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Vintage Outerwear: Threads of the Past

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
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5,869
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Illinois
I've been thinking about this thread for some time. Hopefully this thread can capture discussion of Vintage Outerwear without derailing other threads. While writing this I thought of several other topics.

This Peters is a good place to start as it is currently for sale on ebay. I have never seen one of their jackets for public sale. It is discussed in Rin Tanaka's book Motorcyle Jackets: Ultimate Biker Fashion page 30.

I believe these jackets were made in the early 40s.

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These styled backs faded from jackets during the mid 40s.



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The jacket is pictured in Tanaka's book with a Montgomery Ward labeled jacket. Both appear to be made by Peters. MW labels proclaimed Styled and made in California through out the 40s. Confirms that these maker made jackets for other retailers. I could well have a Peters jacket with a Montgomery Ward label.

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Made in California became a significant marketing tool. More on that.
 

Claybertrand

One Too Many
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1,049
Terry,

I had saved the link to the Peters when I saw it to post in the Finds and Deals thread and was going to PM you on it.

Another in the the rich history of Bay Area Leather Tailors. I had never seen the brand before. I actually saved the couple of pics of the back for reference in case of a custom order in the next few months. Interesting that they made the Montgomery Ward early jackets. I know you have been doing deep dives into Ralphs-Pugh. Peters seems to be even more obscure.

A book on the history of Dry Goods production and particularly leather goods in the Bay Area from Gold Rush to the present would be very interesting. From Levi Strauss to Alan Johnson and all the makers in between. I have always theorized that the Gold Rush spawned the production boom in San Francisco for Dry Goods and that the history of makers in that area flowed from that point. Los Angeles -- a much larger City did have substantial clothing production and some good leather tailors as well. But nothing like what we see from San Fran. So I have always tied it to the Gold Rush that established the area as a production rich for leather jackets. I bring this up knowing you are educated on the topic and have a special affinity for San Francisco and California Styled leather garments.

An all encompassing history would be admittedly daunting but that little area certainly had a high concentration of leather makers and the styles and quality that they produced are grail worthy today.
 

tmitchell59

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Interesting that they made the Montgomery Ward early jackets. I know you have been doing deep dives into Ralphs-Pugh. Peters seems to be even more obscure.

I have a jacket made my Ralphs that has another bay area retailer label. I continue to look for jackets in their style other labeled. Their label looks very much like one of the many Montgomery Ward label, but I have yet to see a RP jacket with a catalog label. The current owner of RP says they made jackets for Abercrombie.

Someone made all these "Styled and Made in California" jackets and I believe a fair amount were made in the Bay Area. Ken Calder told me Levi made some of their jackets and others were contracted to local makers. There were much fewer of these jackets made, so small operations could produce the numbers.

A history of the Bay area Tailors trade would be interesting, but information is difficult to find.

I've got a focus now on the Bay area. I've getting some answers as I work along.
 

dlite90

Familiar Face
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92
Good thread. Can someone point me to a resource showing the very first leather jackets of the 20th century?
In my searching, I can only find vague references to "german flight jackets," but no source or photos.
I was also interested in the earliest workwear leather jackets (non-aviation, motorcycle, or fashion).
 
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14,405
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I was also interested in the earliest workwear leather jackets (non-aviation, motorcycle, or fashion).
Might be tough to find as those early leather jackets often were used for everything, work wear and social use alike. Maybe those really early wool and leather railcoats would be an example of something a bit more intentionally work oriented?
 

Blackadder

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China
There is at least one work oriented leather jacket, the welder jacket. Men have long ago worn leather cover when working with fire, leather tunic and apron etc. but I have no idea when a leather tunic or garment turned into a "jacket" as I have yet to find an undisputed answer as to when the word "jacket" came about.
 

Cornelius

Practically Family
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There is at least one work oriented leather jacket, the welder jacket. Men have long ago worn leather cover when working with fire, leather tunic and apron etc. but I have no idea when a leather tunic or garment turned into a "jacket" as I have yet to find an undisputed answer as to when the word "jacket" came about.

