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Calico Printer

1780 - 1820 (c.)

Calico is a type of cloth, heavier than linen and made of cotton. A calico printer drew a pattern on paper, as wide as the cloth. The pattern was divided up into squares about 8 inches by 12 inches and cut into wooden blocks. The cloth was laid on a table and the blocks covered with dye and placed on the calico to make the print. The picture shows this process and completed calico hanging from the ceilings as it dries. The calico printer had to be careful to ensure the pattern remained regular.

Source: The Book of Trades or Library of the Useful Arts, 1806

Donated by: Birmingham Central Library, Science and Technology