c.1940 Woolrich railroad vest

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281349001502

This vintage vest was made in Woolrich, Pennsylvania by the Woolrich Woolen Mills. Woolrich changed their label design frequently, which makes them easy to date if you know what you’re looking for. This variant on the label was used from about 1940-1945. The design of the United Carr snaps are also a giveaway for this vest’s date of manufacture. In the 1930s, Woolrich used snaps with one of two variations on a greek key pattern. During WWII, they switched to a plain topped design, featured on this vest. Starting in the late 1940s, Woolrich switched to snaps bearing the Woolrich name, before switching back to a different variation on the plain topped snaps in the 1960s. The design of the back of the snap further confirms this dating.

The vest is made of Woolrich’s signature mackinaw wool. The vest has a snap front, and bound seams. Although some examples you see are the sleeved variation with the sleeves removed, the construction on those is different. The vest has a belt adjuster back and asymmetric top and bottom patch pockets. Comparisons to Brown’s Beach Jacket vests of the same period are inevitable. This vest has a single large interior pocket.

Woolrich still makes a version of this model, however, the snaps have given way to a zipper, the cut has been lengthened, the armholes lowered, the shape of the front and rear changed, the wool fabric is now a blend, the pockets are a different shape, the construction is different and the taped seams altered. There is really no comparison the the original.

Chest (pit to pit): 20″ (doubled = 40″
Length (back) 20-1/2″
Length (front): 23-1/2″

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