Shopping from the archives: Logger’s Smock

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

36 thoughts on “Shopping from the archives: Logger’s Smock”

  1. 🙂

    I was just guessing these were wool from the drape on the garments’ fronts, as shown in the photo.

    I think the Swanndri smock is the nearest thing around at the moment. You can see from the hood and overall length that it’s designed for use in more open country (sheep farming, I guess) and not forestry work. But it’s not a bad match.

    For something similar in canvas duck, try some of the Japanese workwear repro makers, such as Buzz Rickson. For example: http://www.buzzricksons.jp/product/work-0007.html



  2. There ought to be a fashion archive in this world. A place where decent clothing can be filed away for future study. I once asked the local museum whether he had any fishermans gansies and he cocked his PhD’d head to one side and thought I was

  3. If my ship comes in, I’ll fund a sort of flickr commons, digital fashion archives (curated, of course, by a like minded style council). At minimum, that’s why I’m trying to upload catalog (and recent web catalog) images of worthy garments from the past. Most of this stuff is quickly disappearing from view.

    If you DO have a historical garment style request–like the Gansey–let me know and I’ll try to aggregate a collection of images. A friend and I were just talking about the gansey yesterday.

    I try to avert my eyes when it comes to Buzz Rickson stuff because it’s so perfect and so totally unobtainable (I’m still hankering for some of their leather officer’s dress shoes w/the rubber dimpled sole).

    Love that Swanndri wool bush shirt. I fear, however, that it might look/wear like a dress shirt on shorty me!

  4. Hi Lesli:

    That style of shirt was a fairly common garment in different fabric iterations for timber workers in the early 1900’s through the teens. The original patented Filson Cruiser of 1914 was a pullover design in a light weight wool around 17-18 ounces/sq yd. It eventually became a full button garment a few years later. Looking through Darius Kinsey’s photographs of of NW Logging around the turn of the century you’ll see scores of amazing garments, many Filson and other unknowns. I have not seen a pullover style specific to the logger style smock other than the Ben Davis and Key Hickory shirts, which have zipper plackets.

  5. Here is the link to the full Darius Kinsey photograph collection at the UW:



    Thank you for the additional commentary regarding the original cruiser garment. Are you the keeper of the original patterns and a miraculous backlog of original fabric (forestry cloth, too, please)?!

    I’m going to have to sift through the UW archived images to locate more views of that original style garment.

    I wonder if there is enough interest in the pullover style to bring it back into production? Perhaps a letter to Filson is in order.

  6. Hello, and thanks for the work you are doing in documenting and preserving information about these particular styles and makers. As a woodworker myself, I’ve only recently found out that lots of what I consider my ordinary workwear is now sought after by (apparently) a much larger consumer base! As for the loggers’ smock, there is also Johnson Woolen Mills’ 1/2 Zip Long Tail in wool: (http://tinyurl.com/ceuumx)

    Also, Madsen’s Logging Supply has in their catalog a flannel version of the zip-front “hickory” style shirt, Canadian-made by Codet, see:
    (open the catalog .pdf and go to the .pdf page 73)

  7. LL Bean made a terrific heavy-weight wool pullover for quite a while. I found them in thrift stores in the north east fairly often, though the sleeves were always way too short for me. Worth investigating.

  8. Hi Lesli:

    I’m the anon poster. I actually do have an affiliation with Filson… We don’t have immediate plans to release or re-release any patterns from the archives. However, we’re very much aware of the ongoing re-discovery of heritage brands is the US. I don’t speak for the company, but I personally would love to see more heritage-inspired peices come to light.

  9. Anon–

    Let the folks at Filson know I’d be happy to do some pro bono curatorial work on those historical archives if needed.

    I have a laundry list of Filson re-launch ideas… just from products that were dropped in the past 10-15 years (minus the Filson time manager).

    I think a re-release of a wool pullover from the earliest days of the company would be ideal. If I were involved, a slightly scaled down version would also be made available for women.

    Side note: the Portland Filson flagship store is now carrying the Red Wing “heritage lifestyle” line of boots alongside Filson footwear. It’s funny, but the Red Wings heritage boots look more organic to the Filson product line than Filson’s own brand of boots (with their updated Vibram soles and smoothed over, luxury leather look).

  10. if anyone finds the pattern I would like to have it for making a couple of these. I would make it in a heavier weight. I live in pdx area and could get some fabric at pendleton….

  11. Too bad Filson doesn’t partner with Butterick or another commercial patternmaker to bring out some heritage patterns for these pre-copyright designs. That might be a future grown industry: patterns for original heritage clothing designs in lieu of an outright re-issue of the original garments.

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