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History of the BLACK MOTORCYCLE JACKET?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TINGLER, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. TINGLER
    Joined: Nov 6, 2002
    Posts: 3,748

    TINGLER
    Member

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. hatch
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 3,668

    hatch
    Member
    from house

    I don't know the history, but I've got a genuine 50's HD jacket....I love it!!
     
  3. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,805

    Gigantor
    Member

    I'd be interested to know as well ... however I think you're on to something with the German pilots. Although the cut and buttons are WAY different, I think there might be a subconscious reference to them considering when these became popular: Black Jackets on Nazis = Evil Nasty Dudes you probably don't want to mess with. Sounds like the persona most bikers were exuding or ATTEMPTING to exude at the time.
     
  4. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,805

    Gigantor
    Member

    of course we could be WAY off.
     
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  5. Black Denim Trousers
    The Diamonds
    Words and Music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

    -as sung on "The Diamonds Collection"-Stardust CD-1010
    -charted by The Cheers at # 6 in 1955

    He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
    And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
    He had a hopped-up 'cicle that took off like a gun
    That fool was the terror of Highway 101

    Well, he never washed his face and he never combed his hair
    He had axle grease imbedded underneath his fingernails
    On the muscle of his arm was a red tattoo
    A picture of a heart saying "Mother, I love you"

    He had a pretty girlfriend by the name of Mary Lou
    But he treated her just like he treated all the rest
    And everybody pitied her and everybody knew
    He loved that doggone motorcycle best

    He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
    And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
    He had a hopped-up 'cicle that took off like a gun
    That fool was the terror of Highway 101

    <brief instrumental interlude>

    Mary Lou, poor girl, she pleaded and she begged him not to leave
    She said "I've got a feeling if you ride tonight I'll grieve"
    But her tears were shed in vain and her every word was lost
    In the rumble of an engine and the smoke from his exhaust

    <SPOKEN>: Then he took off like the Devil and there was fire in his eyes!! He
    said "I'll go a thousand miles before the sun can rise." But he hit a screamin' diesel
    that was California-bound" <SUNG> And when they cleared the wreckage, all
    they found

    Was his black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
    And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back
    But they couldn't find the 'cicle that took off like a gun
    And they never found the terror of High way 1 oh 1


    This was long before the gay community adopted the leather boy look.
     
  6. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 4,861

    wvenfield
    Member

    I like the brown bomber style better so what do I know? If I was to guess, I'd also say you were on the right track.

    I found this.....

    A paradigmatic example of this is Brando&#8217;s black leather jacket &#8211; except for the motorcycle, the most significant piece of biker iconography. The black leather jacket is a motorcycle jacket designed for the rider. The classic motorcycle jacket can be traced to Ross Langlitz, who in 1947 designed a jacket that Langlitz Leathers still produces. Airtight and sturdy with canted sleeves and shorter in front than behind, it was designed for both the safety and the comfort of its wearers. Leather, after all, provided the best protection from road rash and other minor motorcycling injuries before the development of tougher synthetic fabrics. However, neither comfort nor safety, although contributing factors, really explains the jackets outlaw appeal or its central importance in The Wild One. To understand that, we need to delve further into the jacket&#8217;s history and symbolism.

    Metaphorically, a leather jacket conveys a talismanic quality of fierceness; the wearer is a different animal, tough, and thick-skinned (Farren 66; Lurie 232). He is uncivilized, perhaps brutal, and so should be respected if not feared. Another association, more relevant for our purpose here, comes from its history. Black leather jackets similar to the 1950s style appeared in World War I Germany, worn by German flying aces (Farren 20). Through the second World War, black leather coats used by the Gestapo and SS link the black motorcycle jacket almost inevitably with the Third Reich, a link further reinforced by the common wearing of Nazi insignia by motorcycle gangs. One could contrast this image with the brown leather jacket, which is traced to the English Royal Air Force (RAF), and even today has the connotations of heroism and adventure (Farren 28). The wearer of the black leather jacket, on the other hand, though his allegiance to the German army is typically not of philosophy but of power, connotes danger, intimidation and often hostility. A secondary association with black leather is communism. According to one intelligence report, black leather coats were telltale clues of Kremlin affiliation (Dunham 63). When Brando and his men drove their motorcycles into a sleepy country town at the beginning of The Wild One wearing black leather, they were an invading army, metaphorically and sartorially. The all-male nature of Brando&#8217;s gang reinforces this idea of an army. The gang&#8217;s women don&#8217;t arrive until the Beetles do.

