" ". The Smiling Cat: "Chessie" The All-American Cat Logo

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

"Chessie" The All-American Cat Logo

I found a treasure at one of my second hand stores this week...a vintage 1970's crewel embroidery kit. The subject of the kit is "Chessie" the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad logo. I was a teenager in the 70's and worked at a department store, in the sewing & craft area. I bought a similar kit there- I loved that project..!

Obviously, I'm a cat lover, but the "Chessie" logo is one of the most popular corporate symbols in American history. In 1933 Chessie became part of an ad campaign to promote C&O's new air conditioned sleeping car service. A service that would let you sleep like a kitten.

 I think it is interesting to compare a soft kitten to a hard, modern steel train. The first ad was in black and white and didn't name the kitty. The original etching was by Guido Grunewald, a Viennese artist for $5.00. The first ad was so popular that the C&O's ad agency built a whole ad campaign around the kitten and named her Chessie.
Her family grew with her popularity. In 1937 she has two kittens, and her mate named "Peake". Peake first appeared in a Father's Day ad.

You might have found, Peake-Chessie's "Old Man" on playing cards in the bar car. Along with the ads were many promotional items. One of the most popular of these were the Chessie calendars. 
The 1940 calendar shows Chessie and her two kittens snuggled up with proud Peake watching over them.

And for Christmas....

Once the U.S. entered WWII, Peake, of course a patriot, promptly enlisted in the military. After the war, Peake returned home to his family, displaying his medals.
Chessie and her family are true, American cats. You just have to love them.
There were many different versions of Chessie embroidery kits in the 70's designed by Erica Wilson and manufactured by Columbia Minerva.

This kit is for a small, do not disturb sign that you would place on a guest room door.

The kit includes all necessary supplies to complete the project. This kit is listed for sale at my craft shop here.
You can find more Chessie items at www.chessieshop.com.

Here is one last picture of Chessie that I think would make a great applique pattern:

Bye for now-Hope you are having a great day..! CaroleL.



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