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Who Was The Prime Contractor For LINCLOE and Pre-Alice Pack Frames

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Am engaged in a research project regarding civilian and military pack frames of the 1950s-70s. I've come across a manufacturer called Himalayan Industries (AKA Himalayan Pak Company and Himalayan Equipment). In 1958 the owner and principal designer, Richard Gerstle Mack, completed a contract with Natick Laboratories for "Design, development, and fabrication of a prototype alpine and arctic individual load carrying, plus drawing."


Himalayan used a special heat treating process for aluminum frames that set it apart from civilian pack frame manufacturers of the time and subsequent designs and added features to thier civilian pack catalog mirror the development of Army pack frames in the period between LINCLOE and the Alice Pack. This includes multiple locations for load shelves, quick release pack straps, and attachment of the pack bag over the top of the frame versus using straps to secure the bag to the frame.


In 1964, he filed a patent for a pack frame design that is remarkably similar to the Alice system, and I am told that Alice pack bags fit perfectly on this and other Himalayan Pak frames.


Himalayan also manufactured pen flares that it sold to civilian leisure boat owners (and possibly the military) and a frame for support of SCUBA tanks.


Mack was a 1948 Yale Graduate and pledged to Skull & Bones the same year as George H.W. Bush and worked for the State Department in Viet Nam for 18 months during the conflict. This suggestes to me that he may have been fairly well plugged in with the movers and shakers in the procurement and development process and was able to use these contacts to good effect.


In 1967, Himalayan turned over marketing and sales of its consumer products division to Bear Archery and in 1969 sold the civilian side of its pack frame and bag fabrication business to a company in Arkansas.


I am wondering how involved Mack was with LINCLOE and the pack and frame design process that culminated in the Alice system, as well as whether the company produced any of the frames. I see where its possible that some of the features of his civilian packs came as a result of his participation in the design process, and that the 1965 patent may have been an attempt to protect ideas he had developed while in the development process, and if he had decided to take the company out of the civilian market in order to concentrate and fulfill Army contracts.


Much of my research has been posted to a Facebook page and might help you to help me:








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  • 4 weeks later...

Very interesting post. I don't recall hearing his name or the companies name in regards to the development of the LINCOE pack. You should contact sgtmonroe. He is the resident expert on the LINCLOE trials.



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