Monday, December 3, 2007


This is a work in progress, so if you have any additional information, or if you see any errors please let us know.

  • 1902 or 1907 (conflicting dates at to start of company on VR family website) - Emanuel and Zealie Van Raalte start E. & Z. VAN RAALTE COMPANY in New York City 
  • 1910 - First American made veiling produced in a new factory built by Van Raaltes' in Lakeview, NJ
  • 1913   - accrording to the US trademark database this logo was first in use 1913

  • 1918
    Van Raalte Silk Mills takes over Niagara Silk Mills who are known for their "Niagara Maid" line of gloves, stockings and underwear.
  • 1927 "Because you love nice things" advertizing campaign starts
  • 1937 - The Van Raalte Mill in Boonton NJ manufactures the first fully fashioned nylon stockings as part of the testing process for Duponts new nylon fiber.
  • 1938 - E. I. du Pont de Nemours (Dupont) announces the invention of nylon to the public.
  • 1939 - Dupont promotes nylon at the NY World's Fair.
  • 1940, 15 May - "N" DAY declared by Dupont. Nylon stockings first go on sale and 5 million pairs are sold in a single day!
  • 1941, 26 July - US Government bans use of silk except for military use.
  • 1945 - Van Raalte counterfeit "nylon" stockings are sold by profiteers and company gets complaints.
  • 1977 - Kellwood Company acquires the US rights to the Van Raalte brand of women's hosiery and bodywear
  • 1994 - Warnarco acquired Van Raalte trademark for apparel sold to Sears Roebuck
  • 1995 - Sears announces their exclusive Van Raalte Lingerie to be sold in their stores


ehappy said...

Do you know if Van Raalte still being sold at Sears?

XO Angie aka Renee

Empress Jade Vintage said...

Warnarco owns the Van Raalte trademark and still has some live trademarks using the Van Raalte name, but I see no evidence that they are still trading under that name. For example "VAN RAALTE SATIN STRIPES" is still an active trademark. Sears had an exclusive to sell Van Raalte lingerie in 1995but as far as I can tell they are no longer selling it in their stores. I checked both and and there is no VR product offered on either website.
Empress Jade Vintage

Anonymous said...

Do you know if they were always "Made in USA". I have a piece of lingerie and the tag says Van Raalte ALL NYLON..and the back says Made in USA. I'm wondering if you would know what year this was made in. Or when they stopped making them. Thanks!

Empress Jade said...

Almost all Van Raalte Lingerie I've found has made in USA, some has been made in Canada. I suspect some of the very late stuff in the 90s for Sears after they were bought by Warnarco was likely mass produced in Third World Countries since that seems to have been a trend for all big companies.

If you want help dating your piece please send me a photo of the garment and the tag and I may be able to help narrow it down.

Anonymous said...

At one point, in the 1980's, Van Raalte was a subsidiary of Cluett Peabody and Co (Arrow Shirt Co.) along with some 35+ other company's. It was still producing swimwear in South America and gloves elsewhere; we saw many samples come through in Saratoga Springs, NY for all types of appareal at that time, mostly nightwear. WhenI left C,P & Co in the late 80's it was acquired by West Point Pepperill and a number of other mergers took place, I imagine those subsidiaries were sold off. The Van Raalte buildings in Saratoga (High Rock Avenue and Gick Road)are in prestine shape and used at this time for various enterprises. I had for, a long time, a Van Raalte lighted outdoor sign that actually came form Saratoga.

Anonymous said...

Lots of incorrect information above. Most importantly, the company was founded by 2 brothers, Emmanuel and Ezekiel. Their combined 4 sons inherited the company and sold it in the late 1920's to pursue careers in other fields. The current van raalte are fine and are several generations away from the original owners

Empress Jade Vintage said...

Annonomous, most of this info was cobbled together from old trademark database info and newpaper archives. If you have more info please be more specific. I found the VR family website which does indicate there were two brothers involved at the start of the company (that has been added) but even that site has two conflicting start dates. I am interested in the company, it's products, brands, advertisements and factories not the family of Van Raalte unless they were involved in the company in a major way.

Empress Jade Vintage said...

I heard back from annonomous. The issue was with a comment about the VR family which has been removed. The info in this timeline is as accurate as I could make it but admittedly incomplete, however if anyone can confirm dates or add info I would be happy hear from you.