A fine example of WWII
comic caricature artwork. THE BIG DRIP was a B-24 from the 8th Air Force. The worried
Gremlin-like character framed in a big oil drop appears either to be crying or his nose is
running, either of which is wonderfully metaphorical as Penny Fields, niece of
the pilot, informs us that THE BIG DRIP was so nicknamed because she was a
B-24, tail # 41-29524, (nicknamed
"The Big Drip")
with the 705th BS, 446th BG (flying out of Flixton, England), was written off as salvage on January 1, 1945.
The aircraft was involved in a fatal accident on take-off in which nine of the
ten man crew died. Fortunately Penny Fields' uncle was not involved in the
Note the Collar
Stand construction. The tag is gone but the maker is likely Perry Sportswear as
the short, rounded collar configuration is typical of Perry -- the "Peter Pan"
collar. The pockets as well are typically Perry and the very reddish hide
coloration. Condition is marvelous.
Thick, supple Horsehide color is darkish Russet.
Note too the deep
Horsehide grain furrows: this is how LOST WORLDS jackets look after use and how
one can tell on a modern A-2 if the hides are really (a) Horsehide or (b) Good
Horsehide. Some makers use Cowhide and mislabel it Horsehide. Others, a thin,
substandard South American or Pakistani Horsehide crisscrossed with varicose-like veins and oversprayed to mask deficiencies, like a rust bucket at Honest Al's Used Car
Lot. Others gull the novice by just making things up -- for instance, that
Steerhide was used on original A-2s. We've owned well over a hundred, restored
and examined hundreds more and have yet to see a confirmed Steerhide
One thing that is true is
that original WWII Horsehide varied in quality from contractor to contractor.
Perry, J.A. Dubow, Bronco, United Sheeplined -- these were generally excellent.
Aero Leather and several either related or proximate companies (like
Poughkeepsie Leather) were far less consistent. Section matching and
durability on Aero (Beacon, NY) examples seem particularly bad, but the
company's enormous production might be a partial explanation. Notwithstanding,
irregular wear and both hide and lining fading are much more apparent on these.
Bad tanning? The whole issue is interesting but unresolved.