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Future History: IFAI Expo 1940-1949

Expo News | March 1, 2020 | By:

Substitute awnings and Their Effect on the Industry

An Address Given by J. J. O’Connor, Our First Vice President, at the Recent Roanoke Convention

In the year just past, the world was shocked by the collapse of France in just four weeks, and the whole world started expressing fear. In our own industry we felt fear, and it was not good for any of us. We saw our customers down the street lost to the substitute-for-canvas-goods-awnings competitor, and we began to fear and to wonder. 

I  believe that now is the time for every tent, awning and canvas goods manufacturer in this country to unite in this common Association to develop some progressive thinking and form what we have talked about in the past, a united front based on quality. 

Speaking of quality, when I think of it I think of clothing, and I think of those substitute metal and canvas awnings, and I think we all remember from history, during the Crusades, that a suit of armor was more or less necessary at that time, although it was rather inflexible. Well, where are they today?

We are wearing wool clothing today because wool is a piece of quality merchandise, and like all good clothes, is flexible and can be styled. And I think the public, if it is truthfully informed of the quality and style possible with canvas, would turn more and more to canvas. We have a proven product. The public has accepted it, and knows that. Our products are being proved by the test of time. Your customer is no different than yourself. He takes pride in ownership, and takes pride in his home, and to him, his home is his hobby. Why don’t we sell him style and color that is available in canvas for the decoration and best protection of his home?

From the January 1941 issue of The National Canvas Goods Manufacturers Review


This is one of the finest and most picturesque golf courses in the country; on JOBBERS-DISTRIBUTORS’ DAY the annual Golf Tournament for the benefit of Convention Visitors will be held on this course. October 21-22-23-24-25, 1940.


Col. John F. Ohmer, a pioneer in camouflage and commander of the March Field Camouflage Training Center, worked with set designers from MGM, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount and Universal Studios to hide more than 34 air bases along the Pacific Coast, using fake foliage and structural cover constructed of wire, burlap, canvas and camouflage netting. 

Some 7,000 spectators were enjoying a circus performance in Hartford, Conn., when a fire spread rapidly through the tent. Nearly 200 people died and more than 700 were injured. The tent had been waterproofed with a mixture of paraffin wax and gasoline. 

World War II ends. Franklin D. Roosevelt is sworn in for an unprecedented fifth term, but dies on April 12 at the age of 63. Fidel Castro enters law school at the University of Havana. 

Ho Chi Minh declares the independence of Viet Nam from France; the first lines of his speech are taken verbatim from the famous second paragraph of the U.S. 1776 Declaration of Independence. 

In the May issue, the Review reports that supply of toilet paper in Minneapolis and St. Paul is running short due to housewives buying tissue by the case rather than in normal quantities. 

On Oct. 3, 10-year-old Elvis Presley makes his first public appearance in a singing contest at the Mississippi–Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. He comes in fifth. 

Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral invents Velcro after closely examining the burrs he found stuck on his clothes after a hunting trip in the Alps.

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