Archives for August 2009 | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Coca-Cola Mexicana

Aug 13th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Drinking, Food, Random | by Michael Williams

It all started in 1985 when — in an effort to save money — Coca-Cola stopped using real cane sugar and reformulated the iconic drink to be made with high-fructose corn syrup. The U.S. government subsidizes corn growers so much (some $40 billion since the mid 90s) that HFCS is cheaper than sugar, and when you are producing on the scale that Coke is material costs are crucial to the bottom line. What does this have to do with Mexican Coke you ask? Well, the bottlers south of the border never made the switch to HFCS, so people (like myself) feel that Mexican Coke has a better taste than American Coke. I think the Coca-Cola made with real sugar is less sweet tasting and has a smoother finish than HFCS Coke and thus is superior. There is also some Coors beer action going on (ever see Smokey & the Bandit? They’re thirsty in Atlanta and there’s beer in Texarkana) because Mexican Coke is harder to get.


The Bygone Days of U.S.Textile Manufacturing

Aug 12th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Cleveland, History | by Michael Williams

At one-time we actually made things in America. I know that sounds strange, but I assure you it is true. Not only that I offer proof via the 57th edition of the Davison’s Knit Goods Trade book from October 1947. The book was a resource for all things knitwear related, wholesalers, dyers, manufacturers, agents and all sorts of other related pursuits and a symbol of our post-industrial existence. The owner of the book is Mr. Steven Tater of Ohio Knitting Mills (link here) from Cleveland. Back in the day, Ohio Knitting Mills and my hometown of Cleveland was one of the centers for knit wear production in the United States. Start American manufacturing rant. Not so much anymore. These days you would be hard pressed to find anyone in the U.S. that manufactures knits. The only makers left would most likely still be in business as a result of the Berry Amendment (the law that gives preference to domestically made goods). People say that this is just protectionism, but the fact of the matter is Berry is one of the main reasons that any U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing survives today. End American manufacturing rant.



A Beautiful Life

Aug 11th, 2009 | Categories: Uncategorized | by Michael Williams

My nostalgia for Kodachrome 1950s and 1960s American has been well documented. Not too long ago I discovered this man’s flickr photostream and was completely taken aback, so here we go again. The photos document (in great detail) a family and their various trips throughout the American West hunting, fishing, riding bicycles. And all in quintessential 1950s/1960s clothing — plaid shirts, dark denim, white tee shirts and Chuck Taylor sneakers. Inspiration abounds below.


Ultra Americana | Ford & Mercury Woodies

Aug 9th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Automobiles | by Michael Williams

Some people just know how to collect things, Nick Alexander is one of those people. Not content with owning just one classic car, Mr. Alexander (you may recognize the name if you live in Southern California from the Alexander BMW / Mini stores) set out to amass a collection of wood trimmed Ford and Mercury “woodies” that represented every aspect of the style, restoring many with painstakingly detail. After assembling one of (if not) the finest collection of woodies in the world, Mr. Alexander has decided to pass along the beautiful automobiles (for what I’m sure will be a healthy sum of money) this coming August 12th & 13th at the Sports & Classics of Monterey auction which coincides with the renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.


1940 Ford Standard Station Wagon Marmon-Herrington front exterior

Reader Query | American Flea Markets

Aug 7th, 2009 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams

Generally flea markets are a highly regional affair so I’m soliciting you, the ACL faithful, to send me your favorite flea market, rummage sale and or swap meet. With this information I plan on making a list (like The American List)  of stand out flea markets. Feel free to email me at: flea [at] acontinuouslean [dot] com with your submission or just let her fly in the comments. Thank you for your ongoing support. Your help will make ACL a better place.


Paris, France

Victory Mail of the Second World War

Aug 7th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Vintage, WWII | by Michael Williams


Encouraged to write letters to service members overseas, Americans heeded the call and sent massive amounts of mail to their loved ones. The U.S. Postal Service was quickly overwhelmed as the volume of correspondance skyrocketed. So in 1942 the government decided to implement Victory Mail, or V-Mail as it was known, which was a version of the British “Airgraph” system. The Smithsonian explains how the British came to develop Airgraph.

Hands On | Levi’s Vintage Clothing

Aug 6th, 2009 | Categories: Americana, Denim, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

It doesn’t get better for me than the Levi’s Vintage Clothing collection. The garments are produced to exact historical specifications, almost becoming new dead stock jeans. If you live in Europe or Japan it has been easier to get your hands on a pair of Levi’s LVC than if you live in the States. Well friends, times they are a changin’. LS & CO recently formed a specific group (called “XX” meaning “extra strong”) to consolidate the company’s premium businesses. This new division will be headed up by the well respected Maurizio Donadi, who is a veteran of both Diesel and RRL. Safe to say XX is in good hands. Along with the new focus on the premium market, you will see that LVC  is going to have a more consistent presence in the land of the free, which is how it should be.