LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
REMEMBER THE "LINDY" CAP???
I wonder how many of our readers remember the "Lindy" cap? Not that I expect any of the ladies to remember wearing them as they were definitely the male gender's headwear during the late 1920's and the 30's. They became the rage among boys following Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in May of 1927, when he landed in Paris, France to complete the first ever solo flight from the United States to France. He instantly became a role model, and the idol of every red-blooded American boy who dreamed of soaring above the clouds in his own plane some day. Lindbergh and most of the flyers of that era wore a helmet with a thin lining of fur over the forehead, which closely covered the entire head and ears, and fastened with a snap or buckle under the chin. They usually wore goggles, because lots of the planes flown in those days had open cockpits!
Some enterprising merchandiser introduced the helmet or cap, as a part of his sales' line of boys' apparel, and the caps immediately became the rage of every schoolboy of the era.
They had to be every mother's dream come true as she outfitted her sons with the Lindy caps as winter approached. They were warm, practically indestructible, and covered the entire head and ears in a most snug fashion. Prior to the advent of the helmet cap, stocking caps were the mode. With a tassel on the top it made it very handy to grab the cap off someone's head and throw into a snowbank or mud path, much to the wearer's disgust and chagrin, and to a mother's dismay!
I was prompted to write this article as I studied a picture of my husband and his six brothers apparently on a coasting expedition. The seven boys, plus a few friends, were of various sizes and ages, but they all wore the famed helmets, which were all black in color and had a tan knit lining. I wondered if they ever got their caps mixed up. I was informed that they had different head sizes, and apparently each had some characteristic by which they could be identified, so there was a minimum of confusion in that department. However, I did notice that one of the boys' caps (Virgil's) did not extend down over his forehead as far as the other boys'. In fact it appeared to come just about, or a trifle above the hairline. The story behind that cap was that Virgil decided to warm his cap up one morning by putting it over the teakettle on the stove. This not only warmed up the cap, but it shrunk the leather as well! Obviously, it was still wearable.
Only the lucky kids got to have the goggles that were sold as an accessory to the cap. Usually they were just worn over the top to give the cap quite a jaunty air. I know my brother owned a succession of the Lindy helmets, and it seems to me that some of them were brown in color. I can vaguely remember a major family crisis when the goggles were broken!
When the winter weather warmed up, the flaps, which ordinarily fastened under the chin, were loosened and flapped in the breeze. On occasion, the snap or the buckle would break, and then it was quite fashionable for the flaps to be fastened with a large safety pin.
Styles come and go, but I don't think the pilots' caps worn today would suffice against the cold northwest winter winds and snows as the old "Lindy" caps did. Come to think of it, wouldn't our modern airplane pilots look a little ludicrous wearing a Lindy helmet as they climbed into the cockpits of their sleek modern jets?
Provided by Evelyn Halverson
Transcribed by Darlene Jacoby