Monday, June 20, 2022

Vintage Blankets



Throughout the 18th century, wool blankets were among the most popular trade items in the Canadian fur trade, accounting for more than 60% of all goods exchanged by 1700. Although blankets had been a trade good offered for some time, it was not until 1779 that the item that would become the iconic Hudson’s
Bay Point Blanket was born.

“The world’s most famous blankets” advertisement, autumn 1955. HBC Corporate Collection.
In November 1779, independent fur trader Germain Maugenest met with HBC’s Board at Hudson’s Bay House in London to deliver his “Proposals of the Terms” under which he would enter into Hudson’s Bay Company’s service. He offered several suggestions for improving the growing inland trade from Fort Albany along the west coast of James Bay. Among his terms was a suggestion that the Company should regularly stock and trade “pointed” blankets.

By December 1779, sample blankets were received by the London Committee and an order was issued for 500 pairs of “pointed” blankets; 100 pairs each in 1-, 1.5-, 2-, 2.5-, and 3-point sizes. Although blankets were a longstanding staple of the fur trade, it was not until the first shipment to Fort Albany in the spring of 1779 that they were shipped to the posts on a regular basis.

The Point System

Back cover of a 1933 Point Blanket brochure, which depicts the sizes and styles of single blankets. HBC Corporate Collection.
The “point” system was invented by French weavers in the mid-18th century as a means of indicating the finished overall size (area) of a blanket. The word point derives from the French empointer, meaning “to make threaded stitches on cloth.”

Each blanket was graded using a point system. Points were identified by the indigo lines woven into the side of each blanket. A full point measured 4–5.5 inches (10–14 centimetres); a half point measured half that length. The standard measurements for a pair of 1-point blankets was: 2 feet, 8 inches (81 centimetres) wide by 8 feet (2.4 metres) in length; with a weight of 3 pounds, 1 ounce (1.4 kilograms) each. Points ranged from 1 to 6, increasing by halves depending upon the size and weight of the blanket.

The number of points on a blanket represents the overall finished size of the blanket, not its value in terms of beaver pelts as is sometimes believed.

Quality in Manufacturing

Two women make up individual blankets by hand, one of the last steps in the manufacturing of Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets, before folding and packaging, ca. 1990s. HBC Corporate Collection.
Originally the weavers of Witney, Oxfordshire were the principal suppliers of Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets. By the mid-19th century, demand for blankets had forced the Company to source its blankets in Yorkshire as well. The wool was, and remains, a blend of varieties from Britain and New Zealand, each selected for its special qualities that make the blanket water resistant, soft, warm, and strong.

The wool is first dyed before it is spun. The wool is then air and sun dried to brighten the colours. The blankets are woven 50% larger than their final finished size, before they are put through a milling process which reduces them to prevent further shrinkage. In addition, the milling prevents the blanket from hardening when exposed to severe climatic conditions.

Hudson's Bay Point Blanket Colours

When Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets became a regular trade good in 1780, the standard colourways available were: plain white, scarlet (red), green, and blue, with single headings in black (or more often indigo) at each end. Throughout the fur trade, white was by far the most common colour, with bars in indigo, red, or blue.

The iconic multistripe Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket pattern was introduced at the end of the 18th century. In fact, the earliest reference to the multistripe pattern is from a 1798 order from HBC’s London Headquarters to Thomas Empson of Witney for “30 pairs of 3 points to be striped with four colours (red, blue, green, 

Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets advertisement, September 1952. HBC Corporate Collection.
yellow) according to your judgment.” The modern “order” of the stripes — green, red, yellow, and indigo — was not standardized until the mid- to late 19th century.

Although some sources suggest there is some meaning to the stripe colours or order, the truth is that nothing intentional is, or was, meant by the design. The four traditional colours — green, red, yellow, and indigo — were simply colours that were popular and easily produced using good colourfast dyes at the time that the multistripe blanket was introduced around 1800. These four colours are sometimes referred to as Queen Anne’s colours, since they first became popular during her reign (1702–1714).

