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Old Chicago Paint Color Card Collection Comes Home Again

Collecting Chicago paint memorabilia has been a passion of mine for a long time. Being “custodians of the past” for the house painting industry is a direct extension of the work we do in the historical paint restoration and historical preservation areas. Over the years, we have assembled a collection of many hundreds of pieces, from signs, tools, equipment, cans, supplier catalogs and paint dealer catalogs.

Because of Painting in Partnership’s national reputation as a custodian of the painting industry’ past, we were recently contacted by a Valspar employee in Minneapolis to see if we had an interest in obtaining a collection of paint color cards from bygone Chicago paint companies. How did this Chicago memorabilia end up in Minneapolis?

Over the years, Rockcote Paint of Rockford, Illinois, acquired many old-time Chicago paint companies and, in the process, inherited their paint memorabilia. In 1970, Rockcote merged with Minnesota Linseed Oil Paint Co. and changed its name to Valspar. Following the merger, that Chicago paint memorabilia was shipped to Minnesota for safekeeping. In the recent past, Valspar made the decision to find other suitable custodians for their collection.

Sampling of Chicago Paint Works Memorabilia

Sampling of Chicago Paint Works Memorabilia

Valspar contacted the Chicago History Museum and the Minnesota History Museum. Fortunately for us, theses museums were only interested in some items and had no interest in anything that had a paint sample in it. Consequently, Painting in Partnership became the recipient of choice for an amazing collection of original color cards from the 1920’s through the 1960’s, thereby providing us with an invaluable source of “Period Colors”.

Paint memorabilia and color cards from seven paint companies were sent to us: Armstrong Paint & Varnish Works, Enterprise Paint Manufacturing Co., Chicago Paint Works, Republic Paint and Varnish Works, Stetson Paint Works, Continental Works, Co. and The Elliott Paint and Varnish Company. Some of these items included paint dealer books with the entire offering of paints from those manufacturers, along with their accompanying color cards, preserved in mint condition. Above is a sampling of the items from Chicago Paint Works.

Thanks Valspar for entrusting Painting in Partnership with the safekeeping of this unique slice of the history of the house painting industry in Chicago.

For more interesting Paint Memorabilia trivia, please visit our Paint Memorabilia Corner.