Denim Scrap Of Late 1880’s

From my archive is this A.B. Elfelt denim scrap which was found in a closed mine in the U.S. It’s not known if this was a silver or gold mine. The scrap is probably from a miner overalls and dates back to 1883 – 1887. This brand was established in San Francisco in 1867 and had also a sister company in New York. They manufactured and sell workwear as wholesale.

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

Dart Stitching As Reinforcement

This piece dates back to a period when brands were not allowed to strengthen their pants with rivets. It’s was forbidden as Levi’s had their rivet patent on this invention from 1873 to 1890, so brand’s needed to be creative to find other ways to strengthen their pants on points such as front pockets. One of the solutions was the so-called ‘dart stitch’, which is a stitching reinforcement shaped like a dart.

On this pair, it’s hard to see where the stitches were originally, but if you take a close look at the corner of the pocket you can still see some traces of the stitching. In the must-have denim book: ‘Jeans of the Old West’ by Michael Harris you will see some better original examples.

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

Special Features On This Miner Scrap

As you can see on this scrap, A.B. Elfelt didn’t have belt loops yet (they were added by Levi’s in the early 1920s), but suspender buttons and a cinch back on the back (unfortunately not visible on this scrap). On the back of this scrap, you can see that the closure and waistband were made with a plain selvedge ID. This detail is still used by some niche brands after almost 140 years.

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls

 A.B.-Elfelts-pioneer-miner-overalls


Tip! Learn more about original miner denim pair;

  • Read the story of an original J.C. Penny Foremost miner waist overalls here.
  • Read the story of an original Levi’s miner pair from the early 1900’s here.
Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.