During my all-to-short tenure at John’s Uniforms, I had the privilege of meeting two men of historic Phoenix stature. One was John T. (Senior).
John T. (Senior) was Johnny’s (of John’s Uniform fame) father. He had a machine that was used to manufacture custom shirts, first for Western wear, later for police uniforms.
The police uniforms were Class ‘A’, meaning they were in 100% wool. Absorbent, great-looking, and would wear like iron. They also sold the matching wool trouser, complete with a sap pocket.
John T. (Senior)’s claim to fame was not police uniform wear, however.
Before about 1940, if one watched a Western movie, or went to a rodeo, cowboys (both real and drugstore) wore Western shirts. They resembled the U.S. Cavalry shirt, with the double-buttoned bib-style front. Usually patterned, not just dark blue. But, they were a pain to launder, iron and maintain.
Enter John T. (Senior). He designed what we know today as the modern Western shirt. Snaps, single plaquet front. Yoke shoulder. Slanted pockets.
Easier to don and maintain.
Now Joe P. enters the picture. He opened a local chain of Western wear stores, and sold John T. (Senior)’s Western shirts. A match made in Heaven!
Rodeos and movies (and TV) were never the same.
They were both self-made men, although Joe P. did better, financially. It seems patterns for Western-style clothing are not copyright-able or patentable.
Joe P., long since retired, would come in to John’s and hang-out. And he’d tell stories of Phoenix in the old days, as before WWII. And Johnny’s manager at the time used to work for Joe. So, it was a pretty tight group.
Both John T.(Senior) and Joe P. are gone now. Joe P.s family broke off the Western wear stores into different entities. And, while John’s Uniforms still exists, Johnny has retired, too.
They don’t even sell Class ‘A’ local-machine made wool uniforms, anymore.
I went in for one a few years ago, and they were polyester. Sad.