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View Full Version : Why do Authentic Sack Coats cost less these Days?



RJSamp
12-08-2006, 03:56 PM
Bought a linned JT Martin fatigue blouse about 7 years ago from John Wedeward. I'm a tall overweight guy and he put more material in it for the longer arms and bigger neck/girth. Let's say with the buttons and all it was $180 or even $200.

Now reputable makers are selling linned sack coats for $125.....and even less on 'sale'...

Why the price drop? Supply? Economy? Economies of Scale?

LibertyHallVols
12-08-2006, 04:54 PM
I can't provide a definitive answer to your question, but I have a hunch...

Take a look at the details of the $125 coat and compare to your $200 coat. My hunch is you'll find more machine work in the less-expensive example. I saw a coat recently with a machine-set sleave lining that I'll be cost less than a hand-done repro SA blouse.

BTW.... I'm having trouble finding the $125 coat you're talking about. A quick review at "The Frying Pan" and another well-known site show coats from $175 to $200. ???

JerseySkilletLicker
12-08-2006, 05:24 PM
John,
I believe he is speaking of WW&CO's "standard grade" blouse at $125. Their higher "bells and whistles" sells at the normal $175 or so.
Sekela sometimes sells an unlined blouse with rear inner seam unfelled and machine done keyhole buttonholes to a couple of sutlers which retail for $110, I believe.
The premise of both these coats is to get a better quality coat into the hands of "streamers" wanting to take a "half jump" into authenticity.

John Legg
12-08-2006, 05:25 PM
Dan wambaughs Contract Blouse - http://www.wwandcompany.com/contractblouse.html

Hog-Eye Man
12-11-2006, 12:05 PM
I paid $225.00 for my blouse....

reb64
12-20-2006, 11:52 AM
My opinion is that the vendor is willing to take less mark up and profit for the sake of getting good name brand quality out there at reasonable prices. hopefully others will follow and get back to the more enjoyable aspects of reenacting instead of being gluttons over the latest fashion designers new lines

Hog-Eye Man
12-20-2006, 12:32 PM
hopefully others will follow and get back to the more enjoyable aspects of reenacting instead of being gluttons over the latest fashion designers new linesI would say one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby for me, is the fashion. I spend lots of time and money into each impression, because I feel it's important. Not only for me, but for the groups I fall in with as well.

terry sorchy
12-20-2006, 03:10 PM
Robert,
This whole "name brand" thing really bugs me. Its not Tommy Hilfigur, V.S Levis, or the like. I wish people would stop being upset for NO reason at vendors out there that have researched originals, make quality items and are known for it. By the way the "name brand" vendors are not by anyway getting rich over the prices they charge. For the time and money these guys put into it they are making very little per hour. Most have second jobs to support their families. I guarantee you the mainstream sutler is making more off you with the Pakistani imported **** than the top Vendors.
Terry Sorchy

RJSamp
12-20-2006, 05:38 PM
I may have to take my 'trend' analysis back..... Bought mine a few years ago (5+) and it was $180.....lately have seen 'authentic' coats in the $125 range....

Now their's a sack coat listed here in the OZ over on the Vendor Board.....$180.

And Justin (who posted on the OTB that Jurgiatem's pricing analysis was skewed to the high side for the CPH stuff) is himself selling a used sack coat here for $140.

There were a lot of people of the opine that the AOP looked particularly sharp at P2006.....

Amazing how filtered observations can hide the brown hued faded Hardee Hats of a raw recruit impression fresh out of Louisville and not having seen the elephant yet (there was a reason they were called Black Hats)..... these same observers can see the differences between $150 cartridge boxes and $45 at 100 feet or on a GBurg RDay video mpeg..... and the differences between a Fall Creek $80 linned sack coat and a $180 sack coat when viewed at 50 feet is what?

JEBeedle
12-20-2006, 05:43 PM
I second that Terry.

Although I do know one individual that has a few things that are made over seas but he turns around and sells them at a discount price.

reb64
12-20-2006, 05:47 PM
I would say one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby for me, is the fashion. I spend lots of time and money into each impression, because I feel it's important. Not only for me, but for the groups I fall in with as well.

Not meaning to offend but that sounds just dandy.

reb64
12-20-2006, 05:58 PM
Robert,
This whole "name brand" thing really bugs me. Its not Tommy Hilfigur, V.S Levis, or the like. I wish people would stop being upset for NO reason at vendors out there that have researched originals, make quality items and are known for it. By the way the "name brand" vendors are not by anyway getting rich over the prices they charge. For the time and money these guys put into it they are making very little per hour. Most have second jobs to support their families. I guarantee you the mainstream sutler is making more off you with the Pakistani imported **** than the top Vendors.
Terry Sorchy


Yes the making of a item is labor intensive, but how much value can you plcae on that. if you make 20-30 per hour on a day job and apply that to a coat, well there may be well over a couple hundred in labor costs. just like ealership maintenance. its subjective. The material is only 50-75$ sometimes. a worker in pakistan may sew that up for pennies to an americans tens or hundreds. what i am saying, how long does a vendor xpect to pass on research and overhead in the form of profit. I'll be glad to pay a decent mark up for great work, but like the new playstation i won't pay the inflated price I'll wait till it comes down. i waited for years for a wambaugh coat and got one at 75 on ebay. funny how my homespun worked just fine for 20 years.

csuppelsa
12-20-2006, 07:12 PM
the differences between a Fall Creek $80 linned sack coat and a $180 sack coat when viewed at 50 feet is what?

