This vintage suit was made in the 1930s in Seattle, Washington by high end workwear and outdoor-garment manufacturer Black Bear Brand as part of their “Rain-Tite” water repellent clothes range. Black Bear Brand produced work shirts, pants, overalls, jackets and mackinaws from their plant on Rainier Ave. S. This suit is made from army duck canvas, the jacket from 10oz duck and the pants from 8 oz duck. It appears they both started out life a medium brown canvas, but years of wear and layers of waterproofing have darkened it. Both are extremely heavy duty, and are physically heavy and stiff, both from the material and from the wax proofing. The back of the jacket is two layers of the 10 oz canvas through the body, with three layers on the shoulders. The sleeves are two layers. It is constructed with overlapping capes and layers to keep everything dry in harsh weather. The pants are two layers as well. They are cut to be worn with tall boots. They have suspender buttons and belt loops. There is a crotch gusset, and a patch watch pocket inside the side pocket.
In the pocket of the pants, I found the package of a trolling spoon and an Elks matchbook advertising war bonds. This suit probably hasn’t been worn in a good 70 years or so if those are still in-tact in the pocket. The snaps are all branded “Union Made” as are all the buttons. There are union tags from the United Garment Workers of America inside the jacket and inside the flap of the back pocket of the pants. The waterproofing is still good- water beads up and falls right off. This type of suit was frequently worn by lumbermen in the North West. The heavy wear supports this. Going by the matchbook, the original owner of this one was probably from Vancouver.
Chest (pit to pit): 21″ (doubled = 42″)
Shoulder to shoulder (under cape): 22″
Sleeve (Shoulder to cuff): 20″
Length (base of collar to hem): 28-1/2″
This vintage jacket was made by the C.C. Filson company of Seattle, Washington in the 1910s or early 1920s. It is in remarkably good condition- the best I’ve seen. The label bears their early 1011 First Avenue address. By 1924, Filson had re-located down the block to 1005 First Ave, then again in 1930 to 1001 2nd ave, updating their label accordingly each move. This conclusively dates from the 1910s or early 1920s. The label is of the early style, reading, “C.C. Filson Co / 1011 1st Ave / Seattle Wash / Manufacturers / Complete Outfitters / For Miners, Prospectors, Lumbermen”. At this time, Seattle was still the jumping-off-point for Alaska, and Filson advertised themselves as a “Complete Alaska Outfitter”. Later on, the “Might As Well Have The Best” slogan would come into usage.
The jacket is a heavy dry tin-cloth canvas. It has half-moon pockets on the front, leading to an internal unlined game-bag. Flaps on the back lead to this pocket as well. This creates a double thickness of high quality canvas throughout the coat, making for a durable garment. The collar is corduroy, and has a matching corduroy throat latch / chin strap. The shoulders are reinforced against wear when carrying loads. The hip pockets are of the early double-round style, and share a common pocket flap. The main breast pocket is similarly enormous, with a more regularly sized pocket overtop. The underarms have football gussets for a greater range of motion. The cuffs are lined with wool, and close with United Carr snaps. The snaps, both on the cuffs and the breast pocket, are of the early printed type, and still are very clear.
Chest (pit to pit): 21″
Shoulder to Shoulder: 17-1/2″
Sleeve (Shoulder to cuff): 24″