Re: 1812 Fustian Jackets vs. Great Coats
- ! Ann's comments on the Fustian cloth have really helped to clarify things also - I had thought the fustian cloth was something like a 'felt' perhaps, but it almost sounds more like a denim maybe?
As I said, fustian was applied to many different things, so hard to tell--if it was a twill weave, it might have resembled denim. But the more usual greatcoat cloth was heavily fulled broadcloth. Fulling is a process of treating the woven wool with soap, water, and agitation so the fabric shrinks up and the fibers tend to lock together (so, yes, similar to felt) and the result is, as I said, wind proof and water repellant (part of the water repellant property of wool comes from the natural oils of the sheep that remain on the fibers). As a review, remember that wool fibers have little scales on them, and they can tend to lock together. True felt is made by just spreading the fibers in a sheet and subjecting to heat, pressure, and agitation--traditionally, Mongols put the sheets of fibers under their saddles and after several days of riding, voila! they had felt. Baize is another heavily fulled woven wool fabric--a modern equivalent is billiard cloth, used to cover pool (and billiard) tables.
Can you tell that I studied textiles in school? And Florence Montgomery's "Textiles in America" is one of the reference books I keep at hand.
From: kevinjrh <kevinjrh@...>
Sent: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 11:03 pm
Subject: Re: 1812 Fustian Jackets vs. Great Coats
Thank you again folks! You have been a WEALTH of great information! Ann's comments on the Fustian cloth have really helped to clarify things also - I had thought the fustian cloth was something like a 'felt' perhaps, but it almost sounds more like a denim maybe?
Regarding the "jacket" term, I guess it could have been something shorter than a great coat. The description I found said, "...They were dressed in grey fustian jackets to cover their red coats..." and the British red coat is roughly down to the side of the hip. With my luck, it was probably something produced by a local tailor, and I'll NEVER really figure it out! *grin*
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, annbwass@... wrote:
> I doubt that a great coat would have been called a jacket, though. In my experience (and the OED varifies it), a jacket is a short coat, without tails, or a waistcoat. "Fustian" too is rather amorphous but seems to have been a cotton/linen or cotton/wool blend fabric. Not the best choice for a great coat--they were usually made of heavily fulled wool, as the fulling made the fabric both windproof and water repellant, although of course if someone needed one in a hurry and fustian was all that was available. . . . Don't know the story well enough but it does seem unlikely that a large quantity of either short jackets or great coats could be knocked out in a couple of days--maybe with a whole crew sewing non-stop, one per coat, it could be done.
> Ann Wass
> -----Original Message-----
> From: tom4141fournier <tom4141fournier@...>
> To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Sun, Oct 31, 2010 7:06 am
> Subject: Re: 1812 Fustian Jackets vs. Great Coats
> They are wool great coats, also lined and more than warm enough for winter.
> In fact, they are probably better suited for more stationary activity like sentry duty.
> We hold drill sessions through the winter and find even on a very cold winter day that the great coat worn over our red jackets can be too warm.
> Tom Fournier
> 41st Regiment
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