You obviously don't understand.

Memphis
12-20-2006, 08:14 PM
RJ has a point. Those having an impression of raw recruits were supposed to look like troops fresh from their first issue of clothing and equipment rather than the threadbare veterans of '64-'65. That is how I interpret his remarks about crumpled faded brown hats instead of fresh new ones. Part of the impression for a brand new copper penny is the requisite shine.

Good observation, RJ.

terry sorchy
12-20-2006, 08:50 PM
Really,
Are you saying the men that were in the ranks for a few years only got one issue? If your jacket or trousers wore out you got new issue. Then you looked pretty much like everybody else. Just because you have on a new uniform does not mean you are a recruit for god sake.; That is why the federal army had clothing issues. The only time you would'nt have seen them was if you were on active campaign. Being a "veteran" does not mean looking thread bare and faded. Being a veteran has nothing to do with your clothing, it has to do with the service you saw.
Cheers
Terry Sorchy

terry sorchy
12-20-2006, 09:07 PM
Gentlemen,
I dont know how long you all have been in the hobby. I do know though that in 1979 I would go to events and see guys in converted Naru jackets as sack coats, desert boots for brogans, Farm and Fleet dark blue work pants for trousers, Cut down Marine dress coats that were retrimmed for mounted services jackets. I knew guys that were told to go to St Vincent DePaul and get a grey wool suit jacket and convert it into a CS sack coat. That was before many folks started to reproduce items. Covais was something we all strived for but many ended up buying products from a new up and comer called Jarnigan then. Through the years it got better and better.Ive seen the worst and the best. I even got kicked out of a unit because I would not buy dark blue work pants and a polyester frock coat. Can you even fathom what the hobby would look like to not only us but to the public if the men and women that strive to research original items and lovingly make them for US would look like. It would be a HUGE civil war circus. And all I hear is whining about "it costs to much". Yup it costs. Thats the facts. So does any hobby you want to do well. I commend all those out there that can sew and make a garmewnt for themselves that looks as good as the Depots back then did. Bully for you boys. It does save money and your putting your heart and soul into it. God blses also the Quality vendors that help us portray the material side correctly. This side coupled with the correct attitude and the reading of the drill manuals(notice I said plural) will enhance not only your experience but the publics perception of what we do.
Terry Sorchy

flattop32355
12-20-2006, 09:41 PM
Being a "veteran" does not mean looking thread bare and faded. Being a veteran has nothing to do with your clothing, it has to do with the service you saw.

I shall respectfully agree and disagree.

A lot has to do with exactly what point in time you are observing. Were these veteran troops newly supplied, or had they just come in from an extended campaign or other field service? Then, there's the question of just what supplies were available to them. They were not completely refitted each time they resupplied.

Taking the Army of the Ohio in September of 1862 as example, they were apparently threadbare when they arrived in Louisville, Ky, and wreaked havoc among the fresh fish of the newly arrived (and untrained) regiments assembled there, stealing their gear and clothing, even as they themselves were being resupplied. Indications are that, as they left for Perryville, they were essentially fully resupplied.

In other cases, resupply was either in part or hit-or-miss. You might get new trowsers, but have to keep your old sackcoat. New shoes, but old canteen. In other cases, some units would get fully refitted, with others getting only some items they needed.

Completely new uniforms did not necessarily mean you were a green unit, but worn and patched gear, including threadbare, definitley indicated that you were veteran.

Those who had seen extended field service would be more likely, in this time period, of having at least some worn kit items, which would make them stand out against the green troops.

terry sorchy
12-20-2006, 10:03 PM
Bernard,
May I do the same sir. I understand that the men did'nt always draw a full kit. They did (or were supposed to receive) an issue of clothing twice a year. Maybe more in special cases. That is according to US regs. As far as some companies go, yes there were some that did get partial issues or limited issues. Generally that was red tape or an incompetant commander. What many reenactors do though is use this faded to purple sack coat, beat up brown, falling about your face hardee hat excuse (and most times they have not bought kit in a LONG time) and call it "being veterans", to not upgrade there items that they use. I've been around it, seen many many folks like that. They use that excuse and its pretty transparent.
Terry Sorchy

flattop32355
12-21-2006, 12:16 AM
They did (or were supposed to receive) an issue of clothing twice a year.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but would that timetable be more for peacetime, rather than during the war? I seem to recall that shoes, particularly, were then to be issued every three months.


What many reenactors do though is use this faded to purple sack coat, beat up brown, falling about your face hardee hat excuse (and most times they have not bought kit in a LONG time) and call it "being veterans

My comments were in reference to real CW troops, not to reenactors. That is another subject entirely.

At this last Perryville, I saw a fellow I know walk by in full tilt "authentic" garb, with dirt plastered all over his face to make himself look 'veteran" from the "march". Interestingly enough, his clothing was spotlessly clean.

