Eddie Bauer invents down parka in Seattle in 1936.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 9/07/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1659

In 1936, Eddie Bauer (1899-1986)

invents the down parka in Seattle. He got the idea from a near-death experience while fishing in wet wool garments. The Skyliner, the quilted down jacket he patented in 1936, became a popular jacket in the Eddie Bauer store.

Eddie Bauer was born on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands to Russian immigrant parents. According to Adam Woog, after moving to Seattle in 1913, he worked for Piper and Taft, at the time Seattle's largest sporting goods store.

Woog writes that Bauer "began to concentrate on his special gift: stringing tennis rackets. He won a world championship by stringing a dozen tournament-quality rackets in 18 minutes a piece."

At the age of 22, Eddie Bauer opened his own sporting goods store. In the winter of 1934, he was on a fishing trip on the Olympic Peninsula and nearly got hypothermia after shedding a too-heavy wet woolen jacket. This led him to remember his Russian uncle who survived the 1904 Russo-Japanese war, so the story went, by wearing quilted goose-down undergarments.

The Skyliner, a quilted down jacket patented in 1936, resulted from this near-death experience and became a popular jacket in the Eddie Bauer store.


Sources:

Adam Woog, Sexless Oysters and Self-tipping Hats (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1991), 18-20.


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