America’s Oldest Tent Maker | Armbruster Mfg Co. | A Continuous Lean.

America’s Oldest Tent Maker | Armbruster Mfg Co.

Jul 6th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Made in the USA, WWII | by Michael Williams

9-19-06+4th+St SM

Founded in 1875 in Springfield, Illinois, the Armbruster Manufacturing Co. is America’s oldest tent maker. As you can see from the building in the above archival photo, the company started out as a canvas goods and upholstery shop but eventually came to specialize in tent making. Armbruster was also a supplier to the U.S. military during WWII — which is how I came to discover them. I was looking to buy an authentic WWII tent, of all things. I considered buying an old original, but didn’t really want to deal with the smell of such an artifact. The good news is, Armbruster is remaking a variety of WWII olive drab canvas tents on the exact same equipment as it did in the 1940s — that is definitely the best-of-both-worlds.

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Pictured above and below is a new M1934 tent, which can be ordered from directly from Armbruster. The company has sold out of all of their inventory, but expect more tents coming this fall. You can pick up one of these bad ass M1934 tents for a cool $3060 — made in the USA of course. That includes a vintage pole set and everything you need to establish your base. And by everything, I mean it will get you one giant canvas tent and some wooden poles. You will still need beer, a long extension cord (for the flat screen and the fridge), a grill, some chairs and all sorts of other “fort” accoutrement. Shit, I might set one of these tents up in central park. Armbruster says they are about 256 square feet — that’s the equivalent to an New York studio apartment. Plus, think about all that nature I will be enjoying out there in the wilds of Manhattan.

If the 1934 tent is too big, they also make a few smaller reproduction WWII tents if the M1934 is too big for you or out of your price range. The command post M1942 tent is also pretty sweet. [Armbruster Mfg Co.] [WWII Repo Price List PDF]

M1934 Pyramidal tent

The original WWII-era "U.S." stencil is still in use.

Aforementioned stencil.

Another view of the new-old M1934 tent.

Comments: 13

13 Comments to “America’s Oldest Tent Maker | Armbruster Mfg Co.”

  1. Blair
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 1:40 PM

    I am all for items that are made in America out of quality materials, but in this instance it seems as though modern materials or the application of modern computer aided design tools would go a long way to improve the product. The M1934 tent looks downright primitive with all that twine and grommets.

  2. Hellar Armbruster
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 2:54 PM

    For modern computer aided designs and modern materials in our tents checkout all of our modern American made products at http://www.armbrustertentmaker.com.

    Our line of WWII tents are actually made to the same specifications and with the same materials that were used over 60 years ago to fulfill the needs of our customers who demand them. We build these tents for movie production sets, living historians, re-enactors, and collectors of period correct tents. They are made the same way as we made them during the war. This particular tent was built from 1934 specifications. They will last just as long as many of the 60-70 year old originals still in use.

    Respectfully,

    Hellar Armbruster
    President
    Armbruster Mfg. Co.

  3. roseskunk
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 7:22 PM

    Bravo! A terrific product from an American company. Nicely done, Mr. Armbruster!

  4. Tintin
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 8:11 PM

    holy camolee, how much does that tent weigh? I remember shelter halfs were no fun to hump. I reckon that M1934 was something for the duece and halfs.

  5. John Lugg
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 10:04 PM

    Now I can afford to move out of my parent’s house… I mean… move out of my current residence that is not owned by my parents…

  6. edvald
    on Jul 6th, 2010
    @ 11:30 PM

    Great post. Well-made, American field products are a hard find today. I will be recommending Armbruster Tents to colleagues.

  7. Ted
    on Jul 7th, 2010
    @ 12:50 AM

    I am becoming a junkie. More USA please. Thank you
    Mr. Williams.

  8. robbie
    on Jul 7th, 2010
    @ 1:40 AM

    very cool.

    I don’t know that they were this same brand or not, but I worked at a church camp in college. 2-3 times a summer we’d have an old fashioned tent meeting. We set up a huge one for people to meet in, and then atleast 50-60 of these things for people to sleep in.

    It was crazy, thanks for a memory

  9. Scott
    on Jul 7th, 2010
    @ 9:21 AM

    That thing is beautiful. You can tell it’s solid and built to last just looking at the photo. You wouldn’t have to worry about the kids ripping it by playing a little to roughly or a dog sticking a claw through it. Worry free fun; I want one.

  10. Toby Wollin
    on Jul 8th, 2010
    @ 9:04 PM

    And please don’t forget Eureka Tent (which is famous for camping tents but also is big in military tents), in my hometown of Binghamton, New York. And just as an fyi, Eureka has an outlet (also in Binghamton, NY), where they have a huge tent sale every March.
    http://www.epowertent.com/company/history.aspx

  11. Brian
    on Jul 11th, 2010
    @ 12:00 PM

    I like armbruster tents which are 100% American made, not sure about other tent companies. Make sure you ask before you buy.

  12. Kelly
    on Jul 13th, 2010
    @ 8:48 AM

    Amazing historical photos!

  13. Ocg
    on Jul 15th, 2010
    @ 1:30 PM

    Pretty cool and they aren’t made in China, Mexico or Japan!!!!!!!!