461 swatches of fabric pasted on cards arranged in an accordion fold book. Manufacturer's number on each swatch. Book covered in marbleized paper. Samples are either cotton warp and cotton weft or linen warp and cotton weft. Contains examples of block printing.


  • Title: Salesman's sample book
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1784
  • Type: Salesman's sample book
  • Rights: Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. Samuel W. Bridgham
  • Medium: Medium: marbleized paper, cardboard, cotton, linen Technique: printed on plain weave, twill weaves, float weaves (damask), supplementary weft pile (velveteen). 108 examples are block-printed.
  • Viewing Notes: Multiple Choice: From Sample to ProductThe technique for weaving Manchester velvets, long-wearing cotton textiles used for men's waistcoats and breeches, was a closely guarded manufacturers' secret. In a famous example of industrial espionage, English expatriate John Holker secretly handed over more than one hundred samples of Manchester velvet and other British textiles to the French.
  • Inscribed: Ex HB or FB N5 (?) & Co 18 Mrch 1784
  • Exhibitions: Color by the Yard: Printed fabric 1760 to 1860. Nov. 2, 1987 to March 13, 1988.New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, "Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product," Nov. 9, 2007 through Sept. 11, 2008.
  • Dimensions: H x W (closed): 24.8 x 16.5 cm (9 3/4 x 6 1/2 in.)H x W (open): 24.8 x 259.1 cm (9 3/4 in. x 8 ft. 6 in.)H x W (each swatch): 2.5 x 4.1 cm (1 x 1 5/8 in.)

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