Portrait of a woman with a young girl holding a sewing bird

Portrait of a woman with a young girl holding a sewing bird

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Description
A sewing bird is a type of needlework table clamp that supports a bird on its top. The lower body of the bird is stationary while the upper body is hinged, and there is a spring in the tail. When the upper and lower tail ends are squeezed together, the beak opens, allowing the edge of a fabric to be placed in it. When the tail is released, the beak closes on the fabric, holding it securely while the sewer pulls it taut for stitching a hem or seam. This particular type of sewing bird, credited to Charles Waterman of Meridian Connecticut, dates from the 1850s and was used for plain sewing rather than fancy needlework. The daguerreotype itself also dates from the mid-19th century, although the maker and subjects are unknown.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Photograph
daguerreotype
Date made
Mid-19th Century
maker
unknown
Physical Description
metal, copper (overall material)
glass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
leather (overall material)
fabric, velvet (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8.1 cm x 9.2 cm x 1.9 cm; 3 3/16 in x 3 5/8 in x 3/4 in
ID Number
2004.0116.01
accession number
2004.0116
catalog number
2004.0116.01
subject
Sewing and Knitting
Girls
Women
Portraits
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Photography
Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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