Sunday, January 17, 2010

The King And Bob And Rockmount Ranchwear

In the depression era 30's, Halpern and Christenfeld (shortened to H-Bar-C for authenticity purposes) were focused on the Hollywood ideal for outfitting a cowboy - think Tom Mix.
During that same period, Jack A. Weil's concern was for the workin man, the ranchhand, the true cowboy.
Jack A. Weil has long been credited with placing snaps on the pockets of western shirts - to keep gear in, and snaps on cuffs to prevent the sleeves from catching on machinery. The shirts were cut slim and the tails were long so they stayed tucked in.

Though H-Bar-C seemed to have a toe-hold in the movie studios, the entertainment aspect to western shirts was not lost on Mr. Weil. Not only did the yoke on the upper back of the shirt provide more durability, it gave the shirt a contrasting detail and gave the wearer a broad look to his shoulders.
With the workwear aspects of his shirts becoming more popular, Rockmount added styles with silky fabrics and louder colors so that after a long day of yankin bull horns, it was also the go-to shirt for the parlor rooms and the dancehalls where a cowboy could kick back er kick butt.

I put some time in of my own at Rockmount in the late 90s as a sales rep and discovered then that Jack A. Weil, at 101, was still driving himself to work everyday and unlocking the doors every morning to the family run business in Denver. He was a wonderful old man to aspire to, with many great stories who passed away in 2008. You would never know by talking to him that he had any idea what kind of mark he left on Americana, as he ended many conversations with "I think I gotta shirt you'd like to see."

Ranch Dressing: The Story Of Western Wear by M. Jean Greenlaw

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