Cleaning and restoring military memorabilia: Nimitz’s WW II uniform
By: Stu Bloom
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz took command of the United States Pacific Fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor on September 7, 1941. After the attack, he spearheaded the rebuilding of the Pacific Fleet that played an important role in defeating Japan in World War II. He was based throughout the war at Pearl Harbor.
In 2011, Catherine Vance Freeman, wife of Fleet Admiral Nimitz, donated his only-surviving summer uniform to the Chester W. Nimitz Middle School in Huntington Park, California.
Both the jacket and trouser has black laundry marks reading “NIMITZ” and the trouser has an additional woven label from the Tailor Shop at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base that’s inscribed “Nimitz, C.W. 10-12-44.”
At the time of the donation, the overall condition of both garments was poor.
More specifically, the uniform was
- musty (probably because it was stored in a humid, dank environment for over 50 years)
- brown throughout (probably because it was heavily starched prior to storage)
- yellow throughout (probably because it was stored in non-archival materials for over 50 years)
- stiff as a board (probably because it was heavily starched prior to storage)
- heavily creased (probably because it was heavily starched and improperly folded prior to storage).
In 2011, the Chester W. Nimitz Middle School entrusted the uniform to RAVE FabriCARE for restoration to as close to “like new” condition as possible.[ctt template=”3″ link=”rxW40″ via=”no” ]RAVE FabriCARE entrusted to restore Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s World War II white summer uniform @ravefabricare @nimitzmuseum[/ctt]
The following BEFORE and AFTER photographs chronicle the transformation of this military uniform:
For even more BEFORE and AFTER photographs on the transformation of this military uniform, please view our slide show below:
To view this slide show on a full screen, hit the X button with the arrow tips.
What’s been your experience with cleaning and/or restoring historically significant garments, household textiles and/or accessories? Please share your comments below.
Photo credit: usni.org and ravefabricare.com/Stu Bloom
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