This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Pilot-Cloth. A woolen cloth, slightly heavier than ordinary Kersey, and with a shorter and closer nap, but otherwise having the same organi-zation as Kersey cloth. It is chiefly carried in stock by tailors for the making of overcoats and is usually dyed indigo-blue in color. The fabric received its name in the palmy days of Mississippi river steamboating. It was customary for the pilots of boats, as well as other officers, to be uniformed, and the regulation cloth adopted was a medium heavy stuff similar to Kersey, or the old-fashioned beaver minus the nap on the wrong side.