Chicago Pennant Company

11th Feb 2022

The Chicago Pennant Company made these delightful banners of our favorite colleges and universities:

There is not a lot of information about the company to be found. In the 1930s they described themselves as, “Manufacturers of Pennants, Pillows, Banners. Memory Books, etc. of Felt and Leather. 6642 Cottage Grove Ave. Chicago”.

We found this interesting patent the Chicago Pennant Company received in 1928 for a shipping container.

During a later period, likely the 1950s, their tags identifed them as makers of “DISTINCTIVE COLLEGE SPECIALTIES, Manufactured By, CHICAGO PENNANT CO., 1921 West 87th St., CHICAGO, ILLINOIS”. Later, the business labeled products with the more snazzy sounding “Chi Penco” or “Chipen’co”, an acronmy for Chicago Pennant Company.

We don’t know when they stopped making banners and pennants, but know that they do us until at least 1979. An obituary in 2005 for Janet Bergman Hagins notes that she managed a family business, Chicago Pennant Company, until her retirement.

We do know that they made delightful, quality and sometimes humorous banners that are sought after by collectors.

Defensive, angry cigar smoking Cornell Bears holding spiked bats:

cornell penco

We occasionally have some of these rare pennants for sale on our website

A beautiful Chicago Pennant Company banner from the Citadel in Charleston

Central Washington University may be below the radar, but their mascot and Chipenco banner are spectacular

There were two style of pennants made for Brown University, one with angry bears wielding spiked bats:

And one with a more pleasant variety of bear:

The banner designers had a particular eye for detail as shown in this UConn Huskies images showing a "snap," in the whip line:

An old Chicago Pennant Company catalog shows that the company also made caps, stationary, laundry cases and aprons:

And items that are seen infrequently such as college seals and triangular pennants

We have never seen these in the collectible market, but the company also made memory and guest books for colleges and universities: