July 24, 2013

Brilliance of a Blue Sky

Stretching my legs out from beneath the tent’s screen room, I lie back on the grass and stare up to the brilliance of a blue sky. The sun shines brightly; its warmth causes my eyes to slowly close. The usual darkness found on the backside of my eyelids turns a lighter shade of grey. Turning my head to the right, I drift off to sleep.

Weekends are meant for trading in endless streams of highway cars for the uninterrupted serenity and silent sounds of rustling needles from tall pines. It’s an instant sigh of relief. Until, your forehead is swiped by the dog’s cold wet tongue. With a bit of rest from the long drive last night, I tend to the fire – grabbing a poker stick and mixing around some red embers remaining from breakfast.

White smoke begins billowing from the ashes as I crumple a few napkins and toss on a few pieces of kindling. It’s an afternoon walk down an old dirt road; a swim in a clean, cool stream that runs across the mountains; a cold beer watching the sun set in on a country night that makes me happy to be out here in the Maine Woods.

July 10, 2013

L.L.Bean Archives

Time is passing quickly since joining L.L.Bean. The air simply seems fresher; my smile seems wider; I’m in a good place. A recent project provided me an amazing opportunity to enter the sacred realm of everything historic – the L.L.Bean Archives. I knew one existed, but hadn't a clue where or what would be found within its secret walls. It should go without saying that I was happy to pull on a pair of white gloves for a tour down memory lane of Maine’s most well known company. Admittedly a "Bean Addict", I find an indescribable interest in first-run products, unique items and how legendary L.L.Bean products are shaped over time. For me, the company is a prime story of entrepreneurship that has set benchmark market-standards for customer facing service with product lines to match. Hope you enjoy a selection of photographs below:

The story goes that this photograph was taken at the entrance of one of L.L.'s camps. I would guess it to be located approximately 92 miles from Freeport, ME.

My favorite pair of boots - it appears someone fell asleep a bit to close to the campfire. If you ask me, it was  probably worth it. An awesome pair of well-loved Maine Hunting Shoes.

Orders wait for the morning train at the town station. Undoubtedly, with free parcel post, much like today.

During a short period around WWII, with particular materials unavailable, a reddish sole was introduced (1946).

A fairly decent job: Canoe Modeling.

Scratched, Beaten up and Put through the Ringer. Prideful customers take pleasure in sending items, with history, to L.L.Bean for the archives.

One of my personal favorite Bean products is the Chamois Shirt. I've never met a more comfortable shirt that's built for year-round use. Originally called The Leatherette - it was born from high grade chamois-like material. L.L. first introduced the Chamois in 1926 at the age of 58; needing a shirt that served double duty for fishing and hunting. Bean's soon set the standards for every other Chamois shirt with an exclusive cotton. This particular item is dated as 1941.

The Bean Boot has always been hand-stitched in Maine by the best craftsmen and women. Many have worked in the Brunswick factory for over 30+ years and all of them take great pride in delivering the absolute best to customers.

L.L. taking a moment to read letters from customers.

Top: An early Plated Flashlight; Left: Cold Proof Duck Hunting Coat (1920's); Maine Hunting Coat (1920's)

The women's department.

The first check-out counter. Slightly different than what you might find on Main Street today. 

One of the most historic photos I could find - taken of Leon Leonwood Bean and his hunting group while testing out his Maine Hunting Shoe before he introduces them to the marketplace in 1912.