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Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red, late 19th–early 20th century

This is a sample book. It was made for Sun and Lion Brand. It is dated late 19th–early 20th century and we acquired it in 1967. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The term Turkey red refers not to a dye, but to a technique for dyeing cotton a brilliant, wash-fast scarlet red, practiced throughout the Ottoman Empire but unknown in Europe. In order to discover the secret process for themselves, textile firms in England and France sent industrial spies to Turkey and Greece, or imported master dyers and established them at their workshops.
The process was labor-intensive and difficult, requiring 15 to 20 steps, including multiple baths in lye, potash, sheep dung, ox blood, and rancid olive oil. The technique was not adaptable to calico printing, and could only be used for dyeing yarns, or, with some difficulty, whole cloth. This sample book contains twenty-eight solid red samples of varying weights of cotton cloth, from batiste to canvas.

This object was donated by Harvey Smith. It is credited Gift of Harvey Smith.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (closed): 14 x 19.7 x 1.9 cm (5 1/2 x 7 3/4 x 3/4 in.) H x W (open): 14 x 32.1 cm (5 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Genuine Turkey Red. Sun and Lion Brand.

Cite this object as

Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red, late 19th–early 20th century. Gift of Harvey Smith. 1967-20-35.

We have 1 video that features Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red, late 19th–early 20th century.

Collections in Motion: Turkey Red Sample Book

Demonstration of the Turkey Red Sample Book being opened, closed, and pages turned.

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sample Book, Genuine Turkey Red, late 19th–early 20th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 November 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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