Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sapolio Advertising Novelties - Crazy Patchwork

Sapolio Advertising Novelties - Crazy Patchwork

In 1885, SAPOLIO soap maker Enoch Morgan’s Sons Company ran some newspaper ads asking What is Sapolio? An answer to this question, and a pattern of crazy patchwork in colors, with hundreds of neat and artistic stitches, will be sent to any address on receipt of a one-cent stamp by WM. DREYDOPPEL, 208 N. Front St., PHILADELPHIA. Sole Agent for Morgan's Sapolio in Philadelphia.

In 1886, Enoch offered advertising novelties sent free on receipt of return postage.  In order to advertise SAPOLIO more widely than ever, we will send any one of the following articles (of course containing our advertisement) on receipt of a two-cent stamp for return postage.  Please write name and address distinctly.

DOMINOS.  A full set of wooden dominos – very neat.

CRAZY PATCHWORK.  A sample sheet of patterns in colors, with nearly 200 stitches of the simplest but most effective character.  Very valuable to ladies interested in making crazy patchwork.

AN EASY TASK.  An illustrated alphabet in book form – 16 pages, neatly executed.  It furnishes an excellent series of studies in outline drawing for the children.

Above are several ads along with an image of the CRAZY PATCHWORK sheet.  The chromo is from the Art Needlework Department of Barr Dry Goods of St. Louis.  Below is the text from that sheet:


     Crazy Patchwork is the joining together, in odd and original designs, of irregular pieces of silk, velvet, satin, plush or ribbon of different colors and patterns, by silk threads of various colors.

     In making crazy patchwork a foundation of muslin is generally used, and different pieces turned under at the edges are placed on this foundation, matching them together (as nearly as possible) in the shapes they happen to be, the beauty being the irregular pattern when finished.  The edges are then sewed together and to the foundation by invisible stitches, then the fancy stitches are placed along and across the lines where the different pieces come together.  These stitches should be of various colors and designs and should form a contrast to the colors on which they are worked, as the beauty of the work when finished depends largely on the ingenuity and variety of stitches used.

     It is advisable in arranging the irregular pieces, not to make too great a contrast in colors, as for instance a very dark piece should not be put next to a very light one, nor should pieces be put together that do not harmonize in color.  A little judgment displayed in this respect will add greatly to the effectiveness of the work when completed.

     In making quilts or other large pieces, the patchwork is first arranged and finished in blocks about ten inches square.  These blocks being afterwards joined together on a suitable foundation, after which the whole is usually enclosed by a wide border of plush, velvet, or satin, which adds greatly to its attractiveness.

     The greatest scope of fancy is allowed in decorating the fancy pieces, and designs of every kind in the range of imagination from a Spider’s Web to an owl, and from a Kate Greenaway figure to a wheelbarrow are often worked into the patches with a needle.

     The beautiful and unique variety of stitches given in our colored plate, and in the review, is a selection of the best after a careful revision of thousands by one of the leading Artists of the Society of Decorative Art.  By taking a part of one stitch and combining it with a part of another stitch the variety can be indefinitely increased.

Image Key:

  • Top Row: New England (same ad used in The Christian Union), Barr’s Chromo, The Century (similar ad used in Peterson’s Magazine)
  • Bottom Row: US Postal, Harper’s Weekly(top), Sunday School Journal (bottom), Good Housekeeping (Frank Leslie and Peterson’s Magazine also used the ‘Moral’ ad)

Ad Sources:
  • The Times from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 16, 1885; Page 4
  • Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, October 16, 1886; Volume 63, Page 144
  • Good Housekeeping, 1886; Volume 3 (ad section)
  • Harper’s Weekly, 1886;  Volume 30, Page 416
  • Peterson’s Magazine 1886; Volume 90, Back Cover Aug 1886 Vol XC No 2, page 186 is the last numbered page  before back cover)
  • Peterson’s Magazine 1886; Volume 90, Inside Front Cover Sep 1886 Vol XC No 3 page 187 is the next numbered page)
  • Sunday School Journal for teachers and Young People, July 1886; Volume XVIII, No. 7, Inside front cover
  • The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1886; Volume 31 (Page 988, ad section)
  • The Christian Union, December 3, 1885; Volume 32, Number 23, Page 36
  • The New England Magazine and Bay State Monthly, 1886 (ad section)
  • United States Official Postal Guide, 1886; Ad Page 79

A bit about Sapolio:
  • Sapolio was manufactured by Enoch Morgan's Sons Co., established in 1809.
  • World’s best at advertising between 1884 and 1910 – once on top, decided they didn’t need to advertise anymore – led to their demise as market leader within a couple of years.
  • Enoch started making Sapolio in 1869, used to make candles;  Still in existence today – in Peru.
  • Several companies tried to copy the packaging design/coloring for their products, and were sued.
  • Grocers often substituted cheaper goods for Sapolio to make a better profit.

