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Uniforms that are “the stuff”

Previously we featured violins and guitars manufactured by Lyon & Healy. In addition to musical instruments, they also made marching band uniforms. This 1881 catalog entitled Lyon & Healy Band Instruments, Uniforms, Trimmings, &c. illustrates depictions of band uniforms and accessories. Pictured here is the "Lyon & Healy Band," directed by George W. Lyon, one of the founders of Lyon & Healy. This twenty piece band is shown here playing in a semi-circle formation in a garden. The band features clarinets, cornets, trombones, drums, and cymbals.

Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL.  Lyon & Healy Band Instruments, Uniforms, Trimmings, &c., 1881, Lyon & Healy Band.

The members of the band are wearing uniforms that appear to be similar to the Style D type featured here. Their ensemble includes trouser pants with black heeled shoes and a tail coat with military-style embellishment, topped off with fringed epaulettes. The uniform is completed with an elaborate cap crowned with a plume. Lyon & Healy uniforms could be changed to "suit the tastes and pockets of all … intending these as a basis, to which we can add to or take from as desired."

Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL.  Lyon & Healy Band Instruments, Uniforms, Trimmings, &c.,
1881, page 113, Band Uniforms, Style C and Style D.

This Lyon & Healy catalog also includes testimonials, alluding to the fine nature and perfect satisfaction of their uniforms.

As W. B. Sanger of Livonia, New York testified on June 21, 1880:

"We are perfectly satisfied with them. Aside from being a perfect fit and first class in every respect, you have given us a better suit than you advertised. The light straw-colored sleeve trimmings and skirt trimmings look perfectly splendid … The boys think they are "the stuff," and if you had been listening last Saturday evening, you would have heard three cheers for Lyon & Healy, from the boys of Livonia."

This catalog and others by Lyon & Healy can be found in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. Take a look at the Galaxy of Images for more on band uniforms.

—Alexia MacClain and Molly Reynolds


One Comment

  1. Margaret Davis

    I have 2 pages from a Lyon Healy catalog and the color and detail is fabulous !

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