Monadnock Moments No. 37: "Watch the Wear" Overalls
Did you know that in the mid-1920s the largest plant in New England for the manufacture of overalls and work pants was located in Keene? The Watch the Wear Overall Company was established in Brattleboro as the Brattleboro Overall Company in 1900. In 1905 the company moved to Norway Avenue in Keene. The name was changed to Watch the Wear in 1925, by which time it had become the largest firm of its type in New England.
In 1928 the company proudly announced that the firm employed 100 people, and that most of them were women who worked “44 hours a week and received a substantial wage.”
The materials used in the company’s line of pants and overalls included denims, ducks, twills, drills, moleskins, cottonades, khakis, and corduroys. The pants were made in white, blue, black, gray, brown, khaki, and striped goods and in all weights to accommodate nearly every trade and occupation.
From its two Boston warehouses, the Watch the Wear Company supplied the largest dealer in work clothes and the second largest chain of men’s clothing stores in the country.
Shortly after this peak of activities in the 1920s, the company was sold to Henry Swan in 1933. Swan retired within a year or two and the Watch the Wear Overall Company closed its doors permanently.