Cloth Nail Aprons #9: New Estate Sale Season, More Aprons!

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Blog entry by artsyfartsy posted 05-15-2016 03:24 PM 807 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: It's been a while Part 9 of Cloth Nail Aprons series no next part

Hello Friends, I hope everyone made it through the winter unscathed. A new estate season is here and I’ve already begun to pick up more aprons. Sometimes I don’t need an estate sale to pick up an apron, sometimes they just fall in my lap. Such is the case with these new additions I have. And, I can’t wait to tell the stories about these aprons.

First Apron was given to me by my son. I happen to see an apron on e-bay and was telling him about it. I vowed to never purchase an apron on e-bay because I just wanted to pick these aprons up for fun not for profit. But, this one I found was unique because of the phone number on it. Well, it wasn’t on e-bay for long and I couldn’t find where it went. I figured I lost it until I visited my son one day at his business. I was surprised when he greeted me at the door with this apron. The apron is almost pristine and looks like new. I’ve done some research on it and keep coming up with nothing. It’s from Eagle, Michigan which is just north of Lansing. The town is quite small and has almost become a ghost town compared to what is was. But, anyway it’s still quite unique. Take a gander.

I picked up this next apron at an estate sale in Oscoda, MI. This apron is unique as well. It’s from Fisher, Illinois. Besides the number being unique in itself, you can see it was appreciated enough by the user that he repaired it so he could keep it longer. At the very top of the apron, you can see where they made patches to keep the belt keeper in place. This is interesting because, most if not all lumber yards gave away aprons like they were candy at Halloween. But, that was the generation that took an interest in keeping things in good shape, not the throw away society we live in now. The disturbing thing surrounding this apron is, the estate sales manager told me that she ends up throwing aprons away because no one wants them. She told me that if she has any left over at future sales, she would pass them onto me.

I just picked up another apron the other day while my wife and I went to an estate sale near-by. On the way home, we made an unusual stop at a garage sale. We usually don’t stop at those because the merchandise is newer than what we are looking for. But, this time we just stopped for the fun of it. I told the owners that I collect old cloth nail aprons and it was like a light bulb went off in this guys head. He told me he had one and I was welcome to it. It was his grandfather’s apron and yet, he gave it to me. The story behind it is very interesting. Apparently, the guy who’s name is on the apron was in WWII and became a POW after being captured at Corregidor in 1942 and spent the remainder of the war as a POW. After the war, he started this hardware store in Westville, IL and expanded to Georgetown, IL. I haven’t had the chance to research it as yet, but I will.

The last two entries I picked up at my uncles. As he grows older and is unable to work in his wood shop, he is beginning to part with some of his treasures. One day while visiting, I went out to his shop with my aunt and was looking over some of his things. While looking, I spied these gems on a shelf. He knew he had some, but didn’t know where they were. One of these is a treasure in my eyes because it was one of the places where I grew up and remember going to this lumber yard with my father when I was a kid. As this is not the oldest apron, it is from the late 60’s or early 70’s. This lumber yard began in 1927 and celebrated 70 years in 1997. It is no longer in business.

Lastly, I picked up this apron at my uncles as well. It is a Michigan Lottery apron. I have know Idea who wore these way back when. Did they wear these when selling lottery tickets? That again, I’m not sure. But and apron is an apron. Because of the items on the apron, I’m thinking it is from the early 70’s.

That’s all I have for this segment of my apron blog. Good Luck hunting and don’t forget to ask people at rummage, garage and estate sales if they have aprons. Pick up as many as you can so we can preserve this unique americana garment.

-- DWelch. Michigan, The only dumb question is the one not asked!

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 05-15-2016 10:23 PM

Never realized these were collectibles. Got a bunch shoved in a drawer with other old tools.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View artsyfartsy's profile


619 posts in 582 days

#2 posted 05-16-2016 01:15 PM

Hi Lew, Yes I never realized they were collectible before either. Not many people collect them however there are a few that do. I started many years ago with my grandfathers apron being the first. With moving and life in general, I put them away until recently. If you read my blog from the beginning, you’ll understand my motivation. It’s just so sad that many are in landfills or have perished in rubbish fires over the years. Get yours out and display them. I put notes in my apron pockets so I can remember where they came from.

-- DWelch. Michigan, The only dumb question is the one not asked!

View firefighterontheside's profile


13099 posts in 1279 days

#3 posted 05-16-2016 01:27 PM

Good finds and great stories Don. I particularly like the POW one. My grandpa was a POW in Germany for a few years until the end of the war. I did a research paper on WW2 POWs in grade school. Grandpas time was no cake walk, but it was nothing to what I learned about Corregidor. We still have an old family owned lumber yard here in town. I love to go there as much as I can. They all know me by name and call me by it as soon as I walk in. They even know my voice on the phone. One day I know it will be gone, but I do all I can to help keep them in business. I should see if they have any old aprons.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View BurlyBob's profile (online now)


3485 posts in 1688 days

#4 posted 05-16-2016 03:20 PM

So Don, how many you got in the collection? You’ve got to be closing in on 100. Keep us posted on all your new/old finds. I love the stories behind them.

View artsyfartsy's profile


619 posts in 582 days

#5 posted 05-17-2016 12:23 AM

Hey Bob, Yup I’m over 100 now. I think I’m at about 106, but I’d have to count to be sure. Thanks about the stories. I did find out that the Latoz hardware is still open for business. I went to their web site and found them on Facebook. Pretty cool.

-- DWelch. Michigan, The only dumb question is the one not asked!

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