Late to the Tri Chem Party

TriChemWhen I first saw this post card offered by a favorite ebay dealer, I thought it was for some kind of home dry cleaning or stain removal service. The company’s motto printed on the back, “Partners in Progress through Chemicals,” reinforced that idea.

How wrong I was! Tri Chem offered a range of fabric paints that simulated embroidery. This explains the instructor’s decorated apron, as well as the many doilies, table cloths, and embroidery hoops in the photo.

I was surprised to learn that the company still exists. Moreover, it still uses the home sales model, with instructors offering classes sponsored in a home. Take a look at their application form here. According to the promotional materials, “Instructors with Tri-Chem have the most fun. They earn money while they enjoy teaching their favorite hobby. The hours of work are absolutely flexible… a great way to add to family income and have fun at the same time.”

This card has no date, but it does include a zipcode on the back, a postal innovation introduced in 1963. The clothes look to be an array of conservative styles from around the mid sixties. Ages vary, but all in all this is a homogeneous group.  The one woman with gray hair might be hovering around fifty, her dark blue dress an island in a sea of pastels. Only the instructor gets to wear red, to match the Tri Chem logo.


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2 Responses to Late to the Tri Chem Party

  1. Fabrickated says:

    Intriguing for the teaching style, door to door approach and fussy homeware that was surely already out of date by the 1960s. Does anyone use doilies any more?

    • Jen O says:

      While those little linens were out of date (and hopelessly unattractive when decorated with this faux embroidery), the tri-chem paint was essential for labeling PE blouses, so much easier than embroidery for that thankless task.

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