The Call of the Wild from the Hettrick Mfg, Company

Working non-stop to clean out two houses left me with only enough energy in the evenings to search eBay for treasures. Good sporting sources are getting harder to find, but I am good at spotting them. Take this 1920s catalog, for instance. At first its little eBay thumbnail photo didn’t look too promising, and then I noticed the auto tent.

I’m not at all interested in truck covers and tarps, but auto tents always attract my attention.

The catalog is just full of mid 1920s camping supplies. The Hettrick Company started out as a maker of canvas goods, making items for the late 19th century farmers such as horse and wagon covers. They were evidently willing to change with the times, as the 1920s brought cars and more leisure hours. Hettrick turned to canvas car covers and tents.

Today we might look on Instagram to see the ideal camping setup. In the pre-internet days, catalogs sold the perfect camping experience.

In the 1940s and 50s Hettrick turned from canvas items to metal outdoor furniture. Those metal gliders and chairs we all enjoyed as kids could have been made by Hettrick.

The caption for this great drawing could have been written in 2021 as millions of Americans flooded our national parks looking for some soothing nature.

Hettrick also made striped canvas awnings, tents, yard swings, umbrellas, and other accessories for the modern backyard. In the 20s they also began making clothing for outdoorsmen.

I have two of these wonderful old reclining chairs. It’s time to replace the canvas.

This catalog still has a small selection of wagon covers and horse coats, but as America moved from farms to the cities and suburbs, Hettrick was able to transition to a leisure hours supplier. Funny how the cover focused on their past as a maker of farm supplies instead of what the catalog actually was focused on.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Call of the Wild from the Hettrick Mfg, Company

  1. jacqstaubssyahoocom

    The portable “picnic / spectator” chairs are great. I remember them – as late as the 80’s at tailgateing events in DC. They were most likely original they were using their antique ones from the 20’s . The ladies used them mostly. As an athletic sized guy could not fit securely in one. Love the waxed awning canvas ( my favorite).The black/white graduating stripe on the glider sofa/ tent room is so sophisticated. Always appreciate the details in these illustrations. “appropriate” is something not often exercised in advertising these days. Thank you for this post -while you are so busy. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicky Loebel

    What a fantastic resource! That’s something from the 1920s I haven’t seen before. I love that it had horse/wagon and car items in the same catalog

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really interesting that the women in the first two illustrations both seem to be wearing pants, I did not know that was acceptable as outdoor gear (other than for riding) at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

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