Saturday, November 10, 2007


Ever wonder what that little bar was for across the top of an old wash table? Or did you assume it was to hang a hand towel on, like I always assumed. This week I finally found out what that little bar was really for. All was reviled to me in a magazine called Quilters Home (more about the mag. after this). At the turn of the 19th century needle work darned almost everything in the home. Cloths called "over towels" or mangle cloths" were used to throw over unsightly dirty laundry, to covering hair brushes and combs on the vanity, silverware, food, clothes and anything else that could be ruined from flying ash and coal residue. Along with everything else needing protection, wall paper needed to be protected too. The needle work cloths that protected these beautiful walls were called splashers. Most splasher's were rectangular shaped with three finished sides and normally adorned in red or blue needle work. Splashers were either attached directly to the walls or slid onto a rod on the back of a wash table to protect the walls from soap and water. In a day when kitchens did not have tile back splashes like today thy needed something to protect their fancy wall paper from "splashes". They first served a purpose to protect, and second added to home decor. There were very "en vogue".

Apparently splashers are hard to find in good condition because they were washed all the time.
The following is a quot from Ann Hazelwood in the Quilters Home magazine Nov/Dec issue. "Finding splashers to purchase and collect is a challenge, but that's like a green light to most of us historical textile lovers. The hunt is half the fun. Because of their origin in more populated areas in the 1880's and 1890's, splashers are easier to find on the East coast."

O.K. about the magazine. A friend of mine in Ontario Canada told me I needed to get this magazine because it was great and that she read it from cover to cover. It's "For the new generation of quilters"and has more than just quilting. I looked, and looked, and looked for 3 months in every store that carried magazines and no one had it. Not even Wal-mart! I thought Wal-mart had everything. Not so! I gave up on my quest to find it. One day I was at my local grocery store that has a little 3'x4' foot magazine rack. I had picked something up and turned around when my eyes fell on the words "Quilters Home". I was shocked! This little store was the last place I would have expected to find it. I told the lady at the check out about my experience trying to find this magazine and she told me they don't pick the magazines, the company just sends what ever to them. I guess I am not guarantied they will have the next issue but that is the first place I am going to look come December. If all else fails Quilters Home just became available for mail order in October. Nancy you were right, it's a great read!

I found this article very interesting, I very much like history, genealogy and preserving the past. I love to learn about my ancestors and about the world they lived in, which is very different from my own. Tell me what you think about splashers! Do you collect them? If so how did you come about them? I would love to hear your stories!

For more info on splashers get Mark Lipinski's Quitlers Home November/December issue.

1 comment:

lunachick said...

I haven't ever heard of splashers. That is very interesting. I am starting to become very interested in the history of quilting and the different quilt blocks. Thanks for sharing.