|Nelly Don Handy Dandy Apron |
Designed and manufactured by The Donnelly Garment Company in Kansas City, Missouri,
the apron was patented around 1925. Millions were sold and the production of the Handy
Dandy helped keep the factory open through the Depression. A seamstress never had to
remove the apron from the machine while stitching. The wholesale cost was $6.50 a dozen.
Ellen Quinlan Donnelly Reed (Nell Donnelly) designed a simple pink gingham frock in 1916,
and sold 18 dozen of them to Peck's Dry Goods Company in Kansas City. That was the
beginning of her Nelly Don brand, a brand that sold 75 million dresses from 1916 to 1978,
making it the largest dress manufacturer of the 20th Century. Nell Donnelly Reed died in 1991.