The Weird History of Long Johns

Aside

victorianerawomenLong Johns… A Fashion Statement?

England 1879 – A new garment revolutionizes women’s fashion… and keeping warm during chilly nights.  Long Johns can be traced back to the 17th century but they gained prominence in the late 1800s.  Victorian era women in Europe and North America used the funny underwear with a trap door (for convenience) to enhance their looks.  Let the good professor explain…

Here’s how University of Alberta professor Anne Bissonnette tells it:

“With women, we traditionally had an accumulation of undergarments or underpinnings,” Bissonnette says. “It all accumulated at the waist.”

Professor Bissonnette explains that Victorian era women in terms of beauty were judged on how thick their waist lines were.  As the temperatures dropped and women needed extra layers for warmth Long Johns saved the day by keeping waist lines from expanding and women stayed toasty.

Don't make fun of  my Long Johns!

Don’t make fun of my Long Johns!

But where exactly did the name “Long Johns” come from?

Pictured here, Sullivan routinely wore garments that closely resembled Long Johns during his fights.  In fact John L would tuck the legs of his undies into his shoes stretching them out.  Is this where the name came from?  Who really knows?  Another theory of the Long John saga puts the name on a famous 17th century knife fighter with the nick name “Long John” who wore the trapped door garments.

But Long Johns continued making key contributions to our civilization during World War II.  If you asked soldiers in the brutal Ardenne Campaign what their trustiest piece of equipment was… almost hands down it was their Long Johns.  While keep the soldiers warm against the nasty winter weather they faced their Long Johns did give them two major issues:

1) They itched.  Some soldiers swore they would itch their skin right off (but they were glad for the warmth)

2) Sweat.  Long Johns made of wool were so warm they in fact got too hot and caused the soldiers to perspire which added to the discomfort

None the less the story of Long Johns continues on into the 21st century without the worry of itching, sweating and the thickness of waist lines.  Instead of itchy wool you can get a polyester blend material that even John L Sullivan could easily win prize fights in.

Take a look at the new Tri-Zone base layers:

Tops – Link

Bottoms – Link

Sources:

The Unofficial History of Long Johns – The Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/life/2007/01/20/the_unofficial_history_of_long_johns.html

Long Johns – World Wide Words

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-lon2.htm

The Long History of Long Johns – St. Albert Gazette

http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/20121226/SAG0801/312269989/the-long-history-of-longjohns

How To Deal With “The Year Without A Summer”

So picture this…you’ve taken a time machine back (you borrowed Marty McFly’s flux capacitor just humor me) and you’re in the year 1816.

Europe was just beginning to recover from the French Revolution and Napoleanic Wars when a volcano in Indonesia blew its top.  The previous year, Mount Tambora which at the time was an active volcano erupted.  In fact, nearly a third of the mountain blew apart during the eruption sending tons of debris and dust into the atmosphere.  This dust formed its own giant layer literally blocking out the sun in parts of North America and Europe.

What must have completely confused everyone is the bizarre weather patterns that followed.  As Spring gave way to Summer, people prepared to harvest crops when instead of warm sun they got…winter.  In parts of the United States like New York and Massachusetts locals were treated to frigid winds, snows in June and outright mayhem.  Crops failed, food prices skyrocketed and starvation became a real threat.  Even the rain didn’t look right.  During rainstorms in some areas, the drops were red instead of clear because of the dust in the atmosphere.

The rich and famous didn’t escape.  In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson had recently retired to his estates and looked forward to years of selling his crops but instead went deeply into debt to finance his farms.

To give you a feel for how people felt during The Year Without a Summer, here’s an article from The Boston Independent Journal dated June 17, 1816:

“On the night of 6th instant, after a cold day, Jack Frost paid another visit to this region of the country, and nipped the beans, cucumbers, and other tender plants. This surely is cold weather for summer.

On the 5th we had quite warm weather, and in the afternoon copious showers attended with lightning and thunder — then followed high cold winds from the northwest, and back back again the above mentioned unwelcome visitor. On the 6th, 7th, and 8th June, fires were quite agreeable company in our habitations.”

The insane weather actually inspired a classic horror tale, one you’re familiar with.  In Switzerland, the intense winter weather inspired Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft to write horror stories.  Frankenstein came alive because of the Year Without A Summer.

So here’s the question for you, what would you do to deal with a summer without heat or sun?

Not sure, here’s some ideas:

Tri-Zone Base Layer Top – link

Battery Heated Fleece Jacket – link

Source:  Robert McNamara, History Channel – link

How To Choose Between 12V and Battery Heated Gear

Here’s the most basic question you need to ask when looking at heated gear:

“Which type of power source is best for my needs?”

With all the brands and choices you have put in front of you, making a decision can be incredibly difficult.  Do I use 12V gear that plugs into my vehicle?  What about battery heated gear…will that give me enough heating for my hiking?

In part one of our battery heated buyer’s guide we’re going to help clarify those choices so you can take the stress out of your decision making process.  Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • why you should buy gear based on your lifestyle
  • how long can battery heated gear keep you warm?
  • what parts of my body will it keep warm?

Want more news and help with your heated gear?

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  • first look at new heated gear technology and news
  • how to videos for caring for your heated gear
  • tricks and tips for riding in cold weather

The Competition – How We Rise Above the Rest

In order to be a successful company in a competitive market, you’ve got to find a way to stand above your competition. So how do we do that? Easily, by offering quality products at a price that is more available to the masses. We don’t compromise our product just to lower the prices and take the lower market share. Instead, we do the opposite. We offer the very best products while still offering them at a price that nearly everyone can afford. Sure, the ticket price may seem high at first, but when you take into account the quality, lifespan and how it compares to our competition – it’s easy to decide who you should go with.

In fact, we’re the only heated clothing manufacturer that offers batteries and chargers as part of the purchase price, instead of having to purchase those necessities separately. Additionally, if you’re purchasing clothing or gloves from our 12 volt powersport line, you’ll receive a battery harness, free of charge.

We won’t nickel-and-dime you like the other guys; Why would we? We want you to be a customer for life; liking our products so much, that you reorder things and start to add to your collection of heated clothing.

How Do We Heat Our Products?

We live in a time where technology is improving each day, which is good, but it also makes your brand new, super expensive phones and computers outdated very fast. The good news, is that when good technology is developed, not only can you get great products, but they don’t become outdated because they still work and perform well.

That’s exactly the story behind Venture Heat. When the heated clothing industry started, bulky wires and heavy cages were the only technology available it wasn’t cheap in any sense of the word. When Venture came around, we changed all of that. Our engineers developed never before seen hair-thin carbon fiber heating elements. You literally cannot tell whether or not they are in the fabric. Discreet and slim, you’re able to order a form-fitting jacket, like the City Collection line, without sacrificing style or comfort.

Our own Lithium Ion Batteries are made specifically for our products, which means don’t try to plug anything else in! It may look like it fits, but it won’t and it may actually cause items to break. We’re the leading manufacturer of heating clothing. Know why? Because we’re the best at what we do.