Jacket Evaluation: Eastman Rough Wear 42-1401 P(Filed: 20 November 1999)
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Maker: Eastman Leather Clothing
Model: Reproduction Rough Wear 42-1401P, horsehide, russet, aniline dyed
Size: 40 regular
Date of manufacture: October 1999
Date of evaluation: 20 November 1999
Fit/cut/proportionThis jacket is constructed within correct proportions consistent with original wartime A-2 examples.
For reference, I am 5'10", 180 lbs, wear a size 42 suit jacket off the rack, and take a 34" shirt sleeve. This size 40 regular A-2 is an overall proper fit for me. When wearing only an average weight shirt underneath, the shoulder seams lie at the edges of my shoulders and perhaps just a slight bit over the edges. With my arms relaxed at my side, the sleeves are of a length to cause a slight compression of the cuff knits. The overall look of this jacket in cut and fit is consistent with original jackets.
Hide[NOTE: More so than any other component of an A-2, the hide may vary from jacket to jacket and so not all of the observations from this one example will necessarily be consistent with other individual examples, nor will they be representative of the effects of time and wear.]
The hide is vegetable tanned and aniline dyed with a hand applied finish. The finish has a medium shininess to it. The feel of the surface as new is smooth to the touch. This horsehide is soft and supple and will require very little breaking in for comfort. Despite the softness, the leather still has a relative firmness and resistance to its feel. This is in contrast to my 1993 Eastman Rough Wear 1401 which has a bit of a sponge-y feel to the hide.
The hide is of an average thickness and weight compared to originals and is very consistent over the whole of the jacket. Despite the softness of the hide, it does give a good sense of heft and strength.
The color is nominally a russet brown but it shows more red than most other russet jackets and appears with an essence of burgundy/cordovan. The color shows differently in different light and may well evolve somewhat with time and wear. The color appears to be very uniform over the jacket.
There is a fine and definite grain structure over most all of the hide, with sufficient variation to impart an individual character. It would seem that with wear, the grain and natural wrinkling of the hide should develop further and add to this character. As this particular hide treatment is relatively new from Eastman, this assumption will need to be revisited. Furthermore, the prominence of the definition of the grain in this hide is truly different from the older Eastman jackets in which the finish, or perhaps the tanning process, seemed to diminish the clarity of the fine grain while allowing the coarser wrinkling to come forth.
I was originally going to stop here with my hide description. But, I got a little curious about the grain structure I was looking at since I had never seen it from Eastman prior to this vegetable tanned hide and didn't recall seeing it on any other reproduction. I wanted to see if there was anything similar on my original A-2s and, since they all have different hide characters, I figured there would be a chance. Sure enough, the Poughkeepsie sleeves and collar pieces were so similar to the Eastman hide that I would have sworn they came from the same source. While the body panels of the Poughkeepsie are of a much deeper and coarser grain and wrinkling than any part of the Eastman, the similarity of the other pieces made me appreciate the impressive accomplishment behind this reproduction hide.
Specifically, the under sleeve panel on the right sleeve of each jacket has a relatively fine grain but with some sparsely spaced larger lines of wrinkling, more so toward the cuff. Both panels of the left sleeve on each jacket are of a finer grain pattern than the right sleeve and this time without the larger wrinkles. The outside layer of the collar on each jacket resembles the grain and wrinkling as described on the right sleeve while the underside layer of each jacket collar is very smooth and extremely fine grained. It's almost as if the Poughkeepsie had been sitting on the table when the Eastman jacket was being constructed, but that's not possible since I've been in possession of the Poughkeepsie since 1996.
I have never seen a reproduction hide come this close to an original at this level of detail and definition. Photos were taken for documentation.
LiningLining is medium brown in color with a weave, weight, and texture very authentic to original linings. The color is a departure in that Eastman used to use a more reddish tone consistent with Rough Wear originals, but they state that they have documented Rough Wear jackets with the darker shade lining.
KnitsLight medium brown. Good weight and thickness similar to originals.
ZipperNew old stock nickel Talon style with unmarked vertical bar on slider, and simple lines pattern on stopper box. C-shaped stopper clips at top of zipper. Zipper tape is folded over at bottom. Correct triangular stitching reinforcements at the bottom of each side of the zipper.
