Founded in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2015, Forty Knots No Smoke is a one-man bag and accessories line built around the buy-it-once mentality. Blending the classic American aesthetic with European leather working techniques, our products strive to establish a new definition of quality goods.
Trained and based in New York, Théo Ginsburg lays every stitch, cuts every hide, finishes every edge, and sets every snap at his studio. No work is outsourced to third-party contractors and materials are sourced from the small, family-run suppliers of New York's Garment District.
Leatherwork is not something you rush. Precision and detail are always at the forefront of the craft and often overlooked in a mass production setting. True needle and awl saddle-stitching, waxed and creased edges, skived and feathered seams - these are the core techniques of our craft. These are the difference between a yearly throwaway and something you can pass down.
These are the details that matter.
Made in New York. One at a time. Always.
During World War II and the years that followed, sailors from the Navy's far spread battle groups participated in an informal competition to run their ships at forty knots with little to no visible smoke bellowing from the stacks. The absence of smoke and coal ash meant every sailor on board was working with the utmost precision and that the ship itself was cutting through the ocean at peak efficiency.
It was a true nautical holy grail.
Given that sailors are known for their constantly evolving lexicon of phrases and idioms relating to the sea, it was no surprise that they began to use the expression to define anything positive. It became a common response when asked about ones well being during the war or simply as an utterance when a moment was worthy.
Our grandfather said it, our dad said, we say it.
"One of the passengers who left once the USS Arizona reached the east coast was a parrot. It belonged to the captains wife, but she didn't want to carry it all the way across the country on the train to Norfolk. Thus the captain took the parrot into his cabin at the stern of the ship, and the bird traveled in style. It had plenty of attention, too, because the captains marine orderlies, who had plenty of time to stand around and do little more than wait to be summoned were giving it an education in nautical terminology.
For instance, they taught the parrot to say,
'forty f...Ing knots and no smoke.'
Steaming a ship at forty knots without making smoke would be quite a noteworthy achievement, but Mrs. Wortman quickly decided that the bird's newfound vocabulary was ill suited to her home and would have nothing to do with it."
-Paul Stillwell, Battleship Arizona