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Object Timeline

1920

  • Work on this object began.

1944

  • We acquired this object.

1991

2012

2020

  • You found it!

Sidewall (USA), 1920

This is a Sidewall. It was produced by M.H. Birge & Sons Co.. It is dated 1920 and we acquired it in 1944. Its medium is block-printed paper, embossed, hand-rubbed oil finish. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Leather papers copy exactly the grain, patterns, and coloring of antique leathers. This design contains a very elaborate embossing simulating an antique leather. Leather papers were a high-end wallpaper popular beginning in the late 19th century, with a renewed interest during the Colonial Revival periodt in the early 20th century.
Founded in 1834, the Birge Company was the oldest existing wallpaper company in America when the company was sold to a Canadian concern in 1959. Receiving much accolade for their imitation leather papers, Birge produced these papers in both historic and contemporary styling. They also worked in actual leather if requested by a client. Leather papers were expensive because they were essentially a handmade product. The paper support was necessarily a very substantial weight to withstand the embossing. The papers are block-printed, then embossed, then antiqued or glazed by hand with an oil color.

This object was donated by M.H. Birge & Sons Co.. It is credited Gift of Birge Co., Inc..

Its dimensions are

53.5 x 48.5 cm (21 1/16 x 19 1/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall (USA), 1920; Produced by M.H. Birge & Sons Co. (United States); block-printed paper, embossed, hand-rubbed oil finish; 53.5 x 48.5 cm (21 1/16 x 19 1/8 in.); Gift of Birge Co., Inc.; 1944-79-19

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Cooper-Hewitt Collections: A Design Resource.

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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=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18572263/ |title=Sidewall (USA), 1920 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 April 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>