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.
At some point during my adventure to The Shoals with Mr. Billy Reid someone mentioned that the Tennessee Valley Authority was based in the area, which made sense considering the Wilson dam and its lake that we relaxed on.
I remember the TVA from high school history class, though I have to admit I never thought much about it. When I got back to NYC after my trip to Alabama I started to read-up on the subject and I learned a lot. And it wasn’t until recently that I became aware of the role of the TVA during WWII.
Launching today — for all you denim loving patriots — at the Levi Strauss & Co. flagship store in San Francisco (Union Square) is the Levi’s Tailor Shop, a one-of-a-kind customization area with special goods and services. The LS&CO folks have outfitted the Tailor Shop with a chain stitch machine, an embroidery machine and a darning machine (for repairs or maybe just to get the repaired look). At the tailor shop you can also make your own buttons, choose vintage patches, screen print to fully customize your jeans.