From etymonline.com:

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jacket (n.)
mid-15c., "short garment for men," from Old French jaquet "short coat with sleeves," diminutive of jaque, a kind of tunic, which is of uncertain origin. Probably it is from Jacque, the male proper name, also the generic name of a French peasant (see jacquerie) with extended material senses as in native jack (n.). But possibly it is from or influenced by jaque (de mailles) "short, tight-fitting coat," originally "coat of mail," from Spanish jaco, from Arabic shakk "breastplate." Meaning "paper wrapper of a book" is first attested 1886.

Iakke, jakke "a short, close-fitting stuffed or quilted tunic, often serving as a defensive garment" is attested in English from late 14c. (from Old French jaque), and by c. 1400 was being used for "woman's short tunic." It is possible that jacket was formed in English as a diminutive of this.
---------------
 

Blackadder

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From etymonline.com:

---------------
jacket (n.)
mid-15c., "short garment for men," from Old French jaquet "short coat with sleeves," diminutive of jaque, a kind of tunic, which is of uncertain origin. Probably it is from Jacque, the male proper name, also the generic name of a French peasant (see jacquerie) with extended material senses as in native jack (n.). But possibly it is from or influenced by jaque (de mailles) "short, tight-fitting coat," originally "coat of mail," from Spanish jaco, from Arabic shakk "breastplate." Meaning "paper wrapper of a book" is first attested 1886.

Iakke, jakke "a short, close-fitting stuffed or quilted tunic, often serving as a defensive garment" is attested in English from late 14c. (from Old French jaque), and by c. 1400 was being used for "woman's short tunic." It is possible that jacket was formed in English as a diminutive of this.
---------------
Thank you, that is one of the version I found. There is also another version which says it is developed from Jerkin.
 

tmitchell59

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5,869
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Illinois
Good thread. Can someone point me to a resource showing the very first leather jackets of the 20th century?
In my searching, I can only find vague references to "german flight jackets," but no source or photos.
I was also interested in the earliest workwear leather jackets (non-aviation, motorcycle, or fashion).

These are the earliest catalog pics I have. They are from the 1925 Sears
Roebuck catalog.



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tmitchell59

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5,869
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Illinois
@tmitchell59 what is the earliest Sears leather jacket? Was it the longer shawl collared Mackinaw ones, or the cossack suede/capeskin ones?
An ebay seller claims this dispatch coat is 1910:
View attachment 286711

Here’s an interesting post:
https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/leather-jackets-with-ties.78215/page-3#post-2045432

I posted the oldest Sears pictures I have. I do not know when Sears first listed a leather garment. The brochure below is dated 1919 reference to making leather coats to order and even rebuilding them!

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tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
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Illinois
but I have no idea when a leather tunic or garment turned into a "jacket" as I have yet to find an undisputed answer as to when the word "jacket" came about.

Using the Sears catalog I found the 1925 reference to "shorter" coats called Vest even when they had sleeves.

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The Term Blouse is the most common term along with Cossack. 1930 Sears Roebuck catalog.

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This 1933 is the first reference in the Sears catalog I could find to the word Jacket. Jacket continues to be used replacing Blouse. Cossack style references continue past 1933. Note: Blazer is also used.


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Cornelius

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I recall the first edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, 1911, having many ads for clothing, boots, and camping supplies [hatchets, pocketknives, etc] in the back pages. Though I doubt they offered leather jackets, it might be worth giving a look for other woolen items.
 

tmitchell59

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Illinois
This is probably the oldest jacket I own. It has no label. This back button style is most often associated with the Stanhouse company of Rockford, Illinois. Stanhouse was in business many years and made a variety of outerwear. I have a later Stanhouse jacket in my collection.

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It looks like a common "work wear" jacket. It is horsehide. It has lost the original lining, although many early jackets were unlined.
 
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