Something of the reverse of your example, perhaps, but just as odd.

terry sorchy
12-21-2006, 10:06 AM
You are correct Bernard,
That comes from the 1861 US Army Regulations. Like I said, things were modified to what was available and what was needed. Yes I really hate that as well, guys with good kit either looking like they purposely rolled around in mud or wiped their faces with campfire ash. To much theatrics at events dude.
Have a Great Xmas
Terry Sorchy

Memphis
12-21-2006, 06:35 PM
Just because you have on a new uniform does not mean you are a recruit for god sake.

That tripped my BS meter. Those regiments in service for one or two months at Perryville would have been wearing what? New? Old? How about some Rev War tatters?

[deletion -THP]

terry sorchy
12-21-2006, 06:38 PM
Well Rog,
Your recruits would have looked less shiney to. [deletion - THP; no longer applicable] As far as BS is concerned, I've heard about every excuse there is for the justification of improper kit by mainstreamers. Its real old.
Terry Sorchy

flattop32355
12-21-2006, 07:52 PM
That tripped my BS meter. Those regiments in service for one or two months at Perryville would have been wearing what? New? Old?

They were in brand new, wonderfully intact uniforms, and caught **** from the vets of the AotO for it, who stole them blind.

Let us consider for a moment the veteren troops who guarded Washington DC for so long before the 1864 campaign. They were well equipped and supplied, and had never seen the enemy up close. Yet they were considered veteran due to time in service. Many of them got plowed under in the Wilderness and following actions, where the survivors became veterans in the full, combat, sense.

There were also those garrison units who had little contact with the enemy, though they were "in the field". Their uniforms, etc, would not have gotten as worn as those in the marching armies.

Ya gotta know who you're speaking of, and when you're speaking of them, to get an accurate picture.

tompritchett
12-21-2006, 09:44 PM
As far as BS is concerned, I've heard about every excuse there is for the justification of improper kit by mainstreamers. Its real old.

Pardon me you two gents, but aren't both of you 5%'ers, not mainstreamers. Your posts seem to indicate that you think the other is a mainsteamer.

bob 125th nysvi
12-28-2006, 04:13 PM
look depends on three things:

1) When was it issued?

2) What kind of field use has it seen since it was issued?

3) When was it last washed?

And there isn't any one formula that is 'right' based on those three things.

There are of course other things like quality materials and dyes (and there was a WIDE variety during the CW just like today) that will affect how the uniform looked.

And to second RJ I defy ANYBODY to to point out machined button holes vs. handsewn on a any blue sackcoat at 50 ft.

It's called prespective guys and it is has been know in the model railroad hobby and movie industry for years. The farther you get from something the LESS detail it needs to look authentic. In fact using forced perspective you can even scale down buildings in a scene by putting them in the background. The brain processes not that they are a smaller size but they are farther away.

So what is the distance you are going to be looked at from, 5 feet, 50 feet, 5 inches? That will really determine how authentic you look, not the name on the sales slip.

And that is not meant as a diss to the fine manufacturers who kill themselves to get every last detail right. It is meant to point out that at 100 feet (or yards) their jacket isn't going to look signifcantly better than your average import.

But back to the original question. The price of quality items has come down for competition reasons. As more people make 'top' quality items you have to price more reasonably to keep a client base AND as people move away from cheap shoddy imports, those who make the imports upgrade their quality to compete.

Don't beleive me, then sit in on some Volkswagen or GM management meeting and you'll find them discussing 'quality' all the time. Not becuase they believed it in the 80s because it was forced on them by the Japanese who inititally went cheap and then went cheap and GOOD.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY

DanWambaugh
01-10-2007, 02:36 PM
Gents,

Sorry that I seem a month behind this topic but in the interest of full disclosure I would like to discuss our "standard grade" fatigue blouses and help everyone better understand exactly why they are priced the way they are. A basic cost breakdown for the blouses works out like this:

Materials (wool flannel for body and lining, muslin for sleeves, interlining, buttons, and thread): $45.00

Shipping (we pay this for you): $8.00

Total fixed cost: $53.00


Labor time: 7 hours per coat.

As you can see, we make about $10/hour constructing these coats. We do in house every step from cutting of the yardage to hand sewing the buttons into place and stamping the sizes in the sleeve. On our standard grade blouses the buttonholes, buttons, sleeve linings, and collar are all hand sewn into place.

On our "museum grade" blouses we have added the additional features of a slightly higher quality lining, and every exposed stitch done with logwood thread. This latter step necessitates an extra two hours of assembly time, and a few extra dollars into material cost.

We have priced our blouses as competitively as we feel we possibly can. This is a high-demand item, (every re-enactor will at some time want a sack coat) so we make as little profit as we dare on these items with the hope that they will be an introduction to our other goods. We price them at what we consider to be a fair rate for our labor, and buy the materials in as much bulk as we can in order to drive the cost of materials down and make as much as we can off of the difference. The bottom line: we keep our costs down and pass that savings onto you.

