The collection contains jackets from the early 1940s through the 1960s. Prior to and during WWII the leather jacket issues to naval aviators was the M-422 and M-422a, and although to the casual observer they look like the venerable G-1, they have some significant differences. From 1943-47 two joint Navy/Army Air Corps jacket specifications were introduced..the AN-6552 and the AN-J-3A(an AN-J-3 was also made in very very limited numbers and experts suggest that none of these were actaully issued to aviators).
The first G-1 was introduced in 1947 as the spec 55J14 and in 1951 the MIL-J-7823x specification was introduced (where x is either (AER) or a letter from A to E). The 7823(AER) jackets are the Korean war and 1950s jackets and ran through 1960. In 1961 the A series (7823A) was introduced. The E series began in 1971 or 72 and persist until today.
As discussed above the jackets issued in this time frame include the M-422, M-422A, AN-6552, and AN-J-3A. At present my collection includes a number of M-422A jackets and one AN-6552. There were a number of manufacturers of these jackets and a few general comments can be made. The M-422As typically have longer bodies than the G-1 brethren and awesome vegetable tanned goatskin (although some may have been chrome tanned as well). The Edmund Church and Gordon & Ferguson jackets were often big for their stated size while the Fried Ostermann jackets had very small shoulders for theirt stated size.
Regardless of the sizing variation, these are some of the best jackets one can buy and most collectors horde the ones they have!
The "AN" jackets were designed to be joint service (USN, USMC, USAAC) and replaced the M-422A (Navy and Marine Corps) and A-2 (Army Ar Corps) and as such employ a "US" stencil under the collar instead of the "USN" stencil used by the Navy. The AN-6552 was only made for six months in 1943 so they are reasonably rare. In any event, most collectors feel that the WWII era jackets are the epitome of Navy flight jackets.
1950s G-1 Jackets
As noted above the first G-1 spec was the 55J14 which was manufactured from 1947 to 1961. These jackets very collectible and only slightly less desireable than the earlier M-422A jackets. The 55J14 typically have shorter bodies than the M-422A and many have a snugger fit for their stated size. All of these jackets retain the painted "USN" stencil under the mouton collar.
G-1, Spec 55J14
In 1951 or thereabouts the MIL spec jackets were introduced starting with the MIL-J-7823(AER). All of the jackets in the 1950s, save the 1951 55J14, had this specification. As with the earlier jackets the manaufacturers apparently were given much leeway in the cut and sizing of these jackets. It is interesting to note that even among the same contrcat and manufacturer there was often large differences in sizing so if you buy one of these to wear...make sure you check the measurements!
1960s G-1 Jackets
In 1961 the A (MIL-J-7823A) series jacket was introduced and only two manufacturers had contracts: Ralph Edwards Sportswear and Irvin B. Foster. The A series is the scarcest of 7823 series and are noted for having awesome goatskin and collars that fade to a nice honey rust color.
In late 1961 the B series was introduced and lasted until the end of 1963. The 1961 B series is probably one of the hardest 7823 jackets to find. I am fortunate to have a great original example!
In 1964 the C series (7823C) was introduced and lasted until the end of 1967. These are often considered by collectors to be the last of the "good" jackets as they are the last to universally have the motoun collar. In addition, the early C series jackets used the traditional single ply rib rack waistband but some of the laters Cs and all of the Ds and Es use the inferior folded over two ply waistband.
In 1968 the D series was introduced and many (but not all had a fake fur collar instead of the mouton used in all of the earlier jackets. The jackets were still goatskin but are very common and therefore not all that collectible. Although they do make great everyday wearers, I have only included one for reference
In 1971 or 72 the E series was introduced and persists until today. The spec was opened up to allow the use of cowhide (vs. the goatskin of all of the earlier jackets). As a result, while these make great wearers they are not collectible and I do not have any on this web site.
Jacket Sizing & Measurements