Friday, August 20, 2010


Isn't this a cute little guy?  He's a sew on or glue on applique from the 1920's.  The stamp at the bottom says the company that made him is "Hollander's".  Try doing a search on THAT!  Not one to give up, I went to my favorite search engine, Google Patents.  I put in the work "applique" and voila!  (Results after the pics.)
Here is the back.  So many choices.  Such small pictures.

When I put the work "applique" in the Google Patents search engine I got a whole list of things.  I checked the box to arrange them oldest to newest and started browsing in 1828!  When I got to the 1920's, to my amazement I started finding appliques done in the same style as this one.  The third one was this!

Others in the series follow.

It was Hollander's after all!

These were all designed and patented by Kurt Lehmann for the So-Me-On Corp of New York City.  You know me, I had to see if I could find out about this guy.  Google yielded way too many current-day Kurt Lehmanns so I went to the 1930 census.  I  found 3 Kurt Lehmanns in New York.  One was 40 and an insurance salesman, one was 15, and one was a 20-year-old carpenter.  Hmmmmm. Not to be dissuaded I  took of an "n" and tried again. From Manhattan a 30-year-old waiter and a 26-year-old mechanic.  Branching out, because maybe just the patent attorney lives in New York I found a laborer in Detroit and a truck driver in Wisconsin.  Striking out!

So I went to the 1920 census to see if he had moved out of New York.  Looked at the insurance salesman again.  Bingo!  In 1920 he was a manufacturer of laces.  That sounds more like it.  Kurt was a 1908 immigrant from Munich who became a citizen in 1914.  (They did that back then.)  He was married to Sylvia, a native New Yorker, whose family came from Pennsylvania and New York.  Son, Kurt Jr, was 5 and they had an Austrian maid.

You will notice that the term of the patent is 3-1/2 years.  Maybe after that time he sold the patents and became an insurance salesman.  In all I found 21 patents for appliques.  When I changed the search to "Kurt Lehmann" I found that he switched to designing fabrics with embroidered designs on it in 1938 and 1939.  Evidently insurance didn't do well during the depression.

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