Hudson's Bay blankets, a centuries-old tradition


#1

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#2

I've considered buying a Hudson's Bay Blanket, and read up on some of the methods for dating and authenticating vintage versions.

I decided not to make the purchase, because

  1. even Value Village seems to know not to sell them used for less than hundreds of dollars and
  2. it would just feel funny having a sample of one of the most storied disease vectors in the history of colonial genocide draped over my spare bed.

They are handsome though, and redolent of history.


#3

I've had one of these blankets for years. It has been in the family for some time; I'm not sure how long, but I'm guessing I am either generation three or four to have used it.

The poor thing finally lost its distinctive logo patch a few years ago, and has a moth-hole the size of a fist. But it's still my number one go-to blanket for serious warmth in the winter.

Due to the cosmetic wear, I considered buying a new one last year. Saw the current retail and balked rather hard. Not so much because they're expensive -- good things frequently are -- but because, shit man, mine still works just fine.


#4

The blankets are made in England. Woolrich is a Pennsylvania company that imports them to the US. A look at the Wikipedia page for the blankets shows the company that makes them now - John Atkinson, a sub brand of A.W. Hainsworth & Sons Ltd. It looks like you can buy what is essentially the same point blanket under a different name in England. http://witneybedding.co.uk/purchase_point_blankets_26.html


#5

Canada is like one of those places where the cheapest drink is 20 bucks, to keep the riff-raff out.


#6

I had one of these as a kid. It was... a blanket.


#8

Here we are. On the Internet. Talking about blankets. (That are too expensive to buy for most of us). Holy Crap.


#9

$437? What's that in beaver pelts?


#10

$437? So you mean, like, 25 Mexican blankets??


#11

They are great blankets. But you can get them from Cabella's and LL Bean. They are not hard to source. I've also bought vintage knockoffs on ebay that were great blankets. One that I bought was even better than a Hudson Bay. I bought one for $40 at a flea market.


#12

I was about to mention LL Bean as well, but even theirs is about that price. Sheesh.


#13

For a lower cost, US made alternative, try Fairbault Woolen Mills: http://www.faribaultmill.com/wool-blankets.html . Still steep at $325.


#14

Fun fact: the points (which corresponded to how many stripes were on the blanket) indicated thickness/warmth of wool. So 6 points is great when you're a voyageur sleeping under the stars, but probably too much for the average centrally-heated home these days.

Not sure that these new versions adhere to that convention, however.


#15

Hey, we would love to have the riff-raff come to visit. Many of us are riff-raff ourselves (not easy with beer at $20). However all retail prices in Canada are set by the Governor-General, after consultation with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our hands are tied.


#16

To clarify, the coloured stripes are not the indication of the point count. The points are thin dark lines woven into one edge of the blanket so that the size and weight can be read when the blanket is folded.

Here's a 3 1/2 pointer:


#17

or, you know, you could buy the HBC point blanket from the Hudson's Bay Company itself...

http://www.thebay.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/thebay/hbc-/blankets/multistripe-point-blanket-0012-1019553--24

$295-495 depending on size.


#18

I'm assuming you're thinking about the smallpox blanket biological warfare attack? If so, rest easy (?) on the Hudson's Bay Yuppy Blanket front - that incident happened at Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania, and there's no reason to believe they were this particular type of blankets.


#19

Yes, thanks for that clarification! I should have said lines, not stripes.


#20

I'm not proud of this, but my grandparents had three of these and when my mom was divvying up their estate, this was the thing most everyone was hoping to get. Sadly, they seem to have disappeared in my grandparents later years so we never found them.


#21

Weird.. seems like a blanket for the "in crowd".