Who Invented Blankets? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Most people can’t sleep without a blanket, especially during cold days. This is why in every home, blankets are considered as a prized possession. While covering yourself with one can make you feel warm, blankets don’t actually generate heat. What it does is that it traps the heat that comes from your body.

Today, there are various types of blankets to choose from. Each type provides unique benefits, including better sleep and higher level of comfort. But, aren’t you curious who’s the man behind the tool that helps you get a good night’s sleep? 

Who invented blankets?

Prehistoric people are the first to make and use blankets. However, a Flemish weaver named Thomas Blanquette is the first to produce the blankets most people use today.

Blanket key contributors

  • Prehistoric people
    Cultivated the idea of blankets

    People who lived in the prehistoric period have made blankets out of piles of grass, woven reeds, and animal skin. They cover themselves with these things to stay warm particularly at night and on cold days.

  • Xuanzang
    The first person to record the use of blankets

    In his travelog of his journey to India, Xuanzang wrote down “Kambala”, which is a form of blanket used in ancient times. Kambala has a Sanskrit meaning of “woolen blanket”.

  • Edmund Blanket
    First locally accredited blanket manufacturer

    Edmund Blanket is a wool merchant and clothier who set up several looms and hired weavers to produce woolen blankets. He was also a parliament member for the constituency of Bristol between 1392 and 1369.

  • Thomas Blanquette
    Pioneer of the blankets known today

    Thomas Blanquette, is the Flemish weaver who popularized the blanket that modern  people are familiar with. The first blanket he produced is a heavily napped woven wool.

  • Keith Zivalich
    Discovered weighted blankets

    The weighted blankets are a result of Keith Zivalich’s discovery. Weighted blankets stress and anxiety relieving blankets stuffed with artificial or organic materials such as rice, seeds, beads, and more.

When was the blanket invented?

The blanket might have existed as early as the stone age, but the blankets people know today were first produced in the 14th century. It was when a Flemish weaver from Bristol, England, weaved heavily napped wool.

A brief history of blanket

Blankets are prehistoric, and it is supported by the evidence found in ancient tombs in different parts of the world. There is a significant possibility that blankets already existed between 30,000 BCE until 4,000 BCE, wherein people started to use man made weapons and tools made of stone, wood, bone, and horn. So, before the soft and snuggly blankets of the modern-day, prehistoric people were already using blankets. Those blankets are made of woven reeds, animal skin, and piles of grass to keep their bodies warm during cold days and nights.

Many eras later, the Chinese scholar and traveler Xuanzang mentioned “Kambala”,in his travelog of his expedition to India in the 629–645 CE. Kambala is a form of ancient blanket made of woolen material produced using goat’s or sheep’s hair. In its Sanskrit meaning, Kambala means ”a woolen blanket.”

Blankets might have existed as early as the stone age, but Edmund Blanket is the person locally accredited with the production of blankets. It is said that he set up several looms to produce clothes and wool in the 1330s. However, the Corporation and the guilds are not in favor of how he employed weavers, so they impeded his work. Good thing that King Edward III helped get Blanket’s factory working again.

Most people confuse Thomas Blanquette, a Flemish weaver from Bristol, England, as the inventor of blankets. However, he’s not. He has only paved the way for the production of more affordable woolen blankets that people know today in the 14th century. Blanquette made blankets from heavily napped wool weave.

Typically, blankets in the early days are made of wool as it is fire resistant and it provides warmth. But as time goes by, other materials are used to make blankets such as linen, fleece, polyester, cotton, and more.

Nowadays, weighted blankets are so popular. This type of blanket contains either artificial or organic items inside such as seeds, rice, and beans to add weight so the blanket hugs you back. It is said that this blanket helps with anxiety and stress. It was invented in 1997, and the person behind this popular type of blanket is Keith Zivalich.

Blanket timeline

  1. 30,000 BCE until 4,000 BCE
    Prehistoric blankets are used

    Some evidence discovered in ancient tombs shows that prehistoric people are already using blankets in the form of piles of grass, animal skin, and woven reeds.

  2. 629–645 CE
    The use of blanket is first recorded

    In 629–645 CE, a Chinese scholar and traveler named Xuanzang mentioned “Kambala” in his travelog of his trip to India.Kambala means woolen blanket, which is a form of ancient blanket or shawl produced with sheep’s or goat’s hair.

  3. 1330s
    Locally accredited blanket production

    King Edward III locally accredited Edmund Blanket to produce blankets. Edmund Blanket hired weavers and set up several looms to produce clothes as well as that wool used to make blankets.

  4. 14th Century
    More affordable blankets are produced

    Thomas Blanquette,  manufactured and popularized the blankets people knew today. He produced blankets from heavily napped woolen weave.

  5. 1997
    Weighted blankets are produced

    In 1997, Keith Zivalich discovered a type of blanket called weighted blankets. These blankets help with anxiety and  stress as it feels like it’s hugging you  back.

Where was the blanket invented?

Thomas Blanquette weaved heavily napped wool in Bristol, England to make the blanket people know today. However, prehistoric blankets are probably produced inside caves or tents by ancient people.

Why is a blanket important?

  • A tool to keep the body warm

    Blankets are insulators. While blankets are made differently, every blanket is designed to prevent the warmth of your body from escaping. It is why covering yourself with one makes you feel warm and cozy.The body also drops temperature at night. So, having a warm blanket can keep you warm, which helps the body relax and fall asleep.

  • An essential item for better sleep

    Being covered with any kind of blanket gives the same sensation of being hugged. Aside from that, it eliminates distractions such as light, noise, and movement. As a result, a blanket provides a relaxing feeling and helps you get a better sleep.

  • An innovation to relieve anxiety

    Blankets, particularly weighted blankets, can reduce symptoms of anxiety. The weight provided by this type of blanket signals the nervous system to rest, resulting in anxiety relief. Covering yourself with a weighted blanket can stabilize your breathing and heart rate whenever you are having anxiety. For this reason, using a blanket makes you feel calm.

Blanket by the numbers

  • 1,760 m²1,760 m² is the size of the largest picnic blanket ever made. It was from Melin Tregwynt Mill in Wales, UK and is woven for Waitrose Ltd. In April 2008, it was initially put out in Durban, South Africa.
  • 2A fleece fabric is made of two different petroleum derivatives to make a polyester. This will then turn into polymer by processing it at a very high temperature.The purpose of the polymer is to thicken and cool the syrup.  Afterward, it will be forced through a metal disc with  incredibly tiny holes called a spinneret.This polymer’s function is to cool and thicken the syrup and once it is done, it is later forced through very tiny holes of a metal disc called a spinneret.
  • 3,952.21 m²The largest hand-knitted (non-crochet) blanket is 3,952.21 m² or 42,541 ft². It was achieved in Dubai, UAE by Kanika Kapur of India and her team on 13 September 2019. It was going to be cut into several parts and then sent to orphanages around the world.
  • 8While there is a wide array of blankets in the market, there are only eight main blanket types. It includes coverlet, quilt, afghan, duvet, comforter, electric blanket, and weighted blanket, and bedspread.
  • $ 7.9 BillionIn 2022, the world’s blanket market is estimated at $7.9 billion. Moreover, it is expected to reach $9.9 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 3.7 percent between 2017 and 2021.

Five facts about blankets

  • William Shakespeare is the first to use the verb blanket

    The word blanket was also used as a verb and William Shakespeare is the first person to use it. The verb means to ‘cover with or as with a blanket., which he included in his 16th century play King Lear.

  • A type of blanket is stuffed with either seeds, sands, beans, or rice

    Weighted blankets contain various items to achieve an ideal weight. While some weighted blankets are stuffed with poly-pellets, some use organic products such as seeds, sand, beans, and rice. The added weight on this type of blanket is said to help relieve stress and anxiety.

  • Using blankets is a habit passed down from generations

    People today have historically connected the usage of blankets with sleeping or going to bed. But the truth is, sleeping with a blanket is passed down between generations as a habit.Most people can’t sleep without a blanket because since young, they have been using a blanket just as they were told by their parents. Habits developed at an early age are observed even into adulthood. 

  • The North America market holds the biggest market share in global blankets market

    Due to the colder climatic conditions in Canada and other regions of North America, the demand for blankets of all sorts has increased. For this reason, the North American market is expected to have the largest share of the global blankets industry. In addition, urbanization and changing lifestyle patterns have increased demand for a variety of revolutionary blankets.

  • There’s a special type of blanket used as fire safety equipment

    You can use a fire safety equipment called a fire blanket to extinguish small kitchen fires. The most common kitchen fires include saucepan and frying pan fires, fires caused by cooking oil and flammable liquid, and more. A fire blanket stops the oxygen flow to the fire, putting it out.

Blanket invention FAQ

  • Is a sheet a blanket?

    No. the two nouns are different as blanket is described as typically large cloth worn for warmth while resting or sleeping. Meanwhile, a sheet is characterized as thin bed cloth laid over the sleeper or to cover the mattress.

  • Are blankets important?

    Yes. Blankets are important as they keep the body warm, particularly during the cold months. It is more comfortable to use than adding another layer of clothing that can restrict your movements.

  • What are the common materials used to make blankets?

    Wool, cotton, fleece, vellux, down, and synthetics are the most common materials used to make blankets.

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