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  STEVENSGRAPH BOOK MARK WITH AN IMAGE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, CA 1876-1905, MADE BY PHOENIX MFG. CO. AND SOLD BY ALLEN CHESTERS, BOTH OF PATERSON, NEW JERSEY, WITH THE ORIGINAL PAPER LABEL

Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 15.5" x 8.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 9.75" x 2.5"
Description....:
Stevensgraph (woven silk picture), in the form of a book mark, made by Phoenix Mfg. Co. of Paterson, New Jersey and sold by Allen Chesters, also of Paterson. Made sometime between the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition and the turn-of-the-century, the finely executed imagery features a bust-like portrait of George Washington beneath an eagle carrying a billowing Stars & Stripes. Under Washington is an open laurel wreath with a red bow, followed by "The Father of His Country" in beautiful, fancy lettering, with a patriotic shield at the bottom. The form is straight with a triangular wedge at the bottom and a yellow-gold tassel is stitched to the tip. The colors are exceptional.

Phoenix's signature is on the reverse along the top edge, accompanied by their trade mark image and "patented" at the bottom. The design was available in various sizes. Phoenix continued to produce them until around the turn of the century. Some have tassels and some do not.

This example was found on its original paper label [enclosed in a Mylar on the reverse]. Along the top of the label is text that reads as follows: “Allen Chesters; Paterson, N.J.; Manufacturer of Illuminated Pure Silk Book Markers; Badges; Woven Pictures, Etc.” I have not before encountered an example with a Chesters label.

The technology to make Stevensgraphs was developed by Thomas Stevens, a weaver in Coventry, England, who adapted a Jacquard loom to weave colorful pictures from silk. By 1862 he was producing four different designs and by the late 1880's he had approximately 900. Many were bookmarks, but there were greeting cards, postcards, and other formats. American companies replicated the process and competed vigorously with the British manufacturer for their share of the American market.

Mounting: The gilded molding dates to the period between 1820 and 1850. To this a modern, rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a liner. The textile has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton twill, black in color, that was washed to reduce excess dye. An acid-free agent was added to the wash to further set the dye and the fabric was heat-treated for the same purpose. Spacers keep the textile away from the glass, which is U.V. protective.

Condition: The textile is excellent. The paper label (on the reverse) is significantly oxidized and has numerous tears and some losses.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1876
Latest Date of Origin: 1905
State/Affiliation: New Jersey
War Association:
Price: SOLD
E-mail: Inquire
 

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