National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Printed Textile Printed Textile
Rendered by Joseph Lubrano (artist), c. 1941
watercolor on paperboard
overall: 36.5 x 29 cm (14 3/8 x 11 7/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 24" wide
Index of American Design
1943.8.950
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 12 of 17

In America, commercial production of printed textiles was a profitable business by 1800. While the growth of the textile industry in America was encouraged by the availability of cheap cotton and by protective tariffs, mechanization was the key to an expanding textile industry. Mechanical spinning was introduced in Rhode Island in 1789, and the power loom came into use in 1814. With these machines American mills accelerated and vastly increased the production of textiles. The tedious wood-block technique gave way to the more expeditious process of roller printing, that is, using metal cylinders with engraved surface designs as the means by which patterns were transferred to fabric. By the middle of the nineteenth century, textile mills were flourishing throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Fall River, Massachusetts, became an important textile manufacturing and printing center, and among the factories in that location, Andrew Robeson and Company was pre-eminent. Here is a cotton print produced by the Robeson Company between 1834 and 1848 and bearing the company's label. The fabric is woven in stripes of white and soft yellow. The striped design is overlaid with a floral pattern printed in black and red and reminiscent of the floral forms seen in Indian fabrics. The delicacy of the printed pattern is in keeping with the refinement of the colors and justifies the many awards the company received for the "fineness" of their products.

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