Thursday, November 28, 2013
Origins of the Grizzly
For those who could afford it, fur was the best material in the constant battle between warmth and weight. It was the material of choice for high end cold weather motoring garments, as it was water and wind resistant and above all, warm. At this point, leather was used mostly for windproofing, and was often found on the inside of coats as a lining. Below is an ad from 1905 for a Russian ponyskin coat.
While most Grizzly Jackets were made of horsehide and mouton, early "Fur Blouses" truly were fur.
The Edes Robe Tanning Company was founded c.1905 by Canadian-born St. Clair Ede. The company once had locations in Dubuque, Iowa, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska and Souix Falls, South Dakota. Their primary business was ponyskin lap robes for carriages and early open automobiles. As carriages were replaced by automobiles, and as car design became enclosed, the need for fur robes mostly evaporated. Faced with a changing market, Edes focused their attention on their fur coat business, producing fur coats for men and women under the King-O-FUR label. Unlike many furriers, Edes took styling cues from the new waist-length outdoorsman's leather jacket styles, but made them in the material they knew best- ponyskin.
Men's Pony Jackets by Ede's King-O-FUR. Waterproof and Mothproof.
Early jacket in the knit knecked style innovated by Summit in the 1910s.
The jacket, with leather sleeves and trim and a fur body would catch on. Other companies began producing the style, modified with thick mouton panels instead of hair-on ponyskin, in the early 1930s, with the style peaking in popularity in 1937. King-O-Fur would introduce the slogan "Not an Imitation and Not Imitated". St. Claire Ede died in 1938 and the company was taken over by his widow Louise A Ede. The company was dissolved on November 15, 1939.