We’re offering it in a variety of colors and styles — grey, black, white, and a white baseball shirt with green sleeves. We’ve also added women’s sizes. Further details here, or just order it here. Thanks.
’Skins Watch: People went totally bananas yesterday when ESPN’s Bomani Jones wore one of those great “Caucasians” T-shirts on Mike and Mike. He initially had the front of the T-shirt fully exposed and then, at ESPN’s request, partially covered it up by partially zipping up his hoodie. ”¦ The Indians postponed Monday’s home opener due to nasty weather, but anti-Wahoo protesters showed up anyway (from Sam Selker). ”¦ The Washington Post, which has long editorialized against the ’Skins name, is also calling for the Indians to drop Chief Wahoo (thanks, Phil).
Baseball News: Two odd things about this Chris Sale bobble that the White Sox will be giving away this season: (1) The team no longer wears that pants design. (2) Why show him in a road uni to begin with? I don’t pay much attention to bobbles, but don’t the usually show the player in a home or alternate uni? (From Jay Danbom.) ”¦ NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the city’s smokeless tobacco ban at ticketed sporting events into law on Wednesday. Because of the timing of when he signed the bill, this means dipping was legal at the Yankees’ home opener on Tuesday but not for their second game on Wednesday night. ”¦ Speaking of the Yankee Stadium, you might be seeing some fans there who are dressed “inappropriately” (from Chris Weber). ”¦ The Syracuse Chiefs’ home opener was snowed out, so they’ll have a new “home” opener on the road — in an empty stadium! Bizarre (from Rick DiRubbo). ”¦ With April 15 fast approaching, UCLA’s baseball team will wear Jackie Robinson throwbacks. The uni includes a new edition of Jackie Robinson cleats, and I’m told that Adidas will be giving those cleats to the MLB players who have endorsement deals with the company. Not clear yet if they’ll be worn in MLB games, however. ”¦ Lots of special occasion jerseys this season for the Delmarva Shorebirds (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ Great shot of a Hollywood Stars player sliding in shorts. ”¦ Unusual dot pattern at the bottom of Francisco Lindor’s sannies. Looks like they’re Trusox (from Brandon Bush). ”¦ The Jackson Generals have a new logo commemorating their 10th season being affiliated with the Mariners (from @thA_Pandabear). ”¦ Here’s a new one: The Nats have set up a pin-trading station at their ballpark (from John Muir). ”¦ Yesterday I showed a mock-up of NASCAR driver Brandon Jones’s Texas Rangers-themed firesuit. Now I have photos. ”¦ Bit of a glitch on Astros P Mike Fiers’s NOB yesterday, as the outlining on the “F” was filling in some of the negative space. It hasn’t been like that in the past (good spot by Christian Ruzich and Eric Bostick). ”¦ The Mets received their N.L. championship rings in a private ceremony yesterday. ”¦ Granted, the Diamondbacks’ new uniforms are pretty unusual, but Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper seems to think they have the ability to bend the laws of mathematics, which seems like a bit much (from Dylan Goforth). ”¦ Speaking of the D-backs: When they unveiled their new set last December, the throwback uni that they put on their mannequin didn’t have the MLB logo on the back belt loop. I asked the team’s PR staff about this, and they said (I’m paraphrasing here), “Good catch — we used last season’s pants for the mannequin. But we’ll have new pants, with the logo, for 2016.” That has turned out not to be true. ”¦ Coupla more things about the D-backs last night: They’re wearing their patches on the undershirts, and at least some of the players’ caps had grey underbrims, although I’m told that some others had black (from Matt Abbott and Tom Denne, respectively). ”¦ Another change to the Phillies’ script this year: You know how the it can sometimes look like the team’s name is “Philllies“? That’s no longer possible this year (from Mike Paolucci). ”¦ Here’s a soda display of the Cubs’ logo. ”¦ Two Long Island high schools, Babylon and Southampton, paired up for a pretty hideous uni match-up yesterday (from Vince Alongi). ”¦ The Mets script behind home plate has been blue in recent years, but it looks like they’re changing it to orange.
College Football News: A Maryland judge has ruled that the NCAA cannot be dropped from a wrongful-death lawsuit being brought by the parents of a Frostburg State player who died from football-related head injuries in 2011. The Illinois-based helmet maker Kranos Corp. is also named in the suit. ”¦ Here’s a good view of the memorial decal that Utah State has been wearing during spring scrimmages for longtime team physician John Worley. It hasn’t yet been decided whether it will be worn in the fall.
Hockey News: A pair of “celebrity dachsunds” (uh-huh) donned Canadiens and Maple Leafs jerseys for a game of street hockey. ”¦ Harley-Davidson jerseys tomorrow for the Tulsa Oilers (from @UtahDust). ”¦ The Grand Rapids Griffins are putting a giant decal of their playoff logo on the outside of their arena.
NBA News: Over 200 Nike-contracted athletes across many sports will celebrate Kobe Bryant’s career by wearing black and gold footwear next Wednesday. Golfer Rory McIlroy already got a head start on that (second link from Douglas Ford).
College and High School Hoops News: The basketball team at Shenendehowa High School in upstate New York has a new logo based on one of the team’s players.
Grab Bag: New soccer kits for the Seattle Reign (from Yellow Away Kit). … Some really nice Pinewood Derby designs on display here (from Carl Schneeman). ”¦ Here’s something I didn’t know: The UCLA volleyball team used to wear old Bruins basketball jerseys. They’ll be doing that again tomorrow (from Chris Cruz). ”¦ Also from Chris: “At Saturday’s Georgetown lacrosse games, people donating non-Georgetown college T-shirts can exchange them for Georgetown apparel, including game-used lacrosse uniforms. They use a point system and it is notable that more points are given for Big East, Big Ten, ACC, and Ivy League schools (which seems to cover all current/former rivals or perceived rivals) than for other schools.” ”¦ Amateur golfer Bryson DeChambeau wearing the SMU logo on his hat at the Masters. ”¦ Buried within this story about the DC Metro is the news that the Metro uniform is “getting a new neon yellow add-on” for increased visibility. ”¦ Here’s an article on the Suzuki Motors “S” logo. ”¦ Here’s what Rickie Fowler is wearing at the Masters (from John Furstenthal). ”¦ More Masters: Keegan Bradley is wearing Michael Jordan-themed shoes (from Patrick O’Neill). ”¦ The Giants were apparently giving away phantom World Series press pins in the press box yesterday. ”¦ The U.S. Navy has started issuing its “Dixie Cup” hats to female enlistees, part of a program to make the uniforms more gender-neutral. ”¦ Butwin was an old manufacturer of varsity jackets, and I’ve often mentioned their awesome tag design. Until now, though, I’d never seen tag design on a matchbook cover. There’s another version here. ”¦ Faaaascinating slideshow of photos from an old New Deal photography project, including some by the great Walker Evans. The negatives had holes punched through them to indicate that they were not to be used, but they’re all still in the Library of Congress, and now they’re being collected in a new book. The hole punches transform the photos in some surprisingly effective ways — recommended (big thanks to John Vahey). ”¦ More “what they’re wearing at the Masters” coverage here (from Randy McCallum). ”¦ As you may recall, the original logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was scrapped amidst accusations that it had plagiarized another design. The process to choose a replacement logo has now been narrowed down to four finalists.