Saturday, February 28, 2009

Van Raalte Gloves

Van Raalte made so many styles of gloves over the years and did not trademark glove names, so it's often difficult to date them accurately. I've used the newspaper archives and vintage advertisements as a rough guide to dating.

Silk Gloves and Leather Lined Silk Gloves: (1913 to approx 1930):

First of all a correction: My timeline info gives 1918 as the date Niagara Silk Mills was purchased by Van Raalte Silk Mills , however I recently found the following advertisement on Ebay dated a year prior. I can't find any trademark or patent info on "Niagara Maid" or "Niagara Silk Mills", so we need to assume VR bought them sometime in the late teens. I've never come across any silk garment with the Niagara Maid label, so please contact me if you have one.

Van Raalte "Niagara Maid" Silk Underwear Ad from Oct 6th 1917 Dry Goods Economist Magazine, courtesy of Millcliff

By 1920 VR seems to have abandoned the "Niagara Maid" name in it's advertisements. But I did find one newspaper ad for Dec 16th, 1925 advertising 600 pairs of Niagara Maid silk hose on Sale for $1.65!

1920 Double Tipped Silk Gloves ad also from Millcliff

The very last advertisement I can find for Van Raalte Silk Gloves is dated Oct 20, 1930 from The Argus, an Australian newspaper. They mention only having a table full of oddments, so we can assume this was a clear out of old stock.

Rayon Gloves (1939 to early 1950s):
I found an article in the New York Times dated Dec 2, 1939 which appear to have been their introduction...

"Gloves knit of nylon and rayon have gone on the 'market at $8 a dozen to retail at $1.25 a pair. They are manufactured by the Van Raalte Company..."

"Hands Away Sleight of hand glove fashion which frees fingertips at will but keeps arms glamorously deep in rich rayon jersey", 1945 (art work by Leisin Lenin), ad courtesy of Adventures Into The Past

The last reference I can find of VR rayon gloves is in 1950; an ad for amer-suede, sueded finish rayon gloves.

Nylon Gloves: (1939 to 1960s???)
Manufacturers only really started using nylon on a mass scale after WWII. Women loved it for it's terrific fit and ease of care. Some of the glove styles were incredibly glamorous!

1948 ad (artwork by Henry Luhrs), main image features evening gloves of black ruched nylon net embellished with sequins. Courtesy of Adventures Into The Past

By the mid 50s Van Raalte was advertising Nylon gloves in an astonishing array of colors and styles.

1956 Nylon Gloves ad - courtesy of Adventures Into The Past

In checking the Newspapers archive the last advertisement I found for nylon gloves was in 1958, however I know Van Raalte continued to make gloves into the 60s, and probably well into the 70s. See this blog post for a look at a cool pair of 60s mod thumbless gloves. And note the 60s font is different.

XOXO Empress Jade Vintage


Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

I still have some of these kinds of gloves saved from way back when! Aren't they fun!

Anonymous said...

I just bought a pair of the Van Raalte kid leather gloves with a 100% silk lining that go up to the elbow at an estate sale for $2.00. I just love them so much. They are fun!