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Grizzly Jackets: A Fedora Lounge Guide

Discussion in 'The Fedora Lounge Guides' started by Dinerman, Mar 3, 2014.

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  1. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    At the turn of the 20th century, fur coats were the best product on the market for motoring and for activities involving prolonged exposure to wind and the elements. Fur was warm, lighter in weight than wool of a comparable warmth, and was water and wind resistant. It was also expensive.
    It was also expensive, and could be fragile. Sheeplined coats took the form of the fur coats, but replaced the fur with less expensive sheepskin and added a protective layer of canvas or wool to the outside.

    The Edes Robe Tanning Company was founded c.1905 by Canadian-born St. Clair Ede. The company once had locations in Dubuque, Iowa, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska and Souix Falls, South Dakota. Their primary business was ponyskin lap robes for carriages and early open automobiles. As carriages were replaced by automobiles, and as car design became enclosed, the need for fur robes mostly evaporated. Faced with a changing market, Edes focused their attention on their fur coat business, producing fur coats for men and women under the King-O-FUR label. Unlike many furriers, Edes took styling cues from the new waist-length outdoorsman's leather jacket styles, but made them in the material they knew best- ponyskin.

    The jacket, with leather sleeves and trim and a fur body would catch on. Other companies began producing the style, modified with thick mouton panels instead of hair-on ponyskin, in the early 1930s, with the style peaking in popularity in 1937. King-O-Fur's slogan during the 1930s, "Not an Imitation and Not Imitated" spoke to the proliferation of similarly styled jackets which would spring onto the market. St. Claire Ede died in 1938 and the company was taken over by his widow Louise A Ede. The company was dissolved on November 15, 1939.

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    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  2. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    The name "Grizzly" was never used by manufacturers to describe these jackets. Popular terms included , "Laskinlamb Jacket", "Fur Jacket", "Wombat Jacket" and the earlier holdover term, "Fur Blouse". Laskinlamb and Wombat were both trade terms for the mouton used for the panels on the jackets.

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    The style as it is best known came into popularity around 1933. The fur of the Ede's jackets had been replaced by mouton. Trim was generally horsehide leather, and most had belted waistbands. These jackets were particularly popular with children and teenagers. Many ads mention convertible cuffs which could be turned down to "grow" with the child. There were a wide array of sleeve and cuff styles available. Perhaps a testament to the popularity of the style, you find ads in 1936-1937 for cheap versions of the style, made with imitation leather instead of horsehide, and with pile instead of mouton.
    The style's popularity gradually built, peaking in the winter of 1937 but quickly dropping off after that. The few advertisements for this style in 1938-1940 are nearly all for final closeouts of remaining store stock.

    Lakeland made a push in 1946 to sell the style again, under the name, "Lamb King". It's unclear whether this was new production, or if it was stock left over from 1937 that they were trying to move.

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    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
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