Langlitz Leathers: Unexpected American Dream Come True
Anyone who follows Mike Wolfe’s journey along America’s Two Lane back roads knows how much he loves motorcycles. Maybe the only thing he loves more is telling the stories of America’s brands. It was no surprise when he was giddy to uncover a pair of leather Ross Langlitz motorcycle pants and couldn’t resist the urge to try ‘em on for size while negotiating! But who was Ross Langlitz and why was Mike so giddy?
Langlitz Leathers is an American dream come true, even though Ross himself didn’t know he was dreaming it. No delusions of grandeur, Ross was merely solving a problem. A motorcycle enthusiast and speed racer, having suffered the loss of leg in a motorcycle accident at 17, Ross worried about safety. He quickly realized that quality protective wear was nowhere to be found, so he made it. Where did he start? At the end.
With a background in glove making, Ross sat down with a leather jacket from Sears and reverse engineered it to create the foundation for his own. No need for advertising. Ross did nothing more than wear his jacket down the road on two wheels and his friends wanted one. Then their friends wanted one. Then…. Well, you can imagine. So in 1947, he recruited two seamstresses from the glove factory where he worked and set up shop in the basement of another leather company. The rest is family history from Ross to his daughter until now.
If you’re wondering, Langlitz Leathers is still operating in Portland, OR, though no longer in someone else’s basement, with a staff of only 15. The leather is still USA sourced and everything is still manually cut and hand crafted. The Langlitz family is proud to have kept their operation small and American made and to serve their customers with the same level of individual care offering the same level of custom quality product. If you’re looking to just grab a jacket online, and you don’t want to take your measurements, they’re not for you!
Want to know more about Ross Langlitz, the man? His granddaughter Judy tells his story on he on the Langlitz Leathers website here. You’ll love reading about this hard working, well loved, stubborn man who suffered a major motorcycle wreck, but got back on and then made motorcycles his living.
Interested in your own custom Langlitz Leathers apparel & accessories? Visit their store or website and give them a call. Tell them Antique Archaeology says hi, and if you ever stumble upon vintage Langlitz while you’re pickin’, try it on for size and make a good offer!