December 14, 2012
At the beginning of the Second World War , Clayton Hutton who had flown with the RAF in the First World War applied to join the RAF again but was rejected . He instead joined military Intelligence and was tasked with managing and helping evaders whose aircraft had been shot down over enemy territory .Hutton's first task was to design and acquire maps that could be used by evaders and escapees. He unsuccessfully sought to obtain a copy of a small scale (1:2,000,000) map of Germany from the British War Department so in Spring 1940 he ventured unannounced to Bartholomew's, a famous Edinburgh map making company, where he secured tourist maps of Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and the Balkans.
After securing several bales of silk parachute, the silk escape maps became a reality. The first maps produced were based on the Bartholomew maps. The Bartholomew maps are rectangular in shape and were printed in three colours: map details in black, roads in red, and international boundaries in green, although some of the maps were printed solely in black on white cloth backgrounds. He concluded that the only suitable material was silk. But, after experimenting with a printer acquaintance using eight ink colours on silk samples, his results were disappointing: each time the silk was lifted from the printing apparatus, the ink ran, blurring outlines and rendering place names illegible. Finally, by luck he mixed a little pectin with the ink and at once the pectin coagulated the ink and presented it from running. Now, even the smallest topographic features were sharply defined.
The maps were printed in large quantities; a conservative estimate is that over 400,000 of these maps were printed between July 1942 and August 1943.
At Charlie Foxtrot we have paid tribute to this remarkable story and have produced two ranges of ties , one with a map tipping to the ties and the other range we have produced with the Stephen Walters Silk Mill in Sudbury , England . Stephen Walters who have been weaving since 1730 turned a lot of their production over to parachute silk during the war . We have worked with them to produce ties that are re creations of designs that they wove during the 1940's and have had these ties woven and made in the same premises and with the same care that they would have been made in the 1940's . We also have in the online store some Bartholomew's maps from the 1930's which were designed for "Tourist's and Cyclists " and are paper mounted on linen.
March 11, 2019
November 20, 2018