Everything Vintage Irvins

Discussion in 'Vintage' started by Roughwear, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Talking to Andrew we wanted to start a vintage Irvin thread so I have copied over some Irvin pics to get it started.Near mint 1938 by Irvin Air Chute and mint 1941 Irvin by Wareings. Both size 5.

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    1941 below:

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    Wing Commander's No 1 uniform.

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    I recently took possession of a rather nice four panel Irvin, which IMO dates to late 1940. It has the Crown and AM on the zip pulls, which was only stamped on zip pulls from this period onwards. The jacket is a size 5 and I love the almost copper coloured fleece. It has had very little wear.

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    I have long been interested in the differences between the "house" features of different makers. Wareing and Co invariably used large collar rings, and wide belt loops for example. Links used rounded collars whilst Irvin Air Chute had squarer collars. Here are some pictures of my 1938 and 1940 Irvins. The 1938 jacket is the work of Irvin Air Chute. The 1940 jacket is the work of DGL.

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    1938 view of collar rings and construction of the leather loop.

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    1940 jacket has larger rings and a very different style of fixing the collar ring loop to the collar.

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    1938 Irvin's slider bucket is marked "Dot British" and has conventional sized rivet heads.

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    On the 1940 jacket the slider bucket is marked "Dot made in England" and it has over large rivet heads.

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    Notice the pattern of the 8 ventilation rings on the 1940 Ivin.

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    Now the 1938 Irvin

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    Buckle on the 1938 Irvin

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    And on the 1940 jacket.

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    Both jackets together, with the 1940 on top.

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    1938 Irvin.

    I bought this jacket for a lowish price on Ebay recently. The leather was very dry and tender on the shoulders. Pecards has done wonders with it. I replaced some of the sheepskin on the shoulders with 1930s sheepskin from a wrecked pair of flying trousers. I used original leather seam tapes to complete the job. The "V" shape below the neck is however original to the jacket.

    This appears to be an early Irvin, probably dating from the period 1933-5. It is made of the characteristic uniform, close pile fleece. The main zip slider bucket is marked "Dot made in England" and the slider/pull is the single trunnion brass Dot variety which is found on the earliest Irvins. One sleeve zip has a double trunnion nickle Dot with the mottled/horizontal lined pull and the other is a cast double trunnion slider with the brass pull with the usual "Dot made in England" stamping. All the zips are original to the jacket.

    Some of the seams were re-stritched by the previous owner using black thread and I will re-do them eventually. There is the normal wear to the cuffs. The jacket would equate to a wartime size 5.

    Although it can be worn, it is for display like my four panel early IAC jacket.
    Here are some pics.

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    Earlier last year I bought a late War multi-panelled Irvin. It's a size 5. The jacket is complete with the AM label. The main zip is a Lightning and the sleeve zips have the kings crown on them, the AM and F.S.. I'm not sure what F.S. standards for. I have seen many late War Irvins with F.F. on the zip pulls, which probably stands for "Flash Fastener". The jacket is in superb condition, with no obvious fleece wear.

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    Below are up to date photos of my 1933 Irvin, taken with my new camera. It is the four panel back construction as opposed to the two. The leather zip pulls are all original, as is the collar securing strap. The brass pulls are stamped "Dot made in England" and the slider bucket is unmarked. The stamped numbers 33 are visible on the label. It is made of high quality shortpile fleece, which is generally supple. The elastic collar securing strap is entirely original.

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  2. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    I was asked Jason for pictures of Irvin labels. I have put them here for ease of reference. They appear to have been made of cotton or linen. Here are a few. :)

    1935 Irvin jacket
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    Wareing and Co trousers -1939 contract

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    1941 contract Irvin Air chute jacket

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    Late War jacket

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    1940 contract jacket by Links

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  3. BONNIEGIRL4

    BONNIEGIRL4 New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Andrew, some of your Irvins are so cherry, I think your banging them out in your basement - TOM
     
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  4. better duck

    better duck Active Member

    Messages:
    1,200
    Location:
    Groningen, Holland
    My thought exactly; I can see him cutting, hammering and sewing away at night wearing his Wing Commander's uniform (covered by a neat apron of course). The missus is probably in on it too, probably a master forger, turning out labels as pictured at request... :D ;) :shock: :p


    No really: very, very impressive collection Andrew, I'd love to come and see them for myself sometime, when visiting my sister in Hackney, London. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,178
    Location:
    Ireland
    Here's my one and only Irvin. It's a pre war type by Irvin Air Chute. It's a really solid wearer and all original.
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  6. bazelot

    bazelot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,516
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Nice jacket Peter, I had never seen this one. Fits you well. Probably very appropriate for the Irish weather :)
     
  7. TankBuster

    TankBuster Active Member

    Messages:
    2,867
    Location:
    Midwest
    Here's mine. Larger size 5. Fits well, but I don't wear it. It's too clean!

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  8. better duck

    better duck Active Member

    Messages:
    1,200
    Location:
    Groningen, Holland
    Terrific jackets guys! I feel actually jaleous! :)
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast, Australia
    This is my favourite Irvin. A pre-War as usual noname impossible to identify brand but I love it. It has been refurbed by Aero although the work done is so professionally you cannot tell what's been done.

