Just give it five years and this whole manly heritage clothing trend will give way for the return of the belted sweater made of yarn. Oh yeah.

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Started several months ago by Brooke and Jared Zaugg, Bench and Loom is an online shop that’s hard to describe succinctly. First off, they sell premium, uncommon, well-crafted clothes and goods that are inspired by men of the past who had style and substance–classic, timeless stuff. Second, they write profiles of the men who provide this inspiration. Third, they write profiles about the workshops where the clothes are made. Fourth, they find cool classic clothes from old movies and have people vote on which item they’d like to see brought back to life for a limited edition production. Oh, and they also maintain a blog with travel stories and commentary. So yeah, it’s an interesting site to poke around on.

For the purposes of this giveaway, all you need to know is that Bench and Loom is giving away a very cool knife: a M.C Cognet Douk-Douk Pocket Knife. These simple, steel, hand forged slipjoint knives have been made in France since 1929. They started out as utility knives for the ordinary working man and then got picked up by the likes of the French Foreign Legion. Soldiers loved the fact that the knife could easily be sharpened to a razor’s edge, and, with some hammering and tinkering, converted into a fixed blade dagger. Douk-Douk knives are perfect for everyday carry as they’re flat, lightweight, and sturdy as all get out.

Bench and Loom is giving away one of these unique pocket knives to a lucky AoM Trunk reader. To win, leave a comment telling us about your go-to pocket knife (or how you wished you had one!).

One winner will be randomly drawn from the comments. Giveaway ends February 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm CST.

UPDATE: Contest is closed. Winner will be announced shortly.

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My father-in-law recently sent along a link to this fascinating story from a few months back.

The famous Steve McQueen movie, The Great Escape, was based on the true story of the daring escape attempt made by prisoners of the Stalag Luft III POW camp during WWII. In real life, the men dug three tunnels–nicknamed Tom, Dick, and Harry, 30 feet under the camp in an attempt to break out. The tunnels were made with homemade tools and crafty ingeniousness. The men would put the excavated sand in bags they hung around their necks and under their trousers and then pull a string to open the bags and release the dirt nonchalantly when they played soccer.

It was the 100 ft long Harry tunnel that became the stuff of legend on the night of March 24, 1944, when 76 Allied prisoners escaped from the camp. But only 3 of the escapees made it to freedom. The rest were rounded up; 23 were brought back to camp, and 50 were executed by the Germans.

The Germans thought the mass execution would crush any further thoughts of escape, but instead, the men got right back to work on a fourth tunnel named George. The tunnel, which was just recently discovered nearly 70 years after it was built, was not an escape tunnel but instead led to a German stash of arms–the men planned to grab the guns and then fight their way out.

Frank Stone, camp survivor, 89

The team that uncovered the George tunnel was greatly impressed by its construction and what they found inside it:

Down a single step lay the tunnel itself, intricately shored with bed boards, wired for light and equipped with the trademark trolley system used to shift both sand and men quickly and silently through the tunnels. It looked like a miniature railway with trolleys running on tracks linked by rope and pulled along by men at either end.

‘George turned out to be an absolute gem,’ explained Dr Pollard. ‘We found the shaft and excavated the tunnel which ran the entire length of the theatre. It was incredibly well preserved, with timber-lined walls, electrical wiring and homemade junction boxes, and was tall enough to walk through at a stoop. The craftsmanship is phenomenal. You can even see the groove on the top of the manhole cover, where it would swivel and slot into the floorboard above.

…The massive collection of artefacts found inside the tunnel included trenching tools; a fat-burning lamp crafted from a Klim tin; solder made from the silver foil of cigarette packets for the wiring system; a belt buckle and briefcase handle from the escapers’ fake uniforms as well as a German gun near hut 104.  They also uncovered the axle and wheels from one of the tunnel trolleys, identical to the one used in Harry, and the remains of an air pump; a kind of hand-operated bellows which drew fresh air from the surface down a duct to the tunnel.

But the piece de resistance was a clandestine PoW radio crafted from a biscuit box and cannibalised from two radios smuggled into the camp.

Says camp survivor Frank Stone, 89 : “I hope that what has been revealed will remind everybody what we went through and how we met the challenges. It was a privilege to be involved.”

Read the whole article (lots more interesting facts!) (@MailOnline)

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If your name is not Chris Harbin or Brent Blank, then I’m afraid you did not win the Declaration Clothing Giveaway. But the fine gents at Declaration Clothing are holding a President’s Day sale just for AoM readers.

For 20% off anything in the Declaration Clothing store, enter the code “PRES20” when you checkout.

The discount code is good until Feb. 20.

Take advantage of this sale to pick up one of their prints or tees that give homage to the virtues of simplicity, liberty, patriotism, and the Spirit of ’76!

 

 

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AoM reader James B. sent me this video of one his college professors talking about his new book, Theodore Roosevelt Abroad: Nature, Empire, and the Journey of an American President, which recounts TR’s travels after leaving the presidency. I quite enjoyed it, as it shows lots of photos and videos of TR which I had never seen before.

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Image credit Sonja Windhager, Katrin Schaefer

You’ve probably heard about the correlation in men and boys between testosterone exposure before birth and the relative length between their index and ring finger. Basically, if your index finger is shorter than your ring finger, it means you were exposed to more testosterone in the womb, and if your index finger is longer than your ring finger, than it means you were exposed to less.

Researchers have recently discovered that testosterone exposure in the womb also affects the facial features of boys. Boys with high exposure to prenatal testosterone typically have “manlier” faces consisting of a more prominent jaw line and smaller eyes; boys with lower exposure to prenatal testosterone will have smaller chins and larger foreheads, giving them what researchers call a more “childlike and feminine face.”

Just an interesting fyi.

Read the whole story at Live Science.

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While looking for an image for this week’s post on manifestos, I came across this “Self-Repair Manifesto” from ifixit.com, which I thought was pretty cool. Although the “If You Can’t Fix it, You Don’t Own It” principle would be a pretty dang tall order in this day and age.

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Huckberry is a deal site that features special sales each week exclusively to members, and the products available change each week. Every week, I pick out my favorite things from the week’s offerings.

Bellroy Wallets

This is the week of the wallet it seems. If you didn’t see a wallet you liked in the wallet post we just put up on the main site, perhaps one of these Bellroy wallets will strike your fancy. Created by the minds behind the Carryology blog, these wallets feature smart little features that make accessing what you carry in them more convenient.

Marine Layer Sweaters

Marine Layer makes their sweaters, henleys, and hoodies right here in the USA. Their sweaters are super-soft and really good-looking.

To browse the Huckberry Shop, you have to sign-up for the site. If you do, you get a $5 credit for being an AoM reader.  The reason that you must sign-up to browse and see the prices is that this is a members-only deal site, and the brands that offer their products for these special sales are only willing to offer those special prices to a small group and not to the public at large

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AT A ROYAL AIR FORCE FIGHTER STATION IN BRITAIN, NOVEMBER 1942At a Royal Air Force Fighter Station in Britain, November 1942

From IWM

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Typically with articles I post on The Trunk, I like to do a little description and post some noteworthy excerpts, but I don’t know how to do that with this piece, because it is so shot through with manliness from start to finish that anything I say or choose will do it a disservice. Basically, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever read on what it really means to be a man. And I would urge you to block off some uninterrupted time this weekend to gives it a read.

Read the article: “Man In Full” (@SportsIllustrated)

Hat tip to James R. for this link.

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