    http://ijms.nova.edu/March2005/IJMS_ArtclPhilips0305.html
     
  7. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,675

    Larry T
    Member

    I always heard Schott invented the classic motorcycle jacket. They're still in business.
    Brando wore a Schott Perfecto in the Wild One.
    Try Googling Schott jacket or Schott Perfecto, I'm to ignorant to post a link.
     
  8. 2_wheel_nation
    Joined: Oct 2, 2006
    Posts: 69

    2_wheel_nation
    Member
    from hudson, MA

  9. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,812

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Marlon brando....made hollywood history and maybe before that the Original Hells Angels WWII guys....
     
  10. SPEEDBARRONS
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,246

    SPEEDBARRONS
    Member

    I always prefered a horse-hide, they slide on pavement rather than cow leather which is grabby and makes you roll. The best ones have a red liner and weigh a thousand pounds, also when they start to show wear, its white underneath, I have a German one, American,ww2 in black, Harley AMF from seventies, nice quality, and a Russian tank coat in black, and the best one is one of the first made HAL's (Hells Angel Leathers)
     
  11. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,372

    Rand Man
    Member

    The concept goes back further than you might think. I've seen early 1900's adds for HD, Indian, ect. The riders are all decked out in full leather outfits. I suspect the design evolved from some sort of mounted police-military cavalry uniform.
     
  12. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,117

    Relic Stew
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    I have a jacket that is supposed to be horsehide from the fifties. The liner has been replaced so there is no tag. Looks like the Shott Perfecto. I need to find a replacement zipper and redo some of the stitching.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Chuck R
    Joined: Dec 23, 2001
    Posts: 1,346

    Chuck R
    Member

    Here's my dads jacket from WWII . He was based in England and flew missions over Europe.Its is brown however.
    chuck

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. hatch
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 3,668

    hatch
    Member
    from house

    I got this from the original owner in 1976.....It fits, but a little tight due to the beer factor.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. The black motorcycle jacket was invented by Al Gore while a student at Yale, but were popularized by yuppie first-time Harley owners in the latter part of the 20th and early part of the 21st centuries.

    In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order naming February as Black Leather Jacket History Month.

    The jackets worn by the Village People types are actually rubber....well, mine is anyway.
     
  16. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,337

    Muttley
    Member

    I found these on Ebay the other day..........they arent cheap but they sure are cool.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. The style you have shown with the zipped cross over flaps is known as a "Lancer" front.

    This was worn by mounted soldiers - regiments of Dragoons and Hussars - carrying lances. Not sure why they used this style but it would put a double layer of material across the chest. Not much protection bt perhaps warmer??
     
  18. LUX BLUE
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,408

    LUX BLUE
    Alliance Vendor
    from AUSTIN,TX

    ...May be going out on a limb here, but Schott-Perfecto calims to be "the originator" of the classic motorcycle jacket. if that jives, it would have been an early attempt at a crash suit. I love my jacket. the "new" one is 7, after the "old" one got stolen out of my car. (had it since I was 16...Still think about it all the time.)talk about a bummer.

    anyhow. I have a thread killing question...What were Eisenhower Jackets called beofre Eisenhower wore one?
     
