1920s Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket coat

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281537081193
This vintage coat was made in the mid 1920s from Hudson’s Bay point blanket material. It is made in an early style mackinaw cut, double breasted with cargo pockets (but no handwarmers), and with even button spacing all the way to the top, similar to early peacoats. As is typical for these early cuts, the coat is unlined. It bears a style of label which stopped being used by Hudson’s Bay in the late 1920s. These early blankets are also easily discernible from more modern ones by their heavier weight and deeper nap.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 17″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25″
Length (Base of collar to hem): 34″

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1970s Women’s Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket coat no. 2

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281536198002
This vintage coat was made by the Hudson’s Bay Company from their iconic multi-stripe point blankets. The coat is double breasted, with a pleated vent and handwarmer pockets.

Chest (pit to pit): 20″ (doubled =40)
Shoulder to shoulder: 16″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 23-1/2″
Length (base of collar to hem): 32″

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1970s Women’s Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket coat no. 1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271714816075
This vintage coat was made by the Hudson’s Bay Company from their iconic multi-stripe point blankets. The coat is double breasted, with a pleated vent and handwarmer pockets. The inside of the coat is stained. While the front of the coat is missing two of its distinctive buttons, there is an extra inside, and one underneath the collar, so that could be easily remedied.

Chest (pit to pit): 22-1/2″ (doubled = 43″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 16″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 22″
Length (base of collar to hem): 30″

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1930s Red Hudson’s Bay point blanket coat

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281399895994
This vintage coat was made c. 1937 from Hudson’s Bay Company point blankets. The coat is a classic late 1930s double breasted mackinaw cut, with flapped patch cargo pockets and slash handwarmers with arrow reinforcement stitching. The back has a scalloped yoke and pleated back. The cuffs have buttoned adjusters. Inside are two different styles of Hudson’s Bay label, which help with the dating.

Chest (pit to pit): 23″ (doubled = 46″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 18″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25″
Length (base of collar to hem): 35″

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Extra Large Hudson’s Bay Blanket Coat

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271246957324
This vintage coat was made by the Hudson’s Bay company from their iconic point blanket material. It is in their “Olympic” pattern, a belted double breasted style, with handwarmer pockets and flapped patch pockets. In this particular example, the points of the four point blanket are on the inside of the coat on the wearer’s right shoulder. The coat is fully lined in gray. It is tagged a 46, but I would say it fits more like a size 50 or 52.

Chest (pit to pit): 29″ (doubled = 58″)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 21″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 27″
Length: 34″

A bit about the Hudson’s Bay Blanket Coat:
The Hudson’s Bay Company introduced their distinctive striped “point” trade blanket in 1780. The blankets were used in the fur trade, traded in exchange for pelts. The “points” represented the size and weight of the blanket. The blankets were soon being tailored into hooded, belted “Capotes”.
In 1811, 40 greatcoats were commissioned for soldiers stationed at Fort St. Joseph in Jocelyn, Ontario. They were made under the direction of John Askin, fur trader, and keeper of the King’s Store at that fort. Running short on proper supplies and in need of adequately warm coats for the men, Askin had the coats sewn from point blankets. The modern mackinaw was born.
The Hudson’s Bay blanket material was advertised for its, “warmth, durability, retention of color, non-shrinage”, for being “non-hardening when exposed to the elements”, and for their water resistant qualities. Combined with its heavy weight, and thick fluffy nap, the Hudson’s Bay Blanket made for ideal material in a harsh environment. They remained popular with fur traders through the 18th and 19th centuries. Along with their mackinaw-cloth relatives, they also proved popular with Lumbermen on both sides of the border.
Coats made from Hudson’s Bay point blanket material were truly investments, costing significantly more than identical coats in other fabrics. Some examples: In 1937, an Albert Richard coat in heavy mackinaw cloth cost $12.50. That same coat in the HBC fabric cost $22.50. In 1936, a different manufacturer was offering 32oz melton coats for $5.95. To upgrade to point blanket fabric doubled the price.
These coats were the ultimate in rugged, high-end outdoors garments. At the top of the price range for short coats, they were sold by such high-end outfitters as Abercrombie & Fitch and Von Lengerke & Detmold. By the 1930s, sportswear companies like Albert Richard and Maine Guide by Congress had joined the act. The Hudson’s Bay blanket coat enjoyed a surge of popularity on the United States market in the mid through late 1930s. Mirroring the Mackinaw craze of 1912-1915, the style was brought over the border to the US by tourists and seasonal workers who had seen the coats in use in Canada and been impressed with their warmth and durability. They briefly became a university fad in the 1930s, but really stuck with sportsmen who could afford the best.
Hudson’s Bay blankets were originally made in England. In the middle of the 20th century, they switched manufacture to Canada. Currently, they are again produced in England, by John Atkinson. Former competitor Woolrich Woolen mills has the contract to import Bay Blankets to the US, and other former competitor Pendleton now makes the blankets used in the coats sold by HBC.
As the 20th century wore on, the Hudson’s Bay point blanket coat remained a Canadian icon. It was the Canadian team uniform at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics.

