An Original Pair Of Miner Jeans

This pair of J.C. Penny Foremost was rescued out of an old abandoned mine in the Nevada area in America. The pants date back to the 1930s and were worn by a gold or silver miner. Now, after almost 100 years this pair survived the hard conditions in the mine.

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

The History Of Mining Pairs

The pair is a waist overall as a miner were wearing these pants over their own pants, hence the name. Most of these pants were owned by the owner of the mine, so everyone left their pants in the changing room when they finished their shift. There’re a lot of different stories about why (most) miners didn’t have their own pair, one of them is that the owner of the mine was afraid that his employees were smuggling gold or silver outside.

A lot of old miner pants have cut-off legs or parts to save material to give another pair a second life. Sometimes they also cut an old pair to fasten their candles or to make sure that the dynamite was staying at the right place. And, hard conditions in the mine as water, falling rocks, animals, and so on destroyed parts of these pants too. But, you can say that denim is a real sturdy and durable fabric as these kinds of pants survived so many years in a mine.

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

About J.C. Penny Foremost

This pair is from J.C. Penny Foremost. The branding can’t be seen anymore on the buttons, rivets, or patch as they aren’t readable anymore due to the rust, and crushing conditions. The J.C. Penny is a retail store department that opened its doors in 1902 by James Cash Penney (1876-1971) and William Henry McManus. They opened the Golden Rule dry goods store in the small mining town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. This store was so successful that the partners opened more stores. The headquarters was moved to Salt Lake City in 1909 and in 1913 the name was changed to J.C. Penney Company when Mr. Penney acquired majority holdings in the company.

As the company grew, more and more stores opened and the company acquired other companies. The first of these was Crescent Corset Company, which J.C. Penney bought in 1920. They also began developing their own store brands, like Foremost. By 1930 there were over 1,000 J.C. Penney stores.

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

The Deatails Of The Waist Overall

This pair of J.C. Penny Foremost waist overalls feature a cinch back, like most pairs from this era, a crotch rivet and selvedge with a yellow ID. If you look closely at the back pocket you will see arcuates that were registered by Levi’s in 1943, so afterward all brands were forbidden to use this iconic branding detail.

When you will see this pair ever in real life it will give you the ultimate ‘mine experience‘ as it still has a moisty smell, and dust and sand are still coming off after a few years. It’s a good example of the long American denim history!

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

jc penny foremost

Read the story of an original Levi’s miner pair from the early 1900’s here.

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Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.