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Knocked off: the Hudson’s Bay blanket’s American look-alike

Pendleton's blanket. Looks familiar, no? (Image: Pendleton)

Among our beloved symbols of Canadiana, like Tim Hortons, hockey and BeaverTails, the Hudson’s Bay point blanket ranks highly. That’s why we were so shocked to see this offering from Pendleton Woolen Mills, a blanket named after Montana’s Glacier National Park that looks virtually identical to the Bay blankets we grew up with.

It appears the design isn’t trademarked to HBC, so anyone can copy the look, which was conceived during frontier trading times. The points, four lines sewn near the lowest stripe, were used to indicate the weight and size of the finished blanket. The brightly coloured stripes of green, red, yellow and indigo (dubbed Queen Anne’s colours, as they were popular during her reign in the early 1700s) don’t have any secret meaning: they were introduced around 1800 for their ease of production and colourfastness.

The Pendleton blankets, created about 100 years later in the early 1900s, take Glacier National Park as their inspiration and borrow heavily from HBC’s original designs. So it seems that before Americans were nabbing Canadian celebrities (we’re looking at you, Justin Bieber), they were helping themselves to blanket designs.

Our history: the HBC point blanket [HBC]
Pendleton National Parks blanket