Thursday, 18 May 2017

The origins of "The yellow rain slicker"

 "The origins of the waxed cotton used in the Filson garments and in our Australian riding coats go back to a Scottish mill that wove sails for the British clipper fleet. The mill made flax (linen) sails for the early clipper ships. Linseed oil was produced from the seeds extracted from the flax plants, and the oil was used to waterproof sailcloth for use in seamen's clothing, particularly seamen's capes, the forerunner of the fisherman's slicker. The capes were fully waterproof, but heavy and became very stiff in cold weather. They also turned yellow in time, leading to the traditional yellow of the fisherman's slicker. By the mid 1800's, as the design of the clipper ships developed towards faster ships with larger sails, flax sails proved too heavy. A new cotton sail, made from strong two-ply yarns in both warp and weft, provided the lighter cloth with the extra strength for the larger sails. The new cotton material also was better for waterproof clothing, and, treated with linseed oil, was used for mariners' waterproof clothing with little change up to the 1930's."

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