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 awhile, 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.