Hancock Vulcanised Articles are hand-made at our factory in Scotland. Two generations of expert coat-makers work with our vulcanised rubberised cloths, such as wool flannels, cashmeres, silks and cottons; bonded using a traditional manufacturing process at an original Victorian factory in England.
The Hancock silhouette features clean, minimal lines with luxury detailing. Along with our iconic botanical printed cotton, we regard these articles as modern heritage.
We pride ourselves on our ability to produce the finest outerwear with a focus on customer specification. Hems and cuffs can be altered to order and due to the entirely handmade process, we can produce coats to order, using an array of limited fabrics and linings.
Only 100 coats are made at our factory each month.
Each Article is first cut, then sewn by our team of machinists before it is passed to one of our experienced coat-makers. Interior seams and pockets are glued and taped by hand; a process called ‘smearing’ before being rolled flat using a hardened steel hand roller then finished with a rubber cleaning wheel tool.
All our Vulcanised Articles are handmade exclusively in rubber bonded (vulcanised), natural cloths such as 100% cotton, wool or silk. Still produced at the original Victorian mill in England, two-layers of cloth are bonded with a layer of rubber in-between creating an impenetrable barrier ensuring the finished cloth is 100% waterproof.
Hancock Traveling Articles are machined at our factory using our trademark V-Quilt pattern in lightweight nylons, wools and silks. Designed to be layered underneath our Vulcanised Articles in winter or worn as a single layer in warmer weather.
MAKING A HANCOCK VULCANISED ARTICLE
The specially formulated rubber solution that we use to glue together and waterproof all seams guarantee complete protection from the harshest of weather. Made from natural rubber with a few secret ingredients and to this day is still made in Manchester, England by the great grandson of the founder.
The index finger is the most important tool used in the hand making of our Hancock Vulcanised Articles. The skills required take 3 years to learn and ensure that the correct amount of rubber solution is loaded onto the finger for spreading (a process known as smearing) of all seams and hem lines.
Vulcanised cotton tape is applied by hand, over the glued interior seam to guarantee a fully-waterproof garment. This technique is difficult enough to master for at sections of the garment such as sides, shoulders etc. pieces such as armholes require the aid of a wooden domed tailors block for support underneath the garment.
These traditional tools are used to finish the garment. The roller is used by the coat maker to apply pressure along the interior taped seam to ensure the tape is firmly bonded to the glue. The cleaner is used to remove any excess glue that may have spread outside of the tape; producing a clean finish to the interior of the garment.
THOMAS HANCOCK – Founding Father of the British Rubber Industry
Thomas Hancock founded the rubber industry in Great Britain. He was born at Marlborough in Wiltshire, the third of twelve children of a lumber merchant and a cabinet-maker. Around 1815 Hancock went into the stagecoach business with one of his brothers in London. the need for an effective waterproofing agent – for coaches, drivers and passengers – drew Hancock’s attention to rubber. In April 1820 he patented India-rubber springs for various types of clothing such as gloves and suspenders. The Hancock brothers then stated an “elastic works” to manufacture items using the rubber springs.
Searching for a more effective way to process his raw material and use rubber remnants, Hancock in 1820 invented his most important device, the rubber masticator. He designed a machine with revolving teeth that tore up rubber scraps. To Hancock’s surprise, the shredded bits adhered into a solid mass of rubber that could then be pressed into moulds into solid wood blocks or rolled into sheets. Hancock’s masticator, which was perfected in 1821, made rubber manufacture commercially viable and gave birth to the rubber industry. Hancock called his machine a “pickle” and kept the process secret for over 10 years
The advantage of the Hancock rubber masticator caught the interest of Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), who in 1823 had patented a process for waterproofing fabrics with naphtha-treated rubber. Hancock in turn applied for a licence in 1825 to use Macintosh’s naphtha process. The two men eventually became partners in the manufacture of waterproof items.
In the same year, Thomas Hancock patented elastication for use in clothing – elasticated cuffs for warmth, elasticated pockets to prevent pick-pockets and also elasticated waists.
Siphonia Elastica provides the greatest amount and finest quality of natural rubber. The pictured rubber tree was hand drawn by Thomas Hancock at the Royal Botanical Gardens in 18756 and today is the signature print of Hancock Vulcanised Articles.