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Bringer of Beer: 1948

Bringer of Beer: 1948

New York circa 1948. "Ruppert Beer truck driver." Signifier of suds, augur of ale, harbinger of hops! 4x5 acetate negative by John M. Fox. View full size.


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Jacob Ruppert

The money made from the Jacob Ruppert Brewery enabled Jacob Ruppert, Jr. to buy the New York Yankees in 1915. He co-owned the baseball team from 1915 - 1922 with Thomas L'Hommedieu Huston, but was the sole owner from 1922 until his death in 1939. The Yankees remained under the control of the Jacob Ruppert Estate until 1945. Ruppert was elected into the Cooperstown, Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012, and he was inducted on July 28, 2013.

His brewery in New York, on Third Avenu­e betwe­en 90th and 92nd Stree­ts, lasted until December 31, 1965. At the time it closed, it was the last of the large New York City breweries. The former brewery location is now a housing complex and park named after him. There is also a Jacob Ruppert Stadium in Newark, New Jersey.

Surprisingly, Ruppert's Knickerbocker Beer was once the official beer of the New York Giants.

Regulator of Rupperts

Furnisher of fine ales, trucker of tuns

Re: Not Just a Driver

With respect to the dust on his shoes, as a former professional driver, I can attest to the distinctive scuffs of the trade. The right foot, which is more active, will abrade just above the sole the way we observe on the right shoe, from plenty of switching back and forth between accelerator and brake pedal. The left shoe, at greater leisure than the right, having only the clutch to deal with, will fall onto its outer side when at rest, picking up the scuffs as we see them here.

Posture helper

"The other thing I noticed is the cut of the jacket, and how it's carefully designed to make it almost impossible to stand with you hands in your pockets."

The cut forces you to stand up straight, too. I recently finished making an almost identically cut jacket from a vintage pattern, and I was surprised to find that it really only fits if I stand up ramrod straight. Slouch a little or lean forward and the shoulders don't fit at all. Straighten up and put my shoulders back and - like magic! - it fits like a dream.

Not Just a Driver

"The generation that endured the Great Depression and fought WWII had its standards -- even for delivery truck drivers."

Ah, but they weren't drivers, they were salesmen.

I got into the wholesale baking business in the late 60's, when the fashion of the day was long hair, porn mustaches, and baseball caps but those uniforms, while obsolete, were still hanging on racks in a corner (why I never stole a hat or two is a regret) More importantly, I was forced to watch seemingly endless training films and filmstrips featuring guys dressed like that which never failed to stress the importance of looking your very best (You only get one chance to make a great first impression!) Here's one:

A young man with hustle and pep could work his route and when the time came for Mr. Grocer to pass out more space on the rack, that space would go to the salesman who was the most professional.

In fact, the first thing I noticed were the shoes. Sure, they're the regulation wingtips, but look at the dust on them--those would never have passed muster where I worked.

The other thing I noticed is the cut of the jacket, and how it's carefully designed to make it almost impossible to stand with you hands in your pockets. If you wanted to drive my old sales managers insane, just let them catch you standing with your hands in your pockets. He's also clearly not carrying a pen in his front pocket--"How do you expect to take an order if you don't have a pen to write it with?"

The funny thing is, it worked. That guy represented his company well, and he sold more beer because of it. Of course the world changed, the corner grocery gave way to the supermarkets and the corner tavern turned into a sports bar, the decisions on what to buy and who to buy it from are now made in home offices, and the salesmen have become delivery men, but there was a time when guys like that really did make a difference.

He needs a pedestal

A heroic stance, for a true hero... the man who brings us beer. A sudsy Prometheus.

Livery of lager

Servicer of stout. Master of malt. Porter of porter.

Good enough

His wardrobe was probably good enough for the media of the day, print ads and such, they could always "Photoshop" out any minor flaws. He might not pass muster in todays high def world (like here on Shorpy).

Lager Lugger

Schlepper of suds.

Change the Emblems

And you have the Texaco guy. Oh, and add a chrome change dispenser on the front of the belt.

Wingtips and bow tie

The generation that endured the Great Depression and fought WWII had its standards -- even for delivery truck drivers.

Driver of the Dray

You forgot that one.

[you guys are all hilariously punny]


He appears also to potentially be a purveyor of pilsner.

Wardrobe malfunction

Looking at the backdrop and the light stand this was certainly a professional studio shoot for Ruppert Beer. However the on set wardrobe person missed the hanger crease at his knee level. A quick ironing before the shoot would have eliminated the problem and given the Ruppert driver a crisp, wrinkle free look.

[There's also a dangling stray thread. - Dave]

Very smartly dressed

with his pressed pants. One wonders what he has in his mind's eye. When he go off duty and treat himself to a pint?

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