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MEGA PEACOAT THREAD - 61 threads merged - all Peacoat questions HERE

jayvee

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Neither Fidelity nor Schott make a Mil Spec pea coat. Fidelity has never made pea coats for the Navy. Schott may have had a contract back during the war, but no one at the company knew if, when or for how long it produced pea coats under contract.

Sterlingwear contracted with the government to make pea coats for the Navy back in 1968. At that time, the name of the company was Viking. The pea coats were produced under the ViMil label, which was short for Viking Military, the branch of the company making military clothing. Both Viking and Sterlingwear have been manufacturers of quality pea coats since the first contract.

In 2019, the Navy announced the pea coat would be phased out, replaced by a parka made of synthetic materials. This was a devastating blow to Sterlingwear and East Boston, the woolen mills in the NE and the sheep farmers around the country.

The 740 pea coat that Schott is selling is an 80/20 wool blend with a melton shell. This is not nearly as nice as the vintage (1979 and before) US Navy peacoats with the 100% Kersey wool. And not as warm either.

In my article about vintage peacoats on The Fedora Lounge, I tell how to date the coats, what to look for in a peacoat and how to get your correct size when ordering online.

The link to my article is below in my signature line. Any questions? Join the Lounge and ask there in the Peacoat Thread, or ask me here. PC
I thought this old info from Schott was interesting:https://www.schottnyc.com/forum/posts/why_melton_wool_and_not_kersey_wool_on_the_pea_coat.htm

I’ve never been lucky enough to find one of the prized kersey peacoats in my size or decent enough condition. I think the schott 740 is a good compromise. Ok it’s not 100% wool but it’s still 32oz plus a padded liner, I’d probably get one if I was stateside as they often go on sale.

But it’s got me thinking, I am sure there’s enough of us interested here and on other forums to commission a fabric house to replicate the original kersey wool. Any one have any ideas where to start?
 

Peacoat

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I thought this old info from Schott was interesting:https://www.schottnyc.com/forum/posts/why_melton_wool_and_not_kersey_wool_on_the_pea_coat.htm

I’ve never been lucky enough to find one of the prized kersey peacoats in my size or decent enough condition. I think the schott 740 is a good compromise. Ok it’s not 100% wool but it’s still 32oz plus a padded liner, I’d probably get one if I was stateside as they often go on sale.

But it’s got me thinking, I am sure there’s enough of us interested here and on other forums to commission a fabric house to replicate the original kersey wool. Any one have any ideas where to start?
The link to that " . . . old info from Schott . . . ." may be interesting, but there is nothing contained therein that is accurate. Gail was a sweetheart (RIP), and did a good job with what she knew, but she knew nothing about the US Navy Peacoat, Melton Wool or Kersey Wool. Nor did the US Navy veteran who chimed in there toward the end. Nothing he says is accurate. That link is an excellent example of how misinformation is spread on the internet.

The only available accurate information about US Navy peacoats is what I have compiled in my almost 20 years of research published at the Fedora Lounge and the posts I have made here over the past 10 years or so. See the link to my article at the Fedora Lounge in my signature line below.
 

jayvee

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The link to that " . . . old info from Schott . . . ." may be interesting, but there is nothing contained therein that is accurate. Gail was a sweetheart (RIP), and did a good job with what she knew, but she knew nothing about the US Navy Peacoat, Melton Wool or Kersey Wool. Nor did the US Navy veteran who chimed in there toward the end. Nothing he says is accurate. That link is an excellent example of how misinformation is spread on the internet.

The only available accurate information about US Navy peacoats is what I have compiled in my almost 20 years of research published at the Fedora Lounge and the posts I have made here over the past 10 years or so. See the link to my article at the Fedora Lounge in my signature line below.
I’ve read your article it’s a great resource. But my point was mainly about the quality of the current schott peacoat. It’s only going to get harder to find the kersey wool peacoats so the schott might be the best alternative.
 

Peacoat

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I’ve read your article it’s a great resource. But my point was mainly about the quality of the current schott peacoat. It’s only going to get harder to find the kersey wool peacoats so the schott might be the best alternative.
In my opinion the quality of the Schott peacoat isn't good. It is Melton wool, and it is a blend at 80/20. I would stay away from it if you want warmth with water and wind resistance. Basically, it is a mall coat.

The Kersey coats are still readily available, and are inexpensive. My article you read tells the buyer how to get a quality coat and a good fit.

Good luck whichever path you choose. PC
 

classicalthunde

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In my opinion the quality of the Schott peacoat isn't good. It is Melton wool, and it is a blend at 80/20. I would stay away from it if you want warmth with water and wind resistance. Basically, it is a mall coat.