Throughout the 20th century, HBC continued to produce and sell Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets in a variety of colourways. In 1929, the “Pastel Tones” — light colours with darker tone-on-tone bars — were introduced. This series included sky blue, violet, reseda (green), gold, and rose. Two additional colourway series, the “Deep Tones” and “Imperial Tones,” were introduced during the 1930s. The “Deep Tones” included Coraline (vermilion red), Pine Green, Cranberry, and Caramel, and Coronation Blue, Harvest Gold, and Highland Heather 

Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket, Think Pink edition, 2006. HBC Corporate Collection.
made up the “Imperial Tones.” These additional colours were designed with the intention of better meeting the needs of modern interior design schemes. However, most of these colours were out of production by the 1960s.

Today, Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets continue to be produced and sold in Multistripe, Millennium (four stripes in shades of brown introduced in 2000), White with black bar, Scarlet with black bar, Green with black bar and Grey with black bar. A number of limited edition blankets have also been created to celebrate significant Canadian anniversaries and events, such as a special edition blanket label to celebrate HBC’s 325th Anniversary, a special edition Sea-to-Sky Point Blanket for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and a Think Pink! Point Blanket created in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in 2006.

Further Reading

To read about the history of the Point Blanket Coat read Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket Coat.

Traditional Capote

A capote is a handmade wrap-style coat often made from a Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket. Capotes date back to the mid-17th century and are arguably the earliest iterations of the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket Coat. Capotes were worn by First Nations, Métis, French settlers, traders, trappers, and later British settlers
throughout the fur trade era. While most people would fashion capotes from blankets themselves, HBC also sold pre-made capotes as a trade item. The 

An example of a Métis style capote and Assomption sash. HBC Corporate Collection.
Company employed a tailor in 1706 to construct the capotes and by the late 1700s, tailors were employed at all of HBC’s major posts. The capotes were extremely popular due to their wrap style, which made them easy to move and hunt in, and the fact that their design and function were easily customized.

Despite variations in construction, it was the Métis style which became best known: hooded, embellished with fringing at the shoulders and neck, and closed with a bright Assomption sash. Although capotes were made from wool in a variety of colours, blue was preferred by Catholic Métis and white by Protestant Métis, whereas the traditional Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket grey colourway was purchased by both.

The Mackinaw

In 1811, British Captain Charles Roberts, commanding a fort on St. Joseph Island in the St. Mary’s River near Sault Ste. Marie, was unable to procure new winter outerwear for his troops from his Quebec headquarters. Taking matters into his own hands, Roberts requisitioned a supply of 3.5 point Hudson’s Bay Point Blankets and commissioned a group of local Indigenous women to make coats for his 40 men. The following summer, Roberts’ men occupied American Fort Michilimackinac in Michigan (pronounced “Michilimackinaw”) as the War of 1812 began. When Roberts ordered a further blanket supply for the coming winter and began to fill orders for the coats, the shorter double-breasted style became known as a Mackinaw. When Point Blanket Coats began to be sold commercially more than 100 years later, the Mackinaw remained one of the more popular styles of coats available for purchase from HBC.

Commercial Hudson's Bay Point Blanket Coats

Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket Coat advertisement, 1922. HBC Corporate Collection.
The first commercial HBC blanket coats were introduced in 1922. These combined the warmth and wear of the traditional capote with the style and fit of a tailored garment. Double-breasted, mid-thigh length with full skirt, patch pockets, and buttons, the coats were ideal for winter activities. They came in solid colours only: grey, dark green, khaki, navy blue, red, or white, and featured the blanket points under the left armpit as well as the Seal of Quality blanket label.

By 1929, the blanket coat’s success led HBC to launch a full line of blanket outerwear for men, women, and children. Fabric was woven in England and shipped to Canada by the bolt. A succession of manufacturers based in Winnipeg made blanket coats right up until the year 2000. Styles proliferated over time, peaking in the mid-1970s with a wide product range that included coats made of lighter weight wool duffle, as well as two-part coats featuring a wool liner topped by a removable, weatherproof outer shell. Single- and double-breasted styles in varying lengths predominated, supplemented by parkas and bomber jackets.

