Pictured below is an original 1940s Reed Brothers Dodge-Plymouth three-pocket, service station shop coat made by Anderson Bros. of Danville, VA. The coat was previously worn by Marvin Shultz, Manager of Reed Brothers full service Gulf Gasoline and Service Station when it was located at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. Marvin started working at Reed Brothers in 1941, and worked for 43 of the company’s 97 years before retiring in 1984 as a new car salesman.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Shultz family for sending me this shop coat, as it is the first, and only one, I have ever seen.
The coat is made of Herring-Bone-Twill with dark blue cotton collar and cuffs. There is one large chest pocket with a thread embroidered “Shultz” sewn on. The coat has two large front hip pockets, hidden snap buttons on the center line, and snaps on the cuffs. It has a matching belt with side waist buckle and side vent openings. The metal buttons are concealed to prevent scratching cars, and the belt buckles on the side of the waist for this same reason. It is in excellent condition considering it is 70+ years old.
What is SANFORIZED SHRUNK? Good question… I had to “google” it to find out. Sanforization is a process that stabilizes the fabric before it is cut by stretching and shrinking it. Named after its inventor, Sanford Lockwood Cluett, it was patented in 1930. During the sanforization process, the material is fed into a sanforizing machine and moistened with water or steam to promote shrinkage. It is then stretched through a series of rubber belts and cylinders before it is finally compacted to its final size. Sanforizing ensures that the fabric will not shrink during production or wear.
Early uniforms were created to protect an employee’s arms, legs, and underclothes from getting grease, oil and other automotive related by-products on them. Similar styles of this uniform is still seen in many automotive garages today, as they protect an employee’s underclothing from the grease and oil workers are exposed to when working on cars. Almost all automotive uniforms today still include an embroidered name patch on one breast and a brand logo patch on the opposite breast of the shirt.