Newcomb Loom Works quilt pattern cards

An often-overlooked source of late 19th century quilt patterns is Newcomb Loom Works of Davenport, Iowa. Founded by Charles Newcomb in 1889, this manufacturer of home looms aimed its products at women, suggesting that weaving rugs and other textiles (on Davenport looms with unthreatening names like Little Daisy and Weaver's Friend) would be a good way for women to earn money.

Like many manufacturers of the era including Singer, Newcomb distributed trade cards to develop name recognition and encourage business.  Newcomb's were sure to get women's attention:  they consisted of brightly-colored quilt block patterns (many of which were identical to those sold by Ladies Art Company, which also started business in the late 1880s).  Like Ladies Art, Newcomb offered full-sized patterns for 10 cents, but most quilters probably drafted their own from the illustrations.  Following are some of the Newcomb trade cards in circulation in the decades surrounding the turn of the century. (If you have additional Newcomb patterns you'd like to share, I'd be happy to publish them here - just email me a scan. Many thanks to Kim Smith for providing cards from her grandmother's collection.)

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