June 2017 saw us moving from Tacoma to Cle Elum, WA. We had been in Tacoma since 1984 but when we sold the life raft service side of our business in 2017 there was no need to remain where we had been for 33 years. Little did I know that moving to Cle Elum would ignite my memory back to the mid 70’s.
At that time I was working for a marine supply company. We sold everything from toilets to fishing gear. There was lots of rope (bought it by the rail car load), chain and even footwear. We sold slip on shoes commonly referred to as “Romeos” that were made by the Currin-Greene Shoe Company. My wife thought they were ¡UGLY!
Fast forward to 2018. We have moved to Cle Elum and learned that Romeos are the footwear of choice. Although I am sure many small towns say the same, here Romeos are called Cle Elum Wingtips. Most likely every man has a pair, or several, at his disposal (they make women’s Romeos too).
Along comes a newsletter from a local vendor titled “The Unofficially Interesting History of Romeos” That got me thinking about the shoes I had sold years before. A bit of research dredged up an article on the Currin-Green company who were sold in 1978 to McKenzie & Adams. They too seem to have been sold and the new owners have quit making Romeos.
So now my wife still hasn’t changed her mind on the looks of Romeos. They are classified in the “comfortable” part of my wardrobe (read UGLY) but I am allowed to wear them. Otherwise how would we ever be able to go out to a formal occasion where Cle Elum Wingtips are required footwear?
They still come in brown and black. One hardly ever sees black Romeos in public.
Two sole configurations are available- “wedge” which I find works great in dry weather, it doesn’t track dust into the house, and a slip resistant sole which is my choice in the winter.
Polish seems to be optional. Sweep them off with a broom once in a while and treat the leather so it stays soft. There are some that have a high polished pair for going to town but it isn’t often you see them.
Don’t expect your feet to stay dry if it is wet or snowy out. That is why they are great, just slip them off and don the proper footwear be it rubber boots or Sorel’s in the winter.
They are not a substitute for dress shoes when in Seattle. Then again why would one want to leave Cle Elum?
They are rugged. I get several years out of each pair. They take a while to break in so it is smart to have your next pair on hand so that you can break them in slowly (and save your feet). The pair in the picture above were purchased in 2014 and are finally in need of replacement.
Most mornings I read the Scuttlebutt Sailing News. Today it took me on a trip down memory lane. The Sailing News has a section titled “Crumudgeon’s Observation” and today’s was:
“SHOT OF WHISKEY: In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.”
This sounds like a great story but Snopes.com claims it isn’t true.
Now on to memory lane. My father always used to call 25¢, 2 bits. The 12¢ in the shot of whiskey story got me thinking about the usage of the term “bit” so a bit of investigating online showed that 2 bits was a common term for 25¢.
So what did I learn this morning?
My father was right, 2 bits = 25¢
While I enjoy reading the Curmudgeon’s Observation it must be taken with a shot of bourbon (my whiskey of choice)
Snopes.com is based in Tacoma, my old home town and where Westpac Marine / Straps to Go operated from 1984 to 2017. You can read about them at the News Tribune
I am old enough to have grown up in a time when food was seasonal. Enjoy it when it is available, soon it will be gone. Asparagus, artichokes, salmon- there was a season for everything. Now you can get many things 12 months out of the year, waiting is not required.
Soon we will be moving Straps to Go to Cle Elum, WA which is a rural community which bills itself as being in “the heart of the Cascade’s” and is about 90 minutes east of Seattle. Last Sunday my wife and I were headed in to town on our way back to Tacoma. There was a cardboard sign on the side of the road stating Fresh Morels. We didn’t see a sign as we approached and missed the pickup truck on the side of the road but were lucky enough to see a sign a but further down the road. U turn and back to check them out.
Freshly picked huge morels for $10.00 per pound. A bargain and fresh! We bought a pound to enjoy with our neighbors in Tacoma and were not disappointed. They brought back good memories of seasonal produce and when coupled with a little butter made an excellent dinner.
