1940s Penney’s Sportclad hunting coat

This vintage hunting jacket was made for Penney’s under their Sportclad label in the 1940s. It has a square hole slider, Talon marked U shaped stopbox Talon zipper, handwarmer pockets, snapped cargo pockets and a rear game pouch. It is lined in a contrast wool plaid.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 21-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 29-1/4″

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WWII Swiss army coat

This vintage jacket was made for the Swiss army. It is made of sage gray/green wool, with a double breasted cut, belted back and Swiss cross buttons.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17-1/2″
Sleeve (Shoulder to cuff): 26″
Length (base of collar to hem): 28-1/2″

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1910s-1920s shawl collar mackinaw

This vintage mackinaw coat was made in the 1910s-1920s. It is made from a blue, green, red and gray plaid mackinaw wool, in a double breasted cut, with a broad shawl collar, handwarmer pockets, flapped cargo pockets and belt loops. As was typical for these early production mackinaws, this one is unlined. The particular detailing found on this example, in combination with the unusual plaid are hallmarks of an earlier mackinaw. More vibrant color schemes were generally more popular earlier on, losing ground by the later 1920s to more sedate patterns, while the shawl collar, save for the horsehide trimmed railroad versions, generally fell out of favor by the early 1930s on double breasted mackinaws.

Chest (pit to pit): 25″
Shoulder to shoulder: 19-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26-3/4″
Length (base of collar to hem): 35″

Mackinaw fabric, as well as mackinaw coats, trace their name back to blankets used in the fur trade by the Mackinaw Fur Company, headquartered at Fort Mackinac. As with the point blankets made by the Hudson’s Bay Company, Mackinaw blankets were made in an array of bright colors and garish patterns. Originally favored by native Americans and fur traders in the area, the coats gained near immediate acceptance among lumberjacks in that area’s logging industry. Whether cut from Mackinaw blankets, Hudson’s Bay Blankets, or from Pendleton Blankets, these coats shared several important features. In a time when men in cities wore overcoats nearly exclusively in cold weather, these coats were cut short, generally with a length of 35 or 36 inches, to allow for freedom of movement. The short cut allowed for extremely heavyweight, warm fabric without the weight associated with a long coat. The bright colors and loud patterns of the blankets favored among these loggers soon found their way throughout the country, first as souvenirs, later as part of nationwide marketing.
Though lumberjacks were primarily of French-Canadian or Scottish-Canadian ancestry, mackinaw cloth owes its origins to Norwegian immigrants. The original cloth was homepun from wool from northern sheep. The early fabric was relatively coarse, and heavyweight, around 40oz. After it was woven, was “stumpfed”, or danced upon with soap and water with wooden shoes, usually accompanied by music and celebration. This process felted the fabric, shrinking it dramatically, and making it thicker, denser, warmer, and resistant to rain and further shrinkage. Commercially produced mackinaw cloth later mimicked this process mechanically. After weaving, the fabric was shrunk and felted (the stumpfing or fulling process) , then napped to give it a thick and fluffy texture, further increasing its insulation value.
In 1912, the FA Patrick company, proprietors of the Patrick-Duluth Woolen Mills of Duluth, Minnesota launched a new, refined mackinaw design. It was double breasted, belted and sported a collar described in the ads of the period as a “nansen” collar. Though the term also existed then, we now refer to this style as a shawl collar. The coat was 35″ long and was available in 24 and 32 oz wool mackinaw cloth, in a wide variety of colors. Salesman Harry Harrington began to pitch the Patrick Mackinaw to clothiers in college towns. “It was not long after that that mackinaws became a fad with students generally, and as the college student invariably sets the styles for young men’s clothing, it quickly spread over the whole country”. The early mackinaw trend was marketed in a similar way to the current workwear trend, trading on the rugged associations of the workers for whom the garment was originally designed. The mackinaw fad boomed, and shortly, a number of other manufacturers sprung onto the scene, producing mackinaws of varying quality from a variety of cloths. Large quantities of Patrick mackinaws were sold through such high end stores as Brooks Brothers, Rogers Peet, Wannamaker, Abercrombie and Fitch, Brokaw Brothers, and A. Raymond.
It is around this 1912-1913 period where the name “Mackinaw” begins to be more associated with the short, double breasted, shawl collar style, and less with the mackinaw cloth material from which it was made.
The Mackinaw was re-branded once again, marketed to farmers, children, hunters and outdoorsmen, workers, and sportsmen. Its durability, warmth, low price compared to comparable overcoats or sheeplined coats, made it an easy sell to these markets. Alongside sheeplined canvas coats, shawl collar Mackinaws became the de-facto winter coat of railroad employees.

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Zero King shawl collar mackinaw

This vintage coat was made in the 1970s by Zero King. It follows the lines of a 1920s mackinaw, with a shawl collar, double breasted closure, handwarmer pockets and flapped cargo pockets. It has a pile lining.

Chest (pit to pit): 2″ (doubled = 44″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 32″

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1920s-1930s Carss Mackinaw

This vintage coat was made in Ontario, Canada in the 1920s- mid 1930s by Carss Mackinaw. It is made from a distinctive plaid, with caped shoulders, four flapped, buttoned patch pockets, a belted back and a rolled collar. As was typical of work mackinaws of this early period, this one is unlined.

Chest (pit to pit): 22″
Shoulder to shoulder: 17″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 31″

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North West Mounted Police Buffalo Fur Coat

This vintage coat was made in the 1890s-early 1900s from buffalo fur for the North West Mounted Police. The North West Mounted Police was founded in 1873 and existed until 1904, when it was succeeded by the Royal North West Mounted Police, then by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920. This bears the NWMP buttons of the earliest iteration. The coat has a broad shawl collar and double breasted closure, with distinctive leather straps on the front. It has leather reinforcement to the lining at the underarms and by the collar, as well as riveted leather reinforcement at the vent.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25″
Length (base of collar to hem): 37″

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1940s Woolrich mackinaw with Talon Zipper front

This vintage coat was made c.1943 by the Woolrich Woolen Mills of Woolrich, PA. It is a size 44, and a relatively rare style, with a bell-shaped Talon zipper with sunburst stop-box. It has a broad, rounded collar, breast pockets with the plain snaps used by Woolrich during WWII and handwarmer pockets. It has low slung side adjuster belts and rear entry game pouch.

Chest (pit to pit): 25″ (doubled = 50″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 26-1/2″

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