The Bartelemy, Lyford & Ailing Coverlets, …Tied Beiderwald Woven, w/. Jacquard Attachment.


The Museum had a happy event the other day. Kyle & Carol Morison stopped by. They brought a beautiful coverlet, woven in 1847 by Jacob Bartelemy of New Britain, in Stark Co., Ohio. (Jacob is listed in the famous reference book on coverlets, “American Coverlets and Their Weavers. -Coverlets From the Collection of Foster & Muriel McCarl”.)

The red, white and blue coverlet is a Tied Beiderwand (which is a German term referring to the structure of the weave). The coverlet was woven using a Jacquard Attachment on the loom instead of using the much more commonly used heddles & harness. Jacquard equipped looms were almost always owned and used by full time, professional weavers and are now quite rare, with the few remaining examples in museums.

(The Jacquard Attachment was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804. It enabled looms to produce fabrics having intricate woven patterns. The loom was controlled by a number of punched cards laced together into a continuous sequence, or “chain”. Multiple rows of holes were punched on each card, with one complete card corresponding to one row of the design.  This mechanism is probably one of the most important weaving inventions as Jacquard shedding made possible the automatic production of unlimited varieties of pattern weaving. The term “Jacquard” is not specific or limited to any particular loom, but rather refers to the added control mechanism that automates the patterning.)

The coverlet remains in wonderful condition, in part because it has been so carefully protected by the descendants of the Fulmer Family. The Fulmer’s lived on the family farm in Greentown, Stark Co. (midway between Akron & Canton, Ohio). They purchased the coverlet directly from Jacob Bartelemy, in 1847. It was then handed down to daughter Belle Fulmer, hence to Merle Fulmer Ford, then to Ramona Ford Morison, to Kyle & Carol Morison, and finally to the Museum.


A number of years ago I received a phone call from Louise Lewis, wife of Robert Lewis. They wanted to know if the Museum was interested in a barn beam loom. According to the family history written by Caroline Hutchins Lewis in 1941, the loom was made in the late 1600’s  (more than 100 years before the American Revolution) by a member of the Lyford family of Brookfield, New Hampshire. The loom was used by generations of the Lyford’s, until its last use by Betsy Lyford Hutchins. During the Civil War, she wove the red, white & blue coverlet which now resides in the Museum collection. The loom was then stored in the Lyford farm’s barn for a number of years, and finally moved to the attic of the farm house. The loom eventually was bequeathed to Caroline Hutchins Lewis, who moved the loom to her home in Baltimore, Maryland in 1941, during WW2. 72 years later her son, Robert, donated the loom, pictures, coverlet and written history to the museum in 2013.


My family, the Fry’s, have been raising sheep on the family farm in Richfield Twp. for 62 years. When my brother, sisters and I were young, our parents used to take the sheep’s wool down to the Aling Wool Mill (later named Rastetter Wool Mill) near Kidron, Ohio.  Ailing would clean, card and weave our wool to our request. During a number of the early years of the farm’s wool production, our family choose to have coverlets made, each of a different color, and with a pine tree pattern around the edges of the coverlets to denote our raising of Christmas trees (1956 to present) on our farm. Each of us kids received a coverlet in the color of our choice. The Museum now counts Jim’s brown coverlet and his parent’s blue coverlet in the museum collection. The other still family owned coverlets are yellow, red and green. {Note: Rastetter was to eventually close its doors in 2002. Several years later when they sold the building, they donated several hundred balls of rug fabric to the Museum.} –Also pictured are two additional coverlets from the museum’s large collection.

~~For more information about American Coverlets, we recommend visiting or calling The National Museum of the American Coverlet, in Bedford, Pa. They are most helpful and wonderful folks.~~


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