• The Joseph Short Story

During the war years in the early 20th century, Joseph
Short, a wealthy clothing mill owner, began a new division producing
trousers for the United States Military. At the same time his own
business was reduced by half, due to a cotton blight and rations
having been cut even further as cotton was appropriated by the
government for the war effort.

Short had invested the sum of $58.000
in his mill and was stretched to the financial limit. The contracts
for trousers were filled and payments were forthcoming from the
military, but there were massive delays in funding, and once issuing
the contracts the prices had been slashed by a senate sub-committee,
and so what was expected to eventually be paid, although a small
fortune, would probably not cover much more than the bank notes and
employee wages.. Still, it was thought a patriotic effort that Short
endorsed as did many other mill owners, and so he pressed onward.

Still, the problem vexed Short. How was
he to make a profit in these times, when the cotton he was allotted
for his own business had been reduced by half. After much thought
Short decided to make lemonade from his lemon situation instead of
sitting around pondering it. Specifically, if his cotton allowance
was restricted by half, then he would design a trouser that was able
to be produced with half as much material.

Short set to work with two of his best
seamstresses, and within a week he had prototypes for men and women.
The result was a striking, yet daring garment that fell to mid calf.
He christened this new garment the ‘Short Trouser’, and sent his
first shipments of to the Sears and Roebuck stores based in Chicago,
and the F.W. Woolworth stores based in New York. Within a week of
receiving them they were sold out, and thus was born the Short Pant,
or trouser.

Short went on to survive the war era,
but the government checks were too late to save his mill. He held out
hope for his short trousers for a while, but he had neither
trademarked nor patented the Short Pant, and the very retailers that
had made them an instant success, began producing their own versions.
Both Sears and Roebuck and F. W. Woolworth sold their own brand of
‘Short Pants’, under their own labels, and went on to make millions.

Shortly after bankruptcy, Joseph Short
disappeared and was never heard from again.

Editors note: This is completely made
up. Completely, yes, totally. I was sitting around bored at 3:00 AM
and wrote it up to amuse myself. Yes… This is the sort of things
writers do at 3:00 AM. Oh, by the way, copyright 2020 Dell Sweet.
Goodnight, Dell.


Author: Dello

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