Posted in family, history

The City Tailor

A few months ago we were at Tom’s parents’ house for dinner to celebrate his birthday. After dinner we started looking through boxes of old pictures. I love the trip down memory lane. The history, the pictures, who looks like who, the homes, funny hairstyles, the clothes and hats! Such fun.

And then there was the 1928 LaBelle yearbook (Bellefonte High School, Bellefonte, PA). More pictures, memories and then we started looking at the advertisments in the back of the yearbook.

William Blaine Port (1890-1956) was born in Clarion County PA, moved to Bellefonte with his parents and married Della Mae Port (1912). He was a tailor and also had a dry cleaning business in Bellefonte. At one time his tailor shop was in the basement of the building on the corner of Bishop Street and Allegheny Street. His dry cleaning business was in a building behind his and Della’s house on Howard Street.

Everything about the ad is marketing perfection!

It’s a Fact! (who would question that!).

“My special French Dry Cleaning process makes your clothes look like new!” Did he invent the French Dry Cleaning process and what does that mean? I did a little research and here’s what I found.

“French dry cleaner” | GQwww.gq.com › story › french-dry-cleaner

Oct 15, 2003 – Dry cleaning was once widely known as French cleaning because the process was invented by a Frenchman in the mid-1800s who reputedly noticed that when a kerosene lamp was overturned on a tablecloth, the cloth was rendered remarkably clean. He began experimenting with solvents, and French cleaning was born.

So William Blaine didn’t invent French Dry Cleaning but he did claim it as his own! He also renovated hats and called himself the “City Tailor” in a small town of 4,000 people.

Everyone in town knew him a Blaine Port and I knew him as PopPop. He was my mom’s dad. I was three years old when he died. I have a few pictures of him and me together. I have a memory of running down the hall in their house and into his arms. And I remember the smell of his pipe.

I loved this ad – it has personality, cleverness, skill, and creativity. Just like PopPop!

~Barbara

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