Mackinaw cloth, with its thick, blanket-like composition is very similar to melton wool. It is extremely hard wearing and doesn't unwind or fray like wool knits. The first mackinaw jackets were commissioned for the British army in the Great Lakes region of Michigan. Those of you familiar with the area have undoubtedly heard of Mackinac Island which is where the fabric, and in turn, the jacket gets its name. Though lumberjacks were primarily of French-Canadian or Scottish-Canadian ancestry, mackinaw cloth owes its origins to Norwegian immigrants. The original cloth was homepun from wool from northern sheep. The early fabric was relatively coarse, and heavyweight, around 40oz. After it was woven, was "stumpfed", or danced upon with soap and water with wooden shoes, usually accompanied by music and celebration. This process felted the fabric, shrinking it dramatically, and making it thicker, denser, warmer, and resistant to rain and further shrinkage. Commercially produced mackinaw cloth later mimicked this process mechanically. After weaving, the fabric was shrunk and felted (the stumpfing or fulling process) , then napped to give it a thick and fluffy texture, further increasing its insulation value. It is around this 1912-1913 period where the name "Mackinaw" begins to be more associated with the short, double breasted, shawl collar style, and less with the mackinaw cloth material from which it was made.