Jacket Evaluation: Lost Worlds Dubow 27798 A-2(Filed: 14 May 2000)
Maker: Lost Worlds
Model: Reproduction Dubow 27798 A-2, russet horsehide
Size: 42 regular
Date of manufacture: January 1999
Date of evaluation: May 2000
Fit/cut/proportionThis Lost Worlds Dubow A-2 reproduction is constructed with a pattern and proportions generally consistent with original wartime A-2 jackets, although there are a few differences noted below. The overall look of this jacket when worn is suitably consistent with original jackets.
For fit reference, I am 5'10", 180 lbs, wear a size 42 suit jacket off the rack, and take a 34" shirt sleeve. This size 42 Regular jacket is a comfortable fit for me when wearing an average weight shirt underneath, and there does appear to be some room for layering. The shoulder seams square up nicely at the edges of my shoulders. The sleeves are a bit long for my preference, with the leather coming down to just above the break in my wrist. As I stand with my arms at my side the knit cuffs are compressed about halfway up into the sleeve (many people refer to this as "tunneling").
The sleeves are a little bit full in width, perhaps just a bit more so than the typical wartime A-2. But the sleeves do taper properly to the cuff attachment, so the look of the sleeves shouldn't appear oversized unless perhaps the wearer has very thin arms.
An observation about the body of the jacket is that the back panel is narrower in width than the front by about an inch or so on each side. This places the side seams just back a bit on the torso. I don't know know that any original A-2 jackets were constructed this way. This construction variation doesn't seem to notably affect the comfort or look of the jacket, but it is unusual.
The top seams across the shoulders joining the front and back panels appear to be placed forward about a half-inch or so more than is typical. This then moves the epaulets forward a bit more than usual, but it is not visibly problematic.
Hide[NOTE: More so than any other component of an A-2, the hide may vary from jacket to jacket and so not all of the observations from this one example will necessarily be consistent with other individual examples, nor will they be representative of the effects of time and wear.]
The leather is chrome tanned horsehide. The color is stated to be russet brown but is more of a rich chocolate brown and a little dark for russet, although it seems somewhat consistent with originals of this contract as seen in photo references. The finish has a matte appearance with just a subtle shine to it, and it seems to be a very tough and deeply embedded finish that won't be prone to scraping or flaking.
The thickness of the leather is consistent with original A-2's, while the feel of it is very dense and viscous, this even after more than a year of use by its owner. There is plenty of resistance in this hide and it still has plenty of room for breaking in. Some people might find the stiffness and resistance uncomfortable, but for those seeking a tough horsehide A-2, this one is very tough.
There is a fine grain structure over most all of the hide, with some variation over the jacket, although the heavy finish does tend to soften the details. In addition, there are portions with long lines running through, about a quarter inch apart. I don't know what these are, though they may be some kind of stretch marks, and I also don't see them very much in other jackets. Refer to the photos below illustrating some hide grain samples. As the jacket has been worn for some time now, there is also some evidence of the natural wrinkles becoming more pronounced, particularly on the back.
To summarize the hide in terms of quality and of authenticity to original jackets, I would say that most people would judge the leather to be of high quality for its durability and overall appearance, but I feel that the nature of the heaviness in feel and finish amounts to a departure in authenticity.
LiningThe lining is relatively dark brown in color with a weave, weight, and texture very similar to original linings, though perhaps just a bit heavier. The color is a little unusually dark, but I have found some photo samples of original Dubow 27798 jackets which show some variation in color from the more typical reddish brown to a darker brown. A photo below from this Lost Worlds jacket shows, interestingly, a lighter shade lining used to cover the inside back of the collar snaps.
KnitsThe knits are a medium brown with a weight and thickness similar to originals.
ZipperThe zipper is a modern nickel Talon. Triangular reinforcement stitching is present only at the bottom of puller side of the zipper and is unexpectedly absent on the other side.
