Civil War-Era Machinist's Uniform

Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
#1
Hello everyone,

As a firearms historian (and complete newbie to the world of reenacting and such), I'm interested in acquiring a period-correct outfit that a machinist in the Connecticut Valley would have worn in the late 1850's or early 1860's. My key historical interest is on the rise of the cartridge load revolver, and for my presentations and conference displays I think it would be fun to have an outfit representative of what a machinist would have worn at this time.

A quick Google search reveals plenty of companies providing period clothing, but I have no barometer about how historically accurate these various offerings are, and especially in terms of clothing selection. The most popular themes seem to be military uniforms and Wild West garb, neither of which is probably going to work for what I want to do.

I suspect there's a deep well of expertise here, and I'm hoping to get some opinions and directions on how I would best assemble this outfit that I'm imagining.

Mike
 

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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
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#2
I would think a set of period coveralls would be a good fit. You might find some CDV's of men at work in Springfield or Colt etc via the national archive collection. I might suggest contacting Chris Sullivan at Stonybrook; the man is a wealth of information and would easily be able to point you in the correct direction.

http://www.stonybrookcompany.com/
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
#3
I would think a set of period coveralls would be a good fit. You might find some CDV's of men at work in Springfield or Colt etc via the national archive collection. I might suggest contacting Chris Sullivan at Stonybrook; the man is a wealth of information and would easily be able to point you in the correct direction.
I'm face-palming myself for not having thought of a pair of coveralls. This is brilliant, and I'll reach out to Chris.

Mike
 

major bill

Colonel
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Aug 25, 2012
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14,668
#5
I just seen some images at a CWRT showing workers inside and outside a cannon factory. I should have paid more attention to what the workers were wearing. I would think that common worker clothing would be the way to go.
 

captaindrew

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Mar 13, 2017
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#6
If you go to any of the better sutlers look at their Confederate trousers. CS issue trousers were basically a popular civilian pattern of the time. A pair of CS trousers in grey or brown jean clothe, civilian shirt,civilian vest and/or civilian sack coat, and a good slouch hat or mechanic's cap would be a good versatile civilian working class impression I think and all these items can be found pretty easy.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
65
#7
While CS issue trousers might be the right pattern, you run the risk of looking like a Confederate deserter. It's also open the question how commonly jean cloth was worn by Northerners when wool was readily available.

A machinist probably wore his suit to work. When he got there he hung up his coat, and put his coveralls on to protect his shirt and trousers while he did his work. You could get away with jeancloth trousers to start, but eventually you will want a wool "suit of dittoes" (sack coat, vest, and trousers matching) to complete your impression.
 



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