Jacket Evaluation: Eastman Rough Wear 27752(Filed: 8 January 2002)
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Maker: Eastman Leather Clothing
Model: Reproduction Rough Wear Clothing W535 AC-27752, horsehide, seal brown
Size: 40 regular
Date of manufacture: December 2001
Date of evaluation: January 2002
Fit/cut/proportionThis jacket is constructed within correct proportions consistent with original wartime A-2 examples.
Within the past year Eastman determined that some changes would be appropriate for their sizing patterns to be more representative of the average original A-2. This is the first A-2 I have seen which has incorporated these changes, and I found them to work well for me. I suspect that many other people will also find them desirable.
The most noticeable change to the pattern is that the shoulders and, to some degree, the upper torso, have been pulled in. This brings the shoulder seams inward so they no longer ride off the edge of the shoulders as much. As a result, the sleeves are pulled up and will seem shorter even though the lengths of the sleeves from shoulder to cuff have not changed. This, for some people including myself, will reduce the amount of compression or "tunneling" of the cuff knits up into the sleeve, and should also improve the sleeve fit and appearance.
The other change incorporated by Eastman is a slight tapering in the body toward the waist, but I could not discern this, so it indeed appears to be a slight change only.
Compared to my size 40 Eastman Rough Wear 1401-P of the previous pattern, I am pleased with the changes insofar as the sleeves are now at a better length for me, being pulled up a bit and reducing the compression of the cuffs. The shoulder seams, while not bad on the 1401-P, now lie more squarely on my shoulders rather than rolling off the edge a bit.
Compared to an original Rough Wear 16159 contract, which has a size 42 label but is effectively the same size as the Eastman 40, the new Eastman pattern is now more consistent in cut and appearance with the original. Actual measurements of the body panels on both jackets bear this out.
For reference, I am 5'10", 185 lbs, wear a size 42 suit jacket off the rack, and take a 34" shirt sleeve.
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. While the use of aniline dyes for Eastman jackets has usually been a distinct alternative to spray dye finishes, this jacket appears to have some kind of coating different from the other Eastman aniline jackets I have seen. Evidence for this appears in a distinct wrinkling apparent in the surface when compressed laterally, and also insofar as a small drop of water will bead up rather than soak in. So, I would surmise that some sort of finish has been applied after the aniline dye process. It also makes me wonder how the finish will wear over time, certainly being different from the naked leather surfaces of the other aniline jackets, probably being bit more resilient like a standard sprayed finish.
The finish itself has a matte appearance with a small degree of sheen. Despite the apparent outer finish layer, the fine detail of hair follicles is readily visualized, and the result is a very fine grain pattern over the whole of the jacket. This particular jacket really has no coarse wrinkling or graining in it, but has only the very uniform appearance of the follicles.
One of the aspects of aniline dying is that the color shade is more difficult to control across hides, and this is somewhat visible in this jacket. The reason for this is that if the same dye is applied to hides of differing natural base color, the final shades will be slightly different as well. This is similar to the effect of applying the same wood stain to differently colored woods. What shows up in this jacket as evidence of this is a very slight shade difference across the individual panels of leather. These differences are very small and depend upon proper lighting to even see them.
This horsehide has a soft and silky surface feel, typical of aniline dyed leather, and overall it handles firmly but feels flexible and ready to break in with wear. The thickness of the hide is consistent with that of original A-2's and, while it does have some degree of softness, there is plenty of resistance for breaking in. It feels like a good, tough jacket. There is no creaking sound of the leather, at least at this time as new.
The color is a dark seal brown, but not the near black as found in some other seal brown reproductions. It may still be a little dark compared to originals of this contract, but it is close and may well fade a bit with time.
LiningThe lining is the latest run of the reddish brown color for use in Eastman's Rough Wear jackets. It's a little heavier in weight and a little more rough feeling than what they used to use, but these aspects make it closer to the original. Aside from a faint vertical pattern of lines at about 1/16" spacing, the appearance and weave of the lining is consistent with originals.