    It is slightly lighter weight fleece (probably just worn down) than any other Irvin i've had which is fine here since I only get to wear it driving in out mild winter withouf a roof, early morning, evening or FLYING (get the picture- hardly ever!). It shows some wear to the fleece in the usual spots, and at one time I considered replacing the collar fleeve as the uneven wear bothered me for some reason. The fit is perfect for me as I don't like short sleeves or body and this one is slightly longer in the body than any other.

    The colour is all original, it's never been re-stained as many jackets have been, and as the arms show more wear than other parts I like to think it saw action in fighters- slipping in and out of cockpits and rubbing the sides... No label as is normal and is a possible pointer to having been flown in combat. The zips are DOT stamped, and Aero replaced the main one with a NOS one. Hide is all solid with no repairs or weak spots. It's about a size 6. All round makes a great wearer (if i had the chance!).

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  10. Jamesp

    Jamesp New Member

    Messages:
    81
    This is my early pre-war Air Chute Irvin.

    It’s a bit fragile and has lost some its colour at the back (sunlight bleaching?)
    But it’s all there.
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    I have the name and some details of the Blenheim gunner who it belonged to.

    James.

    p.s Andrew, your bi-plane co-pilot looks a bit worried :)
     
  11. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,178
    Location:
    Ireland
    Jamesp, I really like the way your Irvin has faded across the back. No mistaking that for a repro ! Is that your 110 in the pics ? For work or play ?
     
  12. Jamesp

    Jamesp New Member

    Messages:
    81
    Yes it's my 110.

    Mostly for work I'm afraid.

    Did an extreme trial recently but in my pals 90!

    Most of my spare time is taken up with old motorcycles, oh and buying old jackets of course!!

    James.
     
  13. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Andrew there are only two known pre-war makers of Irvins, Irvin Air Chute and Wareings. Your jacket has all the features of an IAC jacket-cerainly not the work of Wareings. IAC went through a phase of making Irvins from thinner sheepskin in around 1937-9, as well as the thicker ones to. I wonder if the thinner ones were for fighter pilots sitting in their cramped cockpits and the thicker ones for bomber crew-pure speculation of course.
     
  14. Jason

    Jason Member

    Messages:
    728
    Location:
    Tasmania, Australia
    I think we've decided that my Irvin is a Links. Needed a little restoration, some of the seam tapes were worn and perished and subesquently replaced , the buckle was missing (ELC replacement) - but suprisingly not too much wear except on the cuffs as you normally get. I got it for a very good price, due to a confusing ebay listing - the seller had mixed in photos of the actual item with photos of a low grade modern reproduction.

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  15. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jason for this post. Your Links Irvin looks fantastic now. I remember reading about your restoration work two or so forums ago. Links appears to have been one of the smaller makers. Most of the Links jackets I have seen are the 1940 contract. There seem to fewer from the mid war years.Do you get much wear out of it in Australia?
     
  16. Jason

    Jason Member

    Messages:
    728
    Location:
    Tasmania, Australia
    This is what my Irvin looked like as I received it (GBP 139 in case you were wondering!)

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    you can see how the cow hide seam tapes were drying out quite badly in places. What I did was to source some matching cow hide - in the end a local furniture manufacturer came to my rescue there. He had some 'oil pull' cowhide of the right thickness and pretty close to the right shade of brown - so $10 later, I had more than enough cow hide to do the works. Similarly, the missing buckle was supplied by Gary Eastman for GBP 5.
    Finding someone - anyone - who would do a good job on the tape replacement was the hardest job. No-one around here wants to work with leather, unless its to do with belts. I eventually found a person, possibly the only one in Tasmania, who would take on the job. I asked him to use his best judgement in keeping as much originality as possible - and I think he went possibly just a little too far in replacing some seams, but overall a nice job. Here's a sample of his works:
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    In the last image, the vertical back seam has been replaced completely - not a bad match really.

    And of course the obligatory feed with Pecards, and the dryness of the jacket just vanished and I have what I have today.

    Where I am in Australia - the island state of Tasmania to the south - the climate is similar to that of the UK - doesn't snow at sea level here much, but definitely as much wind, rain, fog and occasional summer heat as the UK. The last winter was quite mild, but I'm looking forward to making more use of it this winter. I met the Aussie Prime Minister last year on a bitterly cold morning, and I was wearing the Irvin at the time. An Irvin with a bit of modern pedigree!
     
  17. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    BLACK FLEECE IRVIN

    Today I bought a very rare black fleece mid War Irvin on Ebay. It's in fantastic condition, without the normal wear to the fleece. I know it has been discussed in in Auction talk, but it will get lost there! The jacket may be the work of Robinson and Ensum (certainly not Wareings or Links) as it has features found on a jacket by this maker (name on the label) which I used own. It appears to be a size 4 so should fit me fine. It has the owner's initials painted on the back. The zips are all Lightnings, another feature of Robinson and Ensum. (It was more common to use a Lightning main zip and Dot or, from late 1943, Flash Fastener sleeve zips) Here are some pics.

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  18. SteveN

    SteveN Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, USA
    Just wondering, how did you meet the PM? And which one?

    - SteveN
     
  19. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,573
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast, Australia
    Great jacket Jason, lucky to get all the wear you do.
     
  20. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Here are some more pictures of the black fleece Irvin. The zips are Lightnings. It is very comfortable to wear. The black fleece is softer than on most Irvins I have handled.

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