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A new acquisition – plush jacket

2020.4: Seal Plush Coat

The Saltaire Collection is excited to announce a new acquisition: a plush jacket dating back to 1910 from the American branch of Salts. Here local historian Dave Shaw explains the jacket’s background and how it came to be donated to the collections:

In the late 19th Century, various textile firms in England moved parts of their production across the Atlantic, to avoid the McKinley tariff, the high barrier erected by the US government against imported goods.

The Salts Mill company was one such firm. While sustaining its Saltaire business, it created a plush factory at Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1890. Plush is a woven fabric with a pile similar to velvet; ‘seal plush’, a fashionable material at the time, was valued for its resemblance to seal skin

It is very rare that surviving examples of seal plush coats, associated with Salts, come on to the market. In late 2019, such a coat was acquired by Nemine Juvante (Saltaire) Publications, a not-for-profit publishing activity devoted to publishing works relating to Saltaire history. They generously donated the coat to the Saltaire Collection.

We need to do more research to better understand why and how the plush factory was set up and we hope that the acquisition of the coat by Saltaire Collection will stimulate that research.