John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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The Alpaca Century

Alpaca represented the height of fashion for nearly a century. The luxurious fabric made from alpaca fleece in English mills was so sought after that it the word attained common usage throughout the English speaking world, and the fiber found some surprising uses!

Ths advertisment was found in the Saturday, May 21, 1870 edition of PUNCHINELLO, and exemplifies the ubiquity of alpaca at that time. Remember, Titus Salt had begun using alpaca fleece a mere 34 years before this advertisment appeard! It is unlikely that one can find another example of the widespread acceptance of a fiber in such a short time until the development of synthetics over a century later.



This Brand of ALPACA, on account of its fineness of cloth, and richness of color, has become the Standard Alpaca now used in the United States.

These Goods are greatly Improved for the Spring and Summer wear, being of the richest and purest Shade of fast Black, and made of the very finest material, they are absolutely superior to any ALPACAS ever sold in this country, and now are one of the most fashionable and economical fabrics worn. These beautiful Goods are sold by most of the leading Retail Dry-Goods Merchants in all the leading cities and towns throughout all the States.

Purchasers will know these Goods, as a ticket is attached to each piece bearing a picture of the Buffalo, precisely like the above.


46, 48 & 50 White St., New-York.

Sole Importers of this Brand for the United States.

During this time, popular authors as diverse as Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Aurthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame) Booth Tarkington (Lost Genration), Henry James (Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady), Alice Hegan Rice (Mrs. Wiggs Of The Cabbage Patch), Max Beerbohm, O. Henry and many others regularly clothed the characters of their books and stories in alpaca.

Today alpaca makes up a very small portion of textile fibers. However, its unique qualities are helping it to once again expand its reach and popularity.

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"Then five policemen in black alpaca frock-coats and white trousers invaded my precarious privacy, desiring to see my passport..."

- Isabella Bird
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
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