John (Johannes) Kaufman; coverlet; Jacquard, tied-Beiderwand; 1839; Pennsylvania


John (Johannes) Kaufman (1812-1863) wove this Jacquard, tied-Beiderwand coverlet which features a “Double Lily” carpet medallion centerfield pattern. There is an inner border of addorsed roosters and garlands and an outer border of double flowers along the sides and bottom. There are also two inscribed cornerblocks identifying the maker, customer, place made, and date. Kaufman used red wool and indigo-dyed cotton to weave this coverlet in tied-Beiderwand structure. Sometimes called single-Jacquard, this structure is an integrated weave and identifiable by the ribbed texture of the textile. In the upper left hand corner there is a large amount of red yarn missing due to wear. Smaller amounts of red yarn is missing from five others areas on the coverlet.

John (Johannes) Kaufman (1812-1863) was a Mennonite weaver. He was born in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania and began weaving in Hilltown Township in Bucks County in 1837. Samuel Moyer was the customer for whom the coverlet was woven. There are five Samuel Moyers buried in the Blooming Glen Mennonite Meetinghouse graveyard alongside Kaufman, and it is almost certain one of these interrelated Samuels that was the commissioner of the coverlet. This correlation reflects that artisan weavers often gained customers from trade and community networks which they were already a part of. Pennsylvania coverlet scholar, Ron Walter estimates that Kaufman wove between 400 and 500 coverlets. Most are still owned by family descendants but some are in the collections at NMAH, the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, the Mennonite Heritage Center, and private collections like Walter's. Kauffman is known to have operated as a weaver from 1837-1847 when rival weaver, Samuel B. Musselman seemingly forced him out of business. This coverlet is different than most other Kaufman coverlets, because of the indigo-dyed cotton warp threads. His other extant coverlets feature the typical horizontal color bands of reds, greens, blues, and white common in Pennsylvania coverlets. The donor purchased the coverlet in 1927 in nearby Quakertown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Date Made: 1839

Maker: Kaufman, John

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Pennsylvania, Hilltown

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Textiles, Coverlets, Textiles


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of George W. Steidle Jr.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TE.T8137Catalog Number: T08137.000Accession Number: 145933

Object Name: coverlet, figured

Physical Description: medallion (center pattern)blue (overall color)red (overall color)jacquard (overall production method/technique)tied-Beiderwand (overall production method/technique)Measurements: overall: 81 in x 68 in; 205.74 cm x 172.72 cm


Record Id: nmah_620499

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