Saturday, December 22, 2007

Walter P. Webber, Mail Order System

Walter P. Webber's of Lynn, Mass. was established in 1890. They sold both iron-on and perforated patterns, along with pre-stamped goods and fancy work materials. According to the 1880 census, Walter P. Webber was born in 1859, and was working as a telegraph operator. He was single and 21 years old, making him 31 when he started his mail order service.

I did some research using the Lynn, Mass. directories (they can be found at ). Several stamping pattern companies were located in Lynn - J. F. Ingalls, T.E. Parker and Walter P. Webber that I know of.

Webber's was still listed in the 1934 directory. The address in both the 1934 and 1917 city directories is: 73 Harwood Road.

In 1893, they published Webber's Illustrated Catalogue of New Stamping Outfits. (I unfortunatley do not have it.) According to 'A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1744-1900,' By Lawrence B. Romain, Page 115:

1893 Lynn NNMMWEBBER, WALTER P. Webber's ill. catalog of new patterns for fabrics, stamping outfits and supplies. 44pp. of designs and ills. In wrap.

What I do have is the 1913-14, Walter P. Webber's Catalog of Modern Embroidery. In this catalog, they are sold both iron-on and perforated patterns. They have a child's 'kindergarden apron' that is stamped with a Bernhardt Wall image from his 'summer sunbonnets' postcard.

The other one I have is The Art of Embroidery and Illustrated Description of Fancy Stitches, Tinted Art Novelties and Linen Stamped Goods. This booklet is undated, but there is a calendar page from April 29, 1896 inserted in it.

The Directories:
Webber is in both 1he 1917 and the 1934 directory. The directores list the person's name, occupation, address of employment and living address. Doing a search on the company address yielded names of the people who worked there (and lived in Lynn, Mass.).

1917 Lynn City Directory
Webber Walter P (Lizzie L) embroideries 73 Harwood h 75 do
Ashworth Anna M designer 73 Harwood bds 10 Jones ter
Knowlton Helen J clerk 73 Harwood b 33 Bloomfield
Robinson Dorotha clerk 73 Harwood bds 48 Whiting
Stevens Mildred J clerk 73 Harwood b 75 do
Story William P com tray 73 Harwood h at Salem

1934 Lynn City Directory
Webber Walter P (Mildred J) embroideries 73 Harwood h 75 do
Arnold Irene clk 73 Harwood r 33 Brimblecom
Keating Lester E (Alice E) stamper 73 Harwood h 48 Barrett
Legro Luella F forwmn 73 Harwood r 671Western av
Mess Lydia A Mrs stitcher 73 Harwood r 274 Boston
Packard Esther M Mrs bkpr 73 Harwood h 5 Chase
Smith Alice M Mrs stitcher 73 Harwood r 604 Essex
Smith Paul T ctr 73 Harwood r 5 Chase

TAX LIST - April 1, 1919 - April 1, 1920
Webber, Walter P., 75 Harwood 60 1.30
Webber, Walter P., Inc., 75 Harwood 1550 33.64

b or bds - boards; bkpr - bookkeeper; clk - clerk; ctr - cutter; do - ditto; h - house; rd - road; rms - rooms

An interesting thing to note, is that Walter Webber lived next door to his business, and in the 1934 directory, the 1917 clerk, Mildred J. Stevens - who also lived in his home then, was now listed as his wife.

