Norris Tweed: Into the un-Googleable world of vintage

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Anyone who has followed me for a while will know that I am very much into things that are a little off the beaten track. The stuff that most have forgotten, or stuff that has yet to attract the attention of the braying masses, or even just odd things. Hence why I love poking around vintage markets and jumble sales. You just never know what you’ll find. Like mechanical calculators or vintage army jackets.

norris tweed jacket

This time though I found a tweed coat. I’ll admit up front that when scanning racks of vintage clothing I have a special filter for anything of a tweedy nature, and in this case it gave a loud ping (like the sort of sonar ping you hear inside an old submarine in a WW2 movie, just in a totally different setting).

Photo 06.11.15, 14.23.11

It’s a nice tweed as well. The blend of colours very similar to the Harris variant. Looking inside, expecting to find the Harris Tweed label, I was surprised to find this:

norris tweed

Norris Tweed? Never heard of it. Nowadays it’s mainly Harris or Donegal tweed, Norris Tweed rings no bells at all. Does the logo give a hint, what with the snow clad mountain tops and very Norwegian looking fjords?Google has hardly heard of it either, and we know nowadays that unless it’s on Google it’s unlikely to exist. Or exist for much longer. Norris Tweed appears to only exist in the form of scanned newspapers from 1937 to 1950. Such as these:

The_Kokomo_Tribune_Thu__Nov_20__1947_

The_Lincoln_Star_Fri__Mar_21__1941_

The_Plain_Speaker_Fri__Nov_3__1944_

The_Troy_Record_Fri__Mar_17__1944_

The_Wilkes_Barre_Record_Fri__Apr_23__1943_

From the above you might get the impression Norris Tweed was the cheap option, but given that it merits a mention in the society wedding pages, I think it must have been quite the fashionable fabric at the time:

The_Record_Argus_Tue__Apr_20__1943_

No mention of where it came from, being both referred to as imported tweed and made form imported 100% wool. Curious indeed. A little more info comes from a matchbox cover I found on eBay:

norris tweed matchbox

The heydays of Norris Tweed were in the 1940’s, going by the advertising. The most recent mention I found was in 1965, well after all the above. Here it is merely mentioned as one of several fabrics available in the fall colours:

Nashua_Telegraph_Thu__Sep_2__1965_

This makes me think that the jacket I have is most likely from late 1940s, though I’d have guessed it was more recent than that. To me the styling is utterly timeless, it could be 70 years old or in the shop today. I’ve found no information at all about the maker, a Norwegian company by the name of “Nor-Wind” (though there is a company by that name that makes boats now). They must have been exporting at the time as the label proudly proclaims “Made in Norway”.

nor-wind made in norway

The label is interesting though, with the stylised gentleman with what I think may be a polar bear, but could be a seal, in the background.According to Google they never existed, apart from another jacket I found on eBay. The Norwegian textile industry uttered it’s final croak in the late 80’s and is sadly almost non-existent today.

I have a few feelers out for further archival info, so maybe there will be an update. Maybe this post will even find others seeking info, like the post I did on my grandfathers old suit did. If you can inform me more about Norris Tweed or Nor-Wind, please do get in touch! My email is WellDressedDad (at) gmail.com

I’ll leave you with the below full page scan from an American news paper from December 1942.

 

The_Portsmouth_Herald_Wed__Dec_30__1942_

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1 Comment

  • Emma 10/11/2015 at 13:27

    Looks like it might be from Norrisville Pennsylvania by the matchbook?

    Reply

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