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Hudson’s Bay leather jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271159802541

The Hudson’s Bay company didn’t just make point blankets, blanket coats and fine furs, as this jacket shows. It’s a clean, simple design, with quality workmanship and materials.

This vintage leather jacket was made by the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is a classic utility jacket style, with handwarmer pockets and a zip breast pocket. It has a plain back and buttoned cuffs. The zippers are both Canadian made lightnings, with a Talon-style bell shaped puller. (Remember, Canadian made jackets have the puller on the left zipper track) The jacket is fully lined, and needs the lining re-stitched at the left underarm.

Chest: 22″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 18″
Shoulder to Cuff: 25-1/2″

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Hudson’s Bay point blanket shirt jacket

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281067893704

This vintage jacket was made by the Hudson’s Bay Company from their iconic multi-stripe point blankets. It is single breasted, with a shirt style collar and cuffs, and flapped patch pockets. The lining material on the back side of the pocket flaps is heavily worn, as is typical. The jacket has taped seams and lined shoulders. It has a small variant of the Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket tag.

Chest (pit to pit): 27″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 20″
Shoulder to Cuff: 26″

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Hudson’s Bay Blanket coats

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Made from Hudson’s Bay point blankets, these striped coats are iconically Canadian. The blanket design was introduced in the late 1700s by the HBC, and the material was soon adapted into coats by fur traders. Point blanket coats remained popular in Canada, first as utilitarian garments, later as fashion. The true Hudson’s Bay blankets were made in England. Some were tailored for and sold by the Bay, others, while they bear the fabric tag showing they were made from Hudson’s Bay blankets, were made into coats by and were retailed by third party companies, as is the case with the red Maine Guide coat pictured below.

Right from the start, there were competitor companies with their own striped trade blankets, like Early’s Witney Point, Horn Brothers, Trapper Point, or Ayers. The list went on, each with their own variation on the basic striped scheme. Many of these also made their way into the production of coats and jackets. The classic 20th century point blanket coat is a double breasted, belted mackinaw style, though the fabric has been tailored into everything from a “perfecto” style motorcycle jacket to a pullover hoodie.

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Recreation of HBC trading post, featuring point blanket capotes at left.
Hudson’s Bay Company Gallery, Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg

Examples from my collection
Top Row:
1950s Hudson’s Bay: The classic cut and colors. Interesting in that the orientation of the stripes is reversed from the usual
1960s Hudson’s Bay: Men’s shirt style. Also commonly seen in a women’s version.

Second Row:
c.1950s/1960s Mac Mor: Company founded in 1951, based out of North York, Ontario.
c. 1960s Gleneaton. Made of Ayers blanket. Milium insulated

Third Row:
1930s Hudson’s Bay. Very old one, with buttoned belt. Had buttons under collar for a hood
1940s Hudson’s Bay/ Maine Guide. Tailored by Maine Guide from HBC blanket

Fourth Row:
1960s Lakeland: Designed by Jeffrey Banks. 1949 union label. Same style blanket as the Buckskein, but reversed orientation
1950s Buck skein: Duffle coat style. “Thermalized” lining

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The bold patterns and bright colors of these blanket coats put them squarely into the “love it or hate it” category of vintage menswear, and outside of their native Canadian habitat can seem a bit out of context. While they can seem a bit flashy by modern menswear standards, these coats came from a rugged outdoor tradition.
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Photo from LIFE magazine photo archive

Men’s striped blanket coats are still available from a variety of makers, but they seem to have shied away from the traditional vibrant colors, opting instead for more subdued earth tones and shades of gray. While the Hudson’s Bay Company still retails their blankets (they now sell between $370 and $580), in an odd twist, their former competitors in the camp blanket market are now working with them. The material used in their current production blanket coats is made by Pendleton Woolen Mills. The blankets are distributed in the US by Woolrich Woolen Mills.

Current and recent offerings:

Rag and Bone $995

Freewheelers (Japan) BC Coat $990

Hudson Bay Company duffle $950

Monitaly Riders $949

Klaxon Howl

Hudson Bay Company $850

Burn Out (Japan) $540

Loyal $502

Fidelity $475

Houston (Japan) $267

Ralph Lauren duffle $265

Ralph Lauren

River Junction $260

Gap x GQ Ian Velardi $178

Topman $164

Whether vintage or modern, find your inner Canuck and give a blanket coat a chance.

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