Melton Wool is characterised by its thick, felt-like surface and smooth handle. These properties are achieved by a process known as fulling, which cleanses the cloth to eliminate impurities and dirt. The result is a thicker and more dense wool.
The higher density of Melton Wool means that it is hardwearing, warm and weather resistant. As a result of this, it is commonly used in winter-weight outerwear.
Perhaps the best-known use of Melton in workwear is the Donkey Jacket, which was developed in the 1880s for workers involved in the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. A wool jacket with additional leather shoulder panels gave workers protection from the elements and, because of its hardwearing nature, a jacket that would withstand tough daily wear.