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Odds & Ends

First Cloth Woven at Cliffside Mill

Ging·ham (gĭng'ham) n. - A kind of cotton or linen cloth, usually in stripes or checks, the yarn of which is dyed before it is woven; distinguished from printed cotton or prints.

From Internet sources:

“The fabric is woven from yarn-dyed fast colors; better grades are soft, fine combed yarns. Although a plain weave, gingham is woven on box looms with white and colored yarns. A box loom is used when weaving fabrics made with two or more colors in the filling such as bi-color dots or plaid gingham. When woven in two colors gingham is called checked; three or more colors are called plaid.

“Gingham is made of carded or combed, medium or fine yarns, where the coloring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain. Gingham has no right or wrong side regarding color.”

A bluish-green cloth with horizontal and vertical stripes creating the large traditional gingham plaid. A small closer look shows the detail of the weave. Closeup of gingham fabric

This is a piece of the first gingham cloth woven at the Cliffside Mill about 1901. (A closer view above.) Donated by Mabel Anne Bridges Cargill on the eve of her 85th birthday in her hometown, Cliffside, on October 10, 1993.

Mrs. Cargill's father was Boyce Bridges, Sr., one of the early employees in the weaving department, who very well may have witnessed this piece of cloth being made. The company stopped making gingham in the late 1920s as cheaper store-bought clothes (made of more popular fabrics) became available. The mill's advertising usually mentioned “staple” and “fancy” grades of gingham. The fancy grade had a closer weave and finer threads.

From the Cliffside Historical Society archives.