This vintage mackinaw coat was made around 1936 by W. Shanhouse and Sons of Rockford, Illinois. Shanhouse Sportswear was a well known maker of the time, producing high quality mackinaws, like this one, as well as a variety of leather jackets. At the time, the Hudson’s Bay Point blanket wool option was the most expensive mackinaw available from Shanhouse. Hudson’s Bay blanket wool was prized for its extreme warmth, wind blocking, vibrant color and luxurious nap. This red and black color scheme was probably the most popular, followed by the multi-stripe.
I’ve sold a lot of these blanket mackinaws, and I think this one may be my favorite design so far. It has wide, pointed lapels, with the black stripe positioned underneath for a bit of extra “pop”. This one retains its original hood, attached under the collar with a red knit wool panel for a bit of stretch when worn. The hood spreads when not in use, doing up with a Talon zipper with a rare sunburst bell-shaped puller. Whereas many of these coats had pressed metal buckles, or leather covered ones, this one has a high quality, heavy duty cast buckle. The buttons are original and have a nice red swirl pattern to them. The ones on the sleeves have turned a bit more brown over the years. Instead of regular patch pockets, this one has fancy saddlebag pockets, and uses the red and black of the stripe nicely for contrast.
As is typical on these earlier mackinaws, this one is unlined. The blankets used on these earlier Hudson’s Bay Blanket coats were of much higher quality than later ones, thicker, denser and with a deeper nap. Compare a 1930s coat to a 1970s one and you’ll see what I mean. The points on this coat are located on the side seam. This one features an extra-large version of the Hudson’s Bay label, and a wonderfully designed “Shanhouse” label. The coat bears a United Garment Workers of America “Duck Goods” union label.
Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 33″