I could write a volume about competitor's products, and how they compare to ours, but it would be inappropriate for me to do so and any customer willing to make a few calls or send a few emails can discover on their own how our coats compare to others. The bottom line is that you can get a comparable blouse from us for $50+ less, or a superior coat sewn with logwood thread for the same price. These blouses are not targeted for use by any specific section of the hobby (i.e. "mainstreamers") but are instead a highly authentic garment that has been priced with cost of materials and time involved the chief deciding factor (not competitor's prices.)

That is the honest truth concerning the price of our sack coats. No more, no less.


Best Regards,

Dan Wambaugh
W, W, & Co.

SmellyFed
01-10-2007, 04:18 PM
Bad materials, bad patterns and bad construction can be noticeable from a lot farther than 50 feet.

The question isn't whether it can be noticed - the question is, can it be ignored?

Russ Whitaker
01-12-2007, 09:08 AM
So what is being said is, you use less logwood thread, and a cheaper lining, would that not make the coat not authentic ?

tompritchett
01-12-2007, 10:10 AM
So what is being said is, you use less logwood thread, and a cheaper lining, would that not make the coat not authentic ?

Given some of the soldier complaints about poor quality items received from the QM Department, as described in "Cadet Gray and Butternut Brown", it actually may make it more authentic. :)

bob 125th nysvi
01-12-2007, 12:19 PM
Bad materials, bad patterns and bad construction can be noticeable from a lot farther than 50 feet.

The question isn't whether it can be noticed - the question is, can it be ignored?

If we ever meet you can point to the inferior ones to me and then we'll go ask the wearers who made him.

Proof is in the pudding Sir and the proof of physics does not support your claims of visual acquity.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
esperance, NY

AZReenactor
01-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Authenticly constructed Schuylkill Arsenal Sack Coats cost much more (often $250-500+) because they are entirely hand sewn and I wonder if people aren't making the mistake of comparing apples to oranges here by comparing this coat to an SA Sack Coat. Since an entirely handsewn coat is quite different than one that is machine sewn with hand finishing there is a significant difference in costs.

And personally, this is just my view on things, I like to get a heck of a lot closer than 50 feet to my kit and I'm really buying or making this gear for my own satisfaction.

Dan,
I'm curious about this blouse you are offering as well. When you say you use different materials on this particular coat, is that because the original you are reproducing used different materials or becuase you are making a coat with a different level of authenticity? What type thread and lining was used on the original you copied this particular coat from?

bob 125th nysvi
01-12-2007, 01:03 PM
you've said the first honest real thing to be said on the subject.

You're buying for your own satisfaction.

And if you aren't throwing the word 'farb' at anybody I don't have an issue with that.

Spend away and more power to you.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

DanWambaugh
01-12-2007, 11:15 PM
Russ and Troy,

The original coat has a mottled loose-weave wool flannel lining and is sewn with logwood dyed thread. We were able to find a very close approximation of this lining, but it is fairly expensive and each blouse, having a one-piece lining takes a good chunk of this material. For our standard grade blouses we use a camel-colored wool flannel that is actually of a finer weave and higher quality than the purposely shoddy flannel in the museum grade blouses, but cost several dollars less. This latter material is identical to what I believe is used by our competitors to line their blouses [Comment - original was a personal opinion of the author and may or may not have been actually true, therefore it was editted accordingly . -THP] , the former is head and shoulders above anything I have ever seen used in the past.

As far as thread goes, in the original a size 30 logwood dyed thread was used, averaging 5-7 stitches per inch. This is exactly what we use on our museum grade blouses. On the standard grade blouses we used a modern dyed size 30 thread that matches a pure indigo color. In both cases the use of this period correct size thread and in the latter the brittle nature of logwood dyed thread necessitates that we sew the blouses with original 19th century sewing machines. To my knowledge, aside from a few dedicated individuals who sew a sack coat once in a blue moon for a friend or two, no maker in the business today uses any sort of logwood thread for any part of their reproduction, and of all of the reproduction blouses I have seen in the market today, the majority are sewn with black modern weight Coats and Clark 100% cotton thread that is 1/10th the size of original thread, even for the hand work!

The bottom line I suppose would be that it you want the ultimate of authenticity for a comparative price our museum grade blouse is the way to go. If you want a blouse that compares favorably in authenticity to the other blouses available on the market today for less money, a standard grade blouse is the way to go. For years we offered only the former at what even then was a competitive price, but found that the demand simply wasn't there. When considering what is more or less authentic, it's relative to what you're comparing it to. If you're comparing our standard grade and museum grade blouse to the original we based them upon, then yes, the former would be less authentic than the latter. But if you're comparing our standard grade blouse to the other reproduction blouses widely available today from other top-quality vendors then I would say it is on the same level, if not above.

Again, it is not my intention to belittle or attack anyone else's reproduction, I have always had a great respect for other's work and have come to know many vendors on a personal level and found them to be some of the kindest people on the planet. However, I would not be in business if I did not think that I could do a unique, and perhaps better job on some of my products than other vendors out there, and I am very proud of the work I do, otherwise I wouldn't be sharing so much "inside information" with the general public. My goal in posting in this thread is to give the community what I feel is a long overdue clarification on the essential differences between our two grades of contract fatigue blouse.

