Saturday, 21 May 2011

Rainwear for Pleasure in Rubber and PVC

From the early 1900's rubber was used as a protective item, whether you were rich or poor you often owned and wore a mackintosh. The came in various type:

1. Single textured - rubber on the inside cloth on the outer.
2. Double textured - Rubber sandwiched between two layers of fabric

Both of the above were used by the gentry and often used by officers in the first world war.
Then there was SBR (Shiny Black Rubber) this was where the rubber was on the outside and often polished black. The cloth was called 'wigan' and took its name from the town in Lancashire.
Manchester became one of the leading manufacturers of the above types of rainwear.

In the 1960's fashionable ladies rainwear was still around and as a young man seeing a rubber mack would turn my head. If a man wore it even better.

It was not unusual to see this type of advert for rainwear, very rarely was a man featured.

The above shows the classic Mackintosh rainwear from the Dunlop Tyre Corporation.
These would have been a dream to wear.

And then came the 'Pakamac', every home should have one, we did, my mum, my dad and me.
Very sexy..........especially if worn with nothing underneath as mine often was (easy to clean as well).

But nothing could beat the rubber macks and they smelled good when they got warm. I used to sit on a bus knowing there was someone close by in a nylon rubber lined mack............the smell was obvious.

Some towns even had shops that sold nothing but rainwear, we had one in our town and just window shopping was an experience. The smell from the doorway was heavenly.

Dorman Stewart were based in Middlesborough.

In the 1960's PVC was the new material for fashion and rainwear. This gave me a good excuse to wear a black shiny pvc 3/4 length mack outdoors to the clubs we went to. It was purchased in the Kings Road during a trip to London. Forgot the price now but it was worth every penny.

I lived and breathed in that mack.................until one day at college, someone scrawled 'WIMPEY' across the back in chalk. Luckily it cleaned off and it survived well into the 1980's when it ended up as a pillow cover...............well I couldn't see a valuable part of my life go to waste.

The International Mackintosh Society
In the mid 1970's I joined a group of rubber rainwear enthusiasts who went under the name of the Mackintosh Society, this later became known as the International Mackintosh Society, as so many members came from around the world all with a love of rubber rainwear.

The Mackintosh Society was formed in 1969 by Leon Chead and 5 other men who appreciated in more ways than one the pleasures that rubber rainwear can give. As the Society grew it published an excellent magazine, had a dinner dance in the spring and a autumn weekend. These were usually held in top hotels, the most famous venue used on a regular basis was The Aerodrome Hotel at Croydon, famed for where the early aviator, Amy Johnson flew from here in May 1930 to Australia

The Aerodrome Hotel Croydon 1930's


Amy Johnson in her flying gear.............warm
and waterproof.                                                                               

It was whilst attending the Mackintosh Society functions and watching the fashion shows and visiting the trade fair, that I first discovered the German Klepper Mack. A rubber mack both inside and out usually made in grey, green or blue rubber. They were developed during WW2 in Germany and the company flourished until about 1972.
The Klepper mack has become a collectable item and has a strong following around the world.
Thanks to Ebay, I now own three of them and can often be seen around town in mine when it is raining. They were famous for their style and especially the vent at the back across the shoulders called a 'Rillo'. The early styles had 12 pleats and later ones 16. Each Klepper was labeled with its own tag detaing the day of manufacture. Mine all date form the early 1960's.
The beauty of them is they are totally waterproof and proving you care for them, don't wear out.

 Klepper at Kedlestone Hall, Derbyshire
Klepper in the Park

                                                                                 Wet Klepper....taste the rain

Testing my Klepper in a Munich fountain.......Yes it is still working and keeping me dry.

 Klepper in Salzburg, yes I do take my
                                                  Klepper on holiday.

Sadly the Mackintosh Society went into decline round about 1995 because just like other  groups there was squabbling and breakaway factions wanting more.
The breakaway group started as Mach2 and can be found by searching the web.

The Mackintosh Society still lives on in a new form and here is a link to their web site:

Hopefully it is as good as it used to be and every one is made welcome

Well thats all for now and I will add to this and talk about my own love for rainwear and wet weather gear.

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