1920s Wool A-1 jacket


This vintage jacket was made prior to 1926 in a wool A-1 style out of Hudson’s Bay point blankets.

In the early 1920s, a style of jacket emerged that would later come to be adapted into the A-1 flight jacket. This style had knit cuffs, a knit collar and a knit waistband, to keep of the wind and cold. It was produced in both wool and leather, and was marketed toward men who spent time out of doors- workmen and sportsmen. By the mid 1920s, the style started to evolve, with some makers dropping the knit collar for one in a shirt style made of the same material as the body. That variant, made in leather, later became the A-2 flight jacket. This jacket dates from the transitional period between the two. It has a waist length cut with a knit waistband and cuffs. It has a button front, as the separable bottomed zipper pioneered by Hookless Fastener, which allowed for zipper fronted jackets, would not go into production until 1930. Although most jackets of this style had flapped patch pockets, the positioning of them varied by maker and model. While some had them down towards the waistband in a setup now considered conventional, this one has them positioned midway up the chest.

The chinstrap detail is taken straight from workshirts of the period- constructed in the same way, with an extended collar stand with two buttonholes. The two tone nature of the red and black blanket material allows for a great two tone look, highlighting the pocket flaps and the collar.

The jacket is constructed from a three point sized Hudson’s Bay Company Point blanket. This material would have pushed this particular jacket into the top of the line position for this style. Jackets such as this made from HBC blankets were regularly double (or more) the cost of a heavyweight wool jacket of the same model and manufacturer. It was often an even pricier material option than the horsehide or capeskin leather options. The Hudson Bay blankets have a long and proud tradition in the history of rugged clothing for outdoorsmen. An icon of Canadian culture, the blankets at this time were made in England. The first mackinaw coats were tailored from then in 1780. Fur traders wore Capotes made from this fabric throughout the 19th century. Lumbermen of the late 19th and early 20th century prized the brightly colored coats as being the best on the market for warmth and durability. This one bears an early style label, before the “Reg. No.” was added to the bottom in 1926.

Chest (pit to pit): 27″ (doubled = 54″)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 23″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″
Length (to bottom of knit): 27-1/2″


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These ads are from the 1930s, but give an idea of the pricepoint comparisons. In this period, they were frequently advertised alongside horsehide and mouton ” Grizzly ” jackets, and other such expensive and rugged garments.  photo 193606Stitch-Copy.jpg

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