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October 13, 2016 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Were these gloves designed for some specific use? Made by Swaine Adeney. Pigskin maybe, unlined, and with mysterious asymmetrical suede pads. Swaine Adeney doesn't even seem to make many gloves, closest cosmetic match by another brand were some lightweight summer shooting gloves ... but no clues on the odd padding. Does it serve some purpose?
posted by Lorin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Driving gloves? The padding is on the gear (stick shift) hand in the US I think.
posted by billiebee at 4:06 PM on October 13, 2016

Yup. Driving gloves.
posted by saradarlin at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2016

Is the suede original or is patching over holes? My first guess it's someone's nice gloves after their dog chewed on them a bit. The finger reinforcement isn't sewn on evenly.
posted by fshgrl at 4:17 PM on October 13, 2016

Carriage driving maybe? Possibly custom? The reinforcement on the fingers reminds me of riding gloves except in that case the reinforcement is between 5th and 4th finger and then over the index finger. I can envision that in some setups a carriage driver might want rein reinforcement between all the fingers on rein hand (left) and then palm reinforcement on the whip hand (right).
posted by drlith at 4:18 PM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

I think drlith is on the right track with horses. These show gloves have similar reinforcement. The palm reinforcement can also be for the saddle horn, lasso, or crop.

Or some other sport with ropes? Fishing, sailing, kiting, archery? Basically it looks like they expect a lot of friction between the fingers.
posted by politikitty at 4:39 PM on October 13, 2016

According to their original owner (who I don't know personally and have no way to contact, btw) they were bought on High Street in London which made me hesitate re: driving gloves. But I don't drive so what do I know! I agree the patches on the fingers are a tad uneven but the line on the right hand padding is so clean, it looks original to me.
posted by Lorin at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2016

I agree with Drith. "Coaching" is a thing. FDR's half brother "Rosy" Roosevelt was big into it.
posted by jgirl at 4:57 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know enough about horses to speak to why these gloves might be good for horse-related activities, but there's some historical sense to those theories: Swaine Adeney got their start making riding crops, and then made a bunch of other horse stuff before eventually switching to making luggage and whatnot. I can't say they didn't make driving paraphernalia somewhere along the line, but they for sure made lots of horsewares.
posted by aubilenon at 5:42 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Unless they're really old, I don't think they're riding gloves. They're too bulky and the reinforcement is in the wrong places.

The right-hand patching on the palm makes me think driving, but not the left-hand knuckle patches.
posted by radioamy at 6:43 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hmm. Now that I look at driving gloves, most are a lot more open. Especially at the knuckles. I think the ones my dad wore were fingerless too. This is mysterious.
posted by radioamy at 6:44 PM on October 13, 2016

I bet that if you wrote a suitably sucking-up email to Swaine Adeney there would be someone there who would love to tell you.
posted by sheldman at 8:10 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I ride and was just about to type a long answer about how these make no sense as riding gloves: who rides with four reins in one hand and a stick like object in their other had all the time??? Then I realized I'm an idiot and they are polo gloves. I googled some contemporary ones and they do indeed come in odd pairs with a grippy right palm and reinforced left fingers.

So polo gloves is my answer. Whether they started life that way or someone stitched the grippy bits on later.
posted by fshgrl at 8:25 PM on October 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

I used to play polo and think that makes sense. Reins are in the left hand, mallet in the right. And Swain Adney makes riding stuff.
posted by sepviva at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2016

Excellent thought, fshgrl. Check out these substantially identical British leather polo gloves with "a velcro strap on the back of the hand at the wrist, with further elastication on the palm and back of the glove for a snug fit. Reinforcement patches on fingers of left hand, for the reins; reinforcement patches on thumb and palm of right hand for the mallet."
posted by drlith at 8:24 PM on October 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I tweeted the company. They haven't responded but I think I am satisfied that they are indeed polo gloves. Thanks all!
posted by Lorin at 9:50 PM on October 14, 2016

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