In the 1910 census, Lizzie S. is listed as Walter's spouse, whereas in the 1920 and 1930 census, Mildred J. is listed as the spouse. Some where between 1917 and 1920, either Lizzie died, or something, but by 1920, Mildred was now the wife.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mrs. Farnham's Catalogue of Stamping Patterns

Here is another great resource for Victorian embroidery motifs. Deborah Harding (author of Red and White: American Redwork Quilts and Patterns) and the Michigan Museum has made this ca. 1886 catalog available on cd or b/w copy book. The official title of this catalogue is:

Catalogue of Stamping Patterns Embracing All of the Latest and Choicest Designs Used in Connection with the Illustrated Catalogue “Home Beautiful,” A Treatise of Decorative Art Needlework and Embroidery Materials

by Mrs. T.G. Farnham

Quite a mouthful. You can order the cd via their web site at:

This catalog has hundreds of motifs. I haven't done a full check on them, but they are very similar to the Briggs, Ingalls and Bentley catalogs. The catalog is for perforated stamping patterns (so are Ingalls and Bentley's). Only the Briggs are hot-iron transfer patterns.

I have an original copy of Mrs. Farnham's price list - which is a pre-cursor to the illustrated catalog. It is mostly just a listing of the motifs, along with the price. There are only a few illustrations in this booklet.

Home Beautiful. A Descriptive Catalogue of Art Needle Work; with Illustrated Designs and Prices, by Mrs. T.G. Farnham, New York, c. 1884

Briggs & Company

I have had the good fortune in getting two wonderful resources. First, I got the Album of Transfer Patterns (c. 1903) published by the Wm. Briggs & Company.

Album Briggs Transfer Papers - 4 books bound as 1
Floral (224 pages); Artistic Conventional (borders, sprays, corners, etc., 72 pages); Scallops (edgings, flannel designs, 36 pages); and Initials & Monograms (18 pages)

This is the catalog that these 2 Dover books are from:
Designs and Patterns for Embroiderers and Craftspeople (ISBN: 0486230309) William Briggs & Co.; Editor-Marion Nichols and 400 Floral Motifs for Designers, Needleworkers and Craftspeople (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) (ISBN: 0486251624) Briggs & Co.

I went through some of the pages of the Dover books and found the patterns in the Album Briggs Transfer Papers. It was a fun afternoon for me.

The second book I found is a leather and cloth bound salesman sample book called "Briggs and Compy's Patent Book". It has 130 pages of the actual wax transfer patterns - transferred to the pages of the book. Hand written notations indicate the pattern number and other notes, such as 'Kate Greenaway Children' or 'splashers'.

The book dates prior to 1895, when the company became Wm. Briggs & Company. What is neat about this book, is that the motifs are 'actual size' whereas the catalogues have smaller images.

The patterns range in color from a blue-black, black and red. Note: The tissue transfer patterns I have (I Weighed Rose-Mary, etc.) were done in a red-brown wax transfer color.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I've Weighed Rose-Mary

Hello, I just finished drafting the I've Weighed Rose-Mary motif from the 1879 Briggs wax transfers sheet No. CC, patented on October 14, 1879.

Just a note, this is posted for your personal use only, not for profit. Thanks, Louise

1879 Briggs Transfer - No. CC

Briggs Patent

Patented October 14, 1879

No. CC

1879 Briggs Transfer - No.BB

Briggs Patent

Patented October 14, 1879

No. BB

1879 Transfer Images - No. AA

Briggs Patent

Patented October 14, 1879

No. AA

Briggs & Co. - 1879 Patented Transfers

Briggs & Co. was founded in 1874. They invented the iron-on transfer method for embroidery. I just recently found some wax transfer sheets, patented dated October 14, 1879.

In 1895, the company was incorporated and became William Briggs & Co. That company joined Coats in 1939, and is still in existence today. The company became famous for traced linens and heat transfer printing after WWI. They made embroidery and needlepoint kits under the brands Penelope, Anchor and Fleur de Lis. Today William Briggs produces tapestry wool and kits for Coats companies around the world. The William Briggs Mill is located at the Halliwell Business Park in Bolton, UK.

I have several of the early catalogs, from Briggs & Co., that have printed illustrations of the stamped pattern motifs that had available. The early catalogs were imprinted with "Briggs Patent" on the cover in gold lettering. They are cloth-bound, with brown, blue or burgundy covers. They are not dated, but are prior to 1895 when the company incorporated.

