Near Comfort in Kendall County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Apelt Armadillo Farm
In the late 1890s, Charles Apelt (1862-1944) opened a unique commercial enterprise at this site. Apelt, a German immigrant, came to Comfort in 1887 and worked as a farmer. Here he encountered the armadillo, an animal native to the Americas, and began to develop a commercial use for the mammal’s hard shell. Utilizing the nine-banded variety (Dasypus Novemcinctus) he soon opened the Armadillo Basket Factory.
The novelty armadillo basket was a quick success; within its first six years of operation, the Armadillo factory shipped 40,000 orders throughout the U.S. and the world. In 1904, Apelt displayed his product at the St. Louis World’s Fair, and by the 1920s, the operation employed dozens of local hunters. At its height, the establishment produced about 100 baskets each week, which sold for $2.50 each or $15 if decorated with silk, bows and beads. Apelt found additional functions for armadillo shells, using them for floor and table lamps, desk sets and smoking stands. Some armadillos were captured live and sold to zoos, pet owners and research facilities; Apelt constructed an elaborate network of concrete burrows and tunnels in front of his home to meet the high demand for armadillos in medical research.
Charles Apelt ran the farm until he died in 1944. His wife, Martha, continued to run the business,
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 15777.)
Location. 29° 56.737′ N, 98° 56.582′ W. Marker is near Comfort, Texas, in Kendall County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Highway (State Highway 27) and 1377 North, on the right when traveling west on Main Highway. Touch for map. Marker is located in pull-out on north side of highway, near the gate, at entrance to subject farm. Marker is in this post office area: Comfort TX 78013, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Treue Der Union Monument (approx. 2.4 miles away); Comfort School (approx. 2.4 miles away); Comfort Community Church (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Founding Freethinkers (approx. 2.6 miles away); The Gass Schmiede (approx. 2.6 miles away); Camp Verde, Texas Center Point, Texas (approx. 5.6 miles away); Center Point Cemetery (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Comfort.
Also see . . .
1. Armadillo Farm is Oddest Money Maker.
(includes Modern Mechanix article from 1933)
The strangest occupation in the world— that of raising animals which will later become articles of home decoration and furniture—is carried on by Charles Apelt on his armadillo farm near Comfort, Texas, 55 miles from San Antonio. Employing a large crew of Mexican laborers to capture the flexible – shelled animals and another group to fashion the translucent shells into household novelties, the live armadillos are bred on the farm and sold as pets or as subjects for scientific research. The dead animals are scraped from their shells which are cured and then made into baskets, lamps, lighting fixtures, smoker stands and other articles. (Submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Parade float entered by Apelt's Armadillo Farm, 1929.
image of the Parade float entered by Apelt's Armadillo Farm, for the 75th anniversary celebration of the founding of Comfort, Texas, in 1929 (Submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Apelt Armadillo Farm: Historic Marker Dedication.
video of dedication ceremony for this marker (Submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Animals • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 10, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.