Old Tech / by Erin Wade

I love technology, and I imagine for most of us that word typically elicits thoughts of electronic devices - things that light up, beep, and buzz. The word is more broad, of course, relating simply to the application of science to practical application.

The gripping cold of the past few days here in the Midwest has had me thinking about that, as it has caused us to bring out an old friend: our Hudson Bay Blanket

This massive wool blanket was a wedding gift from MLW's grandparents. Being from Canada they had a special appreciation for the cold, and a Hudson Bay store in the their city (Winnipeg). While it was, of course, appreciated, it initially seemed an unusual gift. Unusual, that is, until it was used. Regardless of the temperature in the house one only has to be underneath this blanket for a few moments before the world becomes a warm and happy place.

It also becomes a place of stillness. In addition to being very warm these blankets are quite heavy. We place ours either on top of everything else on the bed, or just underneath the comforter. Once there, and once one is securely underneath, the sensation is a little like laying under sandbags - not unpleasant, but affording little in-bed mobility. Like anything else, this sensation fades as one adjusts to the situation, but it's always there the first night of the Hudson Bay Blanket Season.

The technology angle? Wool

It seems - and is - a very old school thing, but as I understand it, wool was - and is still - something of a miracle fabric. It wicks away moisture, retains a large percentage of its insulating capability even when wet, and is extremely durable (our Hudson Bay Blanket is nearly 20 years old). As anyone who enjoys winter sports knows, there are a vast array of synthetic products marketed for winter warmth. We think of synthetics as superior to the old school products, but I've articles that state that the the goal of many of the synthetic products is to try to get close to the properties of wool. Very cool stuff.