History | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

The Attire of an Architect | Le Corbusier

Dec 24th, 2013 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher


I can’t necessarily tell you what Le Corbusier looked like, but I can damn well tell what he wore. The straight pipe. The oval glasses. The dark bow tie. The double breasted suit. The white pocket square. Like one of the fifty-eight buildings he designed throughout his five-plus decade career as an architect, Le Corbusier’s style was a careful construct, stringing together a stringent set of elements in an altogether unique manner. For as much as it has become a tired adage, it was not the pieces that Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris) wore, but rather the way in which he wore them.


Revisiting The White Horse Tavern.

Dec 14th, 2013 | Categories: Beer, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher


As the story goes on the night of November 3, 1953 poet Dylan Thomas stumbled up from the White Horse Tavern to The Chelsea Hotel where he was staying, reached the doorstep, declared “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that’s the record!” and promptly collapsed. A few days later, only after another visit to the White Horse, Thomas was dead.

Whether or not you believe Thomas super-human, or should I say sub-human, level of consumption, it is quite fitting that the West Village’s most iconic beatnik bar played such an integral role in the Welsh poet’s demise. For, it was the beats of the fifties and sixties that would come to define the White Horse’s history by drinking their nights (and quite often their days) in this bohemian haven on Hudson Street.

Classic College Football Programs with Character

Dec 10th, 2013 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher, Sport | by Jake Gallagher

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As the college football season comes to a close, so too does the Bowl Championship Series era. With a freshly minted playoff system kicking off next year, college football will undergo its first major change in decades, a move that will no doubt garner its fair share of proponents and detractors alike. As college football drives onward into this new era, it’s worth looking back at the sports early years, when everything was smaller and just simpler.

Though, simple hardly means that the game was lacking in substance. Back in the early twentieth century there were fewer teams, but the rivalries were ferocious, extending far beyond the gridiron. On the field players wore stripped down uniforms, while in the stands students and alumni dressed extravagantly in garish items like raccoon coats, large lettered sweaters, and striped suits. College Football during this era was at times quaint and at times grand, an amalgam that’s encapsulated in the hand-drawn covers on the programs that were handed out in advance of each game. -JG

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The Secret of that Capitol Studios Sound.

Dec 2nd, 2013 | Categories: History, John Peabody, Los Angeles | by John Peabody


There are a few magical studios with such amazing sound that they have become sort of sonic temples for musicians who dream of making musical pilgrimages to them. There’s Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit, home to the Motown sound. There’s FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama where artists like Wilson Picket and Otis Redding honed the 60’s southern soul sound.

And then there’s Capitol Records studios in Los Angeles. Housed in the iconic circular building on Hollywood and Vine, it’s uniquely famous as much for what it looks like on the outside, as what’s been created on the inside.

Designed in 1956, the building was actually not meant to resemble a stack of records but well…happy coincidence. A red light, like a beacon, atop the tower flashes “Hollywood” in morse code. And inside the building artists like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, The Beastie Boys and so many more have laid down countless hits.

Hillary and Norgay | Back on Level Ground

Nov 13th, 2013 | Categories: History, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher


Few stories inspire quite like that of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s 1953 Everest climb. While Hillary and Norgay’s pioneering Everest expedition has remained one of the most fabled tales of all time, influencing everyone from other explorers, to Nigel Cabourn, to Mr. Lean himself the duo’s legacy stretches far beyond the mountain. Hillary and Norgay might be best known for those shots of them grinning at the summit in some seriously covetable parkas, but the photos of them back on level ground, still grinning in their rakish suits and eccentric outfits are just as notable. Stay humble, on and off the mountain. —JG

60 Years Since Hillary And Norgay Summit Everest

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Introducing the Patagonia Legacy Collection.

Jul 11th, 2013 | Categories: California, History, Menswear | by Michael Williams


A few months ago I made the trip to Ventura, California and stood in the parking lot where Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard embarked on one of his first climbing trips to Argentina. The point of my journey to Patagonia the company wasn’t to tour historic parking lots, it was the see a new collection of clothing that was inspired by the early and important Patagonia clothing that Yvon Chouinard created in that very same spot. Launching this September, the Patagonia Legacy collection is a small ten-piece capsule of product that traces back to the original items from the forty years of Patagonia. The scale of the company has grown over the past four decades, but the mission and the core values remain intact, much like the building in which it all started.

Before I made the trip to California, I saw the Legacy collection at a small preview in New York. I was, admittedly, pretty nervous going in to see it. Often times, these types of historically slanted collections can be tricky and scary to the purists. The last thing we want is some heavy-handed re-interpretation for no good reason. I learned at that preview, and also later in Ventura, that heavy-handed is not Patagonia’s M.O. The Legacy collection is a subtle and steady take on the already great items from the Patagonia’s past.


The foundry where Yvon Chouinard first started blacksmithing metal climbing instruments under the Great Pacific Iron Works name that is still on the front of the building. The shop remains completely intact and is still fully functional. I’m told occasionally Yvon will still work in this shop as a blacksmith.

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The Big Secret at the Clinton Engineering Works.

Jun 14th, 2013 | Categories: History | by Michael Williams



In April of 2012 I posted about Oak Ridge, Tenneesee, one the U.S. government’s secret Manhattan Project sites that was established to produce the fuel for the first Atom bomb. The post was spurred by the Department of Energy and the digitization of their photo archives, which included a lot of long classified photos of the secret town. You can read all about it here.

That post got a lot of attention and people all over the world were curious to see the photos and learn about how a town of over 80,000, which was home to the largest building in the world at the time (the K-25 enrichment building at CEW, which is pictured above and below), had the 10th largest bus network in America and used more power than the whole of New York City managed to remain a closely held secret.

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