How can I determine the age of my blanket? The blanket label is the best tool to date a blanket: Size dimensions of blanket and blanket colour are also extremely useful. While HBC Heritage Services is not in a position to advise on the age of any blanket, here are a few general guidelines: Early labels were usually red on white and fairly consistent in size, being roughly 1.
I have an old HBC point blanket. In recent years genuine HBC point blankets have become very collectible and may command prices in the hundreds of dollars. Factors affecting value include age, size, colour, rarity and condition. HBC Heritage Services is not in a position to advise on the value of any item. We do not offer appraisals and indeed rely on experts to provide them to us when required.
A service such as e-Bay is a good place to check current market trends in collectibles. Can I wash my blanket? How should I take care of it? So you can hand wash your blanket in a gentle detergent like Zero or Woollite. The trick is in the drying. You must gently press or blot the water out by wrapping it in towels: Then lay it out flat to dry, preferably in the shade on your lawn.
Since this is pretty awkward for most people, dry cleaning is the recommended care. With normal use your blanket ought not to need dry cleaning very often.
But be sure to dry clean: If you have recently acquired a second-hand blanket, to ensure that no moth eggs infest it; or If the blanket is one of the pastel colour series General Care: Brush your blanket occasionally to raise the nap and dislodge any foreign particles which might be trapped in the fibres. Store it in a cedar chest or closet preferred when not in use to protect it from moth damage. If you haven't got either then wrap securely in an old bed sheet or pair of cotton pillowcases; do not store in plastic or vinyl as you risk damage from humidity.
Store folded or hung from a hanger but if storing for any period of time be sure to re-fold so creases do not become permanent. With proper care there is no reason why your blanket should not last for decades - or even longer.
Point blankets were traditionally made in plain red, white, green or blue fields with single bars of deep indigo near each end. In the fur trade era white was by far the most common colour, with bars in indigo, red, or blue.
The multistripe pattern was introduced in and became very popular - so much so that it is sometimes known as "traditional". The "Pastel Tones" - in sky blue, violet, reseda green , gold and rose - were introduced in HBC has an image in our photo collection of the Saskatoon store in and there are about 20 different colours offered.
Most of these colours were out of production by the s. Today blankets are produced in the following colours: Multistripe Brown Stripe - four stripes in shades of brown introduced in as the Millenium pattern White with black bar Green with black bar White with blue bar My blanket has four sets of stripes and is twice as long as it should be. Is this a mistake? What you have is what is called an "unseparated pair" of HBC point blankets.
This is just what it sounds like: Blankets are woven on long continuous rolls of about 25 pairs 50 singles to a bolt. Until the s they were separated into pairs by the manufacturer, packaged and shipped as pairs. They were separated only at the point of sale. A small nick or cut in the selvage of the blankets was made and the blankets were literally torn apart along the grain - much to the amusement to staff who loved to "surprise" unsuspecting buyers!
They were also priced "by the pair" until the late s or early s. Unseparated pairs were particularly useful for campers and other outdoorsmen. By folding the pair in half a simple sleeping bag was created. Until the advent of modern outdoor gear HBC blankets were often used in this fashion. Today all blankets are separated and packaged as singles during the manufacturing process. Unseparated pairs are highly collectible, so don't tear them apart.
Do you still sell blanket coats? HBC no longer carries a line of coats made from point blanket fabric. Classic HBC blanket coats were last made in and are regularly found at second hand stores where they can command strong prices.
They also regularly appear on eBay. The line offered classic duffle and commuter style coats made in a special doubleface wool by well-known UK manufacturer Gloverall. These coats, in scarlet, grey, navy or multistripe exteriors with coordinating dark or light HBC tartan linings, were available only for a few seasons. No longer in production, The Bay plans to offer new coats in this specialty fabric beginning in fall Each was given a Point Blanket in the colour of their choice to create a contemporary coat.
There were no limitations on the imagination and creativity the designers brought to the table. The resulting gallery-worthy showcase pieces included a vast range of styles, including: Its success may help convince The Bay to once more consider producing blanket coats commercially. I live in the U. Where can I purchase HBC point blankets? They are available from Woolrich , L. Bean and Getz Department Store. All these companies offer the blankets for sale on their websites.
How long has Hudson's Bay Company been selling blankets? Hudson's Bay Company has been selling blankets from the beginning. In , 2 years before the granting of the Royal Charter, the Nonsuch sailed to Hudson Bay on a speculative voyage to prove the feasibility of the northern fur trade route. Among the trade goods she carried were woolen blankets. Blankets have always been a staple of the trade.
The capote - a wrap coat made from an HBC blanket - was a common garment among the first nations. Many, many versions of the capote were made, and variations in style were common: In fact personalization was the norm.
Hooded, embellished with fringing and closed with a bright Assomption sash, the coat became a staple for HBC's explorers and traders as well. Easy to make, warm and water-repellent, the capote was made for the Canadian climate. Where can I find out more information about HBC point blankets? You might also want to consult The Blanket: It is also available in the U. It is available direct from the author. Why is the blanket stripe blue in your advertising when it's actually black? In fact, the black bar or stripe is not really black at all but indigo - a very, very dark blue.
On solid-coloured blankets the intense contrast of the background and the stripe makes the indigo appear black while in the multistripe pattern, on the cream background, it is clearly dark blue.
From time to time HBC has experimented with other dyes for the black - most notably during the First World War - but the results were not at all successful and since indigo has been used exclusively. We are happy to arrange overseas sales for our British and European customers.
Please contact us directly via email for further information.