Monday, June 29, 2009

Archival Details: 1930s Filson Cruiser

Here's a vintage, 1930s-era Filson cruiser jacket up for auction on ebay. The seller emailed the other day because he was trying to date the jacket and saw a similar version on my flickr photostream. Pricepoint for the jacket is too steep for me. However, I asked permission to post some auction photos to document design details-- snaps, garment tag, double fabric arms, perfect pocking, stitching style--still found on current generation cruisers.

Randomly, at some point, I'd like to coordinate a comprehensive database of historical Filson garments, catalogs and print ephemera.

Related complaint: why has Filson not introduced a version of the Cruiser (a scaled down exact replica) for its women's product line? If you were developing a heritage collection for women, wouldn't you start with your most iconic garment (rather than offering new style shirts and jackets that just as easily could have been produced by LL Bean or Lands End or Liz Claiborne?).

1920s era Filson (split pockets!)

1930s-era Tin Cruiser

1949 "Shedpel" brand cruiser (rebadged Filson?)

Dry finish (Fil-Duck?) Cruiser from the mid-1980s

Filson Cruiser available now


Alaskatux said...

That's a lot of money for a cruiser of that vintage. The period it was dated at is correct. I would have valued it closer to $400. Now if it were a patent-era cruiser 1914-1920ish I could see $750 and beyond. I can't answer your question about a true cruiser for women from Filson. I remember they were available until sometime in the mid-1990's though. The 110W in Navy was the last I remember seeing. The 83W also ended about that time. Sizes 8-16 for both styles I think.

Alaskatux said...

That would be Mackinaw not Fil-Duck or Oil Finish Tin. The Fil-Duck or Dry Finish Cruiser as well as the Oil Finish Tin has never been offered in a womens version or sizing.

Lesli Larson said...


Thanks for the pricing clarification. I'd love to see more photos of a "patent-era" cruiser.

I have a few examples of the mackinaw cruiser for women (nice, uber trim cut w/super short sleeves). And to be fair, Filson does sell a "Timber cruiser" jacket for women... but in wool only (and with a band rather than spread collar).

What is Fil-Duck fabric?

Anonymous said...

The womens Timber Jacket is not techinally a cruiser. All cruisers must have the signature rear pocket forming a double back to be called a cruiser. The Women's Wool Cruiser #20018 is closer in fit to the men's style 110. It is somewhat odd to have 2 wool jackets in the line that borrow from the original 110 neither are true to the original. Fil-Duck was a proprietary fabric of sorts Filson had milled and finished back in the day. Current dry finish tin is pretty darn identical but is sourced from overseas compared to the orginal Fil-Duck which was a U.S. sourced grey good. Kind of like the old Filson Forestry Cloth or Forsett Cloth. But neither of those were replicated or were able to be sourced when they "went away".

Lesli Larson said...


Do you know whether the mills that produced Fil-duk or the Forestry cloth are still around? I believe the mill that produced original Filson whipcord fabric was Oregon based and went out of business.

Yes, strange about the current wool cruisers for women. I think there's some operating design principal that privileges light weight over practical pocketing when it comes to womens jackets. The current timber cruiser IS a nice jacket (I like the band collar) but it really does lack decent carrying capacity.

I do wish there were more "back in the day" elements to the current product offerings. I wonder if we'll ever see the likes of Forestry cloth again. Unfortunately, that was a fabric that never made its way into the womens original product line (the 110w). I should have placed a custom order when I had the chance.

Tim Girvin said...

I have an interesting recollection -- working on the Seattle waterfront as a designer, looking out to the Ferry terminals, I had an office just up a floor or two from Filson's production facility -- filled with I'd guess maybe 60 women, all sewing; and there was a guy up front in the shop, who ran the place; back then, decades ago, that was Filson; it's interesting to watch the evolution of the brand -- from the reclamation of older products, to the rejuvenation of the new offerings. Time tells. Blog here., Girvin brand work, here:

Love Archival clothing, I do. tsg / san juan islands