Kate Greenaway designs were in the catalogs, mostly for splashers. They also released a booklet catalog called Village Scenes which was dedicated to illustrations by Kate.

Dover has put out a couple of books of Briggs' designs and are readily available:

Designs and Patterns for Embroiderers and Craftsmen: 512 Motifs from the William Briggs Company Album of Transfer Patterns by Marion Nichols

400 Floral Motifs for Designers, Needleworkers and Craftspeople by Briggs & Co. (Author), Carol Belanger Grafton (Editor)

The original catalogs are much harder to find - I am lucky to have several of them.

J.F. Ingalls was a "Special Mail Agent" for Briggs and imported the patterns for the American consumers. Briggs & Co. had ads in the Ingalls' magazines in other publications. Ingalls also published a paperboard copy of the Brigg's Transferring Papers catalog and provided copies to its subscribers.

Now Back to the Wax Transfer Sheets:

The tissue transfers are very fragile and there was a significant amount of bleed-through between the tissues. I photo copied the tissues and used a LOT of white-out to remove the extraneous lines. I recopied the white out sheets, cut and pasted them together and reduced them to 25% so I could show them to you.

These are part of a Stamping Outfit that was sold for about $1.00. 100 designs, plus a catalog and a few booklets came in the outfit. These three sheets contain 65 patterns - there probably was another 30 image sheet and another 5 image sheet (just a guess on my part) in the outfit.

See the next entry to see the wax transfer images.

Friday, July 20, 2007

J.F. Ingalls - Listing of Publications

I have summarized a listing of publications I have documented what the J.F. Ingalls' company of Lynn, Mass. published. I have several of these (but not all) in my collection.

J.F.Ingalls, 67 Whiting Street, Lynn, Mass.
Publisher J.F.Ingalls of Lynn, Massachusetts established a mail order business in 1878. Shortly afterwards, J.F. Ingalls published “Briggs' Patent Transferring Designs (patented for the United States of America),” a book of transfer patterns available from Briggs, a UK company founded in 1874. Today, the William Briggs Company is part of Coats Craft UK.

J.F. Ingalls published several how-to instructions booklets, such as:

Ingalls Manual of Fancy Work (1882), 37 pages.

Ingalls Hand Book of Crochet and Knitted Lace (1883), 48 pages, 5.5 x 4.25 inches. Directions and illustrations for an assortment of lace edgings, both knitted and crocheted.

Instructions for Patchwork (1884), 34 pages, 5.817 x 4.125 inches, 15 cents. "It is Very Popular to Make Tidies, Mats, Sofa Pillows, Afghans, Bed Spreads, etc., of Small Pieces of Silk and Satin."

The Jenny June Series of Manuals for Ladies. Knitting and Crochet. A Guide to the Use of The Needle and the Hook. 200 Illustrations. Edited by Jenny June (1885), 144 pages.

Kensington Embroidery and the Colors of Flowers (1885), 72 pages, 35 cents

Instructions for Kensington, Lustra and Hand Painting (1886), 48 pages.

Brush Studies (1886), by Lida Clarkson, J. F. Ingalls, Publisher, 104 pages, 5.4 x 7.8 inches. 1886 New Edition, Revised and enlarged, with additional notes and suggestions; 1885, originally published in Ladies' Home Journal. 1888 and later version of this were also published.

Perforated Stamping Patterns
In the mid-1880’s, Ingalls published a catalog listing of available perforated patterns, plus an illustrated version of the designs. Later on, the catalogs were given to magazine subscribers as premiums for ordering or starting an embroidery club.

