90 years of Shirtmaking: the Taxonomy of Pendleton Shirts

Nine Decades!

We’re celebrating nine decades! yes, that’s right. We have been making men’s wool shirts for ninety years. The Pendleton shirt story starts in 1924, when the Bishop family decided to enlarge their business from trade and bed blankets into men’s apparel.

To quote http://www.pendleton-usa.com:

In 1924, a man could have a wool shirt in any color he wanted – as long as it was grey. Wool shirts were utilitarian items; warm, durable, an excellent first line in the defense against the elements. They were uniformly drab. Of course, all that was about to change.

At Pendleton Woolen Mills, Clarence Morton Bishop envisioned a different kind of fabric for a man’s wool shirt. Pendleton’s sophisticated weaving capabilities were producing vibrant trade blankets. Why not bring that same weaving and color know-how to flannel shirting?

He wrote to his father, Charles Pleasant Bishop, “I believe we should add such goods as shirts and hosiery.” C.P. Bishop agreed, replying “I am more and more impressed with the opportunity we have here in Oregon.” While his son investigated production options, C.P. Bishop did the early marketing work. He wrote to his son that “I am impressing it on the minds of my employees and patrons…that we are putting a new fabric on the market, something better than other mills can or will make.”

After much weaving experimentation and hard work, Pendleton’s innovative Umatilla shirting fabric rolled off the loom. The rich colors in Pendleton’s woolen plaid shirts were completely new to the market in 1924. The positive response was immediate. It has also been enduring.

The Poster

Ninety years! To celebrate, we’ve released a poster that elaborates on the design features of our most enduring models.  Click for a larger view, though the best view is in person at one of our many retailers.

A Pendleton poster with drawings of the eight shirt styles for Fall, including the trail, fireside, lodge, board, canyon, Sir Pendleton, guide and gambler Pendleton shirts.

Decade Shirts

Fall 2014 brings our Decade shirts, each made a style and fabric that represents a decade of Pendleton shirtmaking. We will be taking a closer look at those in the next few weeks. But for now, it’s kind of awesome to sit back and consider how many Pendleton wool shirts we’ve put on the backs of men over the last ninety years. Thank you for your loyalty, and here’s to the next decade!

8 thoughts on “90 years of Shirtmaking: the Taxonomy of Pendleton Shirts

  1. Pingback: Pendleton Wool Decade Shirts for Women | Pendleton Woolen Mills

  2. My husband and I are desperately searching for someplace we can buy sir Pendleton shirts. It’s what he wears all the time and we can no longer find a store that sells them. If we could get a catalog we would gladly order from a catalog please help us

  3. I am a long-time user of Pendleton shirts with snaps. I have treasured many and have some more than 20 yrears old. I was given a Canyon style for this past Christmas. However the snap pillar (male) is too large for the seat (female). The snaps as a whole are extremely difficult to close and open to the point that there is risk that the wool fabric will shred from use of the snaps. It affects every snap. The local retailer offered a new replecement shirt but that brand new shirt had the same problem. Do you have a fix for this?

  4. I have a Pendleton that I just can’t identify. It kind of looks like a 49er or a knockabout It’s mens. 70s. And has two pockets on the lower front that button. Anyone who can help?

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