Jon Crispin's Notebook

Millar Mitts

Posted in Clothing, Friends by joncrispin on 29/01/2011

I will admit to a certain vanity about clothing.  I mostly wear a variation of the same thing everyday, which makes life easier in the mornings.  I have a real issue with outerwear though.  I love jackets, hats and gloves.  It is probably why Summer is my least favorite time of the year. I remember as a kid in Meadville looking forward to Autumn because it meant I could wear coats again.  When I lived in Ithaca in the 70s, my friend Robby Aceto had a pair of these gloves.  There was a shop in the DeWitt Mall that sold outdoor kit and they carried Millar Mitts.  I bought a pair and completely wore them out over a period of 5 years.  Replacing my worn out pair was really difficult.  Nobody in the States seemed to carry them, and I think the company went out of business.  They were made in the UK by Millar Gloves, Bingham, Nottinghamshire.  On one of my trips to London in the mid 80s I found a single pair in a shop in the Burlington Arcade.  The backs are wool and the palms are cotton string.  Wearing them is such a treat.  The wool isn’t itchy, but you always know when you have them on.  In an odd way they are very sensual. /  I took the train to New York on Thursday for some work and since I knew I would be shooting outside, I broke out these guys. It makes me happy just to look at them.

20 Responses

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  1. Major (Retired) Graham Linney said, on 11/11/2011 at 11:45 am

    Hi Jon,

    I too was searching for MILLER mitts (the key is in the spelling!) to replace some long since worn out through shooting – and they ARE still available here in good old Blighty (UK)! Here is a link I hope you find useful:

    http://www.chesterjefferies.co.uk/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=68

    £19 per pair plus £5 postage worldwide – say $36 to re-acquaint yourself with some highly durable and desirable gloves acn’t be bad. Good Luck!

    Graham

    • joncrispin said, on 11/11/2011 at 9:34 pm

      Graham. Thank you for the link. I’ll be in the UK in early December. Cheers on this remembrance day. Best. Jon

      • Graham Linney said, on 13/11/2011 at 9:40 am

        Jon,

        The web is the way ahead on Miller mitts, I think. Having just ordered mine it seems there is a six week lead time, because they are still made by hand, but now largely to order and probably are not available in shops. I hope you strike lucky when you are next over here, but ordering remains an option if not. Fortunately I have oredered in good time and hope to have mine and 1 x wife and 2 x sos pairs in time for Christmas.

        Thank you for your Remembrance Day wishes; I was at out local war memorial today for the Act of Remembrance at 1100 hours, and it was very moving to see so many young people attending.

        Cheers,

        Graham

      • joncrispin said, on 14/11/2011 at 9:55 am

        Graham, this is getting interesting. I had saved the original tag on my gloves and found it this morning. They were indeed called Millar Mitts with an A and not an E. I paid 15 quid for them in a shop in the Burlington Arcade in London. I might have mentioned it in my post, but the tag says “Made in Great Britain by Craftsmen Millar Gloves Bingham Nottinghamshire England” I guess what has happened is that someone decided to manufacture an updated version of the glove and changed the name, maybe for legal reasons. I will order a new pair as I think mine might belong in a museum. Thanks again. This has been fun. Jon

  2. Graham Linney said, on 14/11/2011 at 1:30 pm

    Jon,

    My apologies for implying or suggesting your spelling may be wrong: my own searches started with the MILLAR spelling (hence I came upon your post) since that is how I recalled the spelling of the name to be, but that got nowhere. It was only when I change the spelling to MILLER that I got just that one result that could furnish me with replacement gloves. Having seen your post in my MILLAR search, and sharing your sentiments for the gloves, I retraced my steps to let you know where to get some. I did the same on a US website forum called Ask Andy, where another devotee had been bemoaning the demise of the Millar mitt. Just trying to be helpful….

    Graham

  3. Connie said, on 27/01/2012 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you for the posting, Major (Retired) Graham Linney.

    Thank you, Jon Crispin, for the photo and Blog.

    Millar Mitts were my best favorite mountainclimbing gloves, for climbing and for belaying. I had several pair.

    I would have kept getting more, but they disappeared off the market, here, in the states.

    I’d bet mountainclimbers would still like them: Millar Mitts or Miller Mitts.

  4. Graham Linney said, on 01/02/2012 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Connie,

    Well, I hope you found the thread and link useful too. That said, I was wrong on a couple of things: delivery and sizing. Firstly. I got the four pairs I ordered in very quick time – about a week. Secondly, my wife found the small too small even for her wee hands, so we up-sized hers to medium, which are a good fit – and again, the turn-around was about a week. My two adult sons and I opted for the only remaining size – large, which we were good but a little tight for No 2 son who has quite large hands. Once wet, though, theyslacken off a bit.

    We love ’em. I hope you and your mountaineering associates do too. It’s a huge relief to know they are still around…sop spread the word. i guess it has to be MILLER now, though, which may still prevent Millar mitt afficionados finding them, unless they are lucky enough to stumble on this thread.

