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Dating of Towels

When I started organizing these towels, I was and remain curious as to the ages of the towels.

From a reading of the growth of Vera’s business, she started with placemats and napkins. This was driven by necessity as her silk screen was only large enough for those sized items. That was 1942 and she, her husband George and a third partner, Frederick Werner Hamm, had their first order in 1943. The calendar towels started in 1960. So many things happened in the business during that time. In 1945, she designed and produced fabric for F. Schumacher. She also started using silk from a parachute as a necessity for her scarves. The first scarf was sold to Lord & Taylor in 1947. Things got pretty cool from there as both Bess Truman and Marilyn Monroe liked her gorgeous and clever use of color.

Oops. Distracted. So Vera started to expand into aprons, toaster cozies, pot holders and tea towels. But when was that? It was no later than 1960 as then is when the calendar towels first started production. Those I can date! In the 1960 Calendar gallery, there are four in two designs that I have found so far. And the calendar towels continued until 1979 and then again just in 1982. So are some of the towels after 1982? Vera drew and created until her passing in 1993 which included linens.

Next, I decided that I would date the towels that had the same design as a calendar towel with that calendar towel date. Wait, there are over 300 calendar towels and over 900 non-calendar towels in these galleries. And there is far less overlap than you might guess. And a few designs are used twice in a year on different size calendar towels and a few of the same designs are used in more than one year. So that didn’t work!

So, in conclusion, I don’t know the years these towels were produced except for the calendar towels. The youngest ones are almost 40 years old and some are for sure 60 years old but if any of them were designed and produced before 1960, which seems likely, they are even older. And still so beautiful.


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