DEEPTONE HISTORY | CONE DENIM IMPROVING YOUR OVERALL APPEARANCE SINCE 1936

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During the ‘dusty’ years of the 1930s, when the general progress of the U.S. was put to the test by the Great Depression, the officials of legendary Cone Denim mill used the time for increased research and development. It was during this time that Cone’s Deeptone Denim was born, being advertised directly to the end consumer as “America’s Favorite Fabric for Work and Play”. An excerpt from Cone’s ‘Half Century Book’ notes that prior to this time the qualities and appearances of denims of the time “were considered to be about as fixed and immutable as an oak tree” besides that those working in Cone’s research and development department realised that “no fabric can endure if it does not conform to contemporary needs and contemporary tastes”. The Deeptone Denim innovation was introduced to the market on April 24, 1936 after the R&D director of the time developed a method to carefully measure and control the ratios of dyestuffs used in dyeing the cotton yards and obtained an indigo blue hue deeper than those previously achieved, which were less saturated and more ‘dusty’ looking by comparison. Combining this with Sanford Cluett’s newly developed sanforization finishing technique took the majority of the shrinkage out of the fabric, which closed up its construction, further deepening the appearance of its colour and imparting a durable, ‘leathery’ finish and steadfast promise of stay-fast colour. That because the denim was designed not only to have a darker indigo cast, but also to embody those long lasting and lightweight attributes which were the most desirable for all the workers wearing overalls. So strong ringspun yarns were woven into lighter, compact 2×1 twill constructions in weights typically ranging from 9-11 oz/ square yard lighter weight fabrics were comfortable and suitable for working outdoors and in warmer climates.
For Cone the advertising of denims didn’t follow the usual procedure, though, and made every endeavour to reach the consumer through the manufacturer. Thanks to the innovative efforts of Cone’s marketing department a new technique of promoting the Deeptone brand name jointly with the denim itself was worked out. Using this new marketing strategy one which is still influencing Cone’s mktg practices today this new collection of Deeptone fabrics was advertised directly to the end consumer throughout the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s via advertisements in various publications including ‘The Progressive Farmer’ and ‘Country Gentleman’ magazines.
Interested to Cone’s bang on and truthful headlines, during that time many overall brands noted the added value of the Deeptone name and
their customers’ desire to “improve their overall appearance”, so it wasn’t long before the birth of those popular cobranded labels which read “Made of Cone Deeptone Denim” (applied to the outsides of several brands’ pieces). In the end this industry wide point of view prevailed and a consistent attempt was made to win for the enti- re overall business a high place in the consumer’s esteem and a more equitable share of his dollar.