    With best wishes,

    Graham

  5. Marcia Giardelli said, on 14/03/2012 at 10:56 am

    Dear Jon
    i was interested to read the comments about Millarmitts as my family started the company Millar Gloves Ltd from 192 Broadhurst Gardens, London NW6, and of course Millar Mitts were one of the products which they made. The gloves were made by outworkers in their own homes. They were sent the relevant pattern and wool by post and then sent in the gloves which they had made. It was a very successful, quality, family business which I believe my father’s business partner sold after the death of my father, Lauder Robert Millar, in 1978. The company at that stage had recently moved to Milborne Port, near Sherborne, Dorset where it had taken over a leather-glove manufacturing company called Silas Dyke and sons. I have some more facts and figures at my fingertips if anyone is interested!
    Marcia Giardelli (nee Millar)

    • joncrispin said, on 14/03/2012 at 11:23 am

      Marcia, I am so grateful for your response to the post. I always loved my Millarmitts and was saddened when they were no longer available. I still have my last pair bought in London at Farlows in the early 1980s. The story of the company is fascinating; I always wondered about the manufacturing process. The idea that they were made in people’s homes adds to the mystique. It is interesting that you posted your reply today, as my son and I leave for England this evening. All the best, Jon

    • Connie said, on 14/03/2012 at 3:20 pm

      Marcia, I am delighted you responded.

      I am wondering about the material used.

      As a mountainclimber, nothing was ever better than Millarmitts for rope handling.

      My hands were never hurt: not abraded, not pinched. I did instruction in belaying and falling (beginners need to use static and dynamic ropes to experience the difference) for years with no injury to my hands.

      I didn’t mind that Millarmitts wore out, with so much use. I had three pair, one after the other.

      The “new” Millarmitts materials were never quite so good. My hands were pinched. I have had to stand aside.

      I would let my hands be injured, to a point, to save a life but not for practical instruction. The fact is, many “aids” are to avoid rope handling because the rope handling gloves available today are inadequate.

      Is it possible the new maker of Millarmitts could be put in touch with the provider of the original materials?

      There are mountainclimbers who long for the original Millarmitts: I am not the only one.

      I also used my Millarmitts for sailing. I am a Yacht Racing Association Division R Season Champion.

      Their are sailors who long for the original Millarmitts: I am not the only one.

      I have heard working fishermen had used Millarmitts, as well.

      I believe Millarmitts could be marketed again to mountainclimbers and to people who use boats, again.

      • joncrispin said, on 15/03/2012 at 12:12 pm

        Connie and Marcia, I agree. There must be a market for a glove the quality of the original that Marcia’s father so lovingly brought to market. I still love it that the people who actually made the gloves were doing so out of their own homes and small shops. Let’s get this thing going! Jon

    • Reggie Ogg said, on 26/12/2012 at 8:44 pm

      I too have an old pair of the Millar Mitts- I too love them- I believed I purchased mine from a company started by an American Rock Climber by the name of Royal Robbins. I purchased mine in the 70′ s but don’ recall the exact year. I have used mine for climbing, belaying, hiking, General labor- they are my go- to mitts for anything outdoors in the cold. I am sad to say that mine are fraying as well and a few of the fingers have come apart at the seam. My wife and daughter are quite accomplished at crocheting and knitting. We are on a search for just the right materials to reproduce them. If anyone has any ideas about what was used please let us know. My name is Reggie Ogg, the email is dogsgo2heaven@gmail.com.

  6. Allan Meadows said, on 31/03/2012 at 9:21 am

    Hello All,
    I bought my first and only pair of Millar Mitts about 1971 to use for rock climbing and mountaineering. I still have them and now use them for cold weather photography. They are still in fairly good shape though, alas, I see one area beginning to unravel. Hence, my search on the web brought me here to this very interesting discussion. Based on what I’ve read, I should perhaps relegate my Millars to the display case and purchase some Chinese-made replacements. But maybe not quite yet……. What a wonderful product were my Millar Mitts.
    Allan

    • Steve Farris said, on 03/12/2012 at 2:50 pm

      I too love my Millar mitts and was extremely happy to find this thread. I have had mine since 1972, and have used them extensively over the last 40 years in forestry work. Mine are finally beginning to fail thus my search for “Millar Mitts” and my discovery of this thread. The replacements look the same but seemingly may not perform as well. I am one more who would gladly buy the “old” mitt again. They are without a doubt one of the finest pieces of outdoor gear I ever owned. Thank you Marcia for the bit on the history of the company, any more you care to pass on would be welcome.

      Steve Farris
      Silver City, New Mexico.

      • joncrispin said, on 03/12/2012 at 2:57 pm

        Thanks Steve, Wow, 40 years. That is just amazing. Best, Jon

  7. RT said, on 20/12/2012 at 8:07 am

    I have inherited my Dad’s Millar Mitts that he used for no doubt years in winter and outdoor walks and shooting. I adore them as my perfect glove for I suffer with cold hands and feet so even cold British summer nights and outdoor swims are backed up by this wonderful glove. So glad to find an equivalent I can buy more of. They now will serve on Dartmoor, my camping kit, swimming kit and the occasional rock climbing with friends. A quality garment rarely found anymore and one of my favourite,

    RT, Ashburton, Devon, England.

  8. Gary Behrens said, on 04/03/2013 at 11:32 pm

    Jon – Check this out. Watch for Millar Mitts in action.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vJRDpTUIrJI&vq=medium

    I’ve still got my pair purchased in 1973 at Wild Country Outfitters in Champaign, IL. Unfortunately, the thumbs have worn through. I’m considering buying a new pair now that I know where to find them.

    Gary, Streamwood, IL, USA

  9. kelv Gibbs said, on 19/01/2017 at 8:05 am

    A little late but it was lovely to her from Marcia, I worked at her fathers’ factory in Milborne Port in the late 70s and remember the times fondly. I would be very interested in hearing from Miss Millar again.

    • Marcia Giardelli said, on 20/01/2017 at 3:22 pm

      Lovely surprise to hear from you,
      Will try to email response through your website rather than write in detail on this website.


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