  • The Barr’s chromo ad is in my collection.  The photo was provided by Michael Buehler of Boston Rare Maps due to the delicate nature of the item.
  • Ad sources – some in my collection, most found in Hathi Trust’s Digital Library.
  • Advertising novelties the Dominos and An Easy Tasks booklet are in my collection.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Career of a Crazy Quilt Revisited

Crazy Quilt Sampler
This CQ sampler block was made by Rachel Louise Chipp Everett (1861 - 1949). It was purchased in 2015 from her great-grand-daughter Stephanie Walsh, owner of Swamp Angel Antiques in the Catskills, NY.  This piece embodies many of the motifs and suggestions described Godey’s 1884 story by Dulcie Weir, The Career of a Crazy Quilt. 
In the upper left hand corner there is a spray of leaves painted on silk.  Unfortunately this section has succumbed to shattering, commonly found on the silk used in crazy quilts of that era – heavy metals used in processing the silk to make it weigh more, increased the price paid per pound and gave “rustle to the bustle” but in the long run destroys the silk. 
The top center has a lovely Kate Greenaway motif, the “cute little dog” mentioned in the story. [In the highlighted box is another example of the ‘cute little dog’  found on a CQ dated 1883, maker unknown.]
In the center of the block is a spray of silk flowers that has been appliquéd to the piece and embellished with embroidery stems and leaf veins. 
Just below that and to the left is the iconic Kate Greenaway “little girl sitting on a fence” done in black outline stitch. 
In the lower left hand section there are some daisies done in ribbon embroidery and finished with yellow and green embroidery. 
The bottom center of the block contains purchased Kate Greenaway motifs fastened with tiny stitches around the border of the motifs.  In the 1884 story it mentions “lovely little figures for appliqué were available to purchase” and these figures represent the types of motifs available to the patchwork quilters. 
And lastly we have in the lower right hand corner a fan motif.  These are commonly found in crazy quilts, though not mentioned in the 1884 story, adding fans to crazy quilts was suggested as a design motif in the January and February 1885 issues of Peterson’s magazine.  Fan designs were also used in making wall pockets and pin cushions.  

Rachel Louise Chipp Everett was the third wife of Egbert G Everett and the daughter of Deys and Josephine Chipp; the Everetts had one daughter Mae Adelia Everett. Mae was the wife of Stanley J Matthews Sr.  They had several children, one being Barbara Louise Matthews who married Avery Newcombe  in 1941.  Stephanie Newcombe Walsh is one of the children from that union, and the great-grand-daughter of the maker of this beautiful piece of work that is now in my collection.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Actual Letter from 1885 Asking for Silk and Satin Pieces for a Crazy Cushion

An Actual Letter from 1885

I came across the letter recently of a young woman named Emma V. Gordon  writing to her  dear cousins about her life in Trenton, NJ.  In it she mentions working in a mill, getting ready to start ‘keeping company’ and some of her latest apparel purchases.  At the end she states she is working on a crazy cushion and requests pieces of silk and satin for her project – something to have as a remembrance while looking at her cushion.

I have typed out the contents of the letters – not much in the way of punctuation or sentence structure.  It was a challenge since spell check kept trying to correct everything.  I was not able to find out much on the writer, Emma.  I did find an Emma V. Gordon who was 2 years old in the 1870 census, making her about 17 when this letter was written – but I have no proof that  she is THE Emma that wrote the letter.
Here is the letter:
Trenton March 11th 1885
Dear Cousins
I now take my pen in hand to write you a few lines letting you know how we are getting along I havent been very well myself I have had a very bad cough and it is a hard matter to get rid of it before one cold gets well i get another one somehow and I am very carefull of my self I don’t go out in the night air very much once in a while I go to Church of an evening the Doctors says it nothing but a bad cold i have caught I told them I thought I was getting the Consumption they told me no they said my lungh was all right I fell well enough only the cough Grandpa is about middling, I supose you heard that

grandma was dead it was very suddent to us all and we fell her loss very much she was taking ill on the day that Aunt Amanda was married it was on a sunday  and on a tusday at 5 oclock she died she had been complaing for quite a while she had the Catareah so very bad she died on the 30 of September 1884. I havent been working now for three months on account of the mill getting burned down but we will have work again in a week or so i heard  If I had achance I wouldent like to have come on account of getting more cold but if it had been in the summer time i would like to come there but I havent any chance now but if I do in the summer I will try to get down I hope you all are well

I supose Howard is married by this time and you thinking of getting married  I and just thinging of getting a mash I dont keep company yet I supose Mary Parent is a splendid player on her Organ by this time I dress a great deal better now than I did when i was down to your house I got a splendid newmarket coat this winter it was a seal brown nice an fine an I have a pair of bracelets I had a bonnet this winter they was worn a good deal I am making a crazy cushion but i havent enough pieces of silk an satin to finish it I supose you have some pieces you would give me if I could only get them i would like to have some to remember you by when I would look at the pieces I would always think of you I guess you have

seen the crazy cushions they are very stylish and there is crazy tidies some has both on a chair they look very nice I must bring my letter to a close it is getting late you must excuse me for not writing sooner but i had kept putting it off an i thought i wouldent put it off any longer I send my love to all and a large share for yourself write as soon as you get this letter so I will know that you got it good bye

From your loving Cousin
Emma V Gordon
No 64 Clark Street
New Jersey

Excuse the poor writing and mistakes