Influential Images: Borgana and Dynel Faux Fur

September 16, 2011 § 42 Comments

Borgana Ad, Vogue, August 15, 1950

The temperatures finally dropped today and from what I’ve read on Twitter, many New Yorkers have pulled out their fur and cashmere already. I’d prefer to wait until a true cold stretch to pull out my heavier pieces, but I know many people like a drastic change in wardrobe. I have very little real fur in my closet; I’m an animal lover and am planning to buy a faux fur piece or two this fall.

There’s not much in the way of information about the history of faux furs but I did read that they were introduced to the market in 1929. For the earlier half of the 20th Century, a mink coat was a prized possession in a woman’s wardrobe. Faux fur manufacturers presumedly saw a void market, and created ‘the look for less’.

Borgana was a faux fur produced by the Borg Textile Group. Also little to be found about the origins of the textile or the manufacturer, sadly. One reference says that Borg Textile Group was located in Rossville, GA and WWD reported that they later moved to Tennessee in the 1990s. Other references differ in terms of the origin of Borgana. According to this account of a box belonging to the Albrechts of St. Paul Minnesota, the synthetic textile was first manufactured by their family. The Albrechts arrived to Minnesota from Germany in 1855, and had been furriers since 1725. They developed wholesale and retail fur businesses under various company names. I think they were predominantly known as Albrecht Furs. This document also says that Borgana’s trade name was Boralba.

Dynel Faux Fur Ad, Vogue, August 15, 1950

Dynel was another faux fur textile. First introduced by the Union Carbide Corporation, Dynel is a synthetic fiber that is typically used in plastics. Today, it seems to be used more as a coating of marine decks, but historically it was used for faux fur coats and wigs. This particular coat was produced by Burlington Industries of Greensboro, NC, a company that still exists and is currently owned by the International Textile Group.

If anyone has an additional information about the history of faux fur textiles, I’d love to hear!

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§ 42 Responses to Influential Images: Borgana and Dynel Faux Fur

  • Carol Henson says:

    I don’t know if this will help with your research or not, but I just acquired a Borgana Faux Fur that was owned by a deceased relative and probably purchased in the mid 1950′s, inside on the label it says “made of orlon and carlan” then “US Pat. No. 2,705,880. I also have a second Borgana that says styled by Fairmoor. Both say “a Borg fabric”. I don’t have much knowledge of fashion, but the coats are cool and in near perfect condition so I was researching about them and came across this site. Carol Henson

    • Jessica Gold says:

      Carol: Thanks so much for this info, it’s definitely interesting. Does the Borgana actually feel like fur? Curious as it was hard to tell from pictures.

    • Jeff Thiel says:

      I used to work for Borg Textiles in the late 70′s and early 80′s. I started in Delavan, Wi and Jefferson, Wi and then transferred to Rossville, Ga. The Delavan plant closed in 1980. I believe the fur coats were also sold in stores in Chicago. Like the Chas Steven Fur Store. Jeff

      • Lacey says:

        I live just a few minutes from Rossville GA my aunt used to make blankets out of the Borg fabric they are so soft however now we cannot find any material that even comes close. I wished I knew where to get some scrap of the material to make a baby blanket!

  • Frances Ellen says:

    My vintage black Borgana full length coat (Albrecht Furs Minneapolis St Paul) does not feel like fur. Very plushy & soft, tho. Label says to clean as fur. Do you think a modern day dry cleaner that cleans fur will know how to clean Borgana? Suggestions, please. It needs cleaning before I can wear it. Thank you very much

    • Gail Baynum says:

      I have a full length Borgana coat that I got from my mother. I was like you and wanted to wear it, but somthing was spilled on it. YEARS later we had a house fire and our insurance paid to have the coat dry cleaned. It came back better than ever.

    • Martha Crawford Cantarini says:

      I have one that I carried to Hong Kong and then wore for 20 some odd years and it is like new. To clean: it must be cleaned as a fur coat or make sure the cleaner has a totally new vat of fluid. If the cleaning fluid is dirty or used it will damage the fibers and make them stick together. If it is cleaned with all new fluid it will come out like new. Clean it right and it will last forever. Mine looks like white Beaver.

