|Women going out in the rain in Korea, 1904|
|Sweeping the street in Heavy rain, Japan, c. 1930|
Meanwhile in Europe, where rubber trees did not grow, rain-wear was often made of wool, a natural insulator. G. Fox of London experimented with mixing twill and mohair and devised a rain coat called the ' Fox's Aquatic' in about 1820. Also used for water repellent clothing was Oilcloth, a close-woven cotton duck or linen cloth with a coating of boiled linseed oil. this was popular with early Australian Stockmen (known as a Driza bone), and sailors. Driza-Bone, originating from the phrase "dry as a bone", is a trade name for the company making full-length waterproof riding coats and apparel. The company was established in 1898, the trademark Driz-bone was registered in 1933 and is currently Australian owned and manufactures its products in Australia.
|The APEC leaders pose for the official portrait in front of the Sydney Opera House, 2007|
By the 1880's rubber had arrived in Europe. Used extensively in foundation garments (and for pneumatic tyres for bicycles and motor cars), people also began with ways of waterproofing fabrics with rubber. Brazil and surrounding areas experienced a 'rubber boom', which was not great for the indigenous populations, but did result in further exploration of South America until the outbreak of WWI and subsequent rubber plantations in Asia. The rubber boom and the associated need for a large workforce saw plantation owners, or 'rubber barons' round up Indians and force them to tap rubber out of the trees. Slavery and gross human rights abuses were widespread, and in some areas 90% of the Indian population was wiped out.
|A photo of enslaved Amazon Indians from the 1912 book "The Putumayo, the Devil's Paradise"|
|Mackintosh Store,104 Mount St, Mayfair, London.|
Thomas Hancock of Manchester had also been experimenting with rubber coated fabrics since 1819, and in 1830 his company merged with that of Macintosh. Production of rubberised coats soon spread all over the UK, with the British Army, Railways and police forces all using rubberised coats.
|March 1933 McCalls cover|
These early coats still had problems with stiffness in the cold, and a tendency to melt and smell in hot weather. In 1843 Hancock patented a method for vulcanising rubber by cross-linking natural rubber with sulphur, which solved many of the problems. Charles Goodyear (1800–1860), generally credited as the first to come up with the basic concept of vulcanization, apparantly never fully understood the process as well as Hancock, and was awarded a patent in the United States three weeks after Hancock's British patent.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Macintosh (also called Mackintosh) company continued to make waterproof clothing. In 1925 the company was taken over by Dunlop Rubber.
|Burberry Ad, 1918|
|Raincoats for women, England, 1918|
In the 1920's Oil-skins again became popular, but using silk of fine cotton fabric instead of the heavier linen previously used. Here is Joan Crawford in an oilskin slicker in the 1927 silent film 'Twelve Miles Out' (with John Gilbert and Ernest Torrence), possibly the first rain coat in a movie.
|Twelve Miles Out, 1927|
|Duro Gloss Rubber Raincoats Color (1927)|
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was first created by German chemist Eugen Baumann in 1872, but it wasn't patented until 1913 when German, Friedrich Klatte invented a new method of the polymerization of vinyl chloride using sunlight. By the end of the 1920s plasticized polyvinyl chloride had been invented by Waldo Semon , and it was being used for shoe heels and golf balls. Soon it became popular for rain wear.
|,||The Hollywood Revue of 1929A “Singin’ in the Rain” featuring one of the earliest appearances of plastic macs in the cinema|
|Vinylite Plastic Rainwear (1945)|
For some reason this makes me think of the 1970s and going to school in a see-through plastic rain coast. To me, this is the ultimate rainy day look.
As usual, more images on tumblr.
|A Burberry trenchcoat from the 1930s.|
As usual, more images on tumblr.