Featured Item: Wembley Flat Tie

On a recent hunt for Nuestras Manos, I came across an interesting looking tie.  I remember hearing from someone that the new thing in New York these days were “flat” bottom ties, which I thought were kind of peculiar.

I found one of these flat bottom ties, but it definitely was not new!  I got it because I thought it would be a neat addition to the ties that we already have, and figured I’d do some research on it later.

Blog Wembley Tie

Turns out someone’s already done the work for me!  Here’s what I found on a very helpful blog:

New Orleans-based Wembley is also a necktie maker of long standing, one of a select few brand names that carry some cachet in the vintage market. Many Wembley ties, including this one, were made of “Wemlon” polyester (launched in 1962, discontinued in 1979). If they’re all like this tie, they are virtually indestructible, and it’s no wonder so many are still in circulation. Then again, it may simply be the sheer number of ties they’ve made over the years. Founded in 1925 by brothers Sam and Emanuel Pulitzer, the Pulitzer Brothers Neckwear Company company rose to prominence in 1935 when they started making ties out of worsted mohair, which had the appearance of silk but didn’t wrinkle. At that point they changed the company name to Wembley, after the mill town that supplied much of the fabric they used (now home of the stadium). In 1968 Sam Pulitzer’s heirs took full control of the company and changed the name to WEMCO. WEMCO was bought by the Randa Corporation in 1997, but continues as a business unit.

I found the obituary for one of the founders, Sam Pulitzer, in the New York Times, which I thought was pretty interesting.

Here’s another interesting article from the Tuscaloosa News, dated June 15 1986, talking about the family business. You can read the same article but in an easier to read format here.

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

Here’s an article that ends with the announcement of the renaming of Wembley to Wemco.

For those interested in a pretty entertaining legal opinion, check this out.  It’s a lawsuit filed by Wembley based on trademark infringement and unfair competition.  The trademark that Wembley was arguing about was the adoption of the “color guide,” a tool provided with their ties that recommended what color suits that particular tie would go well with.   Surprisingly, you can still find some of these ties along with their respective “color guide” online!

1947 Wembley Tie Ad

1943 Wembley Tie Ad


Featured Item: 1879 Singer Sewing Machine

Isn’t she a beauty?!  She’s not in working condition, but she’s just beautiful to look at!

Singer Corporation was first established I.M. Singer & Co. in 1851 by Isaac Merritt Singer. (although the first patent to design a sewing machine was obtained by English inventor Thomas Saint in 1790, and the first sewing machine was developed in 1807 by an Australian tailor, Josef Madersperger) .  It was renamed Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865, then The Singer Company in 1963.  Singer has an interesting organized labor episode from 1911, which you can read about here.   Like the United States Shoe Corporation, Singer began diversifying in the 1960s, acquiring companies involved in electronics as well as ….nuclear power plant control center simulators.  Huh!

But let’s get back to business.  This Singer sewing machine was manufactured on August 21, 1879, in Clydebank, Scotland.   How do I know this, you may ask?  Well, it appears that Singer was/is very meticulous about keeping records, even back in the late 1800s, so they still have logs with all of this information as long as you can provide a serial number.  Singer sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 were given serial numbers with numbers only; after 1900, serial numbers incorporated a single or two-letter prefix (which indicated the manufacturing location).

This specific sewing machine is an “Improved Family” machine.  It was considered a breakthrough “because of its oscillating shuttle” and a high arm, although it was overshadowed the following year by a model that included an Edison electric motor.

AND, you can still buy the manual!


Featured Item: Red Cross Shoes

I’ve come across pretty interesting items in our little shop, and decided I wanted to know a little more about some of these.  So I’m dedicating a section of this blog to “Featured Items.”  Featured Items will be those that I can find some information about online, information I deem to be awesome and interesting 🙂

My first pick is a pair of Red Cross Shoes.

They are quite beautiful, aren’t they?

Don’t let the name fool you though, Red Cross Shoes has no affiliation to THE Red Cross.  Red Cross Shoes were first produced by Krohn-Fechheimer Shoe Company in Cincinnati, circa 1896.  Red Cross Shoe became a hot selling brand, maybe due to Mad Men savvy advertising it as the “noiseless” shoe.  The company had to adjust after World War I, when high-topped shoes started going out of style.  A six month strike in the Cincinnati shoe industry in 1921 made these adjustments difficult to make. Due to these difficult times, eight different shoe companies, including Red Cross Shoes, merged together to form the United States Shoe Corporation in 1931.  One marketing technique to revive the failing shoe market was to produce a $6 pair of Red Cross Shoes, that previously sold for $10.  Demand soared, and by 1939 Red Cross was the most popular shoe brand in the United States.

Red Cross expanded to the international market throughout the 1940s, and for a brief period of time voluntarily stopped using “Red Cross” due to complaints from the American Red Cross.  It took back it’s name in 1948 with the blessing of the Federal Trade Commission.

Red Cross continued to grow throughout the years, reaching production levels of 100,000 pairs of shoes a week in 1955.

United States Shoe Corporation began to diversity in 1955, with it’s biggest success lying in Lens Crafters.  By the 1980s, shoe sales accounted for only one-third of the company’s sales.  The company continued with ups and downs, but according the source of this information, it seems that it’s still chugging along. If anyone has recent information about the brand, this specific shoe or the shoe company, I’d love to read up on it!

Anniversary Collection Postcard

Main source of information: I read it on the internet, it must be true!