Published at Friday, September 07th 2018. by Leticia Solomon in Blanket.
Today the interest in pre WW2 trade blankets is growing. They are being sought after by collectors. You can also find them in museums in almost every state in America.
As good quality wool blankets became important as a trading commodity for explorers and trappers, American companies began production of woolen trade blankets. These companies that sprung up in America with names like Racine Woolen Mills in Wisconsin, Capps in Illinois, Buell in Missouri and Oregon City Mill in Oregon began to produce these trade blankets.
In 1901 the introduction of the jacquard loom altered the designs dramatically allowing the mills to create different zigzag designs in contrasting colors. The Native Americans had no choice but to accept them.
We don't use wool trade blankets today because we have a market loaded with blankets made of various materials that are a lot more comfortable than wool. They are made in many forms and materials such as cotton, fleece, cashmere, silk and chenille, and are called blankets, quilts and comforters. In my next article I will delve into the different blankets that are manufactured today and the material they are made from.
Then in the year 1896 the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton Oregon became the first mill founded for the sole purpose of producing trade blankets. Each of these mills had their own specific design to designate which mill it was produced in. Some of them were very similar in design, but the Oregon City blankets had a very intricate design that was different from all the rest. The plains Indians preferred the Capps simple design over all the rest.
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