SnapsThe snaps are black colored ball studs and are slightly different in style for the collar and pockets. The pocket stud is more like the originals, while the collar stud is taller and more rectangular than originals. See the photo below.
Throat hookThe throat hook appears to be all nickel and of essentially the correct shape, but both pieces are a bit larger than originals.
StitchingStitching is of a light russet color with a very fine count of ten to eleven stitches per inch. While it is possible to find high stitch counts like this on original A-2's, it is unusual. Typical stitch counts average about eight per inch. Based upon photo references for this contract, the reddish shade of the thread is a departure from the observed khaki color.
Top stitching placement from seamTop stitching is placed at about 1/8 inches all around, typical for Dubow.
CollarThe extended collar point shape is typical of Dubow. The points measure about 3-7/8 inches from their attachment and form an angle of about 55 degrees.
EpauletsThe epaulets are 1.75 inches wide at the shoulder attachment, and 1.25 inches wide at the collar attachment.
The outside lengthwise stitch lines are 3/16 inches apart.
The box stitching at both ends is rectangular in shape, longer than wide, with the crossing stitch lines within the inside of the two lengthwise stitch lines. This is typical of Dubow although the length of the box area is seen to vary quite a bit on original Dubow A-2's.
The epaulet is made of one piece of leather, folded over in the front. Original epaulets are made of two pieces, a top and a bottom.
Wind flapThe width of the wind flap over the zipper averages 1.25 inches from the edge to the inside stitch line.
SleevesAs mentioned previously, the sleeves are reasonably proportional to the jacket. Sleeve taper is proper with the diameter at the end of the sleeve closing down toward the wrist and with no overstretching of the knit where it attaches. The width of sleeves is somewhat roomy without appearing too oversized when worn.
PocketsThe pocket flap shape has a relatively soft curve and somewhat pointed center very consistent with original Dubow jackets, although some variations can be seen across original examples. The size, position, and stitching pattern are also consistent with originals.
Hanger loopThe hanger loop is box stitched as were originals.
TYPE A-2 DRAWING No. 30-415 ORDER No. W535 A.C. 27798 J.A. DUBOW MFG. CO. CHICAGO, ILL. PROPERTY AIR FORCE U.S. ARMYCompared to original labels, this one is very good to an extent but contains two discrepancies. The lettering is correctly of orange shade threads woven into a black panel. The style of the lettering and most of the label layout is virtually identical to originals.
The first discrepancy seen is the Drawing No. which reads 30-415, whereas it should read 30-1415. And, no, this is not an isolated error on this one particular label. The second discrepancy is in the location of the jacket size which here appears on a separate tab beneath the main label. Original labels of the Dubow 27798 contract had the size woven into the main label and appearing centered below the line reading "AIR FORCE U.S. ARMY"
No woven border exists around the outer edges of the label, as is also true of the original labels of this contract.
Insignia stamp/transferNo AAF insignia stamps or transfers on this example.
Summary and overall impressionAs a reproduction of an original wartime maker and contract A-2 jacket, the Lost Worlds Dubow 27798 exhibits many authentic characteristics, but with some discrepancies as noted. While Lost Worlds exclaims that their A-2 jackets are of the utmost in authenticity, they also state that they have made improvements over the originals. I don't see how to reconcile these two declarations.
From the perspective of pure observation of original A-2 jackets, this reproduction could be made more authentic with a proper label and with modifications to the epaulet, zip, collar snap, and throat hook. The other premium repro makers have been successful with these details, so they are not out of reach.
The unusual construction variations likely fall into the realm of the declared improvement choices, but they also make for departures in authenticity. Is there a chance that these variations existed on some original jackets? Sure, it is possible, but I point them out as being unusual because I cannot account for them as original. At best, such differences would have been limited and not representative of the majority. When reproductions incorporate representative features, it is easier to assess authenticity; otherwise, the consequences are lingering doubt and endless debate.
Copyright © 2000 Marc D. Weinshenker. All rights reserved.