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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Skaggerac double breasted shawl collar leather mackinaw

This vintage jacket was made in New York by Skaggerac Sportswear in the 1950s. It is a heavy double breasted, shawl collar sheeplined model. It is made of heavyweight steerhide with a black mouton collar, a square front yoke, scalloped back yoke. The grain on the leather is incredible. Though the tag dates it to the 1950s, the style, materials, style of lining with corduroy hem, etc. are all consistent with coats of this style made in the 1930s. This style of coat had gone out of fashion for the most part by WWII. It has a custom order handwritten size tag, reading a size 50. With a 58″ chest, it’s even generous for that size.

Chest (pit to pit): 29″ (doubled = 58″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 24″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 26″
Length (base of collar to hem): 33-1/2″

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WWII Shawl Collar Army Mackinaw

This vintage mackinaw was made in 1942 by the Jacob Siegel Co. for the US Army. It is shawl collared and double breasted, with flapped patch cargo pockets and epaulettes.

Chest (pit to pit): 21″ (doubled = 42″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 32″

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1920s All Weather All Wool Coat shawl collar cardigan

This vintage cardigan sweater was made in the 1920s. It is made of heavy Shaker Knit wool, with a shawl collar and a six button front. The buttons are corozo. The label reads, “The All Weather All Wool Coat”. At the time this was made, coat referred to any garment with full buttoning, hence coat sweaters and coat shirts. It has a finely knit red and white striped wool lining inside the chunky wool exterior.

Chest (pit to pit): 21″ (doubled = 42″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 21″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 22″
Length (Base of collar to hem): 29″

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March 1942 shawl collar army mackinaw

This vintage coat was made for the US Army during WWII in March of 1942. It is made of doeskin wool, with a shawl collar, a 3×6 double breasted front, a buttoned belt, buttoned epaulettes, and flapped patch cargo pockets. It is stamped as being issued to a W.G. Henry. These coats, and their predecessors were popular as hard wearing items of fall and winter workwear from the late 1920s-1950s.

Chest (pit to pit): 21″ (doubled = 42″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25-1/4″
Length (base of collar to hem): 33″

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Reproduction Shawl Collar mackinaw

This vintage coat was made in the 1970s by Jerold for men, with a style heavily influenced by double breasted mackinaw work coats of the 1930s. It is double breasted, with a 3×6 buttoning, a broad shawl collar and knot style buttons on the front and cuffs. It has handwarmer pockets on the chest and flapped cargo pockets.

Tagged size: 42R
Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19-1/2″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
Length (base of collar to hem): 32-1/2″

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