Catalogue and price list of our perforated parchment stamping patterns, (undated)

New Sample Book of Our Artistic Perforated Parchment Stamping Patterns (1886), 254 pages, 25 cents. (Note this is the catalog John Governale posted on his blog Exceedingly Curious at

Ingalls’ Home Magazine
In November of 1887, J.F. Ingalls began publishing the Ingalls’ Home Magazine, a monthly publication devoted to art and fancy work. Subscriptions were $1.00 for the year. Each issue had illustrations for stamping patterns to be used for tidies, splashers, aprons, household linens, etc. Tidies were used on the backs of chairs to protect furniture or to cover up laundry. Spashers were tacked on the walls behind wash basins to protect them from water damage. Many splashers had water related scenes – cranes, swans, fishing, water lilies, etc.

After three years, the magazine changed its name to Ingall's Home and Art Magazine. They continued to sell stamping patterns – their own and Briggs’. They also published instruction booklets on how to use the stamping patterns.

Ingalls' Instruction Book (1889), 16 pages, 6 x 4 inches. Directions for Stamping with Perforated Parchment Patterns, Hand-Painting, Lustra Painting, Kensington Painting, advertisement for Catalogue of Stamping Patterns.

The Ingalls’ Home and Art Magazine continued until at least March 1893, and maybe until July 1894.

According to The Writer: A Monthly Magazine for Literary Workers, Volume VIII, Boston, June, 1895, No. 6, Page 90: The Ingalls’ Home Magazine, published by J. Fred Ingalls, and the Modern Priscilla, published by T.E. Parker, both of Lynn, have been sold to W.N. Hartshorn, of Boston, publisher of the Household. They will be combined, and issued in the future from Boston, under Priscilla name.

Other J.F. Ingalls Publications
In December of 1898, J. F. Ingalls is listed as the publisher of The Needleworker, "A Monthly Magazine Devoted To Fancy Work," with Anna Thomas Roberts as editor and designer, 9 x 11.5 inch format.

Ingalls’ Fancy Work Book (1911), a 16 page mail order catalog from "Ingalls' Mail Order Business--established in 1878." At the top it says "we have been in the mail order business selling goods by mail for thirty-three years." The address “67 Whiting Street, Lynn, Mass." is listed on the bottom.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Series Quilts – Newspapers and Magazines

In 1916, Ruby Short published the first (at least that I know of) series quilt pattern called Quaddy Quiltie, see image on right. It is also known as the Bedtime Stories Quilt, and was based on the animal characters from Thornton Burgess’ Bedtime Stories. Ruby married in 1917, and became Ruby Short McKim. Her patterns, along with the Nancy Page Quilt Club, were syndicated in newspapers throughout the country. Several newspapers had their own staff design the quilt patterns, for example, Margaret Techy for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Throughout the 20’s and 30’s newspapers used the series quilts to boost their circulation. Many ran contests for the completed quilts. The popularity of the series patterns began to wane in the early 1940’s, as did the outline-embroidery needlework. Here is a listing of the various series quilts I have found over the years. I have many of these, not always complete – either the original clippings or a photocopy.

Ruby Short McKim (McKim Studios)
Quaddy Quiltie, Mother Goose Quiltie, Nursery Rhyme, Rhyme Land Quilt, Roly-Poly Circus, Fruit Basket, Flower Basket, A Jolly Circus, Child Life Quilt, Alice in Wonderland Quiltie, Flower Garden, Bird Life or Audubon Quilt, Three Little Pigs, Colonial History, Bible History, Farm Life, Peter Pan, State Flowers, Wild Flowers, Toy Shop Window, Patchwork Sampler, Parade of States, American Ships

Nancy Page (Florence LaGanke)
ABC Quilt, Snowflake Quilt, French Bouquet, Garden Bouquet, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Magic Vine, Buckle My Shoe, Laurel Wreath, Calendar, Zodiac Quilt, Falling Leaves, Many Stars, Quilt of Birds, Brother Sister Quilt, Wreath Series

Margaret Techy (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Old English, Ohio Flower, Fruit Quilt, Medieval Quilt, All-Sports