Despite a multitude of available colours, the traditional multistripe remained the most popular, becoming universally identified as the “Hudson’s Bay” coat. By extension, the HBC coats became internationally recognized as a symbol of Canada — a fact that explains their selection as official parade wear for the Canadian National Winter Olympic Games teams throughout the 1960s.

Page from a ca. 1969 Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket brochure. HBC Corporate Collection.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Poshmark

 I decided to check out Poshmark in Oct 2020 of this year and to my surprise I am making more sales that I did on Etsy. I have sold on Etsy over the years and I am finding Poshmark very easy to use. Plus they take care of the shipping tracking. Once your item is purchased they send you the shipping label and all you have to do is pack and box the item and either bring it to the post office or put it in a mailbox that will handle items larger than an envelop. Personally I meet with my mailman occasionally and give it directly to him. Once your order is delivered, Poshmark adds the money to your account and you decide if you want to shop with it or put it in the bank. You spend your time selling and buying. Who could ask for more fun? 

Some of the items that I find a little different are sending messages to the people who I am selling with. You need to keep track of their user name. There is no option to send any private messages but that is ok I don't have anything that needs to be personal. 

Things that I really like about Poshmark other than the shipping tracking include, you can take pictures when the lighting is good add them to drafts and update the information at a later time and post it. All records of your items are in one place from offers , bundles, likes, recently viewed, your orders, your sales and my all time favorite My sizes. I can view people who are selling only my size by filtering by my size on their closet. 

So I am still learning. I did my first story on their site last week and was able to tag the items that were associated with it but not sure how to tag the person who purchased it. I also love the fact that you are able to share it to many different social medias such as Pinterest, FB, IG, messenger and also to the people that you follow on Poshmark. 

I am having some issues with bundling and not sure how to do it for people who like my items.

I see a lot of requests to follow from the US and the 2 are separate entities right now so maybe at a later date.

I have been selling on line platforms starting in 1999 with Lespac a Quebec based site to a world wide site, Etsy in 2009and  I have sold maybe 3 items in my whole time being on it and it becomes a little bit more complex having to ship to the US but doable. Recent years have been Varage Sale and  Facebook which is mostly in my local community. I have shipped items on FB Market place through my account with Canada Post. 

In the event you come across this mention about Poshmark and want a referral please use my code "BPAGAN"I to save C$15 on your first order. You won't be disappointed take my word for it.

Happy shopping. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

My grandfather's pen and pencil set EZ Rite and the beginning of collecting

 My grandfather gave me this pen and pencil set in it's original box as a teenager. He told me it was his when he was younger but didn't specify what age. I have always loved old things and possibly it started with this very pen and pencil set. The ink well was given to me by one of my neighbor's who knew I loved old things. The ink well now sits on a shelf in my studio where I admire it even if it has a crack in the lid. I was intending to keep the pen set for my kids who might possibly pass it on to their children but now I realize that they don't want our things that we have saved. It sits in a box in a closet that never sees the light of day unless I pull out the box and shine it up. It is beautiful but I won't ever use it so it is time to go. 

I was going to sell it on one of my platforms but after some research I was only able to find the exact pen and pencil set on a site called worthpoint which you need to subscribe to so I will hold onto it until I can get some more information of it's age and value. 

So both pieces are Sterling marked and possibly the fountain pen top and just before the nib may possibly be bakelite. I need to have it tested to certify it bakelite. The pencil contains a lead and retracts up and down very easily. The original box is in good condition with a few dents. The hinges work very well and close tight. The material inside is in good condition without any rips or wear. There are no dates or markings found on the outside of the box or inside but you can this is the box it was intended for by the shape inside on the velour to house the 2 pieces. 

