Levi’s Denim Trucker Jacket Overview: Type I, II and III

Levi's Type I, II, III Jackets

As a reader and writer of Rawr Denim, I’ve notice that denim jackets haven’t been getting nearly enough attention. Nudie‘s Perry 826 jacket , Iron Heart IH-526BJ  and our very own Fade Friday Flat Head 6002W all draw inspiration from the original style of Levi’s Type I,II and III jackets. There is no denying that these jackets contain a rich part in not only Levi’s history, but the history of denim as well.

Levi’s Type I Jacket

We’ll start with the Levi’s Type I jacket. This jacket first appeared in the early 1900’s and identifiable by its 506XX lot number. Early models had no front pocket flap and prior to the 1936 version, there was no infamous Big “E” red tab anywhere on the jacket.

Type I jackets also contain a pronged cinch-back or “clincher” located lower center of the jacket. These so called “clinchers” used a sliver buckle dating from the early 1900’s-late 1930’s, as once the 1940’s hit Levi’s started using bronze buckles to cut back on costs.

Levis Type I Front/Back

1936 Levis Type I Jacket

Sliver clinch buckle (left), Donuts hole buttons (right) were used during WWII has a method to save material (due to its hollow center)

Sliver clinch buckle (left), Donuts hole buttons (right) were used during WWII has a method to save material (due to its hollow center)

Details:

  • Name: Levi’s 506XX “Type I Jacket”
  • Weight: 9 Oz.Unsanforized denim
  • Denim: 100% cotton Cone Mills selvedge Denim
  • Fit: Standard Fit
  • Additional Details:
    • Front Left Pocket
    • Exposed copper rivets
    • Knife pleats
    • Bovine Leather Patch
  • Available at: Unionmade

Levi’s Type II Jacket

Around 1953, Levi’s produced a modern interpretation of the Type I jacket, the 507XX and yes – you guessed it right, it was called, “Type II”. The main changes made to this jacket from its predecessor are the two patch pockets with button flap closure and bar tack stitching for reinforcement . In addition, the martingale was replaced by convenient waist adjusters on the hips.

Type II Front/Back

1953 Levi’s Type II Jacket

type II bar tack

Waist Adjuster (left) , Bar Tack Stitch (right)

Details:

  • Name: Levi’s 507XX “Type II Jacket”
  • Weight: 9 Oz.Unsanforized denim
  • Denim: 100% cotton Cone Mills selvedge Denim
  • Fit: Standard Fit
  • Additional Details:
    • Two Patch Pockets
    • Exposed copper rivets (Bar Tack  in later models)
    • Knife pleats
    • Press card label (later models)
    • Waist straps
  • Available at: Unionmade

Levi’s Type III Jacket

Last but not least, we have the “Type III” Jacket, which is probably the most recognizable jacket style. During the early 1960’s Levi’s introduced the 557XX, also known as the Trucker Jacket. This jacket was a complete modification from the previous jackets, coming in as the first jacket to feature the now famous pointed pocket flaps and a slim fitting cut.

1967 Levi's Type III Jacket (Rough Wash)

1967 Levi’s Type III Jacket (Rough Wash)

The 557 series evolved to the 70505, 71205 and 70518 based on its design. Some of the design change are as follows: The Big ‘E’ Type III range from the 50’s – 71 and Small ‘e’ Tab range from 72 – present. An alternative way to determine the difference in the period is by checking if there are two lower hand pockets. If yes: mid 80’s – present; if no: 50’s-Mid 80’s.

1967 Levi's Type III details

1967 Levi’s Type III details

Details:

  • Name: Levi’s 557XX “Type III Jacket”
  • Weight: 14 Oz. preshrunk denim
  • Denim: 100% cotton Cone Mills selvedge Denim
  • Fit: Slim Fit
  • Additional Details:
    • Pointed pocket flaps
    • Copper shank buttons
    • Orange Stitching
    • Waist straps
  • Available at: Unionmade and Steve Alan

Alexander Ramos

Based in Los Angeles, Alex spends his time studying management at California State University, Northridge. He also interns for HVW8 art gallery during his spare time. Brands that he enjoys consist of Edwin jeans, Iron Heart, Levis and Momotaro.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/devan.prithipaul Devan Prithipaul

    hmm interesting article, i would have liked a picture of fit especially to differentiate the different types of jackets. my favourite one is the second. good article.