More than anything I hope that customers will take steps to educate themselves on these and all other purchases. Ask the vendors questions. If they want your business they will always answer them. [deletion - possible veiled reference to particular competitor(s) - THP] Contrast and compare the items before grabbing your credit card, and as always, ask questions.

I hope that this helps clear things up a bit.


Dan

tompritchett
01-13-2007, 02:24 PM
However, I would not be in business if I did not think that I could do a unique, and perhaps better job on some of my products than other vendors out there, and I am very proud of the work I do

Moderator hat: As I sure the other quality vendors feel about their products. I did not have problems with Mr. Wambaugh's post per se (with one minor exception) as he was comparing construction details between two of his own products but I want to make sure that this thread does not become a battle of vendors and vendor supporters on why "their" products are better than the others. As the Provost mentioned in an earlier post, we as moderators have no way of verifiying the accuracy of such claims and often in such battles the full truth can be lost in sheer volume of claims one way or another.

bob 125th nysvi
01-14-2007, 10:01 AM
For our standard grade blouses we use a camel-colored wool flannel that is actually of a finer weave and higher quality than the purposely shoddy flannel in the museum grade blouses, but cost several dollars less.

Are you saying the museum coat you examined had a "shoddy" lining? If so in your opinion would that substantiate soldier reports of some uniforms being of inferior grade?


In both cases the use of this period correct size thread and in the latter the brittle nature of logwood dyed thread necessitates that we sew the blouses with original 19th century sewing machines.

Which coats are you machine sewing?

And as a complete aside what is the earliest reference you've ever come across concerning a commercial button hole sewing machine? I don't want to restart the whole 'hand sewn/machine sewn' button hole discussion I am just interested in any mention of commercial button hole sewing machines in the CW time period.

Thank you

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

coastaltrash
01-14-2007, 10:47 AM
"Proof is in the pudding Sir and the proof of physics does not support your claims of visual acquity.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
esperance, NY"

You can notice, at a very good distance shade and color of a uniform. That of a poor quality dye turns purple with exposure. I would say anyone that has been going to campaigner events for a while and has dedicated some serious time to original garments or to reproducing these garments can make that call easily at 50 feet. This thread shows me more and more that there are two totally different hobbies going on.

Pat Landrum

burt60
01-14-2007, 01:18 PM
When I first entered the hobby (two years ago) I bought my Sack coat on e-bay it was ok then I ran across Dan's Web site and bought one from him, I;m no expert by any means, but the first thing I noticed was the material, their is acually a weave to it. When I went to the US History museum in DC and looked at the sack coat there, I could see a weave from 3 feet. The next thing was the sewing, awsome work. Dan makes awsome reproduction items at a resonable price compared to others out there, in fact he keeps the market from getting inflated and is probly one of the reasons Sack Coats have came down in price.
Dan did not give me a dicount for this post either. LOL
The best thing I like about ordering from Dan is that he ships orders out FAST that day or the next if it is in stock. If he say it will be done in 2 or 3 weeks it is at your door in 2 or 3 weeks.

Thanks Dan keep up the Great work.

bob 125th nysvi
01-14-2007, 09:44 PM
You can notice, at a very good distance shade and color of a uniform. That of a poor quality dye turns purple with exposure. I would say anyone that has been going to campaigner events for a while and has dedicated some serious time to original garments or to reproducing these garments can make that call easily at 50 feet. This thread shows me more and more that there are two totally different hobbies going on.

Pat Landrum

A very enlightening discussion on the subject of "correct colors" an the impossibility of there being one "right" color.

A quick education for you.

Until the invention of computer color matching it was IMPOSSIBLE to produce the exact same color time after time and to get the fabric to always absorb the color the same way.

If you had worked in the clothing industry until about say 1990 you would have noticed that you'd have seen 'identical' color clothing coming from the same manufacturer in the same shipment being in a range of colors despite being listed all the same.

That's 130 years past the start of the civil war.

Your right there are two different hobbies but they aren't what you think they are.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

toptimlrd
01-14-2007, 10:24 PM
A very enlightening discussion on the subject of "correct colors" an the impossibility of there being one "right" color.

A quick education for you.

Until the invention of computer color matching it was IMPOSSIBLE to produce the exact same color time after time and to get the fabric to always absorb the color the same way.

If you had worked in the clothing industry until about say 1990 you would have noticed that you'd have seen 'identical' color clothing coming from the same manufacturer in the same shipment being in a range of colors despite being listed all the same.

That's 130 years past the start of the civil war.

Your right there are two different hobbies but they aren't what you think they are.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

But Pat is correct that many of the lesser quality uniforms do quickly fade to a very noticable purple which the dyes used during the war would not have done. Yes there is variation in the shades used (in fact there are actually two colors that a uniform jacket may have come in: navy and indigo), but it is still distinguishable at a decent distance whether or not the article in question (especially the dark blue) was dyed with a modern dye or a period one. In addition it may not be noticeable from 50 feet, but the way the fabric is made is also noticable from a greater distance than many would imagine. I witnessed this myself when I upgraded from my "sutler row" jacket to one of correct material and construction. I will also add that my correct one is much more comfortable as it is not as heavy a weight of wool and the correct ligning actually helps wick away moisture. This is similar to that sickly yellow brown many sell as "butternut" where the color usually came from the fading of a natural dyed grey to the brownish color that we may see.