My belief is that this contract would have had Crown zippers, and if any of the jackets had Talon zippers, they would have been the earlier triple-marked version. Unfortunately, these just don't exist in any quantity today and reproduction would likely be prohibitively expensive. Since the Talon zip used is both original and entirely accurate for wartime A-2 jackets, it should be regarded as a suitable substitution for all but the most severely demanding among us.
SnapsGun metal grey ball stud snaps, semi-matte finish. The ball studs are the same size for both collar and pocket, but the base under the stud is smaller on the collar than on the pocket. This is consistent with the original Rough Wear I have. The only real difference from the original is that the original has a dimple in the ball stud on the pocket snaps.
Throat hookAll nickel, correct size and shape.
StitchingOlive drab cotton, eight stitches per inch.
Top stitching placement from seam3/32 to 1/8 inches all around. Original Rough Wear jackets usually show a slightly wider displacement than this on the sleeve seams, but it seems that Eastman simply does all their jackets with the same method.
CollarCorrect Rough Wear collar point shape. Point is about 3 inches from forward attachment and forms an angle of about 75 degrees. One example of an original Rough Wear of an earlier contract measures at 3 inches and an angle of about 70 degrees, though this difference is not visually evident.
The jacket has a collar stand which averages 5/8 inches in width.
Epaulets1.75 inches wide at shoulder, 1.5 inches wide at collar.
Outside lengthwise stitch lines are 0.25 inches apart.
Box stitching at both ends are nearly square, slightly longer than wide, with the crossing stitch lines within the inside of the two lengthwise stitch lines.
Overall, very authentic to original Rough Wear epaulets.
Wind flapGenerally 1.25 inches from edge to inside stitch line, with some slight variation along the length. This is generally a good width, although some originals appear just a bit wider.
SleevesCommon configuration with the top stitched seam aligned with the back of the arm and running across the elbow, while the bare seam is aligned with the jacket side seam and runs along the side of the arm to align with the thumb when the arm is at the side and the thumb is against the leg (back of the hand facing forward). In this configuration, the under sleeve panel is much narrower than the other.
The sleeve length is reasonably proportional to the jacket with only a small amount of cuff compression with arms at the side. Sleeve taper is proper with the diameter at the end of the sleeve closing down properly to the wrist and with no overstretching of the knit where it attaches. Width of upper sleeve is somewhat roomy without appearing oversized when worn.
PocketsThe pocket flap shape is of a soft curve and correctly typical of Rough Wear, even if a bit understated. The bottom corners of the pockets themselves are also of a proper radius of curvature. Size, position, and stitching are also proper.
Hanger loopBox stitched.
TYPE A-2 DRAWING NO. 30-1415 CONTRACT NO. 42-1401 P ROUGH WEAR CLOTHING CO. MIDDLETOWN, PA.Compared to original labels, this one is very good with some minor variation existing in the center three lines which are relatively stretched in height compared to the other two lines and to original labels. The lettering is correctly of yellow threads woven into a black panel.
A correct border exists around all outer edges of the label.
Size tab is correct size and numeral style.
Pocket labelWhite label under left side of right pocket flap with RW, serial number, and size. Very much like originals.
Inspector stampCorrect stamp with AN and X60 within circle placed on lining toward bottom left front corner, as in originals. Outside diameter of circle is 9/16 inches, which is slightly smaller than the often seen original mark of 5/8 inches diameter. My 1993 Eastman Rough Wear has a 5/8 inch mark but with AN P138 inside.
Insignia stamp/transferNo AAF insignia stamps or transfers on this example.
Summary and overall impressionThe construction and quality of this jacket and the faithfulness to the original Rough Wear are uniformly excellent and would be difficult to exceed. The character of the hide, in particular by bearing such a strong resemblance to a hide of wartime manufacture, stands out as a defining feature.
The combination of quality and authenticity comes about as close to rating a 10 out of 10 as I've seen in a reproduction. By my personal qualifications, it could have a chance at a 10 if it had a Crown zip, was less red in tone, had the more reddish than brown lining, had dimples in the pocket snap studs, and had some other small adjustments to the label lettering, the seam top stitching, the size of the inspection stamp, and maybe a little wider wind flap. Admittedly, though, that's lot of picky detail. I would highly recommend this jacket to anyone.
For more informationSee the Eastman Leather Clothing Web site at www.eastmanleather.com. For U.S. and Canadian sales and information, see the History Preservation Associates Web site at www.historypreservation.com.
Copyright © 1999 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.