Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rainbow Quilt Block Company

Rainbow Quilt Block Company
4915 Wichita Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

The Rainbow Quilt Block Company was founded by William Pinch. He touted himself on his fliers as the “Quilt Block Specialist” and “Maker of Pretty Quilt Blocks.” His early designs were often sets of children’s quilt motifs, such as Teddy Bears, Kewpies, Sunbonnets and Dutch Kiddies, and came in sets of 12. The blocks were also sold at dry goods stores individually or in kits. These were mainly 9-inch blocks.

The name ‘Rainbow’ came from a process Mr. Pinch developed in printing the blocks in the color they were to be embroidered – red, yellow, brown, green, blue, etc. [Later blocks, that I have seen do not have the different colors stamped on them – only blue.] The company also had designs of state flowers, birds and with both, for the 48 states that were in the union at that time. These patterns were sold by the company and as subscriber premiums for Needlecraft Magazine (Needlecraft/Home Arts) from Augusta, Maine.

Mr. Pinch also designed many blocks that combined embroidery and appliqué. They had designs stamped on each background block – typically 12-18 inches, and each of the colored appliqué pieces. The pieces were button-hole stitched into place and embroidered with details. These types of blocks were sold individually and as kits of 12 at dry goods stores, such as F.W. Woolworth.

The company sold quilt kits and blocks separately, with and without the floss. Fine strong white muslin was used for the quilt blocks, and “Fruit of the Loom” cotton was used for the appliqué. For half the price, along with return postage, customers could send in their own cloth for printing, and Mr. Pinch supplied the appliqué pieces.

Mr. Pinch’s daughter, Verna continued selling the quilt block patterns well into the 1970’s from her home in Florida. Her children (Mr. Pinch’s grandchildren) have agreed that it’s time to re-release the patterns.

They have formed The Rainbow Quilt Block Company LLC and have reserved domain names for the company. There are over 1,100 designs that Amy (a granddaughter-in-law) is scanning and digitizing from the 10 plus boxes Verna had saved of the original Mr. Pinch patterns. As of January 2008, Amy has around 200 of them ready.

A web designer is currently working on a web page and they have plans to sell the patterns as iron-on transfers. I will post more on this as the company moves forward.

Several members of AQSG are doing research on this company, the founder and their patterns.

William Bray Pinch

William Bray Pinch was born on April 20, 1880 in Cleveland Ohio. He was married to Signe Ingeborg Dahlman. He died in January 1972. William was the son of Alpha Warren Pinch and Sarah Adelaid Ferin.