Quilts in 1731 London, England

The Internet is an amazing research tool.  We search for one thing and something entirely different is discovered in the results.

This 1731 estate sale listing showed up in a search at NewspaperArchive.com.  Near the bottom, it says:

fine white Callicoe Quilts and printed Quilts of all Sorts, fine new Whitney Blankets of all Sizes . . .

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 1870s Marseilles quilt factory at Rock Island, Illinois

The column, "Indiana and Her Neighbors," in the December 22, 1870, Fort Wayne (IN) Daily Gazette, includes this brief paragraph:  "A person from Pittsfield, Mass., proposes to start a Marseilles quilt factory at Rock Island [Illinois], if a capital of $100,000 is raised.  He claims that the profit on the manufacture of these quilts is 50 per cent."

From the Paxton (IL) Weekly Record, April 25, 1872:  "The Marseilles quilt factory, at Rock Island, is now fairly under way, and has just turned out its first counterpanes.  It is intended to manufacture 240 quilts per day."

The Marshall (MI) Statesman, May 22, 1872, published essentially the same statement but said "250 quilts per day" and the Estherville (IA) Northern Vindicator, June 1, 1872, said "290 quilts per day."  (NewspaperArchive.com)

A search for the two words, Marseilles and quilt, reveals how pervasive these white counterpanes were in the 1870s and 1880s in stores across the U.S. from small towns to large cities.

© Wilene Smith, September 9, 2010, all rights reserved (updated December 7, 2010)

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