Now I am not taking sides as I understand both points of view, but to say that is is completely unnoticeable is also not accurate.

Pennsylvania Reserves
01-15-2007, 03:35 PM
I couldn't help but read this post. When did this hobby become so dedicated to the uniform and equipment of the soldier, rather than the soldier who wore it? I think every person in this hobby lately should really re-evaluate WHY you are a reenactor. Simply put, why? People ask why the hobby is shrinking, the answer is segregation. In the past 10 years so many lines have been drawn between farbs, mainstreamers, hardcores...you name it. It seems rather silly to me that so many people would waste more time and effort into arguing about petty things like this, rather then putting their heads together and doing some research together about the SOLDIERS we portray.

I've been to so many websites in the past few months and I must say its pretty ignorant to call ourselves living historians yet provide no research materials other than who wore what, how it was worn, and who made it....when did this become a fashion show? As a genealogist, when I go to a website on the 1st Minnesota, I want to find research, muster rolls, photographs...historical records of that nature. Not research on who wore what underwear made by which arsenal.

You all have got to stop arguing with each other about stuff like this...its petty articles such as this which leaves units in tatters and friends turned enemies. We are all in this for one common good....why can we not work together on ANYTHING?

I think if more people put more money and time into preservation rather than upgrading kits just to look better at events, maybe more battlefields would be more less likely to turn into Walmarts and strip malls.

Phil
01-15-2007, 03:36 PM
A very enlightening discussion on the subject of "correct colors" an the impossibility of there being one "right" color.

A quick education for you.

Until the invention of computer color matching it was IMPOSSIBLE to produce the exact same color time after time and to get the fabric to always absorb the color the same way.

If you had worked in the clothing industry until about say 1990 you would have noticed that you'd have seen 'identical' color clothing coming from the same manufacturer in the same shipment being in a range of colors despite being listed all the same.

That's 130 years past the start of the civil war.

Your right there are two different hobbies but they aren't what you think they are.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Bob,

You really need to pay more attention. Pat NEVER said there was "one right color" but that there sure is a wrong one. I seem to remember you doing this before on this exact topic, where you attempt to change the argument to try to win it.

Let me re-educate you: Pat and quite a few of us are well aware that the process of dyeing with indigo will result in quite a few shades of blue, as is supported by the many surviving Federal uniforms from the Civil War period. However, no evidence has yet surfaced to justify the use of heavy-weight blue cloth that fades to purple in the sunlight as "authentic reproductions" in Civil War era living history events or reenactments.

Although color blindness is more prevalent in males, and thus the vast majority of military reenactors, most of us are quite capable of distinguishing various shades of blue that could be interpreted as "dark blue" from those that are mostly blue with a red tint that qualifies them as "purple". That is the bottom line. Also at 50 feet, the cut of the pattern and weight of the cloth is evident, and there is quite a difference from close reproductions, and those made in Pakistan.

So, yes, physics and chemistry do indeed support the assertion that a close reproduction can be discerned from one that is not so close at 50 feet. Pudding and exact color matching have nothing at all to do with the argument.

hanktrent
01-15-2007, 04:03 PM
When did this hobby become so dedicated to the uniform and equipment of the soldier, rather than the soldier who wore it?

Why does it need to be one or the other? Why can't one be equally dedicated to both?

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Pennsylvania Reserves
01-15-2007, 04:11 PM
Why does it need to be one or the other? Why can't one be equally dedicated to both?

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

But obviously its not dedicated to both. They can say they are, but comments and postings on forums and websites like this prove otherwise.

Phil
01-15-2007, 04:56 PM
But obviously its not dedicated to both. They can say they are, but comments and postings on forums and websites like this prove otherwise.

There are two attitudes that miss what most of us are trying to get out of this hobby: gear is all that matters and gear doesn't really matter.

Micah Trent
01-15-2007, 05:03 PM
I think if more people put more money and time into preservation rather than upgrading kits just to look better at events, maybe more battlefields would be more less likely to turn into Walmarts and strip malls.

Pennsylvania Reserves,

Some of the approved vendors when they make a sale, turn around and place some of that money into preservation, like CWPT. I think it's great. You are getting what you want and at the the same time, you are helping with preservation.

hanktrent
01-15-2007, 05:29 PM
But obviously its not dedicated to both. They can say they are, but comments and postings on forums and websites like this prove otherwise.

Obviously there are reenactors who are primarily interested in the gear. Not my thing. I find them annoying at events and try to avoid them, if that's all they want to talk about.

But if better overall accuracy is the goal, they're still helping, by sharing research, encouraging higher standards in their field of interest, and bringing better gear to the market.

If better overall accuracy isn't the goal, then you'll need to rein in the social historians too. Some of the most intense online debates I've been in, have had nothing to do with clothing, and were all about how best to recreate 19th century people's daily lives.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

tompritchett
01-15-2007, 05:32 PM
There are two attitudes that miss what most of us are trying to get out of this hobby: gear is all that matters and gear doesn't really matter.

