Sunday, October 23, 2011

Panic of 1893

In the past ( pre 2008) whenever I would mention the Panic of 1893....I often received blank stares...except in Seattle. (Seattle became a major US city because it was the supply point for those headed to the Gold Fields following the Panic of 1893). Now more people understand an economic panic and how things change.

Leading up to the Panic, there was a credit shortage here in the US, a growing depression in Europe and the tipping point...the failure of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroads. This lead to a depression here in the US. Banks failed, unemployment soared and 'things' changed. The response by the textile industry...the closing of some mills, a cut back on the design staff at others and a general shift in the style and coloration of the cotton prints on the market.

I have a series of blocks dated 1890-1910 that I am going to use to talk about the before, during and after fabrics.

I love the big stripe in this block...the size is similar to many of the samples in my antique books. What always amazes me....is the drawing by the fabric stylist as she ( her name is Ro) reconstructs the whole pattern (scale and details) from the small sample. I am doubly amazed when the first sample yardage arrives. So what did this stripe really look like 'on the bolt'. 
This second block also contains the lovely stripe. Notice 3 of the blocks contain only 2 components and the forth is creatively pieced! These fabrics are most likely pre Panic.



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