The Walter J. Dwyer Co.
A far more practical yet still elegant woman’s linen duster coat with a subtle lavender vertical stripe in HCTC bears the The Walter J. Dwyer Co., Columbus label. In 1905 Walter J. Dwyer was the manager of Armbruster’s Dry Goods, a store that sold hosiery, underwear, furnishing goods, cloaks, and suits. Two years later he shared the listing as Armbruster-Dwyer Co. and
was not only manager but also vice president. By 1911, however, he had split with Armbruster and established his own firm, Walter J. Dwyer Co., about a block south. The business was promoted as “Outfitters for Women, Misses and Children,” and also sold lace, curtains, and draperies. By 1914, the name of Walter’s store had changed to simply Dwyer’s, selling a larger variety of goods: furs, cloaks, suits, waists, dresses, corsets, underwear, curtains, draperies, millinery, and umbrellas.
By 1915, however, the store was no longer in existence. The duster (pictured left) belonged to Blanche (Mrs. Carl E.) Truesdell who purchased it around the time her son Wilt was born (1912). Dusters were practical, lightweight overcoats whose purpose was to keep the dust off one’s clothes when riding in open vehicles such as Henry Ford’s Model T, first launched in 1908 and considered the first affordable automobile, making this type of travel available to middle-class Americans. Blanche and Carl seemed to fit into this level of society as his occupation in 1910 was a painting conservator and, in 1920, manager of a restaurant.