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Chatham Blanket

by faye fouladi

The beautiful revival of an American Classic

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The story

One glance at a Chatham blanket and it’s hard not to get lost in a magical reverie; suddenly you’re sitting by the campfire, cozy and warm, watching firelight dance as you listen to tales of the past and savor a cup of hot coffee. But this is hardly surprising. Chatham Blankets are part of our collective heritage. Their classic status, their centuries of history, is woven into our bones. And now a new version of the brand’s classic blanket has been born into the vision of Alex Chatham, the great-great-grandson of the original founder.

The brand

The brand Chatham wove its first blanket in 1877. They were warm in winter, breathable in summer, moisture-wicking and self-cleaning. Shepherds would bring wool to the mill and receive blankets back to sell or use themselves. By 1910, Chatham was the largest blanket manufacturer in the South and, by the 1940s, the largest in the world. They manufactured millions of blankets for all branches of the armed forces in both world wars and were awarded the Army/Navy Award of Excellence for wartime production. But then in 1988, after more than 100 years of production, the mill in North Carolina finally shut down.

The legacy

And now, Alex Chatham – an industrial designer, best known for designing the Peloton bike, and namesake of the founder of the mill – has reinvigorated the family business by creating a similarly luxurious but durable wool blanket that will live up to the standards of the modern customer. “As Americans, our DNA and part of our legacy is industrialization,” Chatham explains. “We were the greatest industrial nation in the world by far, and I think that that is an intense part of our culture.” The family mill was abandoned long ago, and there are currently only four mills in the United States capable of producing a blanket to Chatham’s specs. Alex settled on one in north-eastern Connecticut that’s been in operation since before the Civil War.

The Craft

As for Chatham’s approach to manufacturing, he emphasizes the quality and the process of the new blankets. “I’m making something the way that I think that it should be made,” he says. “It’s not the cheapest thing, but it’s - in my view - the right thing.” The design of the current rendition is based on an original. The 100% wool blanket is mostly undyed, with a fine texture that is soft and insulating. The natural creamy-white ground is set off with bright indigo stripes and matching whipstitched edges for added durability. Each is branded with a sewn-on label. The blanket is 60x76inches, which is throw sized. It's designed to be versatile, portable, soft and, of course, warm.

Mini Story

One glance at a Chatham blanket and it’s hard not to get lost in a magical reverie; suddenly you’re sitting by the campfire, cozy and warm, watching firelight dance as you listen to tales of the past and savor a cup of hot coffee. But this is hardly surprising. Chatham Blankets are part of our collective heritage. Their classic status, their centuries of history, is woven into our collective bones.

Amerifine adores

With the Chatham blanket, Alex Chatham is bringing a renewed sense of pride to a new generation of US based manufacturing that we hope will last as long as the blankets themselves. Invest in a beautiful piece of history now and pass it down for generations to come.

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