How The Cats Meow Village Collections Started

The Cat's Meow Village Story...Here's what you'll get

How did Faline Jones start The Cat's Meow Village Collections? What are Cat's Meow Village pieces? How are they made? What is the value, (what are they worth) of retired vintage collector's pieces? Where can you find collector's pieces? Where can I buy them, where can I sell them? Are they just houses?

Read on and I'll try to answer those questions for you.

How The Cats Meow Village Collections Started


It all started with one piece...

The Original piece that started it all  *photo credit: Dee Williams, The Cat's Meow Village - 10 years of building history
The Original piece that started it all *photo credit: Dee Williams, The Cat's Meow Village - 10 years of building history

The Cat's Meow Village Collections, (let's use CMV from now on) started out as a one-women spare-time handi-craft operation and developed into an international phenomenon. We will tell you the story of the beginning, the manufacturing process, and tons of information about many retired collector's pieces, and lots or supplemental stuff in-between. Of course we will provide plenty of links to outside sources for further details, and listed CMV items for sale.

Typical CMV pieces

Black Cat Antiques
Black Cat Antiques
Arnold Transit Co
Arnold Transit Co

First, Whart Are CMV Pieces?

CMV pieces, (remember that means Cat's Meow Village) are wooden decoratives that are shaped like buildings. many of the CMV accessories are shaped like billboards, signs or whatever they are representing. They were designed to sit upright or on ledges, (many people put them on their door or window frame ledges), and are made of 3/4 inch think pieces of wood that range from 3 to 8 inches wide, and 4 to 8 inches tall
The designs are screen printed and each piece has the piece information, series date, Casper the cat, and Falines dated signature on them for authentication. Initially they were created as individual creations, but they quickly became popular sellers and were issued in sets and series. This increased their collector's value because now people would buy them to complete their series or set collections.

This products Portal by Appletreedeals is a great place to find more CMV retired collector's pieces, Vinatge Life Magazines, and Boyds Bears Collections

CMV Logo  Reg. Trademark
CMV Logo Reg. Trademark
Casper The Cat Reg. Trademark
Casper The Cat Reg. Trademark

Faline Jones...The humble beginning

Information provided by: Diana West article, Dee Williams book, and independent research
** content is primarily the article credited above, but I have edited and added commentary. (Appletreedeals)

The Cat's Meow Village Collections started in 1982. Faline Jones was a part-time secretary in Wooster, Ohio. She made some extra money selling some craft work she made at her kitchen table. - cloth covered, cat-shaped doorstops called the Cat's Meow.

As the story goes... "One day, while visiting a gift shop that sold her Cat's Meow doorstops, some tiny wooden houses in in the shop caught her eye, and she thought, "I can do better than that." Using her sparse resources, she used $39 to buy several pieces of pine and went to work cutting out and painting a dozen two-dimensional miniature wooden houses."


The new creations were called The Cat's Meow Village, after her her previous business venture making the cat-shaped fabric doorstops.

*article excerpt*

"I didn't want to throw away those business cards and letterheads," says Jones, 47. Staying with her feline theme, Jones stamped a black cat on the front of the 4-by-5-inch wooden architectural facades and peddled her creations to several area gift shops.

"They are more than miniature houses," says Rosann Burger, then owner of the Country Traditions gift shop. "It's the moments and memories people associate with them."

The simple style of the handmade country cottages gave the designs a down-home feel. When a salesman noticed them in January 1983, he began taking orders and, within a year, 800 outlets were selling Jones' houses.

*end exerpt*

*continued below

Faline Fry Jones

*photo credits: Dee Williams, The cat's Meow Village - 10 Years of Building History
*photo credits: Dee Williams, The cat's Meow Village - 10 Years of Building History

CMV has 800 retail outlets, now what...

CMV pieces were really 'catching on' as decorative and collectible pieces and...

The Cat's Meow Village pieces were eagerly accepted by collectors, and she "soon began receiving letters telling her how the houses brought back warm memories of growing up on a farm or visiting grandparents in the country. "Stories in their own lives created a connection to the collectible," she says. "That sparked their interest in finding more.""

With family and friends helping, she filled orders while still working part time as a secretary and waitress. In 1984, The Cat's Meow Village Collections became a full-time job.

Based on customers' requests, she started replicating actual buildings and historic landmarks such as lighthouses, barns and churches. "Collectors are attracted to the history of each piece," Jones says. "I find ideas by reading travel and historic magazines, visiting national parks and special celebrations." About 100 new designs are added annually while others are retired.

As business boomed, Jones expanded. In 1989, she built a 24,000-square-foot building just outside Wooster, which today has 70 employees. Although millions of products have been made, the company hasn't lost its personal touch. Each piece travels through seven sets of hands that cut, screen-print and hand finish it. And then it's off to the retail outlets for her buying public.