Hopefully our move to Cle Elum will provide us with more opportunities to sample seasonal foods once again. Perhaps this will help us think of new strap offerings provide we don’t make too many U turns.
Most of your orders for webbing and buckles have been shipped out using Priority Mail. This has proven to be an inexpensive and reliable way to get goods to our customers. At times we receive orders that are so small that the minimum charge for Priority Mail is larger than the cost of the goods. We have been shipping these orders using First Class Mail which generally saves you, the customer, a couple of dollars.
We are working on providing that option for all orders that weigh less than 16 ounces. This requires that our shopping cart is able to calculate the weight of your order and then serving up the appropriate shipping options with their costs. Most of our components have been weighed and entered in to a database. Code is being written to do the calculations but it still needs to undergo testing. Our hope is to have this up and running by the end of March.
In the interim, if you are ordering a couple of buckles and want them to ship First Class Mail, let us know in the comments section. We try to keep your shipping costs as low as possible anyway but there are times when you might want an order a day earlier (First Class Mail tends to take a day longer than Priority Mail) in which case tell us what your needs are.
It’s time for a bit of fun and after the last two years of election campaigning, we all can use some. Every industry has words that are unique to it and some times they leave you scratching your head wondering how they were ever adopted. The webbing world has a few to add to the list.
Crock– not a pot, oops being from Washington pot has other meanings here. This is not a device for cooking or a load of malarkey but a test for colorfastness. Determines the amount of color transferred from the surface of colored textile material to other surfaces by rubbing.
Sample is placed on crock-meter
A 100% cotton white fabric cloth is rubbed across the sample 10 times in the wet and dry state
The cotton cloth is evaluated for staining So in order to do crock testing you need a crock-meter and now I had better quit while I am ahead! Just in case you want to see a video of a crock test here you go. Be careful, it’s not very exciting.
Denier- yes this is the correct spelling, the word is not dinner or diner. Like tex ( see below) denier refers to the weight or thickness of yarn. I see it used mostly when describing fabric weights. Some of the coated fabrics we use are 600d (the small ‘d’ is the abbreviation for denier) and other heavier ones are 1000d. A unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or nylon yarn is measured, equal to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of the yarn and often used to describe the thickness of hosiery.
Greige– possibly the worst looking word on the list. Some say it is a color that is between gray and beige. Most likely a relative of sepia, another one of those colors that is different to each individual. Don’t go telling a printer that you want sepia colored type on your business card. You will drive him/her to drink. In the webbing world it refers to unfinished goods; not fully processed; neither bleached or dyed.
Tex– obviously a misspelling by my grandson, it should be T-Rex but kids these days shorten everything.
Or it is a way of measuring thread size- The Tex standard uses 1,000 meters of thread per gram as the starting point. This means if 1,000 meters of thread weighs one gram, it is Tex 1. If 1,000 meters of thread weighs 25 grams, it is Tex 25. On most of our straps we use Tex 90 threads when sewing, for some heavier jobs we use Tex 135 thread.
Warp– to move (a ship) along by hauling on a rope attached to a stationary object on shore or- (in weaving) the threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the weft) are passed to make cloth.
Weft– not a misspelling. While the Warp threads go lengthwise is a piece of fabric the Weft threads go left to right, or as I was taught- weft to right.
Woof– again this word has specific meanings here in Washington being the home of the Husky’s. Woof is what their mascot says, or a bunch of fans tailgating prior to a game. What does it have to do with webbing, nothing but it really sounds like it should be in the list.
We will be in Yakima this weekend, booth 419 at the Central Washington Sportsmen Show. The show is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 19-21, 2016. Our booth will feature web straps of many varieties, throw bags and a new product for us, Rod Wranglers.
In addition to the exhibitors there are a wide range of events planned. I think we will have to check out the trout races on Saturday afternoon. When I Googled “trout races” I didn’t get a hit so this is sure to be something special.
Come by our booth and say hi to Karen and myself. Buy a strap or Rod Wrangler or order custom straps, and enjoy the show.