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.
- This coverlet was made in South Bend, Indiana, in 1852. It is Jacquard double-woven with cotton and wool yarns, and features a conventionalized repeat design with palms, crosses, and a bird border. The lower corners contain the words: “FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS/SOUTH BEND/1852.” This maker’s mark is credited to Daniel and Levi Fisher, of South Bend, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Both brothers were born in Pennsylvania: Daniel in 1821 and Levi in 1829. It is believed they arrived in Indiana in or around 1846. In the mid- to-late 1850s, both men moved to California.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Fisher, Daniel
- Fisher, Levi
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center