KnitsMedium brown in color. The shade of brown is now a little bit darker than what Eastman used to use, and this is a nice change. The previous lighter shade, while still accurate, was not as fully representative of most originals as this darker shade is. The knit is a good weight and thickness similar to originals. While they are just a bit on the soft and fuzzy side compared to the harder originals, they should become more crisp with time and wear. The cuff knits have a double weave, looser at the top portion, as true to original A-2's.
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. This zipper is accurate for the RW 27752 jacket.
There is triangular stitching reinforcements on both sides of the bottom of the zipper, also true to the original.
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, essentially correct size and shape, but the hook side could be a little rounder and also more uniform in width where it is flattened.
StitchingLight Olive Drab (O.D.) cotton, eight stitches per inch, consistent with originals of this contract.
Contrasting nicely with the color of the 27752 is this most recent shade of O.D. thread now being used by Eastman. This new thread is a lighter, more khaki shade of cotton and it is, I feel, an improvement over the previous O.D. thread which was extremely green. The shade is now more consistent with wartime jackets, though the lightness is like that of aged jackets, so this new jacket will take some wear to catch up. By comparison, the previous green thread took a long while to fade and had to catch up with the jacket wear.
NOTE...it was very difficult to get the true shade of the thread represented in the photos. While the thread in the photos looks very light and bright, the thread color is actually a much more subdued khaki to pea green shade. The photo of the label is the most accurate depiction of the thread color.
Top stitching placement from seam1/8 inches all around. Original Rough Wear jackets typically have a slightly wider spacing on the sleeves, though.
CollarCorrect Rough Wear collar point shape. The point is about 2-13/16 inches from forward attachment and forms an angle of about 70 degrees. The example I have of an original Rough Wear of an earlier contract measures at 3 inches and also forms an angle of about 70 degrees.
The collar is attached with a collar stand which averages about 11/16 inches in width.
Epaulets1-7/8 inches wide at shoulder, 1-1/2 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 flapVaries from 1-1/4 to 1-5/16 inches wide from edge to inside stitch line. 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).
The sleeve length is proportional to the jacket with only a small amount of cuff compression with arms at the side. As mentioned previously, the new patterns will effectively reduce the sleeve length due to bringing in the shoulders on the body panels.
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. The bottom corners of the pockets themselves are also of a proper radius of curvature. Size, position, and stitching are also proper for Rough Wear.
Hanger loopBox stitched.
TYPE A-2 DRAWING NO.30-1415 CONTRACT NO.W535 AC-27752 ROUGH WEAR CLOTHING CO. MIDDLETOWN, PA. PROPERTY AIR FORCE U.S.ARMYCompared to original labels, this one is excellent and one of Eastman's best. Note the oversized A in "A-2" as used on this contract label. The only, and minor, disparities from the original are in some small spacing differences, and in the text of the fifth and sixth lines being just a bit larger in size.
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 labelThere is a white label under the left side of the right pocket flap with RW for Rough Wear, a serial number, and the size, all very much like originals. In the left pocket is a woven label of contemporary necessity stating that the jacket is genuine horsehide.
Inspector stampCorrect type stamp with AN and X60 within a circle placed on the lining toward the bottom left corner, as typical for Rough Wear. The diameter of the circle is 1/2 inch, which is slightly smaller than the often seen original mark of 5/8 inches diameter.
Insignia stamp/transferIn this particular example there is an AAF insignia stamped in black ink on the lining just below the label. This is an Eastman option which this jacket happened to have. The stamp is a reproduction of the authorized 1-5/8 inch diameter version of this insignia. Original jackets and other clothing often used this size or the 2-1/2 inch size. This reproduction is very good, while being just slightly small by 1/16 inch in diameter. The AAF text below the wing and star is also just a bit short in length versus the spec.
ConclusionThis Rough Wear 27752 reproduction offers a very high level of historical authenticity. It also offers a nice alternative to Eastman's 1401-P Rough Wear contract for those who prefer a darker jacket, or even for those who just really like the big A on the label. Similar to the 1401-P, it would be difficult to improve upon the overall quality and authenticity of this jacket.
As this is the first Eastman A-2 I have seen with the recently revised sizing patterns, it is worth emphasizing that this will need to be taken into account for future purchases for those who have not yet worn one. The changes are positive ones for my own fit but, as they say, your mileage may vary.
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 © 2002 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.