JTFS

Rumble Seat Blanket

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JTFS    0

post-153472-0-21811100-1432499433_thumb.Hello,

Please excuse me as I am not a antique car owner.  My mom off 85 years always spoke of an old Rumble seat blanket she had in the chest.  I never took the time to look at it but after her passing, we recently cleaned out her home.  I did come across a Cheetah pattern blanket which is definitely the blanket she was refereeing to.  The blanket is far from soft and is a bit on the heavy side for a blanket. Before I hand to over to my 15 year daughter, is this blanket worth anything?  Can anyone give me some history on these blankets.

Any input will be truly appreciated.

John

 

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keiser31    880

I am pretty certain there were no actual blankets made that were designated as "rumble seat blankets". It is probably just one that she remembered as being used in the rumble seat of a car she or a relative owned. A lot of early sedans had a robe rail on the back of the front seat to hold a blanket as the early cars were quite drafty.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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Rusty_OToole    405

They were made in the fifties and sixties, and used as a seat cover in cars. Could also be used as a throw cover on your sofa, or carried in the trunk along with the Thermos and picnic basket when you went on a picnic.

 

Kind of like the Mexican blankets or Navaho blankets you see at truck stops?

 

Might be a cool thing to have as part of the display of your fifties car. I don't think they have any special value but have not seen one in years.

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AlCapone    176

Give the daughter an heirloom to brag about. In my opinion the bragging rights far exceed the monetary value. Wayne

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JD in KC    2

I've never heard of a Rumble Seat Blanket, but Packard did sell Lap Robes.  Here's an example from a 1934 Accessory Brochure:

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Source: PackardInfo.com

 

The 1934 prices ranged from a low of $10.25 to a high of $75.00.

 

 FWIW, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, the equivalent buying power today would be $180.98 to $1,324.25.  :o That's some blanket!

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Rusty_OToole    405

Lap robes were common accessories when car heaters were poor or non existent. Some cars had a rope or rail across the back of the front seat until the early fifties, where you could hang it when not in use.

 

Usually a heavy plaid blanket but small, about 4' square and with a fringe on 2 ends.

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Pomeroy41144    114

Lap Robes could be ordered with Ford Model A cars. 

 

Has been discussed on Ford Barn several times. 

 

Here is an article on the subject written by a Model A enthusiast. 

 

 

 

http://www.plucks329s.org/pdf/studies/TheModelAFordLapRobe.pdf

Edited by Pomeroy41144 (see edit history)

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JTFS    0

The blanket seems like two blankets sewed back to back. On the flip side, the blanket is black and to the touch, it's not quite scratchy but it's not exactly soft either.  I'm pretty sure it's wool since it's a bit itchy to me and pretty heavy. It's no way soft cotton that's for sure.   After speaking with my family further, we estimate the blanket to be from the mid 30's to 40's. We bring it to this era since my mom used it as a child and she just passed at 85.

Thanks for all the input.

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If it were a proven accessory for a particular make, such as Packard or Cadillac (and this one is not), the values seem to be around $400. Yours may be a generic wool lap robe. Not sure of the value, but probably not nearly as much as if it were an accountable marque accessory. Like was mentioned, I'd give it to your daughter as an heirloom. I WOULD NOT let her use it as a car seat cover. I think the heirloom factor outweighs anything as well.

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Guest my3buicks   
Guest my3buicks

It was something your Mom must have fond memories of for her to have kept it safely locked away all those years - surely it would be a nice family item to pass down through the years with a story attached to it.  not everything of value has a $$ value attached to it.  If it is something you do not want or have any connection to go to a large car show where there are older cars present and find one that fits the era and give it to the owner to display with their car - your Mom would probably approve of that sooner than it being turned into a toy for the girls

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Intassage    7
On 5/25/2015 at 8:32 AM, JD in KC said:

I've never heard of a Rumble Seat Blanket, but Packard did sell Lap Robes.  Here's an example from a 1934 Accessory Brochure:

post-97042-0-68265500-1432556623_thumb.j

Source: PackardInfo.com

 

The 1934 prices ranged from a low of $10.25 to a high of $75.00.

 

 FWIW, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, the equivalent buying power today would be $180.98 to $1,324.25.  :o That's some blanket!