Eveline Foland (Kansas City Star)
Santa’s Parade, Memory Bouquet, Horn of Plenty

C. Mullen
Nursery Rhyme Quilt, Modernistic Flower

Aileen Bullard/Cox Features
Happy Childhood

Nadine Bradley (Omaha World Herald)
State Birds and Flower Quilt

Mary Erckenbrack
Old Glory

Laverne Bartos (Omaha World Herald)
Nursery Rhyme, Costumes of Nationalities

Harry Rasmussen (Omaha World Herald)
Big Top Circus

John F. Dille Co.
Flower Basket

Misc – Designer Unknown
Noah’s Ark (Seattle Star), Covered Wagon States (Omaha World Herald), Mother Goose (Detroit News), Golden West (Seattle Star), All American Quilt (The Record)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Types of Ephemera in my Collection

Here are some of the items that are in the collection:

- Ladies Art Company catalogs (1897-1930’s)
- Briggs & Company and Wm Briggs & Company (Transferring Pattern Catalogs,
Monogram Patterns)
- J.F. Ingalls (Booklets, Stamping Pattern Catalogs, Home Magazing, Home & Art
Magazine, Fancy Work Magazine)
- Other Stamping Pattern Company Catalogs & Designs (T.E. Parker, Bentleys, H.
Duff McDonald and others)
- Ruby Short McKim / McKim Studios (Kansas City Star, 101 Patchwork Patterns,
Designs Worth Doing, Patchwork Patterns)
- Newspaper Series Quilts (McKim Studios, Eveline Foland, Nancy Page/Florence
LaGanke, Margaret Techy, Nadine Bradley, C. Mullen, etc.)
- Pioneering Quilt Books (Marie Webster, Ruth Finley, Ruby Short McKim, Carrie
Hall & Rose Kretsinger, Florence Peto, Carlie Sexton, Mrs. Danner’s, Anne Orr)
- Batting Supply Companies (Mountain Mist, Lockport Batting, Rock River, Taylor
Bedding, Union Wadding Company)
- Pattern Companies: Grandmother Clark, Alice Brooks, Laura Wheeler, Aunt
Martha / Colonial Patterns, Aunt Ellen's / Workbasket, Virginia Snow Studios /
Grandma Dexter, Home Art Studios / Hubert Ver Mehren
- Magazines (Woman’s World, Child Life, Better Homes & Gardens, Home Friend,
Successful Farming, others)
- Quilt / Quilting Patterns (Kansas City Star, Omaha World-Herald, Cleveland Plain
Dealer, etc.)

This is a partial list - I keep adding to the collection as I find new things of interest.

Why I Collect Quilt Ephemera

Quilt Ephemera from the late 1800's to the early 1900's

I am dedicated to the preservation and documenting of quilt ephemera. As the old quilters leave us, many leave behind their prized collections of clippings, batting wrappers, pamphlets and booklets. These are often found in tattered old paper-board boxes, sometimes tied together with ribbons. In many cases, these are discarded and lost forever. It is important to future generations of quilters to be able to identify these old patterns to help date the quilts made from them.

Once I rescue them from estate or garage sales, or purchase them from vintage paper dealers, the patterns are placed in acid free plastic sleeves, ready to be shared with my fellow quilters. I have several vintage quilts, tops and blocks that correspond to the old patterns.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Hello, I have been collecting quilt related ephemera for over 5 years and want to share with you my findings. My collection dates from the late 1800's to the mid-1900's. My main focus areas are: series quilts (and their designers) published in newspapers across the country from the mid-teens to the mid-1949's; the Ladies Art Company and early redwork embroidery. I have blocks, tops and quilts that correspond to many of the series quilts and early redwork.

I guess my fondness for needlework started when I learned redwork it at my mother's knee when I was six years old. My paternal grandmother taught me to sew on the machine when I was eight. By the time I was ten, I had mastered knitting, crocheting, embroidery and sewing.

As time permits, I will post information regarding my research. I hope you enjoy it.