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IFAI Expo: 1940-1949

Expo News | April 1, 2020 | By:


by R. M. Schofield, Sales Manager, Cotton Goods Division, Glen Raven Cotton Mills, New York

About 12 years ago I recall a survey which was conducted along certain sections of the East coast. The survey consisted of picking certain residential areas and asking each home owner one question: “Have you ever been solicited for awnings on your home?” Results of this survey revealed that more than 90 per cent of those home owners had never been solicited, while these relatively few homes with awnings asserted that it had been necessary to call the local awning manufacturer. 

Having traveled some, I had no reason to doubt that this same deplorable situation existed throughout most of this land. These figures were disgusting and, as I have said, offered little in the way of promise to a man still young enough to choose another occupation. You may well ask “Why didn’t you?”

My answer to you is simply this—I became aware of a change which was stimulating our industry. A definite trend was evident towards a face lifting of our store fronts; toward investment in new and improved equipment;
and toward the selection of aggressive sales personnel. 

Attendance at conventions increased, with more talk on the need for new awning fabrics, along with a definite interest in their development. 

Advertising and programmed solicitation had begun to appear and, perhaps the most important of all, the modern school of merchandising infiltrated our industry. In other words, the non-aggressive … thinking factor was being eliminated and indeed a better future for our industry seemed imminent. 

From the November 1952 issue of The National Canvas Goods Manufacturers Review.

Winner of the Stuart Trophy. Left to right: Bert J. Reilly, Robert Reilly, and H. F. (Tex) Goodman. For the third time, the Miami Beach Awning Co. has been awarded the grand prize for the most distinctive canvas awning in the United States and Canada. The award of the J. L. Stuart Gold Trophy was made to the firm at the recent convention of the National Canvas Goods Manufacturers’ Association, held in San Francisco.


You will want to visit this beautiful Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Park when you attend the forthcoming 39th National Convention, October 12–16, 1952, Hotel Fairmont, San Francisco.


1954: When the USS Nautilus, the world’s first atomic submarine, was launched on Jan. 21, the editors of The National Canvas Goods Manufacturers Review boldly proclaimed that canvas was equal to the atomic age: Three members of the NCGMA (now IFAI) were involved in the launch. The flags and bows adorning the submarine were designed by Annin & Co. of New York, while the William T. Barrel Co. and John Boyle & Co. supplied the fabrics used during the reception. 

1955: Teenager Emmett Till is murdered in Money, Miss.; Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, setting the American Civil Rights Movement in motion. 

A Davy Crockett-themed canvas play tent, made by NCGMA member J.W. Johnson Co., is given away with every purchase of a Norge major appliance.
It is estimated that 35,000 tents will be needed before the promotion ends.

1957: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the world’s first space satellite. The launch jump-starts the U.S. space program and leads to the creation of NASA.

Alfred S. Procter, retired president of the Denver Tent and Awning Co. and an honored life member of the NCGMA, collects his own life insurance, becoming the only man within the 110 years of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. to have outlived his insurance policy. 

1959: Ethel Gant stitches a pair of nylon stockings to a pair of underwear, inventing a practical replacement for garter belts. They are produced by Glen Raven as Panti-Legs, the first commercially marketed pantyhose.

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