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1911-1916 Tobacco Advertising Flannel Felt Vintage Blanket - Hand-Stitched - American Buffalo Bison - United States & International Flags - LARGE
Vintage international tobacco advertising flannel "felt" hand-stitched "blanket" - made with a collection of 35 vintage tobacco premium flannel felt panels distributed between 1911 and 1916 as a premium with one of the several tobacco brands marketed by the American Tobacco Company. We are not sure when this was hand-stitched together, but making small blankets with flannel-felt advertising premiums was a common early 20th Century homemaker sewing hobby. This is an unusually LARGE one - 52-1/2" long by 32-1/2" wide - the largest we have seen.
Blanket features American 48-star flags anchoring all four corners with a large 48-star American flag in the center, and is interspersed with flags of foreign nations of the era, The Netherlands Coat of Arms, American Indian blanket-pattern panels, and the head of an American Buffalo (Bison) . International flags included in the blanket are those for Great Britain, New Zealand, South Australia, Mexico, Germany, Austria Hungary (2), Russia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Servia (sp?). Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru, San Domingo, Hayti and Salvador.
Made with 24 medium-sized (8-1/4" x 5-1/4") panels, and nine very large (11" x 7") panels. Most are finished with full-color images on both front and back – usually with the name of the country printed only on the front. A few have the full-color image on the front-side only - the back is unfinished. The LAST photo is an image of the back-side of the blanket.
The practice of inserting premiums in tobacco products began in about 1870 and continued into the first decades of the 20th century. As with the "silks", flag textiles or "felts" were packed in or on packages of cigarettes from 1906 and to 1916. American Tobacco Company was one of a number of cigarette companies that distributed free silks, flannels or leather to customers who purchased their tobacco products as either "inserts" or "premiums". Larger "felts" were available in premium catalogs, and sent to consumers in exchange for coupons distributed in tobacco packaging.
Tobacco "felts" were actually made of a cotton flannel fabric and printed in many designs, in themes similar to those used on silks. They were often used by women to make quilts and other textile objects. (It is thought that distributing these textiles with tobacco products may have been a marketing strategy to entice women into smoking cigarettes.) Some subjects also seemingly targeted women, like butterflies, but the majority of the flannel felt themes were male oriented. "Flags of the World" was one of the most popular themes.
PHOTO NOTE: The photos flash distorts the clarity of the images and sometimes exaggerates the intensity of the colors. The "grainy" look is a distortion. The colors are as bright, but more mellow in texture, and the images are less stark, but with greater clarity of detail, when viewed in person.
CONDITION NOTE: PLEASE EXAMINE PHOTOS CAREFULLY. The colors may be somewhat more muted than appears in these photos. This blanket is clean and in generally excellent condition, but the flannels are old and may have some discoloration in spots. There is one light stain on the blue Indian blanket at the bottom. The edges may have slight fraying in spots, and the hand-stitching may not be uniform, or perfectly executed. There may also be slight wrinkles in the fabric, which should disappear with a careful pressing on delicate setting. ANY SIGNIFICANT FLAWS ARE OBVIOUS IN THE PHOTOS.
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New London, CT
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