The History of American Field

The Hettrick Mfg. Co. was founded in 1893 (or 1891, depending on the source) in Toledo, Ohio as a manufacturer of canvas goods, largely awnings and wagon covers.

[​IMG]

In 1921, they launched the “American Field” line of hunting garments. A bit of a late comer to the hunting game, they advertised their coats as designed by an “old timer”. Their factory was located at 1401 Summit Street, Toledo, Ohio. Unlike most of the other manufacturers of hunting clothes, Hettrick maintained their other interests after entering the hunting market, producing everything from canvas lawn chairs to tricycles.

1930s-1940s labels
[​IMG]

1940s-1950s labels
[​IMG]

Hettrick was purchased by the F&M Real Estate Company of Lowell, MA and in 1962, Hettrick closed its Ohio factories and moved to Statesville, NC to take advantage of the lower cost of manufacturing in the south. They moved production into the factory of the Empire Manufacturing Corp, who continued producing their own line from the same plant, with a secondary factory in Pink Hill, NC. It is unclear whether they were purchased by Empire, sources are conflicting. Empire ran a strongly anti-union shop, threatening employees in 1968 that if they unionized , they, “would do as up North, hire n. . . and put them on machines with you”. They were sued by employees, the threats were found to be unlawful and the case was used as an example in a Congressional subcommittee on labor.

1960s-1970s labels
[​IMG]

Shortly thereafter, in 1969, American Field was acquired by the Olin Corporation, manufacturer of Winchester rifles. In 1970, the Hettrick divistion acquired the J. W. Johnson Co of Bellwood, Ill and Dickey Oakwood Corp of Oakwood, Ohio. In 1971, Hettrick merged with Comfy Seattle Co and became Trailblazer by Winchester, “managing transactions for Comfy, the Turner Co., Olin Skiis, J.W. Johnson, Dickey Oakwood”, as well as factories in Pink Hill, Statesville and one in Corcoran, California built in 1970. While Hettrick as a company was absorbed, the American Field brand continued to be produced, with production shifted to the Pink Hill plant, reflected on labels.

1970s-1990s labels
[​IMG]

By the 1980s, the operation had been sold again, to WeatherShield Sports Equipment, Inc. (founded 1951) at Petoskey Rd. At Mercer Blvd., Charlevoix, MI. They lasted at least into the 1990s.

Advertisements

One thought on “The History of American Field

  1. Great resource. Thanks. I have a Utica Bird Jones & Kenyon buckle back hunting vest with a tag I have never run across and a Hettrick half moon hunting vest with two pockets on the back also with a different label I have never seen. I don’t have a site (I’m just an old hunter who loves old shotguns and hunting clothes), so I would have to email pictures. I would love to pick your brain on these. I use your site regularly to date items. I bought a great old 1920’s Sears Fieldmaster vest from you a while back.
    Thanks,
    Mike

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s