The Kersey coats are still readily available, and are inexpensive. My article you read tells the buyer how to get a quality coat and a good fit.

Good luck whichever path you choose. PC
I'd love to find one, but with a true chest size of 46, I estimate I'd be looking for a size 46 or 48 coat to be able to layer it, and it looks like those larger sizes are pretty hard to come by...

is there a rank order of current well made civilian reproductions on the market?
 

Peacoat

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I'd love to find one, but with a true chest size of 46, I estimate I'd be looking for a size 46 or 48 coat to be able to layer it, and it looks like those larger sizes are pretty hard to come by...

is there a rank order of current well made civilian reproductions on the market?
Buzz Rickson has a good quality repro of a WWII peacoat, with a hefty price to go along with it. Unfortunately, I believe Buzz used Melton wool for the shell. Evidently the Kersey just wasn't available. I wouldn't buy it for that reason alone, but then that is me. The Kersey is just so much nicer.

You are right, size 46 and 48 peacoats are rare. With a chest size of 46, a size 44 peacoat would give you a nice trim fit, but not room to layer. The p2p on the size 44 would be about 23.25".

A size 46 should give you a relaxed fit with room to layer a medium weight sweater or vest. The p2p on a size 46 would be about 24.5".

A size 48 would be too big on you, even with layering.

As examples, my chest size is 42". I have two size 40 peacoats. They give me a trim fit, but still with enough room to be comfortable. My size 42 peacoats allow room for a sweater or a vest.

The tag sizes are usually accurate, but not always. That's why one should always get the p2p measurements. Another critical measurement is the sleeve length as some of the sleeves have been shortened. See my article in order to tell the seller how to measure the coat. Sellers don't inherently know these things and need to be told exactly how to do it.
 

Thin White Duke

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@Peacoat I’d just like to commend you again for your sterling work on this thread and the original FL thread.

I’m curious about the difference between Kersey and Melton.
Most informed people seem to accept Kersey as being superior. I wonder is this due to heavier weight? Or denser weave? Or both? Does the denser weave contribute to better wind and rain resistance?

We tend to lean towards natural fibres over man-made but I wonder if the nylon content of the Melton adds to water resistance? Does the toasty-sounding quilted lining make up for the lighter weight Melton or is it still inferior warmth-wise to Kersey?
 

Peacoat

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@Peacoat I’d just like to commend you again for your sterling work on this thread and the original FL thread.

I’m curious about the difference between Kersey and Melton.
Most informed people seem to accept Kersey as being superior. I wonder is this due to heavier weight? Or denser weave? Or both? Does the denser weave contribute to better wind and rain resistance?

We tend to lean towards natural fibres over man-made but I wonder if the nylon content of the Melton adds to water resistance? Does the toasty-sounding quilted lining make up for the lighter weight Melton or is it still inferior warmth-wise to Kersey?
Thank you for your kind words.

Yes, the Kersey is heavier and more dense. This makes it superior to the Melton which is a looser weave and has a nappy finish. The Kersey is smooth to the touch. To compensate for the looser and lighter weave, the Navy added a liner to the Melton coats. This makes it a warm coat and cuts down on the wind entering the coat and stripping the warmth from the body of the wearer.

I don't think the US Navy specs allowed for any nylon in the Melton shell. I believe it is 100% wool. Many of the civilian mall jackets do have a nylon blend, usually 80/20, which is what the Schott, and some others, use. Don't think that will add to the water resistance, though.

I had a post 1979 coat that had the liner. I could tell no appreciable difference in warmth between the two styles. Never did an objective test to compare the water or wind resistance of the Melton compared to the Kersey, but other than the sleeves, I think they would be about the same. The liner is only in the body of the coat.

A long time friend of mine needed a warm winter coat, so I gave it to him. It's his everyday wearer, and he loves it. Several years ago, I jokingly told him I was going to take it back. He didn't appreciate it as a joke and was ready to fight me for it.

In addition to the article I wrote, there is a major peacoat thread on the Fedora. There is a lot of information in that thread. Much of it is misinformation in first part of the thread until I came along and started posting in it in January, 2006. After that it is mostly accurate. If interested, the link is below:

 

FlyingHorker

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In my opinion the quality of the Schott peacoat isn't good. It is Melton wool, and it is a blend at 80/20. I would stay away from it if you want warmth with water and wind resistance. Basically, it is a mall coat.

The Kersey coats are still readily available, and are inexpensive. My article you read tells the buyer how to get a quality coat and a good fit.