Very good point.

terry sorchy
01-15-2007, 05:44 PM
In response to Mr PR. To be a good living historian you have to be well researched about the war, the soldiers, the era, and the equipment. Its very easy to do. I just wish people would stop complaining and whining about it. As far as C/P/H fellows go. We work more battlefields and do more for CWPT than anyone I know. Mainstream events do what with the money they make? Pay the city park or the land owner or for port a johns, or maybe for the powder issue, huh. Almost every event I go to has something to do with battlefield preservation, so please dont tell me we do nothing to save our heritage. Thats a slap in the face and obviously you dont know much about C/P/H events
Terry Sorchy

toptimlrd
01-15-2007, 06:01 PM
In regards to why everyone seems to concentrate on the gear. Most do not but it seems the gear is the item that sparks the biggest debate as it is the part that actually costs cold hard cash. As to the impression itself, most on the c/p/h and mainstream side as well will agree that attitude and a willingness to learn are the most important things to a reenactor. In my company newsletter, I recently started a column on improving ones impression by learning what soldiers did not what they wore. Right now I am discussing the lost art of entertaining ones self through singing. What I am doing is listing the lyrics of popular period song each month with a brief look at the origins of the song. One of the things I am trying to do is raise the authenticity of our unit through proper conduct and deportment which will hopefully cause other units to follow (lead by example).

Having said that, if someone asks about equipment or posts incorrect information, I will answer that question. For many reenacting (I won't even go as far as living historians) starts with wanting to protray a soldier but with not really knowing what is correct vs. what is incorrect. Unfortunately most want to buy the uniform first then research it. What I would like to see happen is the reverse: research first then buy. This is a lesson I learned the hard way myself so I do speak from experience.

As to the amount of research actually done, before the big crash of both sites, there was extensive amounts of information both here and on the AC if anyone bothered to actually look it up and read it. Most of the types of posts referenced are there because someone either relatively new, inexperienced with the forums, or just plain lazy posts the predictable "who makes the best .... ", or "is it correct for me to wear........" when all that information was available through search functions. It is also easy to find unit musters, period reports, diaries, etc.

The one thing that does drive me crazy is when the discussion breaks down into an us vs. them fight. Each side tries to convince the other they are wrong when neither is true. The question is (as always): what do you want to get out of the hobby? I for one enjoy both the mainstream type of events and the c/p/h events. I do however think we owe the men we supposedly represent the courtesy of doing the research to accurately portray them. Food for thought: at the last event you took part in do you know who the commanders were (meaning the ones that actually fought the battle and not the captain you elected last year) or do you know what unit you were portraying (not necessarily what your unit calls itself)? These are questions an average private in either army could have answered without thinking. They may not have known anything about the tactics or what the big picture looked like, but they knew who they served under and what their unit was.

Pennsylvania Reserves
01-15-2007, 06:50 PM
Pennsylvania Reserves,

Some of the approved vendors when they make a sale, turn around and place some of that money into preservation, like CWPT. I think it's great. You are getting what you want and at the the same time, you are helping with preservation.

Micah,

Thank you for point that out, yes I am aware of that, and I salute them for it. But think of the ratio between vendors who give to Preservation versus the number of reenactors out there who don't use these particular vendors. what I'm saying is a lot more can be done within this reenactment community, and that goes for everyone not just one side of the hobby. There are thousands of reenactors out there....imagine what could be accomplished if they all worked together for something.

But it will never happen, because there is so much fighting and bickering over petty things. I can name countless units who refuse to work together for ANYTHING just because of a few disagreements between members. ****, we aren't reenacting the civil war anymore, we're living it...figuratively speaking anyway.

But your right, I do take my hat off to those who make the effort!

Pennsylvania Reserves
01-15-2007, 07:07 PM
In response to Mr PR. To be a good living historian you have to be well researched about the war, the soldiers, the era, and the equipment. Its very easy to do. I just wish people would stop complaining and whining about it. As far as C/P/H fellows go. We work more battlefields and do more for CWPT than anyone I know. Mainstream events do what with the money they make? Pay the city park or the land owner or for port a johns, or maybe for the powder issue, huh. Almost every event I go to has something to do with battlefield preservation, so please dont tell me we do nothing to save our heritage. Thats a slap in the face and obviously you dont know much about C/P/H events
Terry Sorchy

Mr. Sorchy,

I do believe we owe those who manage to help support and fund battlefields than anyone. I thank you for that personally. However, this is why people will never work together. Your response says it all in the way this hobby has been split in half. I do not know how every unit does their events. I do know this much: it's 2007. As much as I want to preserve history, I cannot forget the times we live in. I've refused to allow myself to give titles to certain events, as you've called it...but I don't know the difference between a mainstream event from a hardcore event or whatever. All I know is that we as a WHOLE....not just C/P/H ...everyone. By the way I don't know what C/P/H is so please forgive me for my ignorance.

As far as taking that as a "slap in the face"....please don't take my comment that way. It certainly wasn't directed at your group, it was directed at every reenactor organization out there...we all have a lot of work to do.

toptimlrd
01-15-2007, 10:37 PM
PR,

C/P/H = Campaign / Progressive / Hardcore.

