This object is currently resting in our storage facility. There are 12 other images of this object. See our image rights statement.


See more objects with the color tan darkslategrey dimgrey grey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline



  • We acquired this object.


  • You found it!

Coverlet (USA), early 19th century

This is a coverlet. It is dated early 19th century and we acquired it in 2010. Its medium is cotton, wool and its technique is two intercrossed plain weave structures (double cloth). It is a part of the Textiles department.

The American woven coverlet presents an appealing visual record of the patterns and designs of the 18th and 19th centuries. Prior to the arrival of the Jacquard attachment in the United States in the early 1820s, coverlets like this one were woven at home or in shops on small looms in narrow widths and were then whip stitched together to make a bed-size coverlet. Coverlets come in a variety of weave structures and frequently are double cloths, a technique introduced to the United States by weavers from the British Isles and Germany, who also brought their traditional European coverlet designs to the United States. The double cloth coverlet was woven mainly by professionals using a multi-shaft loom. It was the most expensive to weave given that the double warp and weft used a large quantity of yarn. This also made it the warmest of coverlets. To weave a coverlet with strong graphic motifs like those found on this particular coverlet would require a loom with up to 20 shafts. Geometric patterning predominates on coverlets from this period. Weavers referred to these graphic elements with names like stars, chains, roses, knots, and rings.
This particular Pennsylvania coverlet was made in the early 19th century, probably before the arrival of the Jacquard attachment, and is a reversible double cloth of cotton and wool in dark blue, light brown and off-white. The woven design consists of a central field with a single “snowball” pattern enclosed by intersecting circles and a “pine tree” motif for the border. The coverlet was made by stitching two woven lengths up the center. The top edge is hemmed and there is fringe on three sides.
The bold and graphic nature of these coverlets cannot be expressed in a small fragment—too much of the visual impact is lost. At the time of proposed acquisition, the museum holds many smaller examples of woven coverlet structures and patterns. This coverlet’s large size would make it an important addition to the museum’s collection.

This object was purchased from The Hershey Story and fund: General Acquisitions Endowment. It is credited Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

Its dimensions are

Warp x Weft: 222.3 x 205.7 cm (87 1/2 x 81 in.)

Cite this object as

Coverlet (USA), early 19th century. cotton, wool. Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund. 2010-9-1.

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Coverlet (USA), early 19th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 November 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

If you would like to tell us more about an object or have found an error in an object record, please let us know!