Wha's like us

M — Macintosh

Advert with illustration of women wearing raincoats

Advert for travel wear from Thornton's in Edinburgh, in 'Scotland's SMT Magazine', 1946.


Whatever label is sewn inside a raincoat, we still call it a 'mac'and we have a Scot to thank for that continuing protection from the elements.

A Glaswegian chemist named Charles Macintosh (1766-1843) bonded rubber with cloth, invented waterproof cloth, and patented it in 1823.

The new cloth proved useful for expeditions to wet cold places.

Macintosh soon went into partnership with Thomas Hancock, who was in the clothes business in Manchester, and started making coats for ordinary wear.

Teething problems — a tendency to smell, or to melt in the heat — were sorted and the Macintosh graced shoulders around the world

For a while Macintosh was fittingly owned by Dunlop Rubber, and today survives as a 'Mackintosh', a Japanese owned exclusive piece of designer outerwear.


An ABC of Scotland

Macintosh was just one of the 'M' topics in our alphabetical exhibition celebrating some of the outstanding achievements by Scotland and Scots.

'Wha's like us?' ran from 13 December 2013 to 18 May 2014.

'N' image



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