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Thread: Imported Kersey

  1. #1
    bonniegreenflag Guest

    Imported Kersey

    I have a question about imported English kersey(blue/grey). Would the color of items imported be the exact same color or would they very by contract? My research so far has indicated that there may be a few shades difference. It is very hard to tell from pictures and I have no way to study origionals. I have also read every article I can find on imported kersey on the forums and could find nothing. I ask because the blue/gray offered by different high quality vendors are often nothing alike.

  2. #2
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    I looked at two kersey jackets (a "Type III" and a "Charleston Depot") side by side in Charleston, and I thought that I could detect a pronounced variance in shade. Considering the large amount of this cloth that was being imported, variation between dye lots would seem inevitable. (Plus, one of these jackets could have in theory been worn in the field for over a year, never washed, then hung in a barn for fifty years before being donated to the UDC. The other could have been worn by a clerk for three weeks then been lovingly laid away in a drawer. That could help explain the difference as well.)

    Viva la diferance!

    Neal
    Last edited by Masked Battery; 08-08-2004 at 11:22 PM.
    Neal W. Sexton

  3. #3
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    In addition to the differences in wear and storage over the years, this kind of material varied significantly in color by dint of the manufacturing process. Rather than dyeing the fabric one particular color, it was dyed in the wool, and then certain percentages of black, white, and blue were spun together into the yarn, which was then woven and fulled to produce the cloth. It would have been helpful if they referred to it in the period texts as something like "40% blue-gray cloth" or the like. They did not, however, and there are references to "blue-gray cloth" and "gray-blue cloth", sometimes in the same document. Since Tait was not making the cloth to a British military specification, he was somewhat more free to vary the color. He wasn't the sole source of the cloth, however, so it could be a matter of different mills, different cloth.

    From what I've seen, the Tait cloth is a more inky blue, and some of the Richmond Depot jackets are more gray. Could be a trick of the light, though.
    Michael McComas
    drudge-errant

  4. #4
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael McComas
    From what I've seen, the Tait cloth is a more inky blue, and some of the Richmond Depot jackets are more gray. Could be a trick of the light, though.
    Gents, those are good points. I was recently informed that Tait jackets are made from a fine broadcloth and not the so-called imported army cloth (or "blue gray" kersey) anyway. This info came from someone who had recently examined the Gouge jacket first-hand. That could also help to explain some of the differences!

    Rich Croxton

  5. #5
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    Re: Gouge jacket

    Crox-- I examined the Gouge jacket, and I personally wouldn't refer to it as being made from broadcloth, but that's just my opinion. As to whether it's made from a finer-woven material than the kersey "depot" jackets, it would be hard for me to tell without doing a side by side comparison, or without getting a thread count (which I should have done, but didn't).

    Neal
    Neal W. Sexton

  6. #6
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    Re: Gouge jacket

    Quote Originally Posted by Masked Battery
    Crox-- I examined the Gouge jacket, and I personally wouldn't refer to it as being made from broadcloth, but that's just my opinion. As to whether it's made from a finer-woven material than the kersey "depot" jackets, it would be hard for me to tell without doing a side by side comparison, or without getting a thread count (which I should have done, but didn't).

    Neal
    Hey Neal,
    Of course I am only playing messenger, so I'm not in a position to dispel or agree either. I have not seen the jacket personally, but I was wondering if it could possibly have been a more fulled kersey which might possibly be mistaken for broadcloth (by design?) I was told the source of material for Tait was different, as Mike pointed out in his post. You made a good point about the wear factor too. Gouge supposedly drew it right before the end of hostilities, so it would appear not to have seen any hard campaigning vs. some of the surviving "army cloth" depot jackets. Obviously it's a well preserved piece in any event. Any other thoughts?

    Rich Croxton

  7. #7
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    On Thursday of last week,my wife and I examined the Garret Gouge jacket which is currently in storage in the Greensboro Historical Museum. It is not often that a collections curator will let you put on the white gloves and actually touch an original,however Susan Webster, the Curator was more than willing to do so. What I gathered from looking at the coat was that it matched up nicely to the sample of FHW's English Kersey that I brought with me.Through a hole on the inside of the jacket I was able to compare the two.The material would be considered to be to rough and thick to fall into a broad cloth classification. Additionally, the color had changed over time from a crisp bright blue grey to a dull blue.
    Fenny I Hanes

    Richmond Depot, Inc.
    PO BOX 4849
    Midlothian, VA 23112
    www.richmonddepot.com
    (804)305-2968

  8. #8
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    Portsmouth, Va.
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    This jacket was at this years Gettysburg show. I was surprised at how rough the material was to the touch. The color in the pic does not reflect the true color. It was much the same as we see offered by FHW. More pictures of this jacket can be seen at http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/soldiers/CS.html
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jim Mayo

    Portsmouth Rifles, 9th Va. Inf.
    http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/9va/rifles1.html

    CW show & tell.
    http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/j_mayo/index.html

  9. #9
    bonniegreenflag Guest

    Re: Imported Kersey

    Thanks for the input all. I was recently reading Eric Mink's article on imported kersey and he found a letter whose writer stated that his imported jacket and trousers did not match. Any further thoughts?

  10. #10
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    Re: Imported Kersey

    Perhaps the letter writer's jacket was blue-grey, and his trousers were 'royal' blue?

    Neal
    Neal W. Sexton

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