How to tell if Carhartt is vintage

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How to tell if Carhartt is vintage

Carhartt is the GOAT when it comes to workwear. Many challengers have come and gone, but very few have the staying power and storied history of Carhartt. Carhartt has prided itself on creating clothing that is so durable that you might even find some of the original pieces it made when it started back in 1889. And if you did manage to find one of these gems from over a century ago, they are so valuable that it would be like winning the lottery. So, you’d best educate yourself on how to tell if your Carhartt is vintage, and what era it’s from or risk losing the strangest, most pleasant payday of your life!

How to tell if Carhartt is vintage from the logo

Carhartt has always tied its strong brand identity to its logo and used this recognisable imagery as a symbol of its quality craftsmanship. Founder Hamilton Carhartt himself iterated that 'the famous Car and Heart buttons on Carhartt overalls are used to protect the buyer from any substation. Every pair of genuine Carhartt’s carries them.' This means that using the different Carhartt logos as reference points for seeing how old your Carhartt’s is a great method to help tell if Carhartt is vintage.

The Car plus 'Heart'

  • This was Carhartt’s very first logo and was used from 1889 to 1900
  • Interestingly the logo did not feature the brand name and instead focussed on the fact that Carhartt was union made and the products that they had to offer
  • This logo was featured on garment labels
  • The combination of a diamond shape placed on a rectangular logo was a common logo design at this time and meant that the company employed union labour

Hamilton Carhartt Company

  • This logo was only used around the 1900s
  • It was never used for garment labels and instead was featured on marketing materials

Carhartt Logos 1889-1900

Car'heart' Logo

  • Used from 1900 to the mid-1960s
  • The very first heart shaped logos from Carhartt used block capital letters, and then later versions employed the script design of the Carhartt brand name
  • These logos were used through all aspects of Carhartt, including garment labels, buttons, letterheads, and other marketing materials
  • For marketing materials, a slew of different slogans appeared within the heart which included 'Union Made', 'Master Cloth', '8 Hour Work Day' and 'From Mill to Millions'
  • As can be seen the Carhartt script logos varied between a horizontal and diagonal direction, with the diagonal version emerging around the 1950s

The Script Logo

  • The Carhartt script logo was used from 1910 to the mid-1960s
  • It was used everywhere including garment labels, buttons, letterheads and other marketing materials
  • Appeared alternatively as Carhartt or Carhartt’s

Carhartt Logo 1910-1960

Carhartt Headlight Finck

  • Carhartt’s logo from 1962 to 1964
  • This logo was designed to capitalise on Carhartt’s mergers with Headlight Overalls and W.M. Finck and Company, two other well known high quality workwear brands
  • This combined company branding was used on garment labels and marketing materials

Carhartt Logo 1962-1964

The First 'C' Carhartt Symbol

  • Only used from 1965 to 1966
  • The logo rebranding was launched in line with new product lines such as shorts and slim fit pants and ranch wear (with the former falling flat and the latter becoming a timeless classic)
  • Used for both marketing materials and garment labels

Carhartt Logo 1965-1966

The Current 'C'

  • Debuted in 1966 and is still used to this day
  • After experimenting with some new products and marketing strategies throughout the 1960s, Carhartt decided to refocus its efforts on its core products with the launch of this new logo
  • The new logo was designed by Carhartt executives in collaboration with a design agency, and Hebert Jaffe Inc. sewed the first concept version of the logo
  • In 1989 Carhartt released a limited-edition version of this logo that celebrated it’s 100 year anniversary
  • The font of the logo has varied slightly over the years, particularly in regard to marketing, but has remained largely unchanged when it comes to garment labels since 1967

Carhartt Logo 1966-Now

Modern Carhartt Logos

Carhartt Lubalin Graph Bold

  • The logo using Lubalin Graph Bold font was introduced in 1997 and used for marketing materials until 2008
  • It was also used on garment labels until 2012

Carhartt Custom Font #1

  • Introduced in Spring 2009 and used for marketing materials until later that year in the Fall 2009 season
  • It was also used on garment labels until Fall 2010

Carhartt Custom Font #2

  • Introduced in Spring 2010 and used on marketing materials until Fall 2011
  • It was also used on garment labels until Spring 2015

Carhartt Logo 1997-Now

Vintage Carhartt logos through the years

Vintage Carhartt logos through the years - OneOff Vintage

How to tell if Carhartt is vintage from the product name and design

Carhartt historically focussed on perfecting a select few products and designs. This means that working out what Carhartt you have and when it was made isn’t as difficult as most other brands. Here’s a list of some of their most popular items, their features and when they were made. 

