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the Fur Trade and Hudson's Bay Company
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Hudson's Bay Company Products: Point Blankets

 

Hudson's Bay Company trade was not only a one way trade in furs to Europe - it also involved huge amounts of European goods going to North America. These goods included many things: gunpowder, bullets, kettles and pots, beads, weapons, tobacco, fishing hooks, needles, scissors, and much more. These were items that local people could not make themselves.

One of the most famous items that HBC made (and still makes!) was the point blanket. Point blankets were first introduced in 1780. They are made out of wool and are very good at fighting the bitter cold. The First Nations people liked them because they were good camouflage in winter. Sometimes the blankets were turned into coats. Point blankets and point blanket coats are still in use today.

Did you know?
The name point blanket comes from the fact that each blanket was given a grade, or point, depending on its size and weight. One point measured 5 inches (about 14 cm). A one point blanket measurements were 2 feet, 8 inches by 8 feet (about 81 cm by 2 m, 44 cm) and weighed 3lbs 1 oz (about 1.4 kg, or 1400 g).


Man with made beaver pelt
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Man with made beaver pelt

The point system was from 1 to 6 and increased in value by steps of half of a point. One point was equal to one "made" beaver pelt. One made beaver pelt meant one good quality pelt from an average size beaver. It became the standard of measurement in the fur trade.

During its history, HBC has also been involved in other kinds of goods. It sold oil and gas as well as real estate. Today, the HBC is mainly a chain of retail stores, selling everything from perfume to clothes to furniture.

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