Thursday, July 30, 2015


As my friend Kevin would say :" for real quilt collectors , a depression era quilt is not old" and i agree with that statement ,but for a vintage denim enthusiast, it's a total different story ,especially if you mention the words Stifel and calico in the same sentence .so today's post will be about a 30's quilt from my collection entirely made of Stifel calico prints .i've chosen to only showcase the indigo ones ......enjoy 
Born in 1807 in Germany, Johann Ludwig Stifel immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland when he was 26. He later moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he learned the textile trade working in a wool mill. Armed with the knowledge of the trade, the young entrepreneur made his way to Wheeling in the 1830s,Legend says he walked all the way to Wheeling, where, in 1835, he established a small dyeing shop in a log cabin with just a $10 investment and a piece of cotton cloth. within a short time of opening his dye shop, business grew enough for Johann to open a larger 2 levels calico shop .The lower levels was for dyeing and printing while the upper level housed Johann's family...
In 1859, Johann’s sons Louis C. and William F. joined the company and, when their father retired fifteen years later, J.L. Stifel and Sons had grown into one of the nation’s largest calico printing establishments.
The third generation of Stifels moved the calico works to a new location in Wheeling on Main Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.  The company had grown from a one-man operation in a log cabin to a 70,000 square foot plant, with many employees, which was shipping products like indigo dyed prints internationally. A meticulous process, the manufacturing including singeing the cloth to remove fuzz and lint, boiling the cloth to remove waxes and oils, bleaching the cloth to remove natural colors, and dyeing the cloth with indigo extracts to give it the distinctive Stifel indigo blue color .all dies imported from Calcutta.
During the First and Second World Wars, the company switched over to war time production, providing textiles for France as well as khaki for American soldiers. By 1943, almost 90% of the company’s production was war-related like most of his competitors .....
After World War II, increasing costs and foreign competition caused instability in the national textile industry. Stifel merged with Indian Head Mills in New York in 1957, but even after the contracts were signed the company had to phase out operations. On December 17, 1957 after 122 years of service, Stifel & Sons Calico Works closed. The plant sat empty until March 8, 1961 when it caught fire and the entire building was destroyed. All that was left standing was a 275 foot smokestack, which was finally toppled on March 25, 1969......

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Today's post is about a rare 20's pair of overalls made under Sear's iconic brand : Hercules.To find such a pair in a crisps condition ,is almost impossible nowadays ,especially a pre 30's small single pocket example.So ,for your eyes only , here are some details ,such as the interesting mix of single and triple stitching ,watch pocket and change pocket with selvage and so on .......enjoy