Saturday, December 20, 2008

Archival Field Trip: Roberts Supply Co.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I ventured out to workwear supplierRobert Supply Co. to document the store's more exotic product offerings and collect archival footage. Although Roberts is an official (and well stocked) Filson dealer, the store specializes in logging equipment, industrial clothing and related supplies (translated into the vernacular by timber framing friend, Tom).

If Archival Clothing were a brick and mortar store, I'd design it to have the floor layout and cheery but serious feel of Roberts (maybe minus the large scale Carhart and Filson murals on the facade of the building).

Unlike a boutique featuring workwear in a gallery type setting (with exaggerated spacing between displayobjects), Roberts packs all its merchandise into organized, tightly packed, ceiling height shelving units. Handwritten signs note price and size offerings. The overall look is that of a Carnegie library for work clothing.

Full Roberts Supply Co. photo set on flickr.


Jason said...

What is the brand of the gray henley in fourth photo down? Thanks.

Lesli Larson said...

I think it's Windsor brand wool. A Canadian company. David Morgan (see family of brands list) also sells a similar version by a company called Stanley:

Lesli Larson said...

Addendum: brand is "Windsor Wear"

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Anonymous said...

The mill that made Windsor Wear closed in 2006. A while back, I ran across an article from a local paper that described the impact to the local community. Can't find it now, but here's a bit of history:

Mill Island Limited

You can still find some stock here and there, but when it's gone, there won't be any more.

Lesli Larson said...


Thank you for the Windsor Wear update and link to the grim article about the condo-renovation of the mill building.

Interesting bit in the update about how the post-WWII fashion of wearing underwear as outwear improved business for WW. Too bad the new fashion focus on workwear couldn't have saved the current Windsor Wear company (or produced a salvage contract with a Japan import shop).

Lots of stock of Windsor Wear remaining at Roberts. So much so that I would not have expected the company to be out of business.

Anonymous said...

Some Windsor Wear also available here:

Montana Woolen Shop

I haven't seen this stuff in person, but I suspect that it is rougher than today's typical merino stuff. Could be downright exfoliating.

Lesli Larson said...

An update from David Morgan regarding Windsor Wear:

Windsor Wear was bought by a company called Stanfield’s. While they are still producing the union suits, tops and bottoms in the “black” underwear line, it is no longer 100% wool. It is now an 80/20%, wool & cotton. We have a small top and a medium bottom in the old style (100% percent wool) and have the suits, tops and bottoms in the new style. If you do a search on our site for wool underwear you should come up with them.

Anonymous said...

I have a Stanfield's all wool tee shirt, sort of a creamy off-white. A bit of their history here: