This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 04 October, 2007.
espite the overwhelming number of knit blouses produced during the Civil War, to date, not a single reproduction has been made. By some completely bizarre metamorphasis, some sort of common law has evolved in living history, that one cannot make a reproduction without having ONE original to follow. Having been in this hobby since 1975, I have no idea who created this rule, but it is an approach that not only limits, but excludes research of industrial manufacture. The fabric for this coat, is produced by a family that has been in the knit goods business since 1890, and still retains the original looms. We embarked upon having this produced by drawing upon their family's knowlege, as well as presenting them with original photographs and documents to come with the most logical conclusion as to what the knit blouse looked like. Our yarn is custom spun and dyed, and is knit into a rib, which is what the blouses in the original photographs appear to be. While it would be a "slam dunk" to have an original issue blouse to follow, we honestly feel that based upon period construction and knit goods industry of the period, we are well in the ball park. As we will only have a limited quantity of the fabric product, this will be a subscription only when we do our production lot.
It bears mentioning why knit was all the rage in the period. In direct contrast to the days worth of preparation for woven textiles, one can literally thread a knitting machine in minutes and be producing yard goods. The quote from the Trump of Fame in the image gallery couldn't spell it out any clearer...it was a fast and cheap way to make uniforms.
The firm of Hunt and Tillinghast has an interesting and full history, that goes beyond that of military contracts. The partnership of these two merchants was formed in 1860. Philip Tillinghast had established himself in the yard goods business decades before the war with mills that he ran in Mexico.
Wikipedia stated that "A three-block long street that extends from Runyon St. is called Tillinghast Street, believed named after Philip Tillinghast, who moved there in 1854 or early 1855 with his family of seven children from Manhattan. Philip was a well-to-do commission merchant and broker who worked in the Wall Street area and lived near fashionable Washington Square in the 1840s. As commercialization and immigration overtook such Dutch and English Old New York Protestant neighborhoods, wealthy families moved further uptown into free-standing mansions or townhouses made of newly discovered chocolate sandstone "
Philip Tillinghast was ruined in the financial panic of 1873, and died at age 70, collapsing at the Ferry House, in Jersey City NJ, on March 31st, 1879.
English born Seth B. Hunt, was an notable citizen of New York City, and is reffered to as an esquire. Whether this referred to an english noble title, or an avocation as attorney is still being searched, but he sat on a committee with the likes of Cornelius Roosevelt (grandfather of Teddy Roosevelt) and John Jacob Astor. He contributed generously to soldier relief and donated to causes championed by Henry Ward Beecher.
Subsequent to the war, he was involved in litigation in the case Hunt, Tillinghast & Co. v. Reynolds, regarding pricing of 33,000 yards of sky blue kersey, consigned to them by Reynolds and sold to John F. Martin...
Hunt, Tillinghast v. Reynolds case history
Seth B. Hunt was also instrumental in changing bankruptcy law, as he had pursued action against a company
Hunt, Tillinghast & Company v. Pooke & Steere
Shortly after the partnership was formed, a facility was built in Bennington Vermont, which stands to this day. They had produced a wide variety of household goods, from ladies shawls, to table cloths. Clearly though, they did substantial and lucrative business in brokering goods for other mills. While it is a matter of record that the Bennington facility produced knit goods, they were also brokering knit goods from the Star knitting mills. The practice of obtaining contracts that were subsequently filled with goods from another maker was widespread and commonplace among the old boys club. John Merrow (whose company would later become an industry proprietary eponym for the finishing of knit goods), had only one contract for army socks, but sold socks to other parties, who in turn filled 27 other Federal Contracts for army socks. As an aside, on October 29, 1863, Merrow also sold 18,000 pairs of Army Socks to James Talcott who was deposed in the Hunt, Tillinghast v. Reynolds litigation.