Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Grain Harvest | Flour Sack Patterns | Lincoln Log Quilt


Thick, heavy, and durable canvas and linen bags called feedsacks were used in the mid-19th century for the storage and transport of solid bulk staples such as flour, grains, seeds and animal feed. Prior to this time wooden barrels; which would leak, and tins; which would rust, were used to handle bulk liquid and solid items. 

A farmer would have his name stamped on his bag so it could be returned and refilled. The canvas fabric made from hemp and the linen fabric made from flax was replaced in the late 19th century by strong and inexpensive cotton.
The recycling process continued when people buying bulk goods began using the cotton fabric for dishtowels, aprons, and dresses. Industrious feed store suppliers began printing colorful patterns on the fabric to entice farmers to buy more of their bulk products.
Feedsacks or “commodity bags” used to hold finer sized grains; flour, sugar and salt were tightly woven.
Larger grained animal feed such as corn was placed in loosely woven Osnaburg, originally made from flax.
U.S. textile mills producing feedsack material were:
  • Bemis Brothers Bag Company founded in St. Louis, Missouri (1858), with additional locations in Tennessee and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Chase Bag Company, Boston, Massachusetts (founded 1847).
  • Percy Kent, founded in Brooklyn, NY (1883), with locations in Buffalo, NY. Major textile designer, August Charles Barton (1897-1960).
  • Fulton Bag Company and Cotton Mills founded Atlanta, Georgia (1865).
  • Pacific Mill, Lawrence, Massachusetts and Columbia, South Carolina.

Lincoln Log Quilt

Aunt Mary's Quilt made circa 1955 from printed cotton flour sacks.
All the prints in this quilt came from a flour mill in Henderson, Kentucky.

Very colorful array of prints selected for Lincoln Log quilt.

Pinterest: Cotton Commodity bag advertisements.

1 Banning, JL. "FEED SACK FASHIONS IN SOUTH LOUISIANA, 1949-1968 ..." 2005.

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