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Object Timeline

2017

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Cigar Band Table Cover (United States), 1880–1900

This is a Cigar band table cover. It is dated 1880–1900 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is silk, cotton, cotton backing and its technique is printed, sewn, embroidered. It is a part of the Textiles department.

From the late 19th century to the first decade of the 20th century, there was a mania for all things tobacco. Tobacco companies included with their products a range of collectible cigarette silks, cigar ribbons, and coupons which could be traded for premiums or special promotional prizes. Cigarette silks were rectangular illustrated inserts produced in series ranging from movie stars and sports players to flowers and flags. Cigar ribbons, on the other hand, were printed only with the tobacco brand name, and were used to wrap bundles of cigars.

Much of the popularity of “tobacciana” stemmed from the fact that the inserts were free and reusable, and as such, almost everyone had access to these objects. Ladies’ magazines popularized the fad of creating table coverings and pillowcases from cigarette silks and cigar ribbons, particularly for smoking rooms and parlors.

This “parlor throw,” was created by straight-stitching the ribbons onto a muslin foundation. The ribbons came mostly in orange and yellow with the brand name in black lettering. Typography is integral in the design of this table covering, and the ribbons are embellished with feather-stitch embroidery to complement the black lettering. A heavily fringed table covering like this one is rare, simply because it might take years to collect the number of cigar ribbons needed.

This object was donated by Elena Phipps. It is credited Gift of Elena Phipps.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 128.3 × 128.3 cm (50 1/2 × 50 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Cigar Band Table Cover (United States), 1880–1900; silk, cotton, cotton backing; H x W: 128.3 × 128.3 cm (50 1/2 × 50 1/2 in.); Gift of Elena Phipps; 2017-5-1

This object has no known Copyright restrictions.

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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/68731043/ |title=Cigar Band Table Cover (United States), 1880–1900 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=26 May 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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