I just found this thread because I was searching to try to figure out what my blanket was made out of. I too had heard that it was used as a rumble seat blanket. Some friends of mine had purchased part of an estate on the north shore near Boston and it was in a cedar closet. It's the two-sided black silk one to the right in your photo. It's 5 feet by 4 feet and must weigh more than 10 pounds. See pic...

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edinmass    234

Lap robes from manufactures are rather rare, and will bring much more than 400-600 dollars. There were many manufactures of them in the aftermarket. Strook Motorobe was the "Cadillac" of the aftermarket makers. Laidlaw also made them for many of the custom body builders. There was also the ultra high end robes, manufactured in Philadelphia, and they can cost tens of thousands depending on provenance. I have a bunch of automotive lap robes, with no less than seven different manufacturers tags. There were three basic levels of premium lap robes, and they were made from Alpaca, wool, and broad cloth. Horse or carriage blankets are often confused with automotive robes. Carriage robes have much less value. Enclosed is an automotive lap robe from 1933. It belonged to FDR, and can often be seen in films and photographs of the era. Packard, Pierce, Cadillac, Studebaker, Auburn, and many others had their "own" specially tagged robes. Ed

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Friartuck    20

A point I didn't see mentioned is that a lap robe for open cars would have deep pockets for the passengers to place their hands. The lap robe for my touring has two sets of pockets. They were also usually heavy weight to provide the most thermal protection. I would believe a lap robe with pockets could have been used in a rumble seat as well.

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C Carl    260

Lap robe. '20s ?'30s ? Maybe. My "Winter Car" has the heater you see , and the lap robe came from an accessories vendor. It was in a plastic bag upon which someone speculated "1927 Cadillac". Good enough for me , as that is the car I have. A lap robe appropriately placed over knees and heater could keep mama and the kiddies warm on the coldest of days. Pops in his overcoat , hat and gloves drove on. You can see the difference in labeles. My color coordinated one says "Supplied for........" , (HAVE ANY OF YOU GUYS SEEN ONE LIKE THIS ?) , while the other one , a true Cadillac accessory , says "Supplied by.........". I would LOVE to know the entire difference and story between the two. The latter label is higher in detail , as you can see. There is absolutely no end to the trivial minutiae we old car folk find fascinating. I have seen lap robes very similar to yours. Could be to someone's taste. I'm not too good evaluating things , but I don't think it would bring more than $150 on a lucky day. Now if it were a legitimate "Supplied by.............." , well that is another matter. Probably $800 - $1200 or more.  - Carl

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edinmass    234

Carl, the first of your robes looks perfectly correct, as does the latter one. The first is earlier.......27-29 or 30. The other is 30-33 and possibly a little later. The earlier robe is the lowest teir of robe showen in the accessory catalog. While it's much more scarce than the later one, I would value it the same, or just a bit lower than the later style. Both are great items, and much rarer than most people realize. One just recently sold for more than 1200. It was the only number I was able to get out of the seller. Ed.

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Intassage    7
On 5/25/2015 at 8:32 AM, JD in KC said:

I've never heard of a Rumble Seat Blanket, but Packard did sell Lap Robes.  Here's an example from a 1934 Accessory Brochure:

post-97042-0-68265500-1432556623_thumb.j

Source: PackardInfo.com

 

The 1934 prices ranged from a low of $10.25 to a high of $75.00.

 

 FWIW, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, the equivalent buying power today would be $180.98 to $1,324.25.  :o That's some blanket!

 

I took a few more (better) pics of the lap robe I have. I also found the full page ad from the 1934 Packard catalog that it was listed in, along with the other "heating" accessories of the day. I discovered a tag that I never noticed on the robe before. It was manufactured by "Chase". @edinmass: Have you ever seen one of these Packard "double-face silk plush" lap robes before? This one is appears to be in perfect condition. I always wondered what it was made of and never even considered silk. I knew it wasn't wool, but always assumed that it was an exotic fur. It's not monogrammed, but I'm reasonably certain it is from a Packard owned by Dennie Boardman, or another member of his family, from Manchester, Mass.

