Vogart History

The company responsible for the Vogart embroidery transfers that have been popular among the vintage-style-hand-embroidery crowd was originally formed sometime around 1930 and was named Vogue Needlecraft Company.  At first, their products were linens that had been stamped with designs for the consumer to finish with embroidery or appliqué, sold with the name "Vogue Art" on the label. 

The company started out in New York, moved to New Jersey around 1935, and then in the spring of 1940 moved back to New York again.

In 1941, the company was acquired by B. Kugel Company, and the name was changed to Vogart Company.

By 1947, they were selling kits as well as printed fabrics meant to be appliquéd onto towels.

Vogart envelope #156 colored stamp on decorations for children
An early Vogart iron-on transfer intended to decorate fabric without additional embroidery or painting.

Vogart also made house-labeled exclusive designs for Woolworth's.

Around November 1942, according to the US Trademark Office records, Vogart first began selling embroidery transfers to be ironed on to the consumer's own fabric.  This technique was nothing new (Bucilla had been selling iron-on transfers since the late 19th century) but was new for Vogart.  These earliest transfers were sold in envelopes with a black band across the top with the Vogart name reversed in white script.  Some of the designs were also sold under private labels such as "American Thread" and "Diana."

Vogart envelope #138 Pin Up Girls
An early Vogart design for appliquéd and embroidered guest towels.
Vogart envelope #128, bright cheerful florals for three pairs of cases
Although this design can also be found in the black logo envelope above, this particular copy probably dates from between 1963 and 1973. (The address on the back has a zip code, but the company name is listed as "Vogart Co., Inc.".)
In the July 2, 1943 issue of the New York Times, it was reported that the Vogart Company would run advertising inserts for its embroidery transfers in fifty different newspapers and trade journals. It would be useful from the standpoint of dating the designs to see one of these inserts, but I have found none fitting that description that survived the conversion of library newspaper archives to microfilm.  (The Sewing Palette has a circular from 1947 listing numbers 157, 158, 159 and 160 as new designs.)  The advertising firm in charge of this effort was Sally Dickson Associates, which was the first woman-owned & operated public relations firm in the United States.

Sometime around the early 1940's, Vogart also started selling fabric paint so that consumers could paint the designs onto the fabric rather than embroidering them.  They also began selling permanent iron-on transfers that were meant to be used without embroidery or additional painting.

Eventually Vogart modernized its packaging (according to some sources it changed around 1960 or so) and it updated some of its designs while continuing to publish some of the older ones.

Vogart envelope #2004 crewel embroidery
Vogart #2004. The company name is given as "Vogart Crafts Corp." so it is likely to be from 1973 or later.
In 1973 Vogart changed its name to "Vogart Crafts Corporation."  By 1981, it was located in Clifton, New Jersey.  Also in 1981, "Vogart International," a domestic international sales corporation,  was incorporated in Delaware

Also around 1973, Vogart was acquired at least in part by Pioneer Systems, (apparently as part of its textile-finishing business, it seems Pioneer manufactured parachutes for the aerospace and defense industries).  In 1990, Vogart filed for bankruptcy.  The CEO of Pioneer Systems at the time, Alan H. Greenstadt, blamed the bankruptcy on having so many orders from large chain stores that the company could not keep up.

It appears that at some point after the bankruptcy Plaid Enterprises acquired some of the assets of the company, but Plaid is not marketing any of the Vogart products.


Copyright 2009 K. Whisler. All rights reserved.

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