Christine “Stine” Heltborg Bauer, or Stine Bauer ( – April 3, 1986) was a beauty shop owner and champion skeet shooter. She married outdoor clothing designer Eddie Bauer, who patented the first down parka, and started the Eddie Bauer clothing chain. She created the company’s clothing line for women and was the chief field tester.
Little is known about the early Eddie Bauer women’s clothing lines.
In September 2016, the Eddie Bauer company re-released a heritage brand of updated “Originals”. The limited run included four women’s originals: a special edition of the original 1936 Skyliner “blizzard proof” parka, the Yukon classic down jacket patented in 1944, the 1944 Swiss model down parka, and the 1957 down super sweater. It also included a limited edition version of the 1936 Skyliner Model Jacket in Pendleton’s National Park Centennial patterns, a reversible jacket with the Pendleton wool pattern on one side and water resistant down on the other.
Styles come and go, so most of these products were only available for a season, but from time to time the company still gives a nod to Christine Bauer by marketing something as a “Stine favorite”.
Christine Heltborg was born Seattle, King County, Washington.
Christine’s parents were Christian Jens Heltborg (1872-1918) and Metta Christina Hansen (1875-1953), born in Ribe, Denmark. They were married on October 22, 1898 in Seattle. Metta Christina’s parents were Hans P. Hansen (1850-?) and Anna Jacobsen (1852-?); Metta’s brother was Christian Peder Hansen (1873-1935). Christian Jens and Metta Christina had four children: Anna Heltborg (1899-1933), Otto Heltborg (1902-1948), Christine Heltborg (1903-1986), and Ella Marie Heltborg (1909-1982).
Christine was married previously to Jacob P Miller (1898-?) on March 15, 1924 in Seattle. Her second husband Eddie Bauer had also been previously married.
She met Eddie Bauer in 1927, when he was hunting blue grouse with a friend on Bodie Mountain in northeastern Washington State. She was in a hunting party that camped next to Bauer’s party. At the time she was a former beauty shop owner and an eight-time Washington skeet shooting champion. She sang and played the ukulele. On February 19, 1929, they were married (one source says 1927).
Another story says she met him at a shooting competition, where they both won state championships.
They hunted and fished together throughout the Pacific northwest. Later they raised dogs, and she took up painting.
They had one child, a son, Eddie Christian Bauer, born in c. 1938 (Wikipedia says February 5, 1938, although another source says they were married in 1927 and their son was born in 1929), who joined the family business in 1960, along with William Jr., the son of partner William Niemi. Eddie met Niemi through Stine Bauer, who was a friend of his wife. The two became business partners. Eventually the business was sold to the Niemis, with the Bauers giving up their interest in the company for $1.5 million.
Stine Bauer died April 3, 1986 in Bellevue, King County, Washington, of pancreatic cancer at the age of 82. Her husband Eddie Bauer (October 19, 1899 – April 18, 1986) died a few weeks later, of heart attack.
The 1936 Skyliner “blizzard proof” parka
The jacket that made Eddie Bauer famous was a goose down jacket called the Skyliner that he designed after a hypothermia incident during a fishing trip. The original 1936 jacket was patented in 1940, and was available in sizes for men and women. It is still available to this day.
It weighed 24 ounces and was available in the colors dead grass, sand, or spruce green. It was meant to be worn under regular outerwear.
The modern version of the 1936 Skyliner is made with updated materials and has a cotton-nylon exterior.
The photo below shows Stine on a salmon fishing expedition with a Hollywood film crew wearing a favorite Pendleton wool jacket with a Native American design. At that time Pendleton was producing clothing with designs specified by Native American groups.
The company would later partner with Pendleton on various projects.
The 1944 Swiss model down jacket
Another Eddie Bauer classic was the women’s 1944 Swiss model down jacket, the first women-specific down jacket to be patented. Eddie had imported Norwegian ski equipment in the 1930s to promote the sport in the Northwest.
The original design (left) was reworked with a more modern sleeve material and reissued in 2016.
Yukon Classic Down Jacket
The Yukon Classic Down Jacket was patented in 1944 as the “Yukon Model,” and was a best-seller for 30 years.
The “lady Yukon” was re-released in 2016 as part of the “Originals” series with a removable faux-fur collar, box-quilting, 650-fill down, and a temperature rating to -20 degrees.
Heritage 2016 “Originals”
In September 2016, the company released a brand heritage “Originals”. The limited run included four women’s originals: a special edition of the original 1936 Skyliner “blizzard proof” jacket, the Yukon classic down jacket patented in 1944, the 1944 Swiss model down parka, and the 1957 Down Super Sweater, a zip front hooded parka with ultralight insulating layers, updated with rip-stop nylon. (The men’s super sweater was shorter, and had a snap closure down the front.)
Pendleton centennial patterns
In September 2016, the company’s “Originals” brand included a limited edition version of the 1936 Skyliner model jacket in Pendleton’s National Park centennial patterns: a reversible jacket with the wool pattern on one side and water resistant down on the other. The designs for women were Rainier, Rocky Mountains, Glacier, and Yellowstone patterns. The colors were black (Rainier), cadet (blue) (Yellowstone), dark hunter (Rocky Mountain), and flax (Glacier). The jackets retailed for $400. A portion of the proceeds went to the parks.
The ultralight “Style 25” Down Undershirt introduced an ultralight down layer and was a success with mountaineers and outdoorsman.
Women’s Iditerod branding
In 1998 Eddie Bauer outfitted DeeDee Jonrowe when she set the women’s speed record in the Iditarod. Below, Jonrowe with husband Mike at 1998 Iditarod and with branded sled in 2002.
- Celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati has called Stine Bauer a “badass”.
- Eddie Bauer products for women are sometimes named after Stine, for example “Stine’s favorite” flannel shirts.
NOTE: The above photos are published on a “fair use” basis, for their educational value, but Wikimedia Commons (where the photos that illustrate Wikipedia are hosted) does not recognize “fair use”. Wouldn’t it be nice if Eddie Bauer would put some of its archives in the public domain, or at least licensed under some kind of Creative Commons license (the most common is CC BY-SA 4.0). Wikipedia does have an affiliate for volunteers in Seattle, although like everyone else they seem to be doing online events right now. See Wikipedia:Meetup/Seattle Or it the Seattle group doesn’t have the expertise, like for scanning or such, I’m sure Women in Red [Twitter: wikiwomeninred@WikiWomenInRed] or even WMDC could get them started, especially if they are interested in doing something about the appalling lack of “Reliable” information about Stine Bauer.