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Questions About the United States Navy Peacoat

Matt Jones

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Vintage Navy pea coat -- dating?

Hi all,

I recently purchased a vintage U.S Navy pea coat, and was curious about its age. Are there any resources that could help me figure this out? The coat's inner markings by themselves don't reveal much of anything. Any help is appreciated.
 

Holzkopf

New in Town
Messages
3
Would you happen to have a picture of it that you could show us? I have one myself and I'm not sure of the date either.
 

shamus

Suspended
Messages
801
Location
LA, CA
if your jacket is a real US model it will have a tag that gives the model, mil number and the year is usually hidden in that.

Is your tag white or Black. If it's black with yellow letters it's pre mid 60's. But a pea coat hasn't really changed in all those years.
 

shamus

Suspended
Messages
801
Location
LA, CA
true, I believe that they are or at least a heavy cotton. Not satin like a new one. Also if your tag is not at by the collar or right bottom, it might be in the left pocket.

The buttons might be of a bakelight material instead of the modern black plastic too.
 

Matt Jones

Familiar Face
Messages
58
You guys are great, thanks!

Here are more details of my coat:

coat3.jpg


It's your standard pea coat design -- double breasted, single vent. There are six buttons visible on the front, with another button hidden under each collar. The color is navy of course, and the buttons look black to me. The coat is fully lined (something silky, dark navy/black in color). It's a beauty and in excellent condition!

pocket.jpg


The handwarmer pockets are lined in a tan corduroy. I've heard from a few sources that this was only done in the 40's.

inside_button.jpg


Here is the "inner" button, with a low pocket underneath, located on your left hip if you're wearing the coat.

tag2.jpg


The tag is located just below the right inside breast pocket. It's white cloth with black lettering, yellowed with age. The text is faded, but I can make out most of it:

COAT, MAN'S,
WOOL KERSEY
DSA 100-2739
Size 36R
100% WOOL

To the left is a black stamp "12" (must be the inspector). Around the edges, hand written in blue ink are the owner's name and at the bottom is:

B33 37 07 Co. 184

The name and number are also stamped on the lining below the tag, and again near the vent.

That's about it. The kersey wool is thick, dense, flat and extremely heavy -- not the fluffy/fuzzy stuff you see on modern pea coats. Weighs a ton! I love it.
 

gdkenoyer

Familiar Face
Messages
81
Location
Colorado
Cordury may be later than the 40's...

Matt Jones said:
The handwarmer pockets are lined in a tan corduroy. I've heard from a few sources that this was only done in the 40's.

That may be, but my wife has her brother's peacoat issued to him during Vietnam; it has very nice cordury lining in the pockets...
 

Matt Jones

Familiar Face
Messages
58
guitone said:
How do the fit on these older militray peacoasts run? Would a 36 be a true 36?

They're very fitted. 36 fits more like a 34.

Go one size larger than your suit size.
 

guitone

Familiar Face
Messages
94
Location
New England
Matt Jones said:
They're very fitted. 36 fits more like a 34.

Go one size larger than your suit size.

Especially as I get a bit older and dislike tight, thanks.

First I need to wear my new barbour and my new G2....
 

Wild Root

Gone Home
Messages
5,532
Location
Monrovia California.
Hello, I may be able to offer some sound advice in dating a pea coat.

I have two WWII pea coats. Both have the corduroy pockets and I also have been told that the corduroy pocket lining has been continued into years after the war. So, how to find out if your pea coat is a war time relic? Well, there is only one way that I know can not be dispelled. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s all about the label!

A true WWII pea coat will have a rectangular aged white label (Originally white) will read like this:

Manufactured by
Navy Clothing Factory.

It will also have an anchor in the upper right and left hand corners. There will also be a few lines at the bottom for name and rank.

These are the labels that you?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll find in 30?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s and 40?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s WWII Naval uniforms such as jumper tops and trousers. Just as a side note, if you find navy trousers of the 13 button kind, to know they?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re age you will have to see a metal zipper in the left pocket. If there is no zipper, that means its post 1945.

Hope that helps!

Root.

This is a post war label.
b6_1_b.JPG
I'll post a war time label soon.
 

Matt Jones

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Thanks Root! That's exactly the kind of info I've been trying to find.

Do you know approximately what years they were made with Kersey wool?
 

Wild Root

Gone Home
Messages
5,532
Location
Monrovia California.
BINGO!

That's the war time label alright! I tried to find one on the net and couldn't for the life of me! I was going to take a photo of it but, I got lazy. :p

Glad I could help!

Root.
 

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,270
Location
South of Nashville
Matt Jones said:
Thanks Root! That's exactly the kind of info I've been trying to find.

Do you know approximately what years they were made with Kersey wool?

I realize this thread is stale, but I just came across this site, and knowing a few things about Navy peacoats, thought I might answer your question. Hope you come back and see the answer. The "Kersey" wool coats were in production through 1979 when a new contract was let, specifying a different wool. This wool is a "Melton" wool, and is a lighter and more fuzzy wool than the old thick and smooth type wool previously used. Although the old wool was not always called "Kersey" it was the same dense heavy wool until replaced by the Melton wool, which is, and has been, used in the current issue coats for the last 25 years. As the Melton wool is not as thick and warm, the current issue coats have a layer of insulation between the liner and the shell to make them as warm as the Kersey coats. The first contractor to manufacture the new coats was Vi-Mil, Inc., which stands for Viking Military. Viking later changed its name to Sterlingwear of Boston, which is the current contract holder. It makes an excellent "new" peacoat.

The color is also different. The current issue coats are black, and the Kersey wool coats are a very dark blue, which appears to be black unless compared to a truly black garment in strong light.

In 1967 the tag began showing the date of contract in the "contract number" which appeared on the tag. That practice is still followed, so dating these coats is simple. Also easy is dating the coats immediately preceeding 1967. During the mid 60s (and not sure how far before that) the tag read simply "US NAVY" and the stitching on the sleeve at, and just above the cuff was distinctive. I believe the tag immediately preceeding the mid 60s tag was one that read "Naval Clothing Factory" and the one before that was "Naval Clothing Depot" which I believe to have been the Korean era. The WWII era produced thousands of these coats, and the language on the tags may have changed several times during the course of the war and with the various contractors, but I'm not sure.

The really old coats had four buttons, and the ones issued after WWII (and maybe during) had three buttons. My history on the WWII coats is not yet nailed down, so I am giving my best guess based on what I do know.

Hope you come back, read this thread, and see the answer to your question; the short answer to which is: From the beginning until 1980 when the Kersey shells were replaced by the Melton fabric. Later, Peacoat.
 

Peacoat

*
Bartender
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6,270
Location
South of Nashville
green papaya said:
the current peacoats are still heavy, I weighed mine and it weighed over 6 pounds!

date of mfg. 1994 by Crown Clothing Co.

Yes, they are still heavy, and, more importantly, still warm coats. I have a 1985 dated coat that was made by Cavalier and a bunch of the older coats. I can tell no appreciable difference in the warmth. There may be a difference in rainy or windy conditions because of the tightness of the weave on the older coats, but I have done no objective testing. I am more interested these days in determing the dates of manufacture of the older coats. From about 1950 on I have a pretty good grasp of the labels and how they tell the story of the era in which the coats were manufactured. Prior to then, I just am not sure. That was 60 years ago, and there aren't that many coats left from that era still in circulation.
 

Matt Jones

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Peacoat said:
Hope you come back, read this thread, and see the answer to your question; the short answer to which is: From the beginning until 1980. Later, Peacoat.

Thanks so much for the wealth of information on peacoats; it is most appreciated!
 

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