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.


Anonymous said...

Those boots tell a great story. Nice post on LL Bean's. Love the company too.

Derek Rice said...

i collect ll, bean gear and have some great items, i love the fact that a company still cares enough to gaurentee everything.

Vanessa said...

Enjoying the LL Bean post and past posts. Great gear lasts a lifetime and if it doesn't they'll replace it. Unbeatable

Rhon Bell said...


Thanks. Glad you're checking in. I agree.


sweet harvest moon said...

These are great! Every item tells a great story...

After Japan, LL Bean should open stores in Europe!
Bean boots have been on my wishlist forever but because of the import taxes I can not take the risk of ordering them :(

workwears said...

I love bean, too!
Is this shirt your possession?
Do you think about selling?

Crystal said...

This is a great article on L.L Bean Achieves. I read and found very required information. Here you mentioned some very ancient boots pictures. I think these are very rear now. Thanks for your nice sharing.

Mark Harris said...

Hey, Great article you have presented here. I got very nice and factual information from your post. Your presenting topics on L.L Bean Achieves shows us very fantastic pictures. Thanks for your kind information.

Harold Weaver said...

Last couple of days i am much worried about our hunting uniform. because , it is old can you tell me its prices of dresses and shoes who's mention in the above post? i want purchase something :)