Former Rep. Howard Coble, the North Carolina Republican who died Tuesday, was a character, known as much for his tennis game and proud tobacco habit as his policy interest in intellectual property.
And, of course, there were his clothes. Loud madras plaid jackets. Bright yellow dress shirts. Duck hunting braces. Tennis racquet ties. His district had deep links in the textile industry, as did many North Carolina districts.
(Original Caption) ZIPPER-DE-DOO-DA: To dramatize North Carolina’s interest in textile import legislation, Tar Heel Congressmen display a 65-foot zipper on Capitol steps. L-R: Reps. Charles Whitley, Bill Hefner and Tim Valentine, and Carole Cutcher and Ralph Gut of Ideal Fasteners. (Dean Brown/CQ Roll Call Photo)
So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise when he helped drape the Capitol in a pair of gigantic denim jeans, as we noted in our Oct. 31, 1985 edition of Roll Call:
“DRAPED IN DENIM, 50 employees of the Blue Bell plant hold world’s largest jeans (big enough to accommodate zipper above) at the Capitol. Rep. Howard Coble (NC) and Blue Bell president Ed Bauman are at the mikes, explaining pants, 54 feet long, 35 feet wide, with 400 inch waist and weighing 200 pounds , contain 16,000 signatures supporting textile and apparel limitations.”
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