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The story with a sad ending to the legendary San Marcos blankets

August 15, 2020

8 min read

This story originally appeared on Unknown Mexico

The story with a sad ending to the legendary San Marcos blanketsThe story with a sad ending to the legendary San Marcos blankets

In a town hall market CoyoacanThere is a stand in Mexico City with a sign that says “San Marcos Ceiling”. When you ask the manager if the product he is selling is real It’s one of the original covers. San Marcos replies, “No, but it’s the same.”

For several years it has been common for people to talk about San Marcos blankets on social networks, and whoever is lucky enough to have one, Don’t miss the opportunity to post one Selfie with the.

Valeria Ordonez Ghio

San Marcos covers are today a kind of “generic brand” for any blanket that is big, durable, warm and specially patterned, let’s say “flashy”. Oh, and that it’s made with acrylic fiber.

However, the reality is that San Marcos blankets are a product that has not been made since the beginning of the 21st century and for some They’re handy to collect … and very attractive on Facebook photos.

Popular but not ostentatious

But in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, although San Marcos blankets were in great demand in the Mexican market, They were also viewed by many middle classes as a “common” product that was not widely suspected. In this social sphere, its use was therefore intimate and familiar.

In contrast, it was more closely related to the popular classes, where it was more common to see them on the beds, in the living room, or even in front of a window.

Much of that perception is due to price, according to a former retailer A double blanket from San Marcos cost about 45 pesos in 1982.

The reality is that in Mexico Houses of all levels had San Marcos ceilings.

And it is that, in addition to being made from acrylic fiber, One of the features that made them more attractive was the large prints that they offered. the variety of which ranged from colorful designs to the shields and helmets of the NFL teams.

However, the most popular were those with drawings by aAnimals like unicorns, horses and eagles, The most famous being – for some strange reason – those who had the image of a tiger or other big cat.

They were so durable that Today they have become something of a legacy in many families And even in countries like the US, they’re a “cult product” among Mexicans, who say a San Marcos blanket is better at protecting against low temperatures, including the extreme cold they feel there.

The origin of the San Marcos blankets

San Marcos blankets They were made in the 1970s after the textile entrepreneur Jesús Rivera Franco After several years of searching, you will find the way to make a different, warm and patterned blanket.

Valeria Ordonez Ghio

Rivera Franco, who died in April 2009, was a pioneer in industrial processes in the textile industry in Mexico. He liked to look around the world for the latest developments in this field and On a trip to Spain, he found a way to make the famous blankets.

His company, Grupo Textil San Marcos, was in Aguascalientes, City he came to when he was 6 years old after his family left his hometown of Teocaltiche, Jalisco, practically driven out by the Cristero warin the 1920s.

The family business was a hat factory that was installed in Aguascalientes, but years later they had to return it to Jalisco because they couldn’t find the work they needed. But Rivera Franco, at the age of 15, decided to stay to learn how to weave sarapes and so work in a factory.

Years later he worked at another factory in San Luis Potosí until he decided to give up the possibility of a union position. He returned to Aguascalientes but now planned to open his own textile business.

He set up a workshop in the 1950s and the business quickly grew until the late 1980s A dozen industrial plants were built in which around 4,000 people worked.

Over time, Rivera Franco also started real estate business and sold in 1992 Grupo Textil San Marcos to the Celulosa y Derivados consortium (Cydsa), who had industries for acrylic yarn, fertilizers and chemical products.

With this acquisition Cydsa became the largest acrylic manufacturing consortium in Mexico while the Rivera Franco family started another company who later had legal and financial problems.

The debacle

Cydsa also had problems and had to shut down the Gómez Portugal, Aguascalientes plant in May 2004. So the famous San Marcos blankets were no longer made.

It is said that this autumn caused the arrival of similar products from other countries after the opening of the borders in the administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Although other versions also indicate that Cydsa, under the direction of Tomás González Sada, always had financial problems with the merger of Grupo Textil San Marcos. Indeed, there have been difficulties negotiating since the purchase which resulted in a conflict that it was about to confront practically the entire private initiative of Aguascalientes with that of Nuevo León.

Cydsa, who now owns La Fina Salt and a power generation division, had reported Annual net losses of 749 million in 2003, which was one of the reasons that forced him to close the plant that made the popular blankets.

The name, the logo and the generic

It is currently common to see “San Marcos Type Covers” on sale in stores, markets, and online sales sites, and there are even those who copy the label that is still very well identified by fans of the brand.

The The label of the original products shows the entrance to the Jardin de San Marcos, an iconic park in the neighborhood of the same name in the capital of Aguascalientes and also inspired the name of the Rivera Franco company.

So look in the family home’s closet or even in your own bed to see if you have a San Marcos blanket. Maybe you don’t know yet and are out Selfies inspired by some trending topic.

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