14 October 2009

Where Does One Get a Good Coat Front These Days?

I'm on pretty familiar terms with most of the fading signs in this town, but, because I'm blind or stupid or whatever, I somehow missed this whopper high above Union Square until the other day.

It's a nice one, too, hawking a wonderfully bygone product: coat fronts!

Crown Coat Fronts once did business in NYC. They were "Mfcr's of Civilian and Military Coat Fronts," which, once upon a time, everyone needed!

If I have researched correctly, the business was founded in Milwaukee. They had offices on E. 16 St. from 1947 to 1958. Whatsa coat front? Good question. It's a "trade term for a built-up stiffening or shape-retaining interlining for the fronts of coats, made of stitched layers of haircloth, felt and canvas."

Sound boring as toast? The Supreme Court didn't think so. The judges decided to hear a case from by Crown against the government in 1967 involving canteen covers supplied to the government in 1956. Crown won.

Below is a picture of the same sign from 1986—proof that fading signs do indeed fade.


Anonymous said...

I worked in the Union Square area from 1993 to 2000 and remember that sign quite well. As best I recall, even toward the end of that period the sign was more like it appears in the 1986 picture than it appears today. It seems as if the fading process has accelerated significantly in recent years.


Jill said...

I too have never noticed this! Where exactly is it?