Product Type  Product Name Year of Release
Overalls Various 1889
Denim Dungarees/Jeans Denim Waist Overalls 1900
Vests Various 1900
Gloves Various 1900
Flannel Shirts Wool Flannel Shirt 1900
Brown Duck Cutch Brown; Van Dyke Brown 1915
Chore Coat Coat 1917
Coveralls Coveralls; Allovers 1917
Caps Various 1928
Duck Carpenter Bib Overall Carpenter's Overall 1928
Chambray Shirt Heavy Chambray Shirt 1928
Rugged Outdoors/Hunting Wear Super Dux 1930
Socks Various 1930
Bi-swing Back Bi-swing Back 1938
Jackets Various 1938
Twill Pants Twill Sport Pant 1938
Twill Work Shirt Cadet Twill Coat Style Shirt 1938
Double Front Work Dungaree Waist Overall, Double Knee 1939
Detroit Jacket Zipper Jacket 1954
Duck Coveralls Brown Duck Quilt Lined Coverall 1968
Washed Duck Work Pant Full Cut Western Style Jean 1970
Active Jacket Hooded Jacket 1975
Sweatshirts Sweatshirts 1982
Traditional Coat Heavy Quilt Lined Coat 1983
Watch Hat Knit Watch Cap 1987
Hooded Pullover Sweatshirt Midweight Fleece Hooded Pullover Sweatshirt 2000
Hooded Logo Sweatshirts Midweight Hooded Logo-Sleeve Sweatshirt 2009

 

How to tell if Carhartt is vintage from the tags

Some Carhartt tags have a date code on them in the form of 3 or 4 digits. The last 2 represent the year and the first one or two represents the month. Checkout the examples below. The 598 at the bottom left of the first tag shows that the this item was made in 05/1998. On the second tag the 0301 at the top of the tag refers to the 03/2001 and on the third tag the 0205 on the left tells us it was made in 02/2005.

Carhartt Tag Dates

 

Dating vintage clothes is more of an art than a science. Clothing companies are often quite coy about when their clothes are from, but hopefully this guide has taken you a step closer to working out if your Carhartt is vintage or not.

  

For more fashion news and updates, stay tuned to OneOff Vintage.

Also, our collection of vintage Carhartt is brimming with the very best they have to offer. So whether it's a Carhartt jacket or a vintage Carhartt double knees that you're looking for, you should checkout our full range. We usually stock a mix of Nike, Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger and much much more.

5 comments

  • Posted on by Janice Lovett
    What does the rn# represent on the jeans. Under the word Carhart there’s a line and under that is 101483-980 does this 980 represent the date they were made
  • Posted on by Bonny
    Hello,

    I have a coat I purchased and I cant seem to figure out the model or the year. It looks either charcoal gray or light black. The RN #14806 J22 GVL.
    The top of the tag has the RN#, just under it, a line, all the way across. Then the number 01101640706217498A03, followed by a line under it all the way acroos also.
    I appreciate your help.

  • Posted on by Imaginarynumb3r
    Hi, I wrote the original reddit post this guide is based on.(you even used the same pictures for examples) It’s actually based on an outdated guide and I have an updated version with more info now. It’s on the Carhartt subreddit in the sidebar if you want more info. Anyone can feel free to come and ask for help with identification or age if they are having trouble as well.
  • Posted on by Debbie P.

    I had no idea this brand went back that far! I have not been able to find anything that old in terms of Carhartt vintage clothing but I did manage to find a few older accessories. I think now that people are more open and seeking out vintage attire through name brands, we will be able to find them more readily available. Super useful post nonetheless!

  • Posted on by Jasmine Hewitt
    I didn’t realize Carhartt was such a prominent brand!

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