Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘logging gear’

Shopping from the archives: Logger’s Smock

February 17th, 2009

UW6968, University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division

A reader from Chicago forwarded this link to a photograph of a group of loggers at the P.B. Anderson logging camp (n.d.) from the University of Washington’s digital collections. Several years ago, the image was licensed by CC Filson for use on a catalog cover (before Filson changed ownership, I’m told). The reader was curious about the wool shirt worn by the figure in the foreground which he compares to the wool Filson Jac-Shirt, but in a pullover smock style. The reader’s take was that loggers would have preferred this wool, pullover smock to a full button-up style shirt as a safety precaution: “fewer places for saw handles to find purchase.”

I’m now helping the reader locate a modern stockists offering a similar style pullover jac-shirt in a nice thick melton wool, preferably with a stiff collar. Plan B would be to locate a vintage pattern and have a tailor construct a new garment based on the original photograph.
Here are a few plausible modern matches to the original logger’s smock (thanks, Neil!).

Speaking of online archives, the UW just added a new exhibit to their digital collections pages: Early Advertisement of the Northwest (1867-1918). I was hoping for a few token proto-Filson pitches, but I did find this interesting ad for the long lost brand of Tower’s waterproof oil clothing (1899).

ADV0409, University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division

Shopping from Labonville, Inc.

January 19th, 2009

Editor’s Note:
Friend Tom B. also hails from Eugene, and went to college in rural New Hampshire where he started building timber frame buildings. He seems to be more proud of his Forest Service chainsaw certification than his architecture degree. I’ve brought him in as a guest blogger to highlight some stylish, alternative, often budget work wear brands and stockists. Tom’s first entry deals with Labonville, a manufacturer and retailer of “Logging Supplies and Safety Apparel.”

I was introduced to Labonville through the outing club at my college. The college’s forestry team was a major patron of the store; they placed massive orders for wool jackets in the school’s colors.

Labonville provides perfect material for the logger’s wardrobe. Walk into a Filson store and you may feel like you’re in a boutique. Visit Labonville and you enter the world of the working logger. The clothing available is affordable, functional and plain. There’s less of an obsession with traditional materials, although you will find traditional products such as wool cape coats and Malone wool pants. I’d like to put forth the argument that Labonville—and similar retailers — offer excellent basic garments that complement other showpiece brands like Filson. Cruising the L-Ville site, you can find garments so archetypal, so familiar, that they play like a tired cliché that you must acknowledge is true: pancakes are mighty flat, it is better safe than sorry, and Traditional Dickies Work Pants are very close to being the Perfect Pant.

It’s stating the obvious, but the Dickies pant is so cheap, durable, and neutral that it serves as an ideal daily driver. Thousands of delivery drivers, cooks, and painters can’t be wrong. As for the coverall—it’s less suited for daily wear than the Dickies pants, but it’s still a lovely example of cheap and lasting garb.

Carhartt has been done to death, but the fact remains that, like Dickies, the company does make some superb clothing. Their canvas pants, when combined with good boots, a hickory shirt, and a baseball cap, anchor a comfortable and durable get-up that does the trick for more abrasive work.

Labonville also has a house-brand line of clothing, with real winners such as their classic plaid coat, as well as a nylon bomber-type vest and several brilliant logger boots: