American Clothing Manufacturer: Bauman Clothing

Figure 1.-- Bauman advertised in "The Ladies' Home Journal" (September 1919, p. 44). At the Time this was the leading ladies magazine in America. Baumans offered boys' clothing ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 18. We do not have details on the garments offered. The advertisement shows six different models of clothing available.

We do not know much about this American manufactrer of boys's clothing. We know they were operating in 1919 and located in New York. Their brand name was Wearpledge which they marketed a insured clothes for boys--a novel marketing approach given how boys wear clothes. The company guaranted garments over their "reasonable life". Bauman offered to actually replace garments. Bauman offered a range of garments for boys 1 1/2 to 18 years of age.

Ladies Home Journal

Bauman advertised in The Ladies' Home Journal (September 1919, p. 44). At the Time this was the leading ladies magazine in America. As the oldest still publishing, most respected women's service magazine in the country, The Ladies' Home Journal has always focused on issues of crucial importance to millions of women. Since its first issue in December 1883. This long history make The Ladies Home Journal and invaluable source of information on American fashion trends. Its covered an incredibly wide range of topics beyond just fashion, from the latest medical research and consumer news to parenting know-how, workplace survival, good skincare, nutrition facts and much, much more. It was The Ladies Home Journal who sucessfully merged the elements and produced the right formula, becoming the top ladies magazine in America. The Ladies' Home Journal both empowered women and applauded their growing power. We also notice patterns offered in the magazine.

Hans Flato (1887-1950)

The art for the advertising here was done by Hans Flato (1887-1950). Flato was born in Germany and emigrated to America in 1910. He did some wonderful Art Deco ads for a range of American companies and movie posters. Here is one of the ads he did for the Bauman Clothing Company. His work for Van Heusen are probably better known. This ad appeared in The Ladies Home Journal. His work also appeared in Harper's Bazaar and Woman's Home Companion. Some of his best movie posters were for Dietrich films. It is hard to categorize his style. The Bauman ad here is very realistic. His Van Heusen ads were more styalized with clear Art Deco influence. He also did ads with a cartoonlish look.


The company like many American clothing companoes at the time was based in New York.

Product Line

Baumans offered boys' clothing ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 18. We do not have details on the garments offered. The advertisement shows six different models of clothing available. The three on the left margin (from top to bottom) show a boys' knee pants suit (a boy on a scooter), a boy in outdoor overcoaat and hat (with a dog), and a boy wearing an above-the-knee knickers suit with visored cap (with a slingshot). The three images on the right side of the advertisement show a boy in another above-the-knee knickers suit (with cap in hand), a boy with an outer coat (perhaps a rain coat) with hat and school books, and a boy with still a different above-the-knee knickers suit (with hat on head and school books carried on the end of a strap). The age levels of these six models are not entirely clear, but the advertisement is meant to represent a range of ages from very young boys to teenagers. Notice that none of these boys wears long trousers, and that all wear long stockings--black stockings except in the case of the youngest boy who seems to wear beige or perhaps white stockings. In 1919 boys commonly wore knickers or knee pants up through high school (i.e., about 18 years of age). The firm also published a Wearpledge "Gray Book" describing their line of boys' suits and containing instructions on how to obtain "one of the unique Wearpledge puzzles" (a feature obviously added to appeal to boys).

Brand: Wearpledge

The brand name was Wearpledge Insured Clothes for Boys. Bauman "insured" its products for the "reasonable life" of the suit. The ad claims that no competing manufacturer of boys' clothes offers the same guarantee of insurance for the life of the garment purchased. It would be interesting to know how often the company had to make good on this guarantee by replacing boys' suits that wore out before their "reasonable" time of wear. Boys are notoriously hard on their clothes. If a boy were to ruin his knee pants or knickers because of rough play in the schoolyard, would the Bauman Clothing Corporation (the makers of Wearpledge clothing) replace the trousers? Or does normal wear mean only the kind of wear that a very quiet and well-behaved boy would give his clothing? At any rate, it is clear that a certificate of insurance was provided with every purchase of Wearpledge suits. This certificate is shown in the illustration and is very legal-looking: "Wearpledge Insurance Policy." It is fascinating that the selection of materials and the workmanship at Bauman Clothing was superintended by a "famous Committee of Women" who represented the customer and that every Wearpledge suit included a leather belt attached--a belt that S-T-R-E-T-C-E-S!

Ad Copy

The Bauman ad copy read, "Wearpledge Insured Clothes for Boys. There is no greater security than Insurance--and so we insure each Wearpledge Boy's Suit and Overcoat--for its reasonable life. The Policy accompanies your purchase. It pledges perfect satisfaction or a new garment free. No other Boy's Suit in the world is insured by its makers. Wearpledge is tailored in the largest Boys' Clothing institution in the world [quite a claim!]. Every step in its making is watched by expert eyes and tended by expert hands. Every garment is passed upon by the famous Committee of Woemn, who represent you in selecting styles and fabrics and in censoring workmanship. Wearpledge offers a dollar-for-follar value that only huge purchasing power can produce. A feal "Live" Leather Belt that S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S is attached to every Suit. If you cannot find Wearpledge Clothes, write us direct, or tell your favorite Clothier to do so. Sizes: 1 1/2 to 18 years. Popular prices. The Wearpledge Gray Book, cleverly illustrated, is free upon request. It tells all about this famous line--and how to obtain one of the unique Wearpledge puzzles. The Bauman Clothing Corporation (Dept. 1), 110 Fifth Avenue, New York. P.S. The reputable Clothier who stocks these six models automatically becomes the sole Wearpledge representative in his community. While many Agencies are already placed, we will gladly enter into immediate correspondence with Merchants who are interested. Quick Action Essential."


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Created: 11:33 AM 5/12/2006
Last updated: 11:33 AM 5/12/2006