Few brands—if any—can lay claim to a historical legacy as enduring as Scottish outerwear purveyor Mackintosh. You’ll find “Mackintosh” in encyclopedias, dictionaries and fashion lexicons alike. Mackintosh, as a high-end menswear brand, is relatively young; as it relates to outerwear, Mackintosh’s legacy stretches back nearly 200 years. The name is used for both a brand and for waterproof, knee-length jackets, so how did we go from Macintosh to the mackintosh to Mackintosh?

The year is 1823 and Glaswegian scientist Charles Macintosh has just patented a new waterproof fabric. Macintosh’s novel idea? Using a layer of liquefied rubber between two pieces of fabric to create a waterproof barrier. Until that point, the exterior of garments were oiled to repel water. While efficient, the result was unpleasantly odoriferous and heavy—imagine walking around with a coat drenched in oil.

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