Here is some info that information that I came across about Fountain pens: 


At one time, when a man took up a pen to write something — whether words great or small, in order to inspire a nation or impress a young lady — in his hand was a fountain pen. Fountain pens, for a long period of time, were the primary way for people to communicate via the written word. Treaties were signed. Amendments were ratified. Novels were penned. Fathers wrote to their sons who were away at college. Soldiers on the front lines of battle wrote to their fiancées, pulling a fountain pen out of their pocket after the shelling stopped. “My dearest” swooned whenever a letter from “your beloved” arrived in the mail.

Think of the history that each fountain pen through time has witnessed and even participated in. To write with a vintage fountain pen is to write with an instrument that has a rich legacy. In addition to the pure enjoyment of writing with a tool from a bygone era, you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that your pen comes with a story.

This page also includes information on how to purchase, use and the best ones. Definitely worth looking at this site. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cranfield's Genuine Devon Violets- white glass perfume bottle SOLD

part of my whiteglass collection

 This is a small 2" white glass perfume bottle in mint condition.

It has an usual shape like a bell.
There is small brown cap at the neck.
There are no cracks, chip or crazing.
It has 2 small worn signs.
Made in England
It still contains some perfume which I can remove if you want. Please message me if you do. Otherwise I will assume you want it and ship as is.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Identifying the difference between a Giclee, a Serigraph and a Lithographs

 information from for the purpose of identifying a couple of pieces of art work that I have.

It is hard to identify the artist's name it looks like P.A. Cluzcary or Cluzcay but it may possibly also be Culzean. 

The first one was my grandfather's and the other 2 smaller ones I purchased at an estate sale. My grandfathers has a number 13/ 100 on the front and would seem to be a lithograph. The other 2 are not numbered but have serial numbers on the backing. 

Are there significant quality differences between a giclee, a serigraph and a lithograph?

In terms of resolution, a giclee print has the highest resolution and color range.

Giclee printmaking offers one of the highest degrees of accuracy and richness of color available in any reproductions technique. Gicl�e printmaking provides a luminosity and brilliance that represents the artist's original work better than any reproduction technique available today.

serigraph is created when paint is 'pushed' through a silkscreen onto paper or canvas. A different screen is used for each color in the print, and this results in a print with great color density and many qualities of the original piece in terms of color saturation. This process also adds some texture to the final product.

lithograph is the least manually intensive reproduction technique, and in turn, is not as expensive as a serigraph or giclee. Although images can have a high resolution, and excellent appearance, they will not have the same degree of resolution or color density as a serigraph or giclee.

Gicl�e (pronounced "zhee-clay") is a French word meaning "a spraying of ink.� With the advent of gicl�e, the art of reproducing fine art has become even more precise. Gicl�es have the highest apparent resolution available today -- as high as 1,800 dots per inch. In addition, since no screens are used, the prints have a higher apparent resolution than lithographs and a color range that exceeds that of serigraphy. Displaying a full color spectrum, gicl�e prints capture every nuance of an original and have gained wide acceptance from artists and galleries throughout the world.

Silkscreening, which was introduced around 1907, presses ink through a fine screen onto paper. A stencil of an image is placed on a taut screen with paper underneath. Ink is then spread on top and forced through the screen onto the paper with a squeegee. Unlike photo-offset, silkscreens (also called serigraphs) allow the artist to vary the colors and patterns while printing.

The patented printing technology utilizes microscopically fine droplets of ink to form the image. A print can consist of nearly 20 billion ink droplets. The microscopic droplets of ink vary in sizes (approximately the size of a red blood cell) and density. This unique patented feature produces a near continuous tone image, smoother gradation between tones, and a more finely differentiated color palette.

A lithograph is created using a printing technique based on the principle that oil and water do not mix. Using oil-based ink or a grease crayon, an image is drawn on a flat stone or metal plate. Water is applied to the surface and is repelled by the areas where oil-based images have been drawn. The entire surface is then coated with an oil-based ink that adheres only to the areas drawn in oil, ink or crayon. The image is then printed on paper. Lithography became a popular printing technique because thousands of exact replicas could be made that were like drawings on paper, without degradation of the image.

Vintage Blankets

 source: Origins Throughout the 18th century, wool blankets were among the m...