When I was a kid, we had a blanket that we used for taking to picnics, outdoor concerts, etc. It was very colorful and had a southwestern motif. We used to call it the "Indian Blanket". Eventually all that toting around took its toll and we lost it somewhere, never to be seen again. Of all the things we misplaced over the years, that blanket is probably the one thing we remember most.
As I grew older and more obsessed with collecting, I realized that the "Indian Blanket" had been a Beacon blanket, or "Camp" blanket. These textiles were originally manufactured from 1920 through the 1940s by the Beacon Manufacturing Company. In fact, they sold so many -21 million a year in the late 1930’s- that “Beacon” became a generic name for the cotton camp blanket. Beacon pitched its product as a modern marvel: a fluffier, less expensive, moth-proof alternative to wool that was easier to clean and just as warm. Their designs originally copied Navajo hand weavings although at their peak, Beacon produced as many as 1500 styles, including many Art Deco motifs.
In all my years of scouring thrift stores, yard sales and such I have always looked for another "Indian Blanket". And perhaps a little part of me was hoping to discover the exact same blanket I had had as a child. But I never found one, until a few weeks ago.
I scored this blue and tan example with an Art Deco ombre plaid (the fading design pattern was a Beacon trademark) for $4 at a rummage sale. It's in great shape, with no holes, tears or frays, something that probably couldn't have been said of our original Indian blanket. It is a perfect fall addition to my son's bed, and he loves it because it is nice and soft. I promised him I would be more careful with this one and not lose it!