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Warren K Cook Tweed Jacket

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Show and Tell - Share your treasures' started by Colin Carmichael, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Colin Carmichael

    Colin Carmichael Registered Guest

    I just picked up this great herringbone tweed jacket with pleated patch pockets for a whopping $13. I don't know anything about Warren K Cook and haven't been able to find much online.

  2. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Colin, welcome to our boards.

    It's a little difficult to say much about the dating of the jacket as there is no photo of the whole front of it.
    It's best to show the full jacket, front and back.

    Is there anything unusual about the cut of the back? The pleat or double pleat or the lack of a back pleat can help date the item as well.

    The size of the lapels can also help determine the era, there is no clear shot of this either.

    Also is there any other label other than the one you are showing, such as a care label, or union label?

    Have you checked the inside pocket of the lining, often a jacket is dated on the tag on the inside of the pocket.

    If you could please size your photos to be 500 x 500 pixels, that is the size that works best in our forums.
  3. Colin Carmichael

    Colin Carmichael Registered Guest

    Here's a shot of the full front. Nothing special about the back, just a single vent, no darting or other interesting features. I'll get some shots of the tags this evening.
  4. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Nice jacket Colin - and a good price too! Looks '60s to me. Those pockets are unusual. I can't see "Warren K Cook" in your photos, is that a label in the pocket? It might be the name of the man it was tailored for - the extra pics will help, when you have them.
  5. joules

    joules Trade Member

    Found this, on the styleforum site:
    "I encourage any member of this site, especially those who esteem themselves as experts, to research Coppley as a manufacturer and as a definer of tastes. Though possibly less well known in the US than in Canada, their products are of the highest quality, with careful attention to tailoring and shaping. Moreover, few truly fine tailors are as continually innovative in style as Coppley, which fuses the best aspects of contemporary fashion with traditional style elements to create its distinctive look. Coppley also manufactures the popular Keithmoor line, as well as Mateo Maas, Cambridge and Warren K. Cook. I encourage anyone to experience the quality of these brands."

    You can see the attention to detail, on your jacket, by noting the herringbone matching, in the placement of the large front patch pockets, for exampe. It's a garment of integrity.
    bartondoll likes this.
  6. Colin Carmichael

    Colin Carmichael Registered Guest

    Ok, here are the tags. I don't really think the jacket is very old, but it sure is interesting. A friend tells me that Warren K. Cook used to make jackets for Ralph Lauren. Is a date of "249" some kind of code?

    "Warren K. Cook" is the script lettering at the top. "Parktown" must be a line of jackets, but Google can't find anything about it.

    Is a date of "249" some kind of code?

    The union label puts its vintage somewhere between 1976 and 1995.
  7. Colin Carmichael

    Colin Carmichael Registered Guest

    I noticed the pattern matching too - which was my first clue that this wasn't just an average jacket.
  8. lkranieri

    lkranieri Trade Member

    THIS LINK will take you to links for books that mention Warren K. Cook. Some of them do not show you the pages, but the short blurbs on the page that link takes you to can tell you a bit about Cook.

    THIS LINK takes you to a page of links to newspaper articles about Cook. As with the link above, you may not be able to see the whole article unless you choose to pay to see it, but the blurbs can give you important dates and info.
  9. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  10. Colin Carmichael

    Colin Carmichael Registered Guest

    The ACTWU didn't exist until 1976 and Warren K. Cook ceased production in 1990, so it's from somewhere in between.
  11. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  12. Itsbev

    Itsbev Registered Guest

    Warren K Cook was located @ 15 Fraser Avenue in Toronto. I worked there in payroll when I was 16 in the early 70's. My mom was his private secretary for years and my grandmother also worked there in the office! The suits were custom made.

    cotmyey likes this.
  13. A Laalo

    A Laalo Registered Guest

    Not really sure if this thread is still being discussed but here's some info on Warren K. Cook garments. The firm operated as an independent company until about 1990 when the Coppley group purchased the firm. The early 90's were a very difficult time for Canadian men's wear firms.

    Warren K. Cook ('Cook') garments were of a top quality make and offered both off the rack and custom selections, as well as full made to measure. Cook made slacks, overcoats, suits, sport coats, blazers, and formalwear. They offered an extensive array of high quality fabrication from Italy, England, Germany, etc. The sport coat you have found looks like about a 1978-1980 vintage (the darts on the patch pockets are a good indicator). The codes in the pocket indicate that it was a stock garment, likely purchased by a retail store for rack inventory. Since there is no name in the allotted space, this garment wasn't created specially for any one customer (not custom made or made to measure).