As far as the differences between what most consider "hardcore" and "mainstream" (please let's not start a flame war here, I'm going to try and give a very high level definition for those who truly may not know) there are several. A mianstream event is the one many first think of when it comes to reenacting, an event that has numerous A-frame and wall tents, often family oriented where there MAY be ladies and children in the "military camps", the battle is scheduled at a certain time for the viewing public, there is often a "Ball" one evening, numerous sutlers and food vendors, and rather loose expectations as to equipment and impressions. A campaigner / progressive / hardcore event is one that has very stringent guidelines as to the equipment required including materials and construction, often it is not for the public, first person impressions are expected for the duration of the event, A frames and wall tents are not allowed unless the portrayal is a garrison event, military protocol is observed at all times (pickets posted at night, assigned duties or patrols all day, everyone carries all of there gear for the duration, only period foods are used, etc), anachronisms of any type are not allowed (save modern medications carried and used discreetly). A C /P /H event tries to capture as authentic an experience for those involved as possible within reason. Some on the mainstream side dislike the C / P / H folks and use such terms as stitch counters and button whizzers when describing them. Likewise Some on the C / P / H regard anyone who does not agree with their style of reenacting as total farbs. As someone who lives in both worlds I can tell you that most on both sides have a tolerance for the other and have a live and let live attitude.

I hate to say it, but most of the true venom I see is from the mainstream side that denegrates the C / P /H with the afore mentioned titles or by stating that unless they walked to the event or rode a steam engine they are not authentic, or that unless they can amass true troop strength they are not authentic, or unless thay have the diseases and vermin associated with the period they are not authentic, ad nauseum. Where the problems you have noticed arise is when someone from one extreme or the other takes offense at a suggestion you may make. Obviously if you go into a discussion group for C /P /H reenactors and talk about how riduculous their idea of reenacting is you are going to get lambasted. Likewise a C /P / H minded person who goes to a mainstream event and complains about how inauthentic it is is also way off base. When we are in discussion groups such as this one where someone asks advise about their impression and a C/ P / H minded person reccomends a high quality kit over a "sutler row" kit usually someone will blast that "sutler Row" kits are good enough and accuse the C / P / H person of scaring away new recruits with the cost. Likewise someone else may reccomend buying a "sutler row" special to start off with and a C /P H er will suggest buying higher quality to start based on a number of reasons. The bottom line in most of these discussions is to check with your unit and see what they require.

As to the research aspect, you are dead on. Everyone should start with the research then reenact. If you don't do the research, are you really doing anything more than playing dress up and war like we did when we were kids?

terry sorchy
01-15-2007, 11:48 PM
Excellent response Robert. I might add one thing though, many many C/P/H events that National Parks have are oriented for the public and usually go for preservation of that landmark. Or events like Picketts Mill or Rich Mountain where huge amounts of money were made for battlefield preservation. Also the events at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Fredricksburg,Banks Grand Retreat, just to name a few this year are going to contribute to the preservation of our American heritage.
Cheers
Terry Sorchy

toptimlrd
01-16-2007, 12:11 AM
Excellent response Robert. I might add one thing though, many many C/P/H events that National Parks have are oriented for the public and usually go for preservation of that landmark. Or events like Picketts Mill or Rich Mountain where huge amounts of money were made for battlefield preservation. Also the events at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Fredricksburg,Banks Grand Retreat, just to name a few this year are going to contribute to the preservation of our American heritage.
Cheers
Terry Sorchy

Terry,

You pretty much covered the preservation aspect earlier and I did use the caveat that MOST events are not open to the public. There are of course exceptions to almost any rule such as the Immortal 600 coming up soon in Georgia which obviously will be open to the public.

tompritchett
01-16-2007, 12:04 PM
I hate to say it, but most of the true venom I see is from the mainstream side that denegrates the C / P /H with the afore mentioned titles or by stating that unless they walked to the event or rode a steam engine they are not authentic, or that unless they can amass true troop strength they are not authentic, or unless thay have the diseases and vermin associated with the period they are not authentic, ad nauseum.

While I will agree with you about this point for this forum, even though we try to delete such posts as quickly as possible, the same can not be said for other forums which are devoted almost strictly to the c/p/h side of the hobby (e.g., the OTB)

toptimlrd
01-16-2007, 02:12 PM
While I will agree with you about this point for this forum, even though we try to delete such posts as quickly as possible, the same can not be said for other forums which are devoted almost strictly to the c/p/h side of the hobby (e.g., the OTB)


Tom,

I don't use the OTB so I can not speak for what happens over there. My comment was based not only on this forum but comments heard at events as well. It just seems to me that once you meet the big, mean, nasty C / P /H guys, they are some of the most accomodating folks around. I was once of the mindset of "they're a bunch of stitch counters" and needed to be avoided. I find that more negative comments are made about the C /P / H crowd within the ranks of the average reenactors (fortunately not my mainstream unit who has it's share of fence sitters like myself) than the other way around. Of course there are the "hardkewls" who seem to be very vocal and like to just stir the pot instead of looking for some middle ground.

tompritchett
01-16-2007, 03:56 PM
It just seems to me that once you meet the big, mean, nasty C / P /H guys, they are some of the most accomodating folks around.

As has been my experience also.