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edinmass    234

I have not seen the Chase brand robe before. Looks like better than average quaility. It was common for dealers to sell off brand robes for the same money as the factory ones, thus making a much larger mark up. I have some correspondence from the Boston Pierce Arrow agency working around the factory supply and securing some of their own robes saving three dollars each. Remember it was the depression, and three dollars was real money. It's also common for a family to keep a robe and use it in several cars over the years. It's common to see a family using a Packard robe in a Cadillac a few years later. Most of the material was wool, and the "silk plush" was just a type of material made from wool. Alpaca was also common on the high end robes. It seems the double sided  silk plush robes are less common than the other styles. I hade never seen a two sided silk plush factory Cadillac robe until last year. We purchased a 30 Cadillac and found TWO of them hidden away in a storage area that was hard to gain access to. Another one of life's little victories. Ed

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Intassage    7
2 hours ago, edinmass said:

I have not seen the Chase brand robe before. Looks like better than average quality. It was common for dealers to sell off brand robes for the same money as the factory ones, thus making a much larger mark up. I have some correspondence from the Boston Pierce Arrow agency working around the factory supply and securing some of their own robes saving three dollars each. Remember it was the depression, and three dollars was real money. It's also common for a family to keep a robe and use it in several cars over the years. It's common to see a family using a Packard robe in a Cadillac a few years later. Most of the material was wool, and the "silk plush" was just a type of material made from wool. Alpaca was also common on the high end robes. It seems the double sided  silk plush robes are less common than the other styles. I hade never seen a two sided silk plush factory Cadillac robe until last year. We purchased a 30 Cadillac and found TWO of them hidden away in a storage area that was hard to gain access to. Another one of life's little victories. Ed

@edinmassInteresting... In late high school and and my first two years of college I worked at a company called Anglo Fabrics. They're no longer in business but in the mid to late 70s they were recognized in encyclopedia's as the makers of the finest woolens and worsteds in the world. I worked in most departments with the owners and managers sons, so I'm very familiar with various types of wool and finishes. After reading your post I did a little research on Chase and plush silk. On your point of there being other materials in plush silk, you are correct. But  silk is the main article in the weaving and finishing process for plush silk articles of that day. There is also often mohair, which as you know is very heavy and among the finest types of wool. Maybe there is also alpaca, but I did not see any reference to that. I remember when we processed the raw bales of the various varieties of wool at the mill in the die house, and then bagged it to be spun into yarn when we were finished with that stage, the mohair bundles were much heavier than any other type of wool. Sometimes there is also cotton in plush silk, but since these robes might get wet, cotton might be problematic. The process of manufacturing something of silk also incorporates tin, believe it or not, which increases its weight. The multi-stage process of making plush silk is one that is extremely complex, requiring specialized looms. I read that that the last loom that once produced plush silk is now destroyed. I doubt there would be a market for that material today, so any of these that are left will likely be the last ever made.

 

Chase was actually the marketing arm of the first manufacturer of lap robes in the US, Sanford Mills in Maine. They manufactured plush carriage robes and furniture plush. L.C. Chase & Co. of Boston was their "selling agent", and they were also founding partners of Sanford Mills. They also represented a company near called Holyoke Plush Co. So I don't know which of those mills produced the silk plush but I'll find out more about it, and whether or not they had an agreement with Packard or any of the other major manufacturers as the OEM producer of their lap robe accessories. I'm checking into that now but haven't heard back yet. As you know, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine had some of the finest producers of high quality carriages in the US before most of it moved to the midwest, so it makes sense that many of the producers of components and accessories would also have been based here in the late 1800s and through the early days of automobile manufacturing when the "carriage" and "motor" aspects were still treted separately. I believe one of the original carriage makers for early US market Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles was near you in Springfield, Mass.

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edinmass    234

Interesting post! I wonder if Alpaca is just considered a type of wool? Both Cadillac and Pierce described their robes as Alpaca, and silk was not mentioned in the paperwork that I have seen from the factory. Customers initials are common, and occasionally a family crest is also seen. I have also seen the estate name of the owner on the robe. Many people don't realize that matching pillows and foot hassock were sold along with foot warmers. It was a time when people were willing to pay for the finer thing in life. It's a shame the manufacturing business in New England has all but vanished. The mills in my home town ran from the 1670's until the early 1980's. As a young boy I clearly remember the old time mechanics that worked at the Rolls Royce factory in Springfield having coffee with the young guys on the weekends. We lost the last one about ten years ago.  Ed

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edinmass    234

Factory robe, 1931, with owners initials installed. There were about two dozen different styles of could choose from. This is the only instance of this style I have ever seen. Photo of the tag is also included. 

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