    At $13.00 I think it's a very good buy. It looks to be in excellent condition, with no obvious tears, etc. This jacket was likely around $250-300.00 at retail when it was new. Enjoy it and remember it is a piece of Canadian clothing manufacturing history. Cook garments were synonymous with high quality and were considered to be as good as any premium brand in the world. Cook garments were sold by only the top level of retail men's clothiers.
  14. Catbooks1940s

    Catbooks1940s Trade Member

    wonderful information, a laalo, thanks so much for posting it!
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    I had a visitor come to the museum last year, Mr. Rickey, who used to work for Warren Cook and gave the museum his Warren Cook tuxedo from 1973.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  16. john.hugh.smith

    john.hugh.smith Registered Guest

    Wow! What a blast from the past. I worked for Warren K Cook in 1985 through 87 as a manufacturing engineer, setting piecework rates and recording methods. It was my first job in the industry.

    To the woman who's mother worked as his secretary. I'm sorry that I don't remember her name (R???) but I sure do remember her. She had a round coaster on her desktop with the label 'TUIT' printed on it. She said that Mr Cook had gotten it for her and said that now that she had a round TUIT that she could do what he asked. She was a lovely lady!

    The Parktown model was a new, more automated, manufacturing method introduced by Joe Deblaze to become competitive in the market. So it would have been the early 80's. This was like a 'ready-to-wear' line. A large portion of the manufacturing was custom order. Only the finest of fabrics were used. For a tactile person it was nervana.

    Warren K Cook did manufacture for Ralph Lauren. It was an important line but was not a substantial volume. It was a trip to Holt Renfrew, in Toronto, to compare the merchandising and retail costs of the Warren K Cook off the rack jacket vs the Ralph Lauren line that taught me the power of marketing.

    Your other posters are correct about the matching, etc. The pockets were individually die cut after the front panel was made. If you look inside the lining sleeves were set with handstitching. There were a dozen women there who set the lining sleeves by hand, did hand stitched buttonholes (special orders), topsitching around lapels and hems (special order). It became very, very difficult to find skilled labour or anyone that was interested in being trained.

    I'm sorry that I don't recall the date coding.

    You don't find that kind of tailoring anymore. You got a great deal!!
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  17. Michael Spaziani

    Michael Spaziani Registered Guest

    My father and his 2 brothers (Alfie and Carl) worked at Warren K. Cook for 52 years. Frank Spaziani began sweeping floors there in 1932 and rose to become their Vice President and designer. It was a remarkable company that failed to maintain market share as glued suits and computer manufacturing took over.

    An original Cook suit would be entirely hand made and last a very long time. The Cook name was sold to Cambridge Clothes in the 90's and I am not sure if it still exists. I have my father's patterns which he drew up in his short retirement years. After 2 years of retirement, Cooks called him back to try to revitalize their dwindling sales. Upon entering the factory floor on Fraser Avenue, the entire staff stood to give him a standing ovation. After 2 weeks back at Cooks he had a heart attack there and died the following morning. Terribly sad but he left with a smile in his heart.
  18. foofoogal

    foofoogal Registered Guest

    Frank Spaziani began sweeping floors there in 1932 and rose to become their Vice President and designer.
    Kudos to your Father. I love reading things like this and the respect from staff.
    Sad end but glad he was doing evidently what he loved.
  19. Shawn

    Shawn Registered Guest

    Wow. A very touching history lesson. Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure if this thread is still active but I had a Warren K Cook suit that I purchased sometime in the mid to late 70's. It was very expensive for me at the time. I believe that I purchased it at Robert Simpson's in Pointe Claire, Quebec. I had worked there while going to school and had a close friend still working there that sold it to me. One of the things that I remember about the suit that no one has discussed yet was the distinctive buttons. Unless I am mistaken, I recall initials on the buttons. I can't recall if all 3 initials or just a couple. The suit went to Amity many years ago so I can't confirm. It's been very nice reading this thread and putting some history around a very Canadian success story. Thanks
  20. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    What a great thread. I don't remember this at all, so glad it resurfaced.

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