We notice a vintage pair of grey Black Bear long stockings. They come with a Black Bear advertisung sticker which unfortunately we cannot read. We thought the stockings might come from the 1920s because of the sticker, but advertising suggests the 1900, but they are undated. They may be size 7. The dealer suggested 7 inches, but I am not sure if that was a measurement or an interpretation of size 7. Black Bear seems like a brand name. We are not sure what American company was involved.
While we have not identified the company, we do not Black Bear stockings bein advertised in the early-20th century. We find advertisements for the brand in newspapers dating from 1899 to 1906. They are children's stockings and apparently
appealed to mothers who were buying long stockings principally for boys because of their sturdy construction. They were advertised in Alton, Illinois (1899), in Albuquerque, New Mexico (1900), in Sterling, Illinois (1901), in Keota, Iowa, (1904), in Colorado Springs (1905), and in Glenwood, Iowa (1906). The Colorado Springs ad gives the price per pair as 25 cents. We do not see any advertisements adter 1906. We thought that the sticker on the pair looked later than the 1900s, but color lithograpic printing existed st the time so the stockings could be from the 1900s.
We looked up these ads on Newspaper Archives and found no other advertisements. The fact that they were advertised only in small town newspapers in Illinois and Iowa suggests to me that they were not nationally very important.
As for sizing, I think these stockings could not fit a teenager. Sizes for teenage boys and girls were usually size 10 and sometimes size 10 1/2. Size 7 would probably be for a boy or girl of about ten years of age. Take a look at the sizing chart for Pilgrim long stockings sold by Sears.
Long stocking sizes were keyed to shoe sizes, but there were two different scales for younger children and for older children. These Black Bear stockings are pretty clearly for younger children. Size 7 stockings coordinate with shoe sizes 9 1/2 to 10. The younger scale of shoe sizes is keyed pretty closely to age, so these stockings would fit
a child of about 9 1/2 or 10 years of age.
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