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.
- In 1939, Millie Medaris’s granddaughter donated this “Ocean Wave” pieced quilt. Unfortunately, little is known at this time about the quilt maker. The “Ocean Wave” has been a popular pattern at various times and this mid-nineteenth-century quilt provides a competently rendered example.
- The quilt is composed of fourteen-inch blocks pieced of plain and printed triangles around plain cotton centers. A three-inch white cotton border frames the “Ocean Wave” pattern, enhanced by a ¾-inch printed cotton strip along the inside edges of the two sides. The fabrics used, typical of the late 1850s, are plain-colored, roller-printed, and checked cottons. All the pieced triangles are outline-quilted, with clamshell quilting on the white centers and double diagonal lines on the border. It is finely quilted, 10 stitches per inch.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Medaris, Millie
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center