  • MosquitoControl

    Like pretty much every model in GQ, I have the Type III. It’s the Made in America variation, with Cone Mills denim.
    Definitely a slim fit.

    I really dig the recent coated denim one that Ican’trememberwho is making. $300, I think.

  • jasonk

    Are type I and II (particularly II) available anywhere but unionmade? I’ve seen lots of type III…

    • Young

      self edge has a type II from Flat Head and blue owl has a type II from momotaro

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.reeves.775 Andy Reeves

    What about the stitching in the pleats. Why was this really done? Was it meant to be undone as required to accommodate a growing cowboy or worker? Check out Rising Sun Jeans’ jacket – more like a type II and made in the US. Really cool jacket.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689541045 Fabien Penso

      It’s not about growing cowboys, it’s about removing them during winter so you can wear a thick wool pullover, and putting stitches back during summer so it still fits you.

      You know, it used to be a time you didn’t buy 5 jackets per year, but kept yours for years to come.

      • BillygoatsGruff312

        So they rip the stitches out in the winter and then sew them back on in the summer…cowboys…hunched over a sewing machine. I’m not buying it. If the pleats were stitched on they were meant to stay.

  • Michael

    As an owner of an LVC type III, I would point out that they don’t use selvedge denim. Also, a lot are made with Kaihara mills denim; the use of cone mills is a recent change.

    • Matthew Bryan

      I believe that Vintage 557, 558, 559 and probably the 505 jackets (and the LVC repros) are selvage denim. They are sewn without visible selvage on the plackets (or elsewhere) most likely because when Levis cut the patterns, they saved the selvaged pieces of the Sanforized fabric for the out seams of some of the 505 0217s, which sometimes have it and other times just have a surged flat-seam without visible selvage. However, I believe that the Sanforized redline denim LVC uses is in fact from Kaihara, as you stated. Obviously, the shrink to fit stuff is from Cone. I think it’s interesting that you see selvaged plackets on the earlier jackets (Type I and II). Perhaps it’s because they were shrink to fit, made before the 551zxx and other pre-shrunk jeans and jackets. When a larger variety of Levi’s preshrunk/Sanforized jeans and jackets came out during the ’60s, they had to use the selvaged pieces more sparingly, mainly on the 551zxx/505s, etc. Anyways, just because you don’t see the selvage doesn’t mean they weren’t made from selvage fabric. Wranglers are a great example, with their felled out seams hiding the selvage. And many classic Lee’s have a half selvage, no selvage, or a full selvaged out seam.

  • Grazfather x

    If the type 3 came out in the ’60s (’62 according to Levi’s) then how do the non pocket versions come from the ’50s?

    • Alexander

      it should say 60’s

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  • ab

    check out Tellason… they are my favorite selvedge denim on the planet right now.

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  • ravi

    I have a 506XX Type 1, but with 4 buttons.
    The buttons are stamped 555, which suggests the jacket was made at the Valencia St factory, but I’m stumped that there’s only four buttons, not the usual five.
    Can anybody shine some light on this please?
    Thanks

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  • Ruth

    Could anyone please shed some light on which factories produced the type III and which button stamps denote each factory? If 555 is Valencia St, were the rest produced in Virginia? I have seen regularly 521 and 526 but can’t confirm their production location

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  • Son of Ralph Harmon

    My Father (Ralph Harmon) was a student at Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas, when HE designed the the TYPE III jacket. NOT Levis!!
    My Father and the other kids in his class were broken up into groups and competed in a contest that Levis was holding for “best innovative new design”. His group WON!
    About a year later Levis began manufacturing the TYPE III.
    This is a FACT and can be looked up in the school records at SMU!