Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is a Floorcloth....

Floorcloths or "Oylcloths" are first mentioned in Britain in the beginning of the eighteenth century. They were painted by humble housepainters and often offered in the classical designs used for marble floors by the fashionable architects of the day.

Originally hand painted and stencilled, by the middle of the 18th century floorcloths began to be printed with hand held wooden blocks. The trade had become a proper industry with factories springing up in ports such as Dundee and Bristol as well as London, where the looms used for the weaving of sail cloth were also used to weave the great widths necessary to cover a large floor without any seams.

The apogee of floorcloth manufacture was perhaps around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, when many great houses ordered floorcloths for their entrance halls. At this time companies such as SMITH and BABER of Knightsbridge did a considerable trade not only in Britain but also abroad, particularly to America. Although there soon sprung up an American Floorcloth industry to rival the British, floorcloths continued to be imported to America such as the rare example still preserved in situ in Natchez, Mississippi, imported in 1849.

The trade continued to flourish throughout the 18th century but the patenting of linoleum by Frederick Walton in 1860 proved to be a blow from which the industry was never to recover.

This once flourishing industry has been all but forgotten, mainly because so few examples have survived. In Britain there are only fragments preserved at Calke Abbey. American floorcloths survive not only in Natchez but in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps the oldest cloth surviving in situ is the charming floorcloth in the Swedish Royal Palace of Tullgarn, dating from 1800. This cloth is not factory manufactured but painted as a one-off. Its existance suggests that perhaps other cloths were also painted for European palaces at this period.

Unknown original source. If you wrote this excerpt, please contact me so I can give you credit.

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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My great finds....

Well as you can see from my previous post, I was going to the first craft show of the season for me and while everyone there made wonderful items, it just wasn't the primitive/old time living style I was looking for BUT I did pick up an awesome Bunny Gourd.

On my way home, I stopped at the antique store and picked up a large crock and also some vintage linens, now what am I going to do with them is the question. Not sure if I want to use the linens for making stuff with, since they are 3 1/2 yards (2) and the other one is 4 yards, so that's pretty much. I could make quite a few things with these.

Now the crock of course will be going in my kitchen and I will be putting my utensils in them so no guessing on what I will do with it, however, it is my first crock so I might change my mind later on down the road but for now, utensils it is!

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Tracy - Simple Living
My love of vintage goods, antiques
and handmade primitives!
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