Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fantastic 1880s photo of a miner in a 3-pleat jacket

I just noticed this lovely photo that came through to my spam folder, sent to me by JDW. Thanks, JD! He writes," I found a photo held by the Library of Congress (USA) of miners taking a break after dinner at a mine in Atlanta, Idaho taken in the 1880s, and one gnarly miner appears to be wearing an iteration of the three pleat jacket. I found the picture to contain great character and thought that you might like to see it as well (if you haven't already)."

 The jacket indeed looks very similar to the Levi's 3-pleat - but for the higher pocket positioning, and the fact there appears to be just the one pocket. It's possible it could be made by Levi's nonetheless -  Levi's items were home-sewn, contracted out to individuals around San Francisco, and there are often significant constructional differences between similar models. One fascinating aspect of early workwear is that many designs were generic - was one manufacturer copying another, or were they all basing their designs on previous items?  So many makers were recent immigrants, these were quite possibly based on European originals.

Take a look at the original photo; I have written to the Library of Congress asking to reproduce it on this blog.