As a young man growing up in NYC the now popular term Urban Exploration was simply heading into a place where nature was clean, clear and crisp while its natural habitats became the reason to visit. 50 years later I have learned that the world is never static; techniques do not die. They may disappear and lie dormant in the collective world of ideas, to be revived once again when their time has come. Now, the past has been revived in the re-creation of wool blankets and today’s materials are using the techniques to tell a new tale of transition. Herein lies the great strength of this smooth style of quilted car camping blankets and traveling quilted blanket bags. It cries for todays outdoor urban expressions and enjoyments. Knowledge of the soft merino wool fibers and tree wood pulp fibers leads to an understanding of the technical possibility of the transition.
First as referenced in the original robe photo this blending of wool and wood fiber has a very long history going back over 200 years. The modern times history of Portland Woolen Mills speaks to the 1900’s making of wool blankets and the famous Four Point outdoor blanket that was a big part of the mill's style sizes and production.
Owning Portland Woolen Mills began in the late 1960’s when I visited the mill in Portland Oregon while developing Polarguard™ insulation for quilted sleeping bags and outerwear. Back then, the original family owners began to quilt Polarguard™ with fabrics for insulations brands in the Portland, Seattle area. Quilting of down for sleeping bags became popular in outdoor camping and climbing with the invention of that quilting by Eddie Bauer in the 1930’s. Instead of wrapping yourself in a wool blanket you were able to close the quilt into a bag that fit snugly around you, with the zippering keeping you warm. A SKY MASTER™ zipper wool blanket was created by Portland Woolen Mills (see website history page) to try to capture the same snug fit and smooth style of the quilted down sleeping bag. But it failed to be light weight and soon campers and climbers were demanding the down based on its weight. Natures gift of wool and tree wood fibers gave out to down.
My inventing Polarfleece™ in the early 1980’s also found the ownership of Portland Woolen Mills moving to my business partner in Seattle, then on to me in the early 1990’s. Polarfleece™ was the first true outdoor fabric for warm apparel and it promoted to this day the transition from wool and down to polyester fiber.
Todays outdoor explorations are the same as my own childhood and young adult life urban based outings returning home that evening or staying in a campground close to my vehicle. Allowing me to take the techniques I have learned, developed, and invented to transition wool and tree wood that became dormant to be revived. Through the past two centuries the gatherings have turned deeply into fossil fuels and today the offsets to our climate are factual and need our attention. It is time for the rebirth of wool and tree wood.
SKY MASTER™ leads us into our day time exploring wrapping us when we need to be comforted and smoothly styled sizes snugly giving us the same night time comfort as we enjoy the indoors.
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