  19. kid berzerker
    Joined: May 13, 2006
    Posts: 110

    kid berzerker
    Member

    with all due respect to Brando & the nazis....one of the main reasons i wear mine is because of these guys
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    not to mention Link Wray
     
  20. Håkan
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 24

    Håkan
    Member

    Hi,

    I know I haven't introduced myself properly, but here's at least two pics of my Swedish Army motorcycle rider black leather jacket. Do not know a lot about it, but I think it's from the fifties. Copies of this original design are and have been available for pretty long over here. Mine is the real old thing though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Used to wear it when driving a Model T Roadster that I built and later sold back in the eighties.

    Håkan
    Enköping, Sweden
     
  21. AlbuqF-1
    Joined: Mar 2, 2006
    Posts: 910

    AlbuqF-1
    Member
    from NM

    A "real" motorcycle jacket is made just for that purpose, with pockets inside and out designed to resist wind, able to be one-handed easily; shoulder epaulets are for show mostly but common; and the reliefs on the back shoulders to allow unrestricted reaching for the bars. A belt at the waist to seal out the wind. Zippered sleeves with cuffs to keep out the wind. This is mine, very heavy, mid-60's Phillipino-made. I would never buy a new one, they take years to break in! I got this at a pawn shop, very reasonable price and they had dozens.
     

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  22. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 4,861

    wvenfield
    Member


    That's cool, as long as you realize they are wearing them largely because of Brando.
     
  23. xderelict
    Joined: Jul 30, 2006
    Posts: 2,477

    xderelict
    Member Emeritus

    I think they came from motorcycle cops.
     
  24. rigid_bobber
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 82

    rigid_bobber
    Member

    I hear ya on horse hide.... one saved my hide this past September. I did the asphalt skid for over 100 yards, wore 7 holes in my jacket in various places, but my skin was intact.

    It also helped keep my bone clean when it came poppin outta my forearm!

    I want a jacket made out of Barbaro.
    joe
     

  25. I gotta agree with this one... I got a jacket my freshman year of HS. To break it in, I put it in an Eddie Bauer Denim backpack and kicked it around, pretty much everywhere I went, for a week. It was still pretty stiff.

    Still got the jacket today(almost 20 years later). At one point I had a "Road Runner" painted on the sleeve. I'll have to go dig it out... FWIW, it's an "Excelled", made in the USA. I was looking at some at Wilsons awhile back, and they're all made in India or Pakistan now it seems.:cool:

    Jay
     
  26. RodLand
    Joined: Dec 19, 2005
    Posts: 369

    RodLand
    Member

    I thought it was started by The Fonz.:D AAAAAH!
     
  27. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,805

    Gigantor
    Member

    I still got my leather jacket from high school. I wore the hell out of it freshman year until I graduated. When I first donned it, the sleeves hung past my fingertips and I could pull ,y arms up inside to stay warm. I tried it on last month, and although the chest fit like a tailored glove, the sleeves only fell past my elbows. I'm tempted to either cut the sleeves off or figure out a way to sew extensions on. It might have to be the extensions because I don't have the magnificent guns to proudly wear a sleeveless anything, much less a bad-ass leather jacket.
     
  28. I always pictured them stemming from police motorcycle jackets...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    JOE:cool:
     
  29. johnnykck
    Joined: Dec 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,025

    johnnykck
    Member

    Dead on right. The first motorcycle uniforms were cavalry uniforms or mounted police uniforms simply because the first soldiers and cops that rode bikes were taken out of the ranks of their mounted units. That also why the motorcycle cops today still wear those funny looking balloon pants, they are riding pants, believe it or not!
     
  30. Joe King
    Joined: Oct 8, 2004
    Posts: 993

    Joe King
    Member

    I don't know much about the history of the jacket but I do know when I was sliding down the road I was glad I spent the money on a real motorcycle jacket and in my opinion a good one does not come from Wilson or 95&#37; of the jackets in a pawn shop. I have a jacket and pants (chaps are for the village people) from Langlitz leathers in Portland Oregon been making them since 1947, a family business not cheap but that's all they do motorcycle garments
     

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