February 2004

Skillet Licker-An investment in history

by Joseph Hofmann

I know that this is a broad brush stroke of a statement, however, I would like to you to know a little bit about how my business and my partnered vendors work.

When you buy any of my goods the end of the transaction brings you the enjoyment of a first rate reproduction. The money you spent does not just end with me depositing your funds and shipping you the goods.

My vendors and myself are constantly re investing in historical reproduction manufacturing and all that it entails. To be sure, I have to pay the bills and keep the business floating, but much of the money you have invested with me goes back into helping provide living historians with the very best in reproduction goods, to wit:

Purchasing originals to examine

Investment in both antique and state of the art machinery

Field trips to museums and private collections (Mike Anderson returned recently with great notes on a Sanitary Commission quilt)

Having original hardware copied and exacting replicas made for upcoming projects

All of the above and more is what we as a partnership are committed to in order to constantly remain at the forefront of the most exacting and well crafted goods in the hobby today.

Company Tailor Altered
Sack Coat / Jacket

Due to the overwhelming success of the Nathan Gale Contract Coat; Pat Brown has selected another outstanding example of an altered fatigue blouse from his book "For Fatigue Purposes". A limited amount of the Gale coat are in stock and ready to ship.

The homely fatigue blouse was often the subject of alterations by the men, either by themselves or through the services of the company tailors who served various units. Additional pockets were often added as well as adjustments to the fit of the relatively shapeless coat. Jackets were popular and if none were to be had the men sometimes undertook to alter the sack coat into one. This was nominally accomplished by shearing off the bottom third of the coat and adding darts and adjusting the side seams. In this manner a respectably stylish short jacket could be produced.

In addition, the use of coats altered into jackets by Confederate troops is also documented.

“Uniforms have been scarce as of late but you should not worry. Many of the men are wearing coats and blouses cast off by the government troops to keep out the cold and many of the company A men have fixed them into natty jackets. Even though they wear blue how fine they do look.”

John Caldwell, 5th Kentucky Infantry

While no such altered fatigue blouse is known to have survived, photographic and other documentary evidence abounds. Styles may vary slightly and often-additional buttons were added as well, but generally they were cut off at waist level and fitted.

This jacket represents just such a coat. It is an unlined, contractor-produced blouse, which is constructed mostly by machine. The alterations are performed completely by hand, representing the work of a company tailor contracted by the soldier to “fix” the coat. This is an interesting variety of the fatigue blouse offered on a very limited basis.

$160 plus S&H

Skilletlicker Research Site

Signed up yet? This fantastic resource is for our customers only; it contains the combined knowledge of the top manufacturers in our hobby today! Click here to sign up!

New updates on or about the 15th of each month so sign up today!

When I started this business over 3 years ago it was with the mindset that living historians needed to a place where they could get exceptional goods fast and efficiently, however, we are so much more than that!

Simply because an item is not listed or is out of stock does not necessarily mean that we do not make it or you have to wait an inordinate amount of time for it. I welcome your phone calls (1-800-431-1862) and emails (joe@skilletlicker.com) for any item that you might be interested in.

Some of the goods that have been made recently which have not appeared on the site are:

    • Jr. Officer trousers of kersey
    • Staff officers trouser
    • McDowell federal private purchase caps
    • Military style private purchase vests of kersey
    • Cavalry trimmed mounted service jackets
    • States Rights frocks
    • Pleated frocks
    • Balmoral shoes
    • and a host of other items...

Give me a call to discuss your needs!

Texas Penitentiary Jacket

Fred Baker's outstanding Penitentiary Jacket is still available for those who wish to place orders. The first batch has been shipped and those that have received them are, indeed, very pleased.

To order please email or call me with the following measurements: height; weight; chest size; waist size; sleeve and neck size. Coats are $195 plus S&H and will make an excellent addition to your Trans Mississippi or AOT impression.

Thanks to Chad Teasley; pictured with his brand new coat.

QMD Issue Knit Shirt

Knit Shirt: By 1865 the Quartermaster Department reported that Federal clothing depots had purchased 11 million shirts. Of these, roughly half were described as “knit”. In the war years the clothing depots of New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati alone purchased over two and a half million knit shirts from almost thirty different contractors. The earliest contract let for knit shirts was dated August 1862. The language used in contracts for this type of shirt varies but is general in nature. They are referred to as “knit”, “gray knit” or “mixed knit” among other descriptions. Some contracts specified a weight of fourteen ounces per shirt. Some shirts are known to have been collarless because some contracts specify the knit shirts to be made “with collars’ or “without collars”. Unfortunately though, no knit shirt is known to have survived and beyond the meager descriptions of the contract language all we have is photographic evidence.

Of the three principle depots (New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati), knit shirts counted for 61% of the total shirts purchased at New York and 31% at Philadelphia. Only at the Cincinnati depot were they a negligible seven percent. This is possibly a result of New York and Philadelphia’s close geographic proximity to the large knitting mills in the northeast.

The knit shirts offered in this limited run are based on Quartermaster Department contracts and three separate surviving civilian knit shirts all dated from 1864 or earlier. They are the collarless pull over style and are made from a white or light gray knit material, identical to that found on original period garments. All shirts are marked with an appropriate contract manufacturer’s stamp and arsenal inspector stamp. An excellent and underrepresented piece the Federal issue uniform this ribbed cotton shirt is available in gray or white with contractor and maker marks stamped on the garment. Quantities and run is limited and sizes are as follows:

Medium – 38 to 40

Large – 42 to 44

XL – 46 to 48

$75 plus S&H

All sizes available for order and will be in stock as well.

Fresh from the page of "For Fatigue Purposes: by Patrick Brown comes the Nathan Gale contract coat. The Gale coat was contracted by the Schulykill Arsenal and carries its unique stamp. the original coat viewed by Mr. Brown had field add on waist pockets and a hook and eye closure at the throat. We have done the field alterations for you making this coat unique yet 100% correct. The run will be for the month of January, pre orders are being shipped and stock will be available. The pockets make this a wonderful coat for the NCO who needs the extra storage! Once again, all sizes available!

World War II

There is a new page added onto the site for those of you who also reenact WWII. Presently it contains German goods but will expand to include more German as well as G.I. goods as well. Click here to check it out!

Back By Popular Demand!

Cotton print cravats with a FREE matching handkerchief are back! But for a limited time. Quantities and selection is very limited so it is strictly first come, first served!

Below is just a sample of the patterns and colors available, call or email to discuss your specific needs!

Handkerchiefs Cravats

US and CS Kepis

Mike Anderson has been and will continue to make some of the finest kepis available. Call or email me to get your order in. Turnaround is only a week or two tops! CS Kepis available in logwood; sumac or sheeps gray/natural and a variety of options are available for the brim, sweatband and chinstrap. Watch for US Kepis to be arriving soon!

Mike Anderson's Kepis

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