This vintage mackinaw was made by J.O. Ballard & Co. of Malone, New York. The company was founded in 1888 by Jay Olin Ballard, and traded alternately under the J.O Ballard name and the name, Malone Woolen Mills. The company began making wool outdoorsman’s breeches in 1891 and followed up with mackinaw coats like this one. They were famous for their Malone plaid- gray with red and green overchecks. Coats of this cut were advertised to hunters, hikers, mountain climbers, lumberjacks, workmen and all other stripes of outdoorsmen. The depression closed the company in 1933. It re-opened again in 1935 with the assistance of an Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan, a depression era loan program.
The coat has four flapped pockets and two slash pockets. The slash pockets, in the traditional position of handwarmer pockets, pass through directly to the game pocket. There is also access to the game pocket from flaps on the back of the coat. Unlike the similar Woolrich design, this one has buttons on the pockets instead of snaps and exposed buttoning on the front. The lining is mustard colored cotton. The sleeves have buttoned adjusters.
Chest (pit to pit): 22-1/2″ (doubled = 45″)
Shoulder to shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 24″
This vintage coat was made by LL Bean. It is a classic striped point blanket style, made famous by the offerings of the Hudson’s Bay company. The HBC version had four stripes, of indigo, yellow, red and green. This version has broader stripes, of black, red and yellow. These coats were very expensive new, with their high quality blanket material, and were generally offered by the higher end outdoors outfitters of the time. This is a somewhat newer version, produced in the 1960s or 1970s, but its style is extremely classic with the biggest difference being its warm, bright red acrylic pile lining. It is a single breasted style with handwarmer pockets and flapped patch pockets.
Chest (pit to pit): 24″ (doubled = 48″ = size 44)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 19″
Sleeve (shoulder to cuff): 25-3/4″
I bought this pair of Bean boots almost four years ago, trying to find a way of combating the winter in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For those of you who haven’t been to Halifax in the winter- it’s a big slushy mess. It snows one day, rains the next and freezes the day after that. It’s a constant cycle of slush, ice, sand and salt. It will soak you to the bone and ruin all but the hardiest footwear. As a student in Halifax, without a car, I walked, a lot. So poorly fitting rubber boots just weren’t going to cut it. I needed something warm, waterproof and comfortable.
These Bean boots fit the bill. These have a goretex and thinsulate lining and they’ve kept me plenty warm and dry. The rubber has kept the salt from destroying anything and the leather uppers ensure a good, comfy fit.
I’ve run the heels and soles down, so it’s about time for them to go back to Maine for a rebuild. Some of the stitching is wearing as well, but since Bean will resole them for a “reasonable cost”, I would think four years in their life is just beginning.