Peter storm was founded in 1954 by former british marine noel bibby, with the intention of forming a company to make "specialised waterproof and thermal clothing for walking, sailing, golf and country wear" (1). According to an old (now-removed) version of the company's website, peter storm was the first company "to provide 100% waterproof lightweight nylon rainwear, the first to weld together complete garments with no stitching, the first to make permanently proofed knitwear and the first with waterproof and breathable coatings with no 'pores'" (1). The company also conducted research and development into garment proofing, with a vertically-owned "proofing plant in Manchester, England" (1).
In early 1960s, noel bibby was credited with inventing the cagoule, a weatherproof raincoat which as described by Wikipedia is: "lightweight and packable with generally an integral hood, elastic or drawstring cuffs, and a fastening at the neck. Usually, the cagoule could not open fully at the front and was pulled on over the head" (2). It later became popular (especially in the UK) as a fitted fashion garment, but the original version was looser, and "allowed the wearer's small items of personal luggage to be protected – rucksack, waist bag and/or camera bag" (2). Wikipedia user "Rocknrollmancer" produced the following photos of an original peter storm cagoule:
Filter store's main interest in peter storm is for a range of woolen knitwear they produced from the 1980s until the early 2000s, which were treated with a coating that made them waterproof. The idea of a 'waterproof jumper' is interesting in a vacuum: unlike synthetic membranes for example, knitted fabrics are (generally) highly absorbent. But the current fashion for techwear makes it doubly so (interesting, not absorbent): it is at once incredibly topical (outdoor clothes are in vogue), and also seems out of time, almost obsolete (why waterproof a jumper when you have goretex?)
But in addition to being 'interesting', a case can be made that 'waterproof jumpers' might also be highly practical (even in the age of goretex etc). As explained on a capture of peter storm's website from 2001: "Wool is basically a two part fibre. The outer layer repels water, whilst the inner core absorbs water in vapour form. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, which is released to the environment naturally so that no chilling is experienced. Our W1 proofing makes the outer layer completely waterproof - adding to nature's design - but without stopping the inner core's ability to absorb moisture vapour. The added benefit is that the W1 proofing is permanent to the life of the garment - unaffected by washing or dry cleaning." (4) Below is a picture of the tag from a deadstock peter storm sweater available for sale in the shop, which contains much the same explanation:
There isn't much online about peter storm's knitwear (and especially not their waterproof knits). But we found this account from the RSS feed of a seemingly-defunct blog, written by someone who owned a shawl collar version: "This sweater was made by the UK manufacturer, Peter Storm, in the 1980s. Though the name Peter Storm is still in existence, the company no longer makes this kind of high quality knitwear. This is an incredibly heavy, thick sweater and came with that company's "W1" waterproofing, which they claimed would last the life of the garment" (5). The same page had this scan of a print ad (circa 1970s) advertising an earlier, "oiled wool" peter storm knit, which was water repellent but not waterproof (5):
As best as we can tell, peter storm was still producing waterproof knitwear in the early 2000s (see for example this capture of their website from february 2005 (6), which describes a wide range of W1 proofed garments), but had ceased production of the products by 2006 (when the website had a largely identical list of jumper styles with mention of their W1 proof coating removed) (7).
Filter store has a small range of vintage peter storm garments available for sale here. Mostly we stock their waterproof jumpers, but occasionally other items (non-waterproof jumpers, waterproof beanies, rain jackets as well). While we don't have a huge range of peter storm items (garments from the period we're interested in are quite scarce), we get new peter storm things every now and then.
1. Peter storm 2008, 'The history of peter storm', https://web.archive.org/web/20080914170826/http://www.peterstorm.com/history.htm. Accessed July 12, 2021.
2. Wikipedia 2021, 'Cagoule', https://web.archive.org/web/20080914170826/http://www.peterstorm.com/history.htm. Accessed July 12, 2021.
3. Rocknrollmancer 2017, 'Vintage Peter Storm cagoule with zipped side-slit hand access to undergarments and extra-long sleeves with elasticated storm cuffs', https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cagoule#/media/File:Peter_Storm_vintage_cagoule_front.jpg. Accessed Accessed July 12, 2021.
4. Peter storm 2001, 'W1 proofed sweaters', https://web.archive.org/web/20010824025839fw_/http://peterstorm.com/7sweaters.htm. Accessed July 12, 2021.
5. Heavy Tweed Jacket 2013, 'Shawl Collar Cardigans - 150 Years of History', https://tweed232.rssing.com/chan-6217567/all_p2.html. Accessed July 12, 2021.
6. Peter storm 2005, 'W1 proofed sweaters', https://web.archive.org/web/20050213110621/http://peterstorm.com/7sweaters.htm. Accessed July 12, 2021.
7. Peter storm 2006, 'W1 proofed sweaters', https://web.archive.org/web/20060717104503/http://www.peterstorm.com/7sweaters.htm. Accessed July 12, 2021.