Founded by John Barbour in 1894, the renowned British apparel manufacturer Barbour originally supplied oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen, and dockworkers in northeast England. The founder understood the needs of country folk who loved hunting and those of farmers, shepherds, and fishermen, too.
At that time, commercial fishermen in particular were burdened with poorly constructed and ill-fitting jackets, typically coated in tar and fish oils to repel the elements. Barbour offered a softer and more comfortable alternative that provided similar utility, but with added longevity.
In 1912, John’s sons, Malcolm and Jack, joined the business as managing directors, changing the company’s name to J Barbour & Sons Ltd., and producing the company’s first mail-order catalog. By 1917, Barbour was sending this catalog around the world, resulting in sales as far afield as South America, Asia, and Africa. Within 10 years of its introduction, the catalog was responsible for 75 percent of Barbour’s revenues.
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