History threads — ‘mammoth shirt’ on Park Street

This is the latest in an occasional series of posts about the history of the garment industry in Warren, Washington, Saratoga and Essex counties.

Hopefully these garment workers at the George E. Nichols & Co. on Park Street in Glens Falls were getting paid by the hour and not a piece-work rate.

“It took two girls nearly a day to do the starching,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Feb. 8, 1886, writing about “a mammoth shirt” that was custom-made for display in a New York City department store show window.

The shirt which plant Superintendent Charles A. Gilbert designed, was 73 inches long and 42 inches broad, and came with a 46-inch collar.

“The great bosom is pleated and beautifully finished,” The Morning Star reported.

Garment workers Nellie Warren and Nellie Hickey had the honor of ironing and finishing the shirt, which also took nearly one day.

“The shirt will be tacked to a shield-shaped board provided for the purpose and forwarded to the destination today.”

The shirt was shipped Feb. 12 in a box large enough to held the bosom without folding.

“Within the circle formed by the neckband was a representation in blue of the globe, with the figures ‘549’ in black in the center,” The Morning Star reported on Feb.13, 1886. “A tiny colored shirt was neatly folded under the collar in place of a necktie, while the large cuffs, ornamented with large silver buttons, occupied a place at the foot of the box.”

Click here to read about another over-sized shirt manufactured at Glens Falls.

Click here to read the most recent previous post in the series.

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY