Monday, July 02, 2007


Catlovers everywhere enjoy cats in any situation. In advertising, cats have become a popular choice when selling many different products.

Here, I will be showing a selection of cats' images used in the sewing category!

The Corticelli cats are perhaps the most commonly found images of the vintage era - from the Belding Heminway Company, Inc. we have products such as cottons, yarns, silks, and sewing threads. They are advertised in practically all the women's magazines of the early 1900's, as well as their own pattern books.
And by the way, the illustrations on the top right of the blog and at the very end of the page are from a Corticelli pattern book.

The famous artist Ben Austrian, painted this lovely fluffy puss playing with a spool of cotton. Can you see the words Corticelli Silk written in thread? (Click on picture for larger image.) This artist is most well known for his paintings of chickens - stars of the Bon Ami ads.
If you would like to know more about Ben Austrian, click here.

I am not an expert on cat breeds, but this cat looks a little odd to me.
Now I know that the above ad is not strictly to do with sewing, but this was news to me. I only received the book I found this ad in today (3rd), and I never knew Corticelli also made dental floss! I had to add this to the post.

Look at who has just dropped by - why, it is Mischief! She is apparently giving the Elna portable sewing machine her nod of approval......! This advertisement is found in the "Needlework" magazine of the 1950's. (Click to read)

Trade cards were an advertising phenomenon in themselves, and were a very popular collectible in the 19th century. Many are to be found in scrap albums. The modern equivalent are the business cards and advertising fridge magnets.
Below, we have a trade card from 1881 advertising Willimantic six cord spool cotton for sewing machines.

There is white knitting cotton in this package. The CAT'S brand here is apparently Belgian.

World War I was in progress when these Snappy fasteners were available. Made in U.S.A.

Two very interesting books you might like to look for are - The Cat Made Me Buy It! pictured right (the first book in the series) and The Cat Sold It!
on the left (the second book in the series) by Alice L Muncaster & Ellen Yanow Sawyer. Both of these show numerous colourful photographs of cats advertising all manner of products. The first book, TCMMBI! is also great for further reading about Corticelli.

For further reading about Trade cards, it would be worth seeking out "Introduction to Sewing Trade Cards" by Debbie Fuller - a publication put out by Thimble Collectors International (try ebay, too). Victorian Trade Cards information can also be found here.

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