Hudson bay blankets dating
To promote the collection, ten Canadian fashion designers were invited to create one-of-a-kind coats from Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blankets.
By 1922 commercially made HBC blanket coats were being made.Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario.The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present.A full line, or point, measured about 5 inches in length, and a half point, about 2½ inches.A one-point blanket measured approximately 2½ feet by 8 feet and weighed about 3 pounds (these narrow sizes were typically made into Capotes.) The largest point blankets today are a Queen size blanket at 6 points and King size blanket at 8 points, although these sizes were not available until the 1960s and 1980s, respectively.When early settlers explored the wilderness, they found that the warmth and water resistance offered by these pure wool blankets meant they were coveted assets prized by Native Americans, who traded furs and beaver pelts in return.
This trade became more organised and was managed at outposts and settlements by The Hudson Bay Company and so, in 1780 the famous Hudson Bay Point Blanket was born.
The coats became known as Mackinaws after the Michigan fort Robert’s men occupied the following year, during the War of 1812.
In 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company merged with its rival, the North West Company, expanding the company’s domain over a land that stretched from Alaska to Nunavut in the north and from Oregon to the Great Lakes in the south.
With this pertinent heritage steeped in childhood memories, we resolved that Tolly Mc Rae would bring the Point Blanket home.
Named after its points - the dark lines woven into the edge of the cloth that indicate size - the Point Blanket became legendary when the English colonized North America in the 1700s.
The solid colour mid-thigh length coats were ideal for winter activities such as skiing and snowshoeing.