Our Clothes' Best Friend

Our Clothes' Best Friend

Clothes hanger (noun) - a usually curved piece of metal, plastic, or wood that is used for hanging clothing.

Unworldly beauty usually does not come in a sixteen inch wooden frame with steel through the middle of it, but to us it does. The value, and ultimately the convenience, our clothing hangers add to our everyday life tends to go frequently unnoticed. Saving you time and the peace of mind that your favorite top will not be wrinkled, not only do most of these vintage hangers look amazing while they watch over your wardrobe– they keep our most loved shirts in shape, save closet space, and can last another century when properly cared for.

From the beginning of time, roughly the late 17th to 19th century, man has taken up the habit of changing clothes. Before this revolution, previously owned articles of clothing were worn until they were no longer fit for wear. Outfits were tailored to a full body style look, rather than piecing contrasting looks together as we see in current popular fashion. This frugalness comes due to steep costs of production as most clothing was cut and sewn by hand, the high volume of fabric required for completion, and the low gross annual income of most individuals. In order to keep up with the new change of culture and growing market for more interchangeable fashion, the clothing hanger was invented. 

The later years of the 19th century saw a load of patents submitted to the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) by American companies for a design resembling a popular coat hanger patented in 1869 by O.A. North of Connecticut, USA which was merely an adjacent knob off the wall. The new demand for increasing wardrobe space was perfectly suited for this new, revolutionary invention.

Kickstarting its popularity in merchant closets and tailor shops by 1903, a man by the name of Albert J. Parkhouse of Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company devised an invention for a new clothing hanger. Composed of a simple steel wire twisted into ovals on each shoulder end with a hook on top, Parkhouse patented this spontaneous design after hearing complaints from peers about the lack of storage space for their overcoats and quickly turned this popularity into a business venture of his own.

Introduced in the 1930s, wooden hangers were likely to be chosen over its wire predecessor in terms of durable longevity and widening attributes. While costly, the advantage of a thick wooden base compared to wire or cardboard strengthened the shoulder support, increased carry weight, and dramatically improved durability was an easy decision for any sustainable individual. Midwestern factories such as Phoenix Products Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Good Form (General Fireproofing Company) of Youngstown, Ohio were behind the manufacturing of a large amount of these wooden hangers during the 1930s to mid 1940s as each was stamped at the arm base or beneath. Not only does our shop’s collection of wooden hangers present our vintage inventory in a genuine fashion, each one stands alone with advertising stampings unique to every individual business. Some sport a simple company logo centered in the middle of the hanger, and some have slogans and contact information stamped along the arms containing fax and phone number extensions. While the complete history of clothing hangers can be drawn out between multiple patents and a range of materials, wooden advertising hangers will always reign supreme and hold a dear place at ThreadCount with the purpose they serve our brand identity and overall functionality.

Located in Northwest Indiana, our shop is not foreign to the exposure to countless department store chains and local clothing shops. Sourcing from nearby antique stores, scavenging Ebay listings, and the occasional random find at a thrift is where the majority of our hangers come from. 

Lucky to be surrounded by numerous department stores and local clothiers, Northwest Indiana was home to Jack Fox & Sons, a staple men's clothing store established in 1912 at the corner of Hohman Avenue and Fayette Street in Hammond, Indiana. This store was significant due to it being recognized as having the highest dollar volume per-square-foot of floor space of any men's clothing store in the entire United States during the 1950s. Along with other surrounding stores no longer around, city hotels, train companies, and other advertising businesses, most of the vintage hangers in our collection are local businesses from our area. Some originated from a distance farther away but were too captivating not to add to the bunch.

See a select few of the vintage wooden advertising clothing hanger styles chosen by local companies…
(Image by ThreadCount Vintage Co.)
  1. Weinberg Bros Tailors & Clothiers’ of 9049 Commercial Avenue, Chicago
  2. Sirkin Clothing House of 120 Mulberry Street Newark, New Jersey
  3. R. Gordon ManufacturerIntegrity Clothes’ of 11 Allen Street, New York
  4. The Stevens Hotel of Chicago (Original Hilton)
  5. Crawford ClothesStores All Over New York’ of Bronx, Brooklyn, and Jamaica
  6. Pullman Train CompanyTravel and Sleep In’ - ‘Safety And Comfort” of Chicago
  7. R. RosenthalClothier & Furnisher’ of Wyandotte, Michigan
  8. Lewis Clothiers of 4716 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago
  9. Webster & Benham Merchant Tailors of 558 West Sixty-Third Street, Chicago
  10. Hotel Vendome of Long Branch, New Jersey
  11. Sheraton Hotels & Motor Inns of U.S.A., Hawaii, Canada, & Overseas
  12. Raab Bros. of 1213 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
  13. The Hotel Flamingo of Las Vegas, Nevada
  14. Hotel Phillips of Kansas City, Missouri


(Image by ThreadCount Vintage Co.)

These are not just pieces of stained wood to hold our coats… They are art, untold stories of forgotten family vacations, romantic weekend getaways, rushed laundromat trips, and personally– a testament to the standard of quality ThreadCount strives for. Our promise of quality is close to none, as each garment is gently treated and washed with delicacy to preserve wearability for decades to come. As all these years go by, the cotton and polyester blends that make up these articles of clothing can begin to thin or shrink. Because of this, proper washing and up-keeping methods (proper hanging/storage) are very important. The detailed craftsmanship required to make products last and keep customers happy all around the world is a feat not small in the slightest. ThreadCount uses these old clothes hangers every single day, and all throughout the night, yet we still see the neglect they get universally. Next time you put your beloved t-shirt on a hanger, give it a proper ‘Thank You’ as you walk away.

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