Figure 1.--The knepant are not picturedin detail on the Eaton's page, but most of the boys are pictyred in kneepants. The rather modern looking denim overall play suit was pictured. The boys depicted were quite young, but kne pants were made in sizes for teenagers.
Eaton offered a range of kneepants, but as they are illustrated to a great extent, we do not have details on styling. The knee pants were avalable in several different styles and material. They were made lined. The illustrations show younger boys, primarily to advertize the blouses, kilt suits, and other garments. It was, however, not just the younger boys who wore kneepants. The sizes show that the knee pants were worn by even older teenagers. There was a denim overall play suit available in long pants.
T. Eaton's was a well known Toranto department store. Their catalogs provide a good indication of the styles popular in Canada at the time. This Canadian retailer began publishing mailorder catalogs in 1881, at least that is we begin noticing them. We have catalogs from the 1970s, although we do not know about the company's current status. The 1970s catalgs were full of clothes which look like American styles. Timothy Eaton, founder of the huge all-Canadian department store
chain bearing his name, was an Irish immigrant born on a tennant farm in northern Ireland. He was born in 1834 and followed his brothers to Canada in 1854. His brothers had opened a small dty goods store in St. Marys. Timothy Eaton began his business with a small dry goods business in Toronto during 1869. He built a giant retail store in Ontario’s capital city along with a country-wide mail-order business and a big new branch store in Winnipeg, by the time of his death in 1907. The Winnipeg branch was the first of many branches. Eaton Company business establishments eventually spread all across Canada when Timothy’s family successors extended the Eaton
empire. Timothy masterminded the company during the crucial period of its early development, spanning nearly 40 years. It was Timothy who implemented the concept of the "Department Store", in Canada, a concept which were already flourishing in London, Paris, and New York.
The illustrations show younger boys, primarily to advertize the blouses, kilt suits, and other garments. It was, however, not just the younger boys who wore kneepants. The sizes show that the knee pants were worn by even older teenagers. They were made in waist sizes up to 33. These would have been sizes worn in highschool, althugh at the times many youths did not continue their educaion eyond primary school.
In this section Eatons uses the term "knee panys". lsewhere on the page they use the term "short pants". The two terms were used interchangealy, but in 101 the term "knee pants" was much more common.
Eatons lists several styles of knee pants in a wide range od sizes, much larger than the illustration suggests. All of the kneepants were lined.
The as copy reads, "Navy blue serges, well made, strongly sewn, sizes 22 to 28 inches ... 25c" There is an illustration for this pair of knee pants. The boy is shown wearing hi knee pants with suspenders.
The ad copy read, "Grey and brown mixed Canadian tweeds, side and hip pockets, sizes 22 to 28 [inches] ... 39c"
The ad copy read, "Navy blue serges, all ol, side and hip pockets, well made, sizes 22 to 28 [inches] ... 60c"
The ad copy read, "Medium and dark Canadian tweed pants, string pockets, sizes 22 to 28 ... 50c"
The ad copy read, "Oxford grey and light or dark brown Halifax tweeds, sizes 22 to 28 ... 60c"
The ad copy read, "Medium and dark Canadian tweeds, side and hip pockts, sizes 29 to 33 ... 50c"
The ad copy read, "Grey and brown Halifax tweeds and navy blue serges, all wool, sizes 29 to 33 ... 75c"
The ad copy read, "Navy blue and black Clay worsted knee pants, 3 pockets--" Sizes 22-25 ... 75c; sizes 26-28 ... 90s; sizes 29-30 ... 1.00; and sizes 31-33 ... 1.25." These large sizes were clearly for older teenagrs.
The ad copy read, "All-wool neat stylish pattern tweeds, well made and finished, 3 pocket--" Sizes 22-24 ... 60c; sizes 25-26 ... 75c; sizes 27-28 ... 90c; sizes 29-30 ... 1.00; and sizes 31-33 ... 1.25." These large sizes were clearly for older teenagrs.
For some reason there was a diffrentheading for these pants. I'm not sure hy.
The ad copy read, "Black and navy blue imported hard finish serges, 3 pockets--" Sizes 22-24 ... 75c; sizes ... 25-26; sizes 27-27 1.00; sizes 29-30 ... 1.25; and sizes 31-33 ... 1.50.
The last item offered by Eaton's on this page was a pair of very modern looking overalls which are illustrated. Notice that they are made with long pants. I'm not sure why this play outfit was made with long pants, but it was a convention in America and Canada. The ad copy read, "Boys' blue denim brownie overalls, with bib, 5 pockets. ... 35c" Eaton does not specify the sizes for which the overalls were available. I'm unsure just what "bownie" refers to interms of overalls. We have also seen these overalls referred to as Brownie overalls in U.S. catalogs, including Sears. We known that the term is not derived from the color as these overalls are blue. We suspect that it was a cute name adopted for little boys whn Brownies ment a good natured little elf which assisted in household chores. The term apparantly oeiginated in Scotland during the early 16th century. Presumably the manufacturer of these overalls marketed them as Brownie overalls, but we have no substantiation at this time. We know that in 1900 that the Weber Clothing Co. was making blue denim Brownie
overalls for youngsters, sizes for ages 3-9 at 25 cents and for boys 10-14 at 35
cents. We do not know though if they originated the term. The connotations today are different because the Girl Scouts adopted Brownie as the name to their younger division comparable with the Boy Scout Cubs. Thus today in America, Brownies are more associated with little girls. This was not the case in 1901 when this catalog was issued.
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