What do the points mean ?

The points always indicated the size of the blanket, with less points used for smaller blankets and more for larger ones.  In a sense they are a kind of code or a label indicating the blanket's size.

Do the points have anything to do with the blanket's value or price?


Naturally, larger blankets cost more to make and therefore sell for higher prices than smaller ones.  The Hudson's Bay Company used a unit of currency called the "
Made Beaver" that equaled the value of one fully dressed beaver pelt.  Most of the Company's goods were valued in their equivalency to the Made Beaver. A fine Arctic Fox fur might be worth five Made Beaver, a gun thirty.  So too the blankets were valued in their equivalency to Made Beaver as that value changed from time to time. There have been times when a blanket commanded a price in beaver pelts closely equal to one pelt per point, but over the long period during which these blankets were traded this was rarely the case. The points originally indicated the blanket's size and not its price in beaver pelts and the points continue to indicate size today.

What is the origin of the point markings?

It is believed that the use of points started with French weavers perhaps as early as the 16th century.  It has been suggested that the term derives from the French word empointer, meaning to make stitches in cloth. By the 18th century, blankets and clothing made from blankets appearing in old illustrations and paintings show that the use of points on blankets had become quite common by that time.

Sketch of a three point blanket showing the locations of points and headings.