Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tracing a Piece of Crane's Bond History

I was rooting around in the Crane archives the other day and came across some items that I had forgotten about. They had been sent to me by a visitor to the Crane Museum of Papermaking who had heard the stories about the uses to which Crane's Bond had been put over the years.

In this case (and I'm not sure if I have the terminology correct) Bond was used as the substrate for perforated sewing patterns. I know it's Bond because the paper is watermarked Crane & Co. Dalton Mass, 1890 Bond. It's a gorgeous sheet - crisp, rattly and translucent - weighing in at about 16 pounds (writing paper is generally 24 pounds).

My understanding is that these patterns were perforated with designs ranging from simple to ornate. To transfer the design to fabric, you would dust the sheet with some fine chalk, then start sewing where the fabric has been marked.

The archives yielded three alphabets - one called "motto" - which is quite simple; the other two are, well, Victorian, I would have to say. They are so ornately designed, the manufacturer has printed the corresponding letter on the sheet so you will know it's a "D."

The perforated letters are pretty much impossible for me to photograph, so I scanned one in and bumped up the contrast so I could trace it.

I'm thinking with some work, these would make an awesome set of initial notes. Your thoughts?

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