Good luck whichever path you choose. PC
If this is referring to the 32 oz. 740N Schott peacoat, I firmly disagree on "stay away from it if you want warmth with water and wind resistance."

I've worn it in -40F weather with wind chill and layers, and it kept me pretty warm and dry.
 

Peacoat

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You must have had some pretty strong layers to be comfortable at –40° in a Schott. At that temp I would quickly freeze to death even wearing my Canada Goose down filled parka.

When I was in NYC years ago, the main outerwear for college kids was the surplus US Navy peacoat. Normal night time temps were in the teens or lower 20s. To stay comfortable at those temps, I needed a sweater under my peacoat. And this was the thick tightly woven Kersey shell.

The material Schott uses is the looser woven Melton shell. The Navy, to save a little money, switched to this fabric in 1980. To get the same warmth and protection from the wind, an inner insulating liner was added. No such liner was needed in the pre 1980 Kersey coats.
 

FlyingHorker

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You must have had some pretty strong layers to be comfortable at –40° in a Schott. At that temp I would quickly freeze to death even wearing my Canada Goose down filled parka.

When I was in NYC years ago, the main outerwear for college kids was the surplus US Navy peacoat. Normal night time temps were in the teens or lower 20s. To stay comfortable at those temps, I needed a sweater under my peacoat. And this was the thick tightly woven Kersey shell.

The material Schott uses is the looser woven Melton shell. The Navy, to save a little money, switched to this fabric in 1980. To get the same warmth and protection from the wind, an inner insulating liner was added. No such liner was needed in the pre 1980 Kersey coats.
I think how long you are outside and how much you move matters a lot.

I was only outside for 10 minutes. I should add I nearly gave myself frostbite by not wearing a beanie/toque.

Ahhh, I see, the last paragraph explains the quality difference, thank you.
 

jayvee

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I like the look of the pre WW1 buzz rickson. It’s longer than the ww2 versions and that suits me better. A bit confusing about the material, on history preservation it says it’s both kersey and Melton obviously that can’t be right.

 

Peacoat

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I like the look of the pre WW1 buzz rickson. It’s longer than the ww2 versions and that suits me better. A bit confusing about the material, on history preservation it says it’s both kersey and Melton obviously that can’t be right.

While the Buzz Rickson is a nice coat, it doesn't have the Kersey shell. That fabric, unfortunately, is no longer available, so the Buzz is sourced from the available Melton fabric.

And a minor point of correction, this Buzz Rickson isn't a copy of a pre WWI coat, it is a copy of the WWI coat. The farthest back I have been able to take the Navy peacoat is 1897. The uniform regulations for that year have a drawing that specifies the features for the peacoat for that contract. It is the same peacoat that we know as the WWI peacoat.

That style was in existence until about 1938 when the WWII era peacoat was introduced. The WWII model was only in existence for about 7 years when it was replaced by the post WWII peacoat, the longest lived of all of the peacoats.

The post WWII peacoat was in service for about 74 years, until it was phased out in 2019. The only change in all of those years was in the shell: it changed from the classic Kersey to the lighter weight Melton. There was also a concomitant change in color from the classic midnight blue to black. The change from Kersey to Melton was an unfortunate one, done in an attempt to save money.

Both the Navy and Sterlingwear, the manufacturor since the 70s, insist the color is a very dark blue. Sorry but I just don't see any blue in the latest iteration of the peacoat. It's black. But, unfortunately, that chapter in Naval history is closed, and we all must move on.
 

RY4N

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I am looking for a peacoat, but historical accuracy and warmness are not my top priority. I am actually more often too warm than too cold. I want a peacoat with pockets that don't let everything fall out. Suggestions?
 

Thin White Duke

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I like the look of the pre WW1 buzz rickson. It’s longer than the ww2 versions and that suits me better. A bit confusing about the material, on history preservation it says it’s both kersey and Melton obviously that can’t be right.

It’s interesting to read advertising blurb sometimes but in this case it’s confusing and contradictory. That piece states that the WW1 coat was made of 36 ounce melton, and later that the Buzz Rickson is an exact copy ... but uses 30 ounce “kearsey” (sic).
If they’re gonna make pronouncements as to the precision of replica gear they might at least proof read and get the basic facts of the material correct!

I think a slightly longer pea coat that can cover any blazer type jacket worn underneath is a good idea but I never liked that arrangement of too-high hand warmer pockets to accommodate lower flapped pockets. Would have been better to keep the arrangement of lower and more practical hand warmer pockets as in the ‘classic’ period. There’s a good reason that basic style was never messed with for seventy-odd years!
 

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