The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Laura Clark pieced 11½-inch blocks in a variation of the Log Cabin pattern also referred to as Pineapple or Chestnut Burr. Each of the blocks has a black center and corners. The pointed edges are bound in black velvet. The blocks are pieced with paper templates that are still in place over muslin foundation blocks, with a very thin cotton filling between the paper and the top fabric. The fabrics used include plain, striped, ribbed, pattern-woven, checked, printed, and brocaded silks as well as velvet, taffeta, cotton and ribbon. Herringbone, buttonhole, chain feather, cross and French knot embroidery stitches embellish the surface. The table cover is lined with a warp-printed, woven striped silk.
- Laura A. Baldwin was born in Rutland, Vermont in February 1834 and moved with her family to Pennsylvania as a young child. In about 1860 she married Chester B. Clark. Chester was born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1827 and had also moved with his family to Pennsylvania. In 1867 Laura and Chester Clark settled in Earlville, Illinois where they lived the rest of their lives. Chester was listed as a merchant and capitalist in the censuses and died in 1901. Laura's grandson, Chester Wells Clark donated the table cover to the Museum in 1951.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Clark, Laura A. Baldwin
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- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center