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.
- Carpet Patent Model
- Patent No. 1,028, issued December 10, 1838
- John Humphries of New York, New York
- Humphries’s innovation was the addition of a supplementary layer to the bottom of a carpet to provide an extra cushion and to strengthen the overall structure. The added stuffer weft is a stout, loosely twisted cord, woven into the underside of the carpet and interlaced with the ground warp. These samples of carpeting are important because they are the earliest known examples of patented carpeting in the United States.
- Whether this patent was utilized is unknown but there is evidence of Humphries being involved in the manufacture of carpeting. The Journal of the Franklin Institute lists premiums awarded at their eighth exhibition in 1833. John Humphries was presented a premium for four pieces of Brussels carpeting. The judges noted that “these goods are of excellent quality and style, and satisfactory assurances have been received that they are exclusively of American workmanship throughout all the processes from the raw material to the finished product of the loom.”
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1838-12-10
- patent date
- Humphries, John
- ID Number
- catalog number
- patent number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center