I really love learning about the local textile industries here in the Carolinas, and one that has been on my research list for a long time is Beacon. But unlike some of the other topics I’ve looked into, Beacon is well documented, and there is in fact, a book for Beacon collectors.
For the most part, I’m not too crazy for books that are aimed at the collector. There are some notable exceptions, but somehow most collector books miss the mark. They are either poorly researched or poorly written, often the photos are amateurish and the content is badly organized. There is often no index. So I had seen the Beacon book, but did not buy it because I had better uses for the $49.95 the book retails for. But I stumbled onto a copy at a local thrift store and so decided to take a chance.
I’ll say this, it is not as bad as I expected, as there is a lot of good information. The complete contents of several company catalogs are printed, which is a real help in identifying the patterns and in dating items. There is a complete company history, so the reader does get an idea of how the Beacon company grew and developed. But the topic is handled a bit too reverently for my taste. I mean, those factory owners might possibly been able to walk on water.
Also, there is no index. Why would you print a resource book without an index is a mystery to me, but this seems to be a trademark of this particular publishing company.
And the photos, while pretty and colorful, are not captioned in a way that provide any information to the reader. There are photos of stacks of pretty blankets, but no information about the blankets themselves.
I guess if I were a Beacon collector, the book would be of value, for the catalog reprints if nothing else. But as a person with just a passing interest in the subject, I’ll probably be passing this book along to someone who needs it. I did not intend for this post to turn into a book review. I wanted to write about Beacon, but my thoughts about the book just got in the way, and I had to let them out.
I’ll post about Beacon tomorrow. In the meantime you can admire my one and only Beacon robe, shown above. And if you are a blanket collector and are interested in the book, get in touch.
PS: I decided not to link to Amazon where you can buy the book because I’d not let any of my friends spend $37.96 on this book. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.
from a 1949 Montgomery Ward catalog