Wednesday, December 15, 2010

HBC Point Blanket. "Pro Pelle Cutem" - "for furs we risk our hides".

Owning point blankets is in my opinion a Canadian tradition. My family has always had one or at least a heavy point style blanket. Currently I have 4 put away in my closet, all from some sort of thrift shop or auction.

The point blanket has been around the Canadian North since 1670 with the traders and trappers swapping their pelt for these finely made English blankets. In the late 1920's the use of the blanket as the most indispensable piece of clothing was coming to a end and the need for beaver felt was slowing. This is the time HBC started marketing them toward sportsmen, Cottages and for home decor. L.L. Bean was one of the first to carry them, and there was even HBC offices in NYC to market them in the States. In the 30's people visiting Canada would by them as souvenirs as they epitomized the Great White North. Still if you head to your local Bay store or even Home outfitters, you can buy these wonderful heirloom blankets.

This is just a blurb of the great history behind this wonderful piece of Canadiana, and I suggest reading "The Blanket" By Harold Tichenor for a more detailed history of the point blanket.

For the person trying to date their blanket only really need to look at the Label sewn on each one.

The earliest of the known labels, the Trademark Type A was used from around 1890 to 1900 .

Around 1930, HBC used the simplified Scroll label for a brief period.

From the late 1940's to the 1960's, HBC issued labels bearing the "100% wool" label. This Type 1 is probably the most common label on older blankets, showing the increased sales in the 50's

This is the big bilingual Label that has been in use for the last 25 years. This is the Type C variant introduced in 2002.

I hope this gives you a bit of insight in to the Point blanket. They are super warm and cozy and nothing screams "Hey, I'm Canadian" like being wrapped up in a Hudson's Bay Blanket.

1 comment:

  1. I saw someone reading "The Blanket" on the tube the other day and I immediately wondered if you had read it ... seems you have! ;o)