As technology extended both the distances aircraft could travel and the height that could be obtained there became an urgent need for suitable flight clothing that was not only warm and relatively water proof, but was not as bulky as some of the earlier options. Inspiration for a coat that was to become widely used across the world, but particularly in America came from the Royal Flying Corp's full-length leather coat, manufactured by companies such as Burberrys and Gamages.
As became the general rule, the American leather companies developed upon these ideas and produced a better, more serviceable and easier to wear item.
This double-breasted 4-pocket coat was considerably shorter than the RFC item and provided all the protection without the bulk and discomfort of a full-length coat. Although never an "issue" item, many US manufacturers produced a near on identical item right through to the late 1930s, using horsehide exterior while the linings varied from the heavy horse blanket material to the more luxurious, lighter weight yet warmer, alpaca wool imported from Peru.
A typical example of this "Barnstormer", as it became known since we first used the name in honour of the exploits of the flying circus and stunt pilots, can be found in the Sears catalogues of the 1930s. The flying leather necks, cargo and mail pilots of the 1930's faced long hauls in bitter weather conditions with only their flying coats to keep the elements at bay. Their first choice was a Double Breasted Horsehide leather coat, chosen for its warmth, strength and durability...all the hallmarks of an Aero garment.This famous Aero stalwart is now available in super heavy Chrome Tanned Steerhide, tanned in USA by the same tanner that makes our legendary Horsehide.
Our tannery has produced leather using same tried and tested methods for over 100 years, but what is less well known is that they also use the same techniques to tan Steerhide. Since 1986, when we first acquired the old style chrome tanned heavy American front quarter horsehide, we have strived to honour the styling and techniques of US manufacturers from the mid- 1900's.
Horween's 4 oz Chrome Tanned steer offers the wearer the same protection from the elements as Horsehide although in our opinion, after almost 30 years working with both hides, Horsehide is vastly superior to Steerhide, it ages beautifully, it develops a far more attractive grain and is better suited to be used for clothing than the Steerhide.
The Aero Barnstormer has four deep pockets, finest Alpaca Wool lining, hand-sewn buttons and pure wool knitted storm cuffs, set into the cotton sleeve lining for draught resistance