CMV Historical replicas

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Beauregard-Keyes House, located in New Orleans’ French Quarter , built in 1826, for wealthy auctioneer Joseph LeCarpentier, is a fine example of a raised center hall house. It is named for two of its former tenants, Confederate General Pierre GusAshton Villa was built in 1858-59, the first of Galveston’s Broadway palaces, as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas. Built by James Moreau Brown, a wholesale hardware merchant, railroad corporation president and banker. Once serving aThe Bucyrus Historical Society is located in The Scroggs House in Crawford County at 202 S. Walnut St., Bucyrus, Ohio. This house is a classic example of Southern-style architecture with a wrought iron ‘Widow’s Walk’, and Keystone arched windows. TheFrederick Douglass was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. The home has been designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic SitIn 1857, esteemed New Orleans architect, James Gallier, Jr., put his considerable talent to work designing a residence of his own.  GALLIER HOUSE, located at 1132 Royal Street in New Orlean’s French Quarter, is an outstanding example of accurate and The Thmpson-Neely house is located in Washington Crossing, Pa. Following the American’s retreat from New Jersey, the home of Robert and Hannah Thompson became the headquarters of General Lord Stirling (American William Alexander), who commanded the tPrior to the Civil War, prosperous Creole families enjoyed an elegant lifestyle in the Vieux Carré. Built in 1831, HERMANN-GRIMA HOUSE is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans.  This handsome Federal mansion with its courtyard garden
The Beauregard-Keyes House, located in New Orleans’ French Quarter , built in 1826, for wealthy auctioneer Joseph LeCarpentier, is a fine example of a raised center hall house. It is named for two of its former tenants, Confederate General Pierre Gus
The Beauregard-Keyes House, located in New Orleans’ French Quarter , built in 1826, for wealthy auctioneer Joseph LeCarpentier, is a fine example of a raised center hall house. It is named for two of its former tenants, Confederate General Pierre Gus
Ashton Villa was built in 1858-59, the first of Galveston’s Broadway palaces, as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas. Built by James Moreau Brown, a wholesale hardware merchant, railroad corporation president and banker. Once serving a
Ashton Villa was built in 1858-59, the first of Galveston’s Broadway palaces, as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas. Built by James Moreau Brown, a wholesale hardware merchant, railroad corporation president and banker. Once serving a
The Bucyrus Historical Society is located in The Scroggs House in Crawford County at 202 S. Walnut St., Bucyrus, Ohio. This house is a classic example of Southern-style architecture with a wrought iron ‘Widow’s Walk’, and Keystone arched windows. The
The Bucyrus Historical Society is located in The Scroggs House in Crawford County at 202 S. Walnut St., Bucyrus, Ohio. This house is a classic example of Southern-style architecture with a wrought iron ‘Widow’s Walk’, and Keystone arched windows. The
Frederick Douglass was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. The home has been designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic Sit
Frederick Douglass was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. The home has been designated the Frederick Douglass National Historic Sit
In 1857, esteemed New Orleans architect, James Gallier, Jr., put his considerable talent to work designing a residence of his own.  GALLIER HOUSE, located at 1132 Royal Street in New Orlean’s French Quarter, is an outstanding example of accurate and
In 1857, esteemed New Orleans architect, James Gallier, Jr., put his considerable talent to work designing a residence of his own. GALLIER HOUSE, located at 1132 Royal Street in New Orlean’s French Quarter, is an outstanding example of accurate and
The Thmpson-Neely house is located in Washington Crossing, Pa. Following the American’s retreat from New Jersey, the home of Robert and Hannah Thompson became the headquarters of General Lord Stirling (American William Alexander), who commanded the t
The Thmpson-Neely house is located in Washington Crossing, Pa. Following the American’s retreat from New Jersey, the home of Robert and Hannah Thompson became the headquarters of General Lord Stirling (American William Alexander), who commanded the t
Prior to the Civil War, prosperous Creole families enjoyed an elegant lifestyle in the Vieux Carré. Built in 1831, HERMANN-GRIMA HOUSE is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans.  This handsome Federal mansion with its courtyard garden
Prior to the Civil War, prosperous Creole families enjoyed an elegant lifestyle in the Vieux Carré. Built in 1831, HERMANN-GRIMA HOUSE is one of the most significant residences in New Orleans. This handsome Federal mansion with its courtyard garden

You can see the detailed story of how CMV pieces are made... in the beginning, and now, at this Hubpage:

This CMV Finder, by Appletreedeals, is another great place for detailed CMV information. See the real building and history a CMV piece was modeled after.

Some Cat's Meow Village History on Amazon

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What do you think? Was it worth reading? Leave a comment. 6 comments

Ann McCarthy 7 years ago

I am looking for Cat's Meow of Lynn Hospital that was in Lynn Mass can you help me? bigmac22@comcast.net


Appletreedeals profile image

Appletreedeals 7 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA Author

Greetings Ann.

I was unable to locate a CMV piece by that name. Do you know that one was made? Pieces like that are usually commissioned pieces and the best place to look might be the hospital itself.

Appletreedeals

ps. you might also post this request on The CMV Finder, other collector's might be able to help you.

http://appletreedeals.wordpress.com/


Weberscrosscreek Carol Weber 6 years ago

Do you have a book that I can buy to help me Id. series? Hope you have a book as I have just acquired several tubs of Cat's Meow and do not know anything about the building except what I read on google. A book would be great!!!


Appletreedeals profile image

Appletreedeals 6 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA Author

@Carol Weber Thanks for visiting and commenting.

I agree about Google - I have spent a Ton of Time using it to research the historical pieces I put on my CMV blog. You can check that out here: http://appletreedeals.wordpress.com/

I have the book; "Cat's Meow Village - The First 10 years" which I used for series research. It shows all the early pieces, but is more about Faline Jones and the story of CMV development. Not too much individual piece info.

GA


JLM 6 years ago

Was/is there a black cat named Casper? What is Faline's connection to this name and animal, fictitious or otherwise?? I haven't yet found any info on this.

Thanks for helping. JLM


Appletreedeals profile image

Appletreedeals 6 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA Author

@JLM - Yes there was a Cat named Casper - But it was a calico. Faline's 1st enterprise was making fabric doorstops, (multi-color, like calico). She carried Casper over to CMV pieces, (story says she didn't want to waste Cat's Meow cards she already had), but since they were originally hand-painted, - calico didn't work. Her first pieces did not have Casper - He was added later when she began screen-print production.

GA

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