      • Frances Ellen Ross says:

        Hi Martha~Thank you so much for your very useful & informational answer! I will send the coat off to be cleaned by a fur restoration co. (Wolverine Furs in Michigan)
        Expensive, but after reading your, & others comments, I think it will be worth it. Thanks again.

      • Martha Crawford Cantarini says:

        Frances – wanted to tell you. My coat is not white nor is it Champagne but a bit in between. I was at wardrobe being fitted for my trip to Hong Kong by the legendary Helen Rose the extraordinary costume head of MGM studios. I wore the Borgana that day. Helen Rose thought it was sheared Beaver. Hmmmmm . . . . I just said, “thank you.” Ha!

      • Frances Ellen Ross says:

        What a great story!! Thank you for sharing! (Helen Rose-how well I remember seeing her name in the credits of films in the ’50′s. FAB!!)

  • Shirley Wickersheimer says:

    I would like to purchase a new brown swing slack length borgana coat. Where can I find one???

    • Jessica Gold says:

      Hi Shirley: Thanks for your question. Not sure Borgana is as readily available for purchase as it once was. Ebay/Etsy might be your best bets?

    • Kay Lynn says:

      Shirley, I know I have come upon your question to purchase a Borgana “fur” coat at alate date , to say the least. These wonderful faux furs are not manufactured at this time. I think the borg textile gruop cloced in the early 70 ‘s? This may be off by a few years I am not sure. Any way they are in my opinion the best faux fur ever! I have three and had an other I gave to a very good friend. The 3 i own are each of a different designer. Each one is perfect in condition and the styles are of various periods in fashion. I have come upon mine by accident either in a thrift store or an antique shop. None of mine are of the style ofwhich you mentioned. Happy hunting, they are worth the wait!

  • Kathy says:

    My father was one of the developers of Borgana. The stories I was told was that faux fur was developed to replace natural fur for the military in parkas. I am 66 and when we were 2 we moved to Delavan, Wisconsin where Borgana was developed and made. As a child I wore Borgana coats to school to wear test them. I have one of my mothers coats which I love and I have had to replace the lining 2 times. In my opinion it is far superior to what you can get today.

    • Jessica Gold says:

      Kathy: Thanks so much for finding Truth Plus, and how cool to receive this comment! Do you have any pictures of your coat that you can send?

    • Howard Weymouth says:

      My father was a machinst in Delvan and made modifications to the knitting machines to help develop the different knitting techniques required to make Borgana.

    • Patrick says:

      Kathy great insight. I still have a blanket that my mother made over 40 years ago or so. I thought it was made of Borgana. I lived in Watertown at the time and thought that she bought the material in Beaver Dam. To this day I can not find anything like it.

  • [...] Influential Images: Borgana and Dynel Faux Fur « Truth PlusSep 16, 2011 … They developed wholesale and retail fur businesses under various company names. I think they were predominantly known as Albrecht Furs. [...]

  • Sandi Zibulka says:

    When cleaning out a house that belonged to my late father in law, I came across 2 furish type coats. I have no clue about either of them. The one has a label in it that says Borg, Borgazia, Borg Textile Group Styled by Russell Taylor. It says “Clean by Fur coat method.”. So, not knowing anything about furs, I have to assume it is a faux fur. I don’t want it but do you know if there is a market, or should I just give it to a vintage clothing store in Cincinnait, OH.

    Thanks
    Sandi Zibulka

  • Maurita says:

    Hello Jessica, I am trying to find out the current value of Borgana fur. I purchased a grey Borgana cape back in the 80′s at a resale shop in Chicago. When I tried to get it cleaned the price for cleaning it was 10 times what I paid for it at the resale shop. The label says Borg Deluxe Borgana, clean by fur coat method, do not brush, card, press or steam. Is it vintage, is it a collector’s item these days–it is a very nice cape, no sleeves, there are zippered openings for the arms, a hood and the color is grey. It is very stylish. Thanks, Maurita

  • David Parry says:

    I worked for Borg Textiles in the early 1970′s. Borgana was the top fabrics produced. It was manufactured in Delevan, Wis (where it was invented), and Elmira, Ontario, Canada. Other pile fabrics were also made in Whitstable and Windsor England, and Sint Niklaas, Belgium. Most of the sliver (a rope
    of fibers about 2 inches in diameter which formed the pile as it was knit into the backing) was formed in Jefferson, Wisconsin.
    The first product produced by the George Borg Company was used on polishing discs for the automobile industry. Not a real surprise since that was where his background lay.

  • Gill Oakley says:

    Hello, I have just googled “Dynel Made by Furriers” and have come across this page. Whilst tidying an elderly Aunt’s attic this weekend I came cross this incredible coat (bless her, she said it could go to the tip but I said it was too nice, so she gave it to me!) It is dark brown, kind of swing style, long, with huge cuffs and this really unusual bib, cape-like collar. The actual fur is not like any I have seen when googling dyvel, it is short and has a kind of zig zagging pattern stitched all over it. I was just wondering what kind of date this coat would be from? I am in the UK. Thanks, Gill

    • Chris says:

      I have my grandmothers coat with the same label, apparently mine is persian lamb. Did you manage to find any information as I can’t find anything.

  • Thanks for all the information. I live in Wisconsin and bought a box of vintage Borg samples today (stripes, plaids, animal prints and plain) and was doing some research. Still wondering if Borg is still in production or when the mills closed.

  • Brittany says:

    I found my grandma’s Borgana coat with the pat # 2,705,880 and I’m not sure what to do with it. Any suggestions?

    • Jessica Gold says:

      Hey Brittany: Maybe best to try your local vintage store or eBay. Thanks!

    • Martha Crawford Cantarini says:

      Have it cleaned and wear it. I am wearing mine and still get loads of compliments on it. It is really an attention getter as no one really knows what it is except it is lovely. You might give thought to having it made into a jacket or a three quarter lenth coat. Good luck. Cherish it!

  • Marilyn Hansard says:

    I have a coat that I saved and saved for. I bought it in the late 1950′s, from a store caalled Bullocks. It’s dark brown, double breasted with a swing tab in back with a notched collar. In those days, it was called a “car coat”. It’s length is to my upper thigh. I have worn it every winter for the past 60 years. It still looks brand new. My label says styled by Sportowne. A Borg Fabric. The lining looks new also. I love this coaat!! If you have one, you are lucky. Wear it!!

  • lacey says:

    my aunt passed away she made a borg blanket for my brother. he is having a baby and i wanted to have a borg blanket made for the baby i cannot find the material is there any possible way to find such thing?

  • s says:

    I have a Borgana coat which has a label about cleaning as fur with the address of Furclean Ltd. 3 Belsize Place London SW1 3242&3243. mine has ‘Astraka model fashioned by master furriers’ on one side and the Borgana label on the other. Does anyone know how old this might be?

  • Gypsyfied Broom says:

    I have a light colored Borgana swing coat my mother wore in 1955, my husband washed it in the washing machine and pressed the lining. it came out really nice.

  • CG says:

    Hi,

    I might be able to help with some info on the Borgana coats.

    My background includes being a vintage stylist as well as vintage shop owner.

    The top faux fur manufacturer is Tissavel, and resale is pretty pricey. But after researching for a Borgana coat that I was asked to consign in my shop I am finding that most people are listing them a bit on the low side. However… I would price them anywhere from $45. to $225. depending on style and condition of course. You will need to educate customers on the background and quality of Borgana as it is lesser known than Tissavel. Once people start to know more about Borgana, the history etc…, the pricing will go up.

    Most quality faux fur needs to be professionally cleaned in the same manner as real fur.

    Hope this help :)

  • Nancy Marvin says:

    I have a “Montary” orlon & dynel #323424 faux fur coat bought in 1960 in northern New York. I would like to know if anything is known about the company and the material that made the coat.

  • Rahul bhat says:

    I found my mom’s coat
    with label
    BORG
    textile
    canada
    Idk abt the material

  • In the 1960′s I wore Borghana coats all the time. They were featured in Harpers Bazaar and every year I would wait to see them featured and buy one. I grew up in southern California and no one thought of wearing a fur, but I would wear mine in the winter months and loved the attention I got. People always asked me what kind of a coat I was wearing.. I do not even remember what happened to them. I must have given them away. I am 74 now and would love to have one (in a plus size now!). What memories I have in wearing them.!

  • Bridgette says:

    Hi ive just bought a gorgrous vintage dynel